Film Music in LA: The Success Story of Lukas Geppert
We had the pleasure of interviewing Lukas Geppert, a former student of Deutsche POP Academy. Lukas now lives in Los Angeles and is doing a master's degree in film composition. In our conversation, he talks about his career and shares exciting insights into life in LA and the demanding everyday life of a film composer.
POP: First tell us a little about your career at Deutsche Pop Academy.
Lukas: I went to Deutsche POP in Nuremberg directly after my Abitur. There, after my diploma, I also did the Bachelor Music Technology Specialist in cooperation with the University of West London. It was a technically oriented production degree, which I liked better than a classical composition degree because of its practical orientation. In addition to my studies, I also worked as a tutor at the Nuremberg location and was able to gain valuable practical experience.
POP: What happened next for you after Deutsche POP?
Lukas: It was actually clear to me early on that I wanted to get into the film music scene. During my Bachelor's degree, I started planning my further path and writing applications. I really wanted to go to LA, because it's just one of the best places to be if you want to get a foothold in the film and film music industry. The application for American universities was a huge effort, it's unbelievable what it takes. I started putting everything together a year before the application deadline. My application was accepted and I decided to do a Master's in Film Music at the University of Southern California (USC). Now I've been here almost a year and I'm over the moon!
POP: What is it like living in LA?
Lukas: It was definitely a culture shock at first. LA is a constant background noise - you actually hear police and helicopters all the time. But despite everything, the city is very inspiring and creative. Honestly, there are nicer cities (laughs), but campus life here at USC is a very unique experience. I moved to LA on my own, which was a challenge at first, but also an experience I've grown from. I now live on campus and have great contact with my fellow students.
POP: What is your everyday study life like? What is campus life like?
Lukas: Everyday study life is quite hectic, as the film music industry itself is also quite hectic. Sometimes we only have one day to write and produce a track; the deadlines are really glaring. The work is very varied and you always have to be ready to make changes. Some nights are definitely a bit shorter (laughs). Still, highlights like our recording sessions with a full orchestra at Warner Brothers Studio are incredibly fulfilling.
POP: What are your favourite scenes or film genres to write for?
Lukas: My favourite thing to write music for is action scenes like car chases. I love it when the music is hectic and action-packed. That's something I also took with me from my time at Deutsche POP - working with sampling and high energy sound design. But of course I can also produce calmer, softer tracks.
POP: Your Master's year is coming to an end. What are your plans for the future?
Lukas: As an international student, I get a special visa that allows me to work here for a year after I graduate. My plan is to get a foothold in the scene as successfully as possible and work as an assistant or additional writer this year. After that, I'll try my best to stay here.
POP: What would be your dream job? When did you make it as a film music composer?
Lukas: The profession of film music composer is often seen too narrowly defined. Great composers like Hans Zimmer or Brian Tyler also make music for video games and events or give concerts. That's exactly my goal too - I want to work in different areas and have variety. When will I have achieved it? When I get paid for my music and can play it live. That would make me happy.
POP: How do you deal with feedback and criticism on your tracks?
Lukas: In the film music production profession, criticism is something everyday. You are a service provider and the customer has the last word. Especially with music, where tastes can be very different, it is normal to receive criticism. But I also see criticism as a chance to better understand the story and the director's ideas and to learn from them.
POP: What did you like most during your time at Deutsche POP?
Lukas: What I really liked was the individuality. The classes were manageable and we were intensively supported. Working with my talented classmates and the great lecturers was a very enriching experience. In technical production and in the field of mixing, the Nuremberg lecturer Raphael Strotzka (Red Audio Studio) and then Mitch Dörfler during my bachelor year encouraged and inspired me!
POP: Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring film music producers?
Lukas: I would say that it is important not to get discouraged. Yes, there are many composers and there is a lot of competition. But there are also many jobs around, and not everything revolves around LA. Great composers live in Berlin, Norway or Iceland. The profession is definitely becoming more international.
We wish Lukas all the best on his way and are looking forward to perhaps soon experiencing a film or game with his music.
You want to listen to a sample of Lukas? You can get one on his Spotify channel: Lukas releases a lot of cinematic pop music here, with which he tries to combine pop music with film music & epic orchestral style!