If you are making an amateur film to enter in a competition or turn in as a class assignment, creating your own custom soundtrack is a surefire way to set your movie apart. However, having a soundtrack recorded by a well-known band or musical organization can be costly. Here are a few ways you can create such a contract on a tight budget.
Talk to local music schools.
Small, local music schools may be interested in having their students work on the soundtrack for you. They could assign different songs to different students, and even appoint one of the older, more experienced students as music director. This would be a great way for the students to practice playing music while also learning a bit about the different musical field of soundtrack creation. The students would get the experience, and you would get the soundtrack. You can arrange to pay the students each a small amount for their work, or just pay the music school — depending on the terms you arrange.
Contract with local bands.
There have to be some small, local bands looking for more exposure in your area. Visit local bars and listen to their live performers. If you find someone you like, approach them about working with you on the soundtrack. The band may do so for a low fee if you agree to feature their name prominently in the credits and recommend them to friends. They get some great advertising out of the deal since everyone who sees your film will also see their work.
Electronically master a soundtrack yourself.
If you have some talent in music, you could also purchase some basic mixing software and create your own soundtrack out of clips that are in the public domain. Each piece of the soundtrack won't be original, but the way you arrange the music will be. There is a lot of public domain music out there in an array of genres, from country to instrumental, so you should have your pick of styles and clips. If you're not confident in your own abilities, pay a music student to spend an hour or two critiquing your finished soundtrack, and then use their feedback to improve upon it.
You can have a customized soundtrack without blowing your entire movie budget. It may take some time, but the approaches above are perfect for amateur filmmakers and students. For further direction, contact a company like San Diego Music Services.