Mateo Messina

Seattle, Washington, United States

Composer, Film Score Composer

kind Music

Even though I’ve had no formal training in music, I landed my dream job writing scores for Hollywood films. My proudest moment is wining a Grammy for the film Juno.

I’m the first to admit that I truly do have a dream job. I love my work—both the glitzy aspect of writing music for movies and attending movie premiers, as well as the soul-feeding work of writing symphonies.

I’ve been a music composer since 2000 and am self-employed. Sometimes I hire other musicians when needed.

Some of the things I can teach you are how to write a film score from start to finish, about recording technology and trends, how to write cues with dramatic sensitivity to a scene and a bit about the Hollywood music scene and how to market to potential clients.

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I never had formal training in music. I played piano growing up and in college I was introduced to a computer program that allowed me to write and play music for all sorts of instruments right on my piano.

I boldly asked the Seattle Symphony if I could conduct a symphony. When they said yes, I had seven months to write my first symphony. I worked hard, not only at writing, but at promoting the show and by the second weekend, the show was sold out.

After that, things started to really change for me. I was asked to score a commercial and six months later scored a film. That’s when I decided to move to Hollywood and work for up-and-coming directors. I had the great opportunity to work for Jason Reitman and wrote the music for his two biggest hits Thank You for Smoking and Juno, for which I won a Grammy.

Since that time, I’ve built a business film scoring and writing music for many major studio films, TV shows and commercials. The constantly changing nature of my work keeps me energized. One day I may be writing an upbeat musical score and the next something for a horror film.

I feel so lucky to be doing what I’m doing. It’s such a fun and challenging occupation. And I love owning my own business—that’s very satisfying.

I believe strongly in giving back. That’s why each year I host a benefit concert with the Seattle Symphony Guild to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. To date, these concerts have raised over $1,000,000 for these sick children and their families.

This isn’t something you are just chosen to do. I started with just an idea, and it’s built into something big. I would love to show you how to do that. Nobody came to me and said, “You’re good at music, you could write a symphony.” I would like to be the person who says that to you.