March 31, 2014

TEM's Preferred Music Licensing Websites

Over the years, we've had people ask us what music licensing websites we use for our projects, so we thought we'd share our top favorites (see below, listed in alphabetical order).

Which site we use depends on various factors, including: our project budget, the theme of the project and style of music we are looking for, the size of a music library and how frequently it's updated. Sometimes we're just tired of a certain site and want to switch it up to keep things fresh.  Whenever possible, we license all the music from the same site so we can  negotiate a 'blanket license,' which keeps costs down. More often than not, it's tough to match every style of music we need, so we license tracks from multiple sites.

Although it's not always possible, we try to find appropriate music before we even start editing. So many editorial decisions, including pacing, shot selection and mood are heavily impacted by music. As a rule, use music intentionally and sparingly. Unless we're cutting a trailer, music does not run the entire length of a piece. If we have to use music to mask sections that drag, we prefer to improve the edit rather than use camouflage. (At the end of this post, find examples where music drove the mood and pace.)

Pricing depends on several factors:

- number of needledrops per track
- length of video
- type of clearance needed (ie 1 year vs in perpetuity, 1 country vs worldwide, web only vs broadcast, etc)
- number of tracks licensed (ie the more tracks licensed, the better the negotiated rate)
- are you or your client a non-profit (*with the proper documentation of 501(c)(3) status you can often qualify for a non-profit rate)

Here is a list of some of our favorite music licensing sites:

FirstCom Music
- Pros: (1) Easily searchable website that allows you to use keywords to do a "Quick Search" and/or an "Advanced Search" by using filters such as Music Styles, Moods, Instruments, Tempos, Country List, etc.  (2) A lot of the CDs and Tracks have "Alterate Versions & Edits" to choose from. (3) With click of the button, you can easily listen to other tracks from the same CD. (4) The music library is updated frequently.
-Cons: (1) No option of searching by 'Similar' or 'Related' tracks. (2) To listen to other tracks by the same artist you have to type in their name into the search engine (rather than just clicking on his/her name). (3) Prices can be higher than other websites.

Killer Tracks -- *Killer Tracks and FirstCom (described above) have very similar search engines.
Pros: (1) Like FirstCom, Killer Tracks also allows you to use keywords to do a 'Quick Search' and/or an "Advanced Search" by using various filters and subcategories and has the "Alterate Versions & Edits" option. (2) They have a wide variety of international music. (3) Their sales department is willing to negotiate rates.
Cons: (1) No option of searching by 'Similar' or 'Related' tracks. (2) To listen to other tracks by the same artist you have to type in their name into the 'search' engine (rather than just clicking on his/her name). (3) Their library doesn't seem to be as frequently updated as some of the other music websites.

Pump Audio -- Pump Audio (owned by Getty Images) was one of the very first sites we began using years ago here at TEM.
Pros: (1) You have the option to search by keywords and/or by various "genre."  (2) Use the "More Like This" button to find similar/related tracks. (3) You can listen to other tracks by the same artist with the click of a button. (4) Music library is updated frequently.  
Cons: (1)  Search results can sometimes be quite broad and all over the place. (2) Doesn't offer option for "Alternate Versions & Edits" --
Pros: (1) When you scroll your curser over a piece of music, it automatically begins playing. (2) Offers "Related Clips" and "More From this Artist" options.  (3) Very affordable.
Cons: (1) There is only a general keyword search function -- no filters or sub-category option. Note: We haven't used Pond5 as frequently as the other sites so we cannot comment on how often they update their library.

Syria's Lost Generation from Talking Eyes Media on Vimeo.

Photojournalisms from Talking Eyes Media on Vimeo.

Curse of the Black Gold - Trailer from Talking Eyes Media on Vimeo.

March 27, 2014

Peace Corps Multimedia Specialist

The Peace Corps is now hiring a Multimedia Specialist -- the deadline to apply is April 2, 2014.

The position, based in Washington, DC, will require limited travel.  All applicants must apply through

To learn more about this position and apply:

March 26, 2014

Eyes On This: I SEE YOU

Our friend and former colleague, photographer Phyllis B. Dooney, produced this beautiful and inspiring short film published on the Huffington Post this past week.  This piece tells the story of "Harmonica" Jimmy Palmaro, a blind teacher in Brooklyn who teaches neighborhood kids in local after-school programs.

