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Free Scores for Student Films

Get the most out of your movie with a custom musical score!

We are looking for student made films of any genre or length to provide original music to through the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program.  This service, which includes a score recorded by professional musicians in a world class recording studio, is offered for free to student filmmakers.  It is an opportunity for our Masters students to use the skills learned during our program and collaborate with directors to produce custom music for any style of film.  The music is licensed to the filmmakers free of charge for use within their films in any and all media and for any promotional use (trailers, etc.) in connection to those films.


The submitted films must have been made as part of an educational program.

Student film submissions are now closed for 2024, check back in Spring 2025!

More information and technical requirements below

Student Films Scored by PNWFS

Student Films Scored by PNWFS

Student Films Scored by PNWFS
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Climbing Mt Dignity

Climbing Mt Dignity

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Climbing Mt. Symphony

Climbing Mt. Symphony

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Wendell's Advantageous Adversity (stop-motion film)

Wendell's Advantageous Adversity (stop-motion film)

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The Process

Every year our program does 4 rounds of scoring sessions for student films, the first one starts in mid March, then one in April, in May, and the last one in June. At the start of each cycle we screen all submitted films for our students, they decide which ones they want to work on, and we split them up into teams to begin work on their films. The writing process takes about 3-4 weeks with the composers meeting with seasoned advisors and getting approval of their cues from their directors. After that it usually takes another week or two to record and mix the scores before final deliverables are sent to the directors. The whole process takes 4-6 weeks to complete from the initial film screening.

Technical Requirements

Complete information and tech specs can be accessed once you send in your submission form,
but here are the minimum requirements for your film:

  • Films must be picture locked

  • Films should be stripped of all temporary music

  • Films must begin with 15 seconds of pre-roll with a Slate that includes the following information:

    • FILM TITLE: 


    • ​SCHOOL:

    • DATE:

    • TRT: (total run time)

    • EMAIL:

    • PHONE:

  • After the 15 second slate pre-roll the film must have a 2-pop placed exactly 2 seconds before the start of the film, preferably with an Academy Leader

  • Films must end with 15 seconds of black leader (post-roll)

Frequently Asked Questions

What does "picture locked" mean?
Picture locked means that editing is complete and no further cutting of the film will be made. Other post-production like ADR, color correction, and VFX do not have to be complete (as long as the VFX don't change the length of the film) and credits can also be added later (just give us a rough idea for how long they will be).

Does the film really have to be picture locked?

But does it really??

What is a "2-pop"?
2-Pop is a term for a 1 kHz (1000 Hz) tone that lasts 1 frame inserted 2 seconds before the start of the program. Originally established as part of the SMPTE “Universal Leader”, it’s still widely used today. It’s used as a simple method to ensure sync between Picture & Sound in Post-Production for Film, Commercial, or Television Programs. More info here.


Do I have a say in what kind of score I want?
Absolutely! Our students will work with you to create a score that meets your vision and you get to approve all spotting, thematic material, and individual cues.

How long does it take to get a completed film score?
Typical turnaround time is 4-6 weeks from the start of each round of scoring sessions (not 4-6 weeks from film submission).

I have a deadline I have to make, can the score be completed in time?
We do what we can to try to meet filmmaker deadlines but it is not always possible. Our students have to go through an approval process with both the director and our advisors which takes time and we also have constraints around when we can schedule recording sessions due to studio and musician availability. In addition to that we sometimes receive more films than we can score on a single session and have to push some to a later date. It is not unusual for directors to send us their films knowing we cannot meet a preferred deadline, we typically recommend that they use a temp score while they wait for their final deliverables. Ultimately, let us know when submitting your film if there's a specific deadline you're hoping to make and we'll try to make it work, but be prepared to use a temporary resource until you receive your completed score.

Am I guaranteed a score if I submit my film?
Short answer, no. While we do our best to provide scores to all the films submitted sometimes we just don't have enough composers to cover them all. If a film doesn't get scored as part of the program we typically try to pair the director up with some of our students or recent graduates to help them get an original score. Chances are these scores wouldn't involve live musicians due to the cost but we train our students to produce high quality electronic scores in the program and we are confident in their abilities to create a great finished product using virtual instruments and synth patches.
It's very rare but we do also reject films on occasion. Typically this only happens if the film is glorifying offensive material, is pornographic or has subject matter that makes the students feel uncomfortable (we don't force our students to work on anything they are opposed to). We also reject films that don't follow the technical requirements.

Do I own the music when it's done?
The scores are licensed to you free of charge for use in your film only. Please understand that the music is not free for you to use for any other purpose except as part of your film. You may, however, use the music for trailers or other promotional purposes related to the film. The student composers retain ownership of the copyrights and are entitled to any writers and publisher revenues that may be generated by future public performances of your film.

Am I required to use the score I receive
No. You are under no obligation to use the score you receive from the Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program. We certainly hope that you are happy with the score produced for you, most directors are, but sometimes it just isn't what they were looking for (being actively involved in the approval process helps with this immensely) and other times it's just one cue that they don't really want. If you decide not to use the score we provide that is totally fine, all we ask is that you still send us a completed version of the film with our score so that the students can use it for their demo reels.

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