Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

From Scoring a Marvel Film to Writing the Theme for the NFL's Thursday Night Football, this Female Composer Is Making History

Pinar Toprak talks about her rise to the top and her advice for anyone chasing a dream.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Pinar Toprak says she knew she wanted to move to America and score Hollywood films ever since she was a young kid growing up in Istanbul.

"I was about five, six years old when I started the conservatory," Toprak said. "My father was a huge film fan and he introduced me to all these American films. I was fascinated by the art of storytelling and then started realizing as I got older, the power of music as part of that storytelling."

However, growing up in Turkey and saying you wanted to be a composer of Hollywood films wasn't something that people were used to hearing, so Toprak was discouraged from pursuing this path, she says. But when she was 17 years old, she moved to the U.S., and that is when everything changed.

"Once I finished the conservatory, I moved to the U.S., learned English, and put myself through school," Toprak said. "I went to Berklee College of Music and initially was a piano performance major. Everyone told me, 'You're not going to be able to make a living with film scoring. Being a piano player you can teach, you can play gigs.'"

Toprak ended up switching to film scoring because she felt she'd rather fail at doing something she loved than succeed at doing something that other people were telling her to do.

"I finished Berklee in two years; and at 19, I moved to Los Angeles and worked my way up," she said.

Toprak began as an intern at Paramount Pictures Music Department and moved her way up to working alongside some of the most famous composers in Hollywood, including EGOT winner, Han Zimmer. And she continues to find success in Hollywood. She was the first female composer to get hired to score a Marvel movie and the first female composer to be selected to create the theme for the NFL's Thursday Night Football.

Toprak sat down with Jessica Abo to talk about her career, the lengths she went to get the Marvel gig, and what advice she has for anyone chasing a dream.


How to Unlock Your Company's Value in the 'Circular Economy'

Michael Smith of Regeneration.VC shares how the circular economy works and why it's good for business and our planet.

BBQ Icon Rodney Scott on Blazing Your Own Path in the Restaurant Business

Interview with famed pitmaster and food entrepreneur Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ about every day being a good day, the truth behind "overnight" celebrity, and how cooking with soul is vital to sustained success.

3 Easy Ways To Be More Motivated

Want to tackle your to-do list in just two weeks? In this video, Ben Angel tells you how.

The Founder of Mindvalley Wants to Transform and Reinvent Education. Here's Why.

The founder of Mindvalley shares why he started his platform and discusses his new book, "The 6 Phase Meditation Method."

This Teacher-Turned-Entrepreneur Started Tutoring Kids in Parks and Churches. Today, She Runs an Education Company with Nearly One Million Followers

The CEO and founder of Big City Readers talk about why she's on a mission to make reading fun for kids and their parents. Plus, what to do if you're afraid to take a leap in your career.

Melissa Villanueva of Brewpoint Coffee on Creating Avenues for Café Owners of Color

Interview with Brewpoint Coffee CEO and Founder Melissa Villanueva about balancing community and larger ambitions, creating opportunities for people of color, and equity and inclusion in business.

4 Easy Ways to Make More Money By Training Your Brain

Mental rehearsal is a powerful psychological technique that's used by athletes, billionaires, and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.

5 Tips to Help You Go from Camera-Shy to Camera-Ready

Media trainer Jessica Abo reveals her go-to production tips so you can feel more confident for your next on-air appearance, pitch, or presentation.

Shone Tran of Chicken Meets Rice on Stepping into Food Entrepreneurship

Interview with Chicken Meets Rice co-founder Shone Tran about pulling inspiration from tragedy, taking small steps, and thriving in business with your best friend.

Try This 15-Minute Million Dollar Morning Routine To Energize Your Day

Here are six steps you can take to amplify your energy and grow your income.

This Is Why Being a Podcast Guest Can Transform Your Personal Brand

The Founder and CEO of Scout's Agency shares why a "podcast tour" is the new PR strategy for thought-leaders.

Samantha Trottier and Hernan Regiardo of Mate Society on Creating Content People Like

Interview with Mate Society founders about authentic online connections, making money in the creator economy, and choosing the right brand deals.

9 Ways To Make 'Superhuman Focus' Work For You

In this video, Ben Angel shows you how to improve your focus and do more with your time.

Julian Cervantes of Super Taco Mexican Restaurants on Owning a Family Business

Interview with Super Taco Mexican Restaurants Founder Julian Cervantes about starting a business with little knowledge, having a Plan B, and balancing family and work.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.