The Protege Vision
The vision behind Protege is simple: We want to help launch the careers of professional media composers by learning, earning and turning their passion into a rewarding and stable career.
Protege is the brainchild of multi-award-winning composer, podcaster and thought leader Richard Schrieber, and industry entrepreneur, renowned producer and one of the world’s leading sync specialists Vikram Gudi. Or as they prefer to be known, Rich and Vik.
They created Protege because they noticed a troubling lack of opportunity for young composers striving to work in the ever-growing industry of film and TV music. It wasn’t that they believed young composers didn’t possess the skills or the imagination to do great work, but more so that they weren’t being properly educated and equipped to both understand, navigate and ultimately thrive in such a fast-paced and constantly-evolving industry.
Great music is only one facet of this business. Beyond that lies the obstacle of knowing how to create the “right” music, how to get that work into the hands of the right people, or order to get it placed with the right projects….so you can get paid.
Why Media Composing?
One of the secrets to earning a sustainable living from composing music is to work in the sync industry. Many of our composers earn six figure salaries whilst working on their own terms - part time and from home. Our goal is to teach musicians the most essential skills for this style of composition without expensive equipment, and by making the most of the skills they already have. We are here to provide guidance, support, knowledge and experience.
Meet The Founders - Rich and Vik
Protege School was founded by multi-award-winning composer, podcaster and thought leader Richard Schrieber, and industry entrepreneur, renowned producer and one of the world’s leading sync specialists Vikram Gudi.
CREDITS: Pete’s Dragon, Mother!, Captain America: Civil War, Blade Runner 2049, Passengers.
Richard Schrieber’s story is not all that dissimilar from countless other composers who strive to carve out their own self-sustaining niche in the entertainment business. His career is a testament to hard work and to following your inspiration. And like so many artists, where he started is not where he ended up.
Initially, like many musically creative people, his passion led him to joining a band. And although that door closed, another would soon open. While that band did not find commercial success, it did spark his interest in writing music, which raised the question that almost every songwriter or composer eventually ends up facing sooner or later: “How can I make a living making music?”. And because of his will, he found a way.
By 2010, he was working for a production music library, and had no idea what “trailer music” was, or even that it was a separate industry altogether. However, that production music library had connections with a trailer music company called Pusher. After hearing several of Richard’s hybrid rock tracks, they expressed interest in him putting some ideas together for some upcoming projects.
That relationship quickly led him to pitching on Men in Black 3 and The Avengers. This, of course, was a giant yet scary leap forward, much like a bird learning to fly by being thrown out of the nest. Though ecstatic at the chance to “trailerise” his hero’s theme (Danny Elfman composed the theme for Men in Black), his pitch was ultimately not chosen for any full trailers. However, it was far from a total loss, as one of his cues was used for a short 30 second spell in the second act of the third official trailer.
While small, this would be his first step into the “big leagues”. And like any journey, one step leads to another, which leads to another. And now all of these small steps, taken over the last 10 years, have resulted in hundreds of placements, and 8 awards for his trailer compositions. And more importantly, they have resulted in something that every creative person strives for…being able to make a very comfortable living while following their passion.
Most successful artists will tell you that they didn’t choose their art…their art chose them. For Richard, it was all about following his passion for composing, getting his music to the right people, and constantly trying to impress them with something new and exciting. That’s what drove him at the start of his career, and it’s what still drives him today.
CREDITS: (As a Publisher): Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, Ad Astra, The Handmaid's Tale, Avengers 4:Endgame, Game Of Thrones, The Predator, X-Men Apocalypse, Captain America: Civil War, Fantastic Four
Vikram Gudi has a very simple philosophy for anyone working in the sync business: “Make really interesting and powerful music and it will get used”.
This motto has served him well throughout his career, and continues to be the reason his work gets chosen for project after project. His company Elephant Music has been on a serious roll for the past several years, but it took a lot of ambition, fearlessness and effort to get there.
Vik had just been promoted at Imagem Music when he quit his job to start Elephant Music, a daunting step away from the safe and familiar, and into career uncertainty. He was young and inexperienced, but both of these proved to be assets and not liabilities. They meant that he wouldn’t be tethered to traditional methods or ways of thinking. Rules could be rewritten. And that’s what happened…eventually.
At first, Elephant was simply a home for bands that he wanted to rep, mainly friends. But being a new company meant that he had the benefit of time to explore a few different options, to see down which paths his creative and business strengths would lead him. And despite how it may seem today, the path to film trailers was not an obvious one.
However, while Elephant was still finding its place in the world, he began to look at what his composers were doing much more closely…particularly Richard Schrieber. This meeting-of-the-minds led to an album of minimalist piano music, Piano Works, that was incredibly well received. So well in fact, that that initial success quickly led to a second album. Then a third. Then a fourth. The streak continued, and recently resulted in the completion of their 9th Piano Works album.
Vik’s relentless drive began leading to more and more placements, which in turn, led to loftier creative aspirations. Upon learning that scoring trailers was its own separate and growing industry, and didn’t merely involve editing and recutting pieces from a film’s soundtrack, he figured Elephant’s growing library of unique, innovative and emotive music would be a great fit for this unexplored avenue. So he set his mind on projects for which he believed Elephant’s diverse catalog would be best suited. And the one he wanted, Blade Runner 2049, proved to be a huge stepping stone for his company, into a whole new world.
Right from the start, he became obsessed with the project, making countless Blade Runner playlists and sending them to everyone, regardless if they were working on the trailer or not. His tenacity paid off…big time. Not only did they secure the main trailer, but 3 separate TV spots as well. This initial triumph is what convinced him that Elephant could compete and succeed at the highest level, despite his company’s purposely boutique size.
Vik’s bold ambition to constantly push forward in creating interesting, evocative and emotionally powerful music has not only led to rewarding creative partnerships and opportunities, but to long-lasting friendships with music supervisors and editors within the entertainment industry.
These days, despite blossoming success and an increasing number of placements each year, Vik continues to look past the company’s growing bottom line, and instead focuses his attention on what he believes is Elephant Music’s true value…the rate at which they continue to innovate and evolve. It’s this positive and forward-thinking mindset that has brought his company this far, and that will continue to propel it towards exciting new opportunities in the future.
The Numbers Speak For Themselves