How Can I Compose Scores For Film And TV?

  • Craig Dobbin
  • Music Composer
    Shark Week
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Are you a composer who dreams of writing the scores for film and TV shows? It's definitely a skill and an art to be able to pick apart every scene and determine what kind of music it needs behind it to enhance the mood or action.

In this video, Craig Dobbin, composer for NCIS, Shark Week etc. explains what’s involved in writing underscores for TV and film. 

Information On Scoring Chris Share In This Video

Who Hires You

Find out who the person usually is who hires the composer.

Work Your Way Up

Learn how to work your way up to writing for prominent films and TV shows.

Vs. Songwriting

Craig compares the skills needed to composes vs. those used in songwriting.


Learn how Craig composes the music and when he hires people to help.

The Process

Learn the process that occurs in choosing the senes and the music for them.


Find out how composers are compensated for their work.

Craig Ofers A Lot More Insights In This Video!

About The EXPERT

Craig Dobbin

Craig Dobbin is an acclaimed composer with more than 30 years of professional musical composition in film, television and commercials. Since 2016, the two-time BMI award winner has composed the score for the top-rated primetime weekly CBS series NCIS Los Angeles.

He began his love for music at the age of 7, while studying the piano. By age 14, Dobbin was mastering Contemporary Jazz Theory and Classical Composition. While still an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, Dobbin composed the music for two films and a variety of television commercials. Before being named Outstanding Senior and graduating with a B.M. in Composition in 1990, Dobbin had also recorded his first solo album for D&D records.

Since then, Dobbin has composed music for a wide variety of genres, from the popular PBS shows, Jay Jay the Jet Plane and Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures to the world-renowned Discovery Channel Shark Week, which he has been scoring episodes for since 1991. With such a wide range and depth, his compositions have also been featured in commercials for such major clients as Samsung, Visa, McDonalds, Mobile Strike, Netflix, Marvel, Exxon, State Farm, among many more. Recently, Dobbin created music for the feature-length public television documentaries Searching for Home: Coming Back from War and unMASKing HOPE.

In 1993, Dobbin, along with William Aura and Alain Eskinasi formed the contemporary jazz group 3RD FORCE. Their first CD on Higher Octave went to #9 at Radio, their second and third, Force of Nature and Vital Force, both shot to #3, and their fourth CD, Force Field, hit #2. Their 8th Album, Global Force, released in 2016 after a 10-year hiatus, hit the coveted #1 Billboard spot.

With NCIS Los Angeles coming to an end after 14 seasons in May 2023, Dobbin is set to begin work on a new feature film, The Tasting, scheduled to begin shooting in late 2023.

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