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Music for film is produced to meet an immovable deadline. Failure to meet that deadline is simply not an option—regardless of how much (or how little) inspiration is flowing. In the words of accomplished film composer and successful music producer Danny Elfman, “The number-one law, the first commandment, is that you must finish on time.”

With deadlines so strict, it’s vital that film composers know how to work efficiently—and the best way to do that is by knowing how to effectively manage their time and workflow during periods of music production. Composer Danny Elfman has written over 100 scores for feature films, from Edward Scissorhands to Good Will Hunting. Here are a few of his tips for managing time and workflow.