"I tell my students 'Don't let your limitations define you. Don't be shortsighted," Palermo says while laughing at his own pun.  "I've gained things through my blindness that are not limitations."

Visit this link to read more on the story on Huffington Post:

Watch the video below!

I SEE YOU from Phyllis B. Dooney on Vimeo.

March 25, 2014

2014 TEM Multimedia Internship

Talking Eyes Media is currently accepting applications for a six-month internship (beginning August 4, 2014 and ending January 30, 2015 -- with some flexibility).

This is a paid, advanced level multimedia production internship.  Interns must not only have strong editing skills, but must also be looking to expand and develop their storytelling skills and work collaboratively with our production team.  The primary responsibility will include editing short 2-3 minute videos.

The deadline to apply is April 30, 2014.

To learn more about this internship and to apply, please go to:

March 17, 2014

Eyes On This: 7 Days In Ireland

TEM wishes you a Happy St. Patty's Day!

In honor of the country in which this holiday celebrates, we thought we'd share this video we came across on Vimeo titled "7 Days in Ireland."

The short video (filmed and edited by a group of friends taking a road trip across Ireland) is a montage with beautiful cinematography capturing landmarks and rural scenes of Ireland.  Includes great timelapses, pans, and detailed shots filmed. Check it out.

7 days in Ireland from Marvin Campos on Vimeo.

March 14, 2014

Eyes On This: Gays in the Military by Vincent Cianni

TEM congratulates its fiscal sponsee Vincent Cianni not only for the recent publication of his book Gays in the Military but also for his spread in The New York Times Sunday Review!

This past week NYT published Vincent's photographs from Gays in the Military as a feature article and interview. Along with Vincent's compelling black-and-white photographs, the article includes a forward and interview conducted by Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America.

"The documentary photographer Vincent Cianni has chosen an opportune time to release his new book of images and interviews attesting to the struggles and triumphs, dignities and indignities of gay and lesbian service members." - Nathaniel Frank, "Out, and Serving", NYT, March 9, 2014.

Gays in the Military is available to purchase here.

Read the NYT feature "Out, and Serving": 

Visit Vincent's website to learn more about the project:

March 12, 2014

TEM is Hiring an Associate Producer

Position Summary:

Talking Eyes Media is seeking an Associate Producer to work out of our Montclair, NJ office. The candidate should be a self-motivated individual with an interest in documentary film production and at least three years of experience.  We are seeking someone with a high-level of organizational, communication, and production management skills. This position will begin as a part-time position starting mid-May and may grow into a full-time position by September.

Start Date: Mid-May 2014

Status: Part-Time; 3-days/wk; 9am-5pm with likely increase to fulltime in the fall

Position Description:

The Associate Producer at Talking Eyes Media will support the production team throughout every aspect of project development (from pre-production through post-production and final delivery).  In addition to providing creative and production support, this role is primarily responsible for operational and administrative support.  The ideal candidate will have an understanding of documentary projects and storytelling across all platforms, strong research skills, and outstanding communications skills. They will have several years experience in documentary films and/or in television production. The applicant should be reliable, well organized, outgoing and friendly, a team player, have a sense of humor and be able to work quickly to meet deadlines. *Note: This position will not require field producing, filming, or editing.

Position Responsibilities:
  • Work closely with producer/director and team members to successfully complete projects on time and within budget
  • Research topics, story ideas, and content to identify possible production opportunities.  Contact potential subjects and experts to conduct pre-interviews as needed
  • Build and manage all production schedules
  • Perform grant and funder research for projects
  •   Assist with grant applications
  • Manage and craft film festival submissions
  • Provide additional office and production support as needed
  • Craft and manage content for website, blog, social media networks (Facebook and Twitter), and digital channels (YouTube and Vimeo)
  • Write newsletters, project announcements and blog posts

Position Requirements:
  • Active knowledge of news/current affairs and documentary industry
  • Concern for social justice issues
  • Strong project management and organizational skills with ability to multi-task, prioritize assignments, and meet deadlines
  • Must be able to take initiative and work independently but also work with a team in a tight-knit environment
  • Able to formulate independent decisions using the available information and find a solution for, or deal proactively with with problems
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing with peers, employees, managers, and clients, to maintain confidentiality in daily operations and to conduct daily duties in a professional manner
  • Must be comfortable using Mac computers
  • Extensive working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)
  • Knowledge of Photoshop, Premiere, FCP are a major advantage 

Education & Training Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in Film, Journalism, or Communications; OR three-to-four years related experience and/or training in film or television production

Application Instructions:

Please e-mail cover letter and resume to Julie Winokur at with “Associate Producer” as the subject line. We will conduct interviews on a rolling basis.

