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.


This Company Wants to Pay You for Your Steps. Here's How it Works.

The co-founder and CEO of Sweatcoin explains how the company’s move-to-earn vision is helping people be healthier while also getting brands in front of 100 million users.

Javier Correa of Sombrero Mexican Food on Restaurant Expansion Strategy

Interview with Sombrero Mexican Food Owner Javier Correa Jr. on celebrity endorsements, finding an effective pace, and the balance of scaling a business.

Do You Inspire the Best in People? Apply for the Tony Hsieh Award

The Tony Hsieh Award seeks out progressive, value-driven leaders and innovators

3 Ways to Achieve 'Superhuman Focus' in Just Two Weeks

Focus is a valuable asset for any entrepreneur. Here's how to upgrade your energy, focus, and drive.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself If You're Thinking About Becoming a Health Coach

The chief revenue officer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition shares how the program works and the myriad of ways you can use a health coaching certification.

Josh Altman and Matt Proman Are Teaming Up to Disrupt the Real Estate Industry

Serial entrepreneur Matt Proman and real estate mogul and 'Million Dollar Listing LA' star Josh Altman have joined forces to launch

Robert "Don Pooh" Cummins of Brooklyn Chop House on Opening Restaurant Doors

Interview with the Brooklyn Chop House owner and franchising expert about working in the music industry, opening restaurants, and creating avenues for black entrepreneurs.

Feeling Unmotivated? 3 Biohacks to Supercharge Your Focus and Drive

Here's Ben Angel on the top three motivation myths and how to use biohacking to become more focused.

This Physician Wants to Change the Way You Carry Your Baby

Dr. Lena Shahbandar is a physician and entrepreneur who designed a new baby carrier to help parents and caregivers reduce back and joint pain.

Jennifer Allen of Levy Restaurants on a Commitment to Company Culture

Interview with Levy Restaurants VP of Restaurants Operations Jennifer Allen about running successful businesses, being a "restaurant girl", and her company's strong values.

How to Bounce Back After Any Setback with Biohacking

Here's Ben Angel on how to apply biohacking and neuroscience to take back control of your life.

Why Companies Need to "Onshore" to Ensure Sustainable Growth

Entrepreneur Network Partner Ashley Crouch sits down with Sidney Wheatley, CIO of the Private Family Office to H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.

How One Entrepreneur Is Bringing Back Old School Hospitality to the Hotel Industry

Hotelier Leo Grika shares his career journey, how he's customizing the hotel experience for guests, and his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Man Behind the Viral Horse Drawing Meme Talks Advertising

How a drawing for an art school turned into a Game of Thrones viral meme.

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.