No calls please.

About Talking Eyes Media:

Talking Eyes Media (TEM), is a nonprofit production company that creates powerful media for pressing issues.  We are visual storytellers, creating documentary films, multimedia, books and exhibitions that actively stimulate dialogue and advocate for positive social change. 

Over the years, we have successfully translated projects across media platforms (from print to web to television) and have worked seamlessly between the nonprofit sector and the editorial world. We have an extensive portfolio of still photography, multimedia and documentary films and have received numerous awards from World Press International, Pictures of the Year International and UNICEF, as well as two Emmy nominations. Our work has appeared in such publications as National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and Time Magazine, as well as online (Time, MSNBC, Discovery, CNN) and on television (PBS and the Documentary Channel). 

We are highly skilled storytellers, who work with sensitivity, creativity and outright passion for what we do. To learn more, visit:

March 7, 2014

Upcoming TEM Workshops & Events: March-Sept. 2014

Here is a list of upcoming TEM and/or Ed Kashi workshops and events:

PhotoPhilanthropy Workshops: "Mobile Photography & Storytelling" & "Photography & Empathy"
Taught by: Ed Kashi , Richard Koci Hernandez, Tyson Wheatley, Amy Yenkin, and Oren Ziv
San Francisco, CA
March 7, 2014
Register Here: Mini-Workshops

"Bring It to The Table" Lecture at Adult School of Montclair
Taught by: Julie Winokur
Montclair, NJ
March 24, 2014
Register Here: Bring It

"Eyes in Progress" - Workshops on Visual Storytelling
Taught by: Ed Kashi
Paris, France
March 26 - 29, 2014
Register Here: Eyes in Progress

"New Frontiers in the Art of Visual Storytelling"
Athens House of Photography
Taught by: Ed Kashi
Parga, Greece
July 8 - 11, 2014
Register Here: 4-Day Workshop

"The Maleku and Bribri Project"
Costa Rica Photography Expedition with Ed Kashi & Jessica Dimmock
Presented by VII Photo Agency & Rustic Pathways
June 18 - July 3, 2014
Register Here: Student Summer Program

"Visual Storytelling & Documentary Photography Projects"
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Taught by: Ed Kashi
Snowmass Village, Colorado
August 11 - 15, 2014
Register Here: Visual Storytelling

Visual Storytelling & Documentary Photograph Projects
Taught by: Julie Winokur & Ed Kashi
Woodstock, NY
September 5 - 7, 2014
Register Here: 3-Day Workshop

March 5, 2014

Island of Widows - Update: Successful!

We would like to send a big THANK YOU to all who supported Ed Kashi's project Island of Widows! Because of you and your generosity, Ed was able to raise $19,610 and will now be able to continue documenting fatal chronic disease among Nicaragua's sugarcane workers.  This project will not only draw awareness to this epidemic, and by doing so, hopefully bring about a solution and cure.

© Ed Kashi/VII

March 3, 2014

2 Days Left to Donate to ISLAND OF WIDOWS!


Please help photojournalist Ed Kashi (and TEM co-founder) 
raise the remaining $2,635 for his project "The Island of Widows"!

March 1, 2014

POV Spring 2014 Internships

The PBS documentary series POV is currently accepting applications for its 2014 winter/spring internship (at its Brooklyn, New York office).

Produced by American Documentary, POV ("point-of-view") is televisions longest-running showcase for independent nonfiction film, premiering 14 to 16 documentaries every year on PBS.

"Interns are provided training and mentorship through a hands-on Internship Program that offers challenging educational opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.'

To learn more about this internship opportunity and to apply, visit: