For those who are following my personal journey…it’s time for a quick break from my usual ramblings to share a little bit of current personal news.
I mentioned several weeks ago that my family and I have been feeling like we are “on the verge” of something new with regard to our particular gifts. I also mentioned a couple of weeks ago in this post about timing that I was eyeballing a new opportunity, the details of which I was not ready to disclose. I’m now ready to share just a bit of it.
As I’ve continued to ponder my own creative path as a musician–and trying to figure out where I now fit outside church walls–I’ve found myself gravitating less toward the singer-songwriter, playing gigs kind of thing, and more and more toward the composition side of things (i.e., creating music, largely instrumental, for television, film and similar media). This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, but it came to life anew about this time last year when I was tasked with creating an original score for The Director’s short film. I was a music composition major in college (because at the time they didn’t have a major for “Christian rock”), and although I enjoyed that major immensely, I never thought I would draw much from it after graduation. Composition was mainly in a classical vein at the time, and I was, after all, contemporary at heart. 🙂
But now, years later, I am drawing on those skills once again–and loving the sense of creativity that comes from it. It feels like coming full circle. I see a long-term pathway that I could take with this. I’ve been chided by friends and family and sympathizers when I lament about getting “too old” to pursue a career as a performing artist–and I agree, if I really wanted to go that road, I think I could do something to make it happen–but the reality of the industry is that they are looking for new talent that is less than half my age. Music composition and scoring, however, are pretty much timeless, with no minimum or maximum age requirement, and if I find a vein in which to function, this could last me the next three or four decades. Plus, I really, really like doing it, whereas I get really tired of playing the same few tunes in bars for drunk people. Not judging–just saying where I find my greatest personal sense of joy.
Anyhow, rambling…a few weeks ago, I went to a music industry conference here in town, and there were a number of workshops about song placement for television and film. (For indie musicians in a struggling market, getting their songs licensed to play in TV, film and other visual media is a great way to earn extra money and get noticed, and the demand for songs is increasing.) There was also some interesting information about composing for media (that is, actually writing original music for television, film, commercials, etc., rather than trying to license a pre-recorded song for it).
As I sat in these sessions at the conference, I realized that between my newfound passion for composing and my newly acquired abilities with my recording studio apprenticeship, I was actually really close to being in a position where I could start submitting well-recorded music for placement in the visual media. (This what I meant when I said it would take a little effort.)
As it turned out, at the conference, I made a solid connection with the head of a local music publishing company–one of the first of its kind in Denver–that specializes in getting music placed and licensed for television, film, etc. They work with a lot of indie singer-songwriters and bands, but they also have a need for composers, as they get lots of calls for submissions from music supervisors wanting specific types of music of a specific length. I’ve been to this music publisher’s office a couple of times since, and she has told me that when I was ready to jump in, she could have projects for me to choose from every week.
Granted, these projects aren’t a situation where I am “hired” and guaranteed a certain amount of money. Rather, it’s a situation where a music supervisor of a company is looking for a particular type of music and putting out the call for submissions, and there are likely a number of composers submitting material to fit the bill. However, this is a niche where there aren’t a lot of people with this skill set–and when I send music through the publisher, it’s virtually guaranteed to get heard and considered. I’ve also gotten a look at the typical budget for this kind of work, and I can tell you that it’s worth competing with other composers to get it. 😀 (Plus, even if my composition doesn’t get picked for a particular project, it stays in my catalog at the publishing house and can be pitched again and again if it fits a certain need.)
So this week…I jumped in. I told her to put me on the list.
A few days later–Friday night, in fact,–I was forwarded an email where a client is asking for a minute of music for a television commercial in a musical style that is right in my wheelhouse. 🙂 So this weekend, I’m literally taking a break from composing to write this blog post and tell you about it. I have to have the piece turned in by tonight. We’ll see what happens with it.
Because of the short time limit, and because I’m on a learning curve, my weekend has literally been consumed with this project, as the music I’m working on plays over and over in my head in a thousand different variations while I try to unlock the perfect combination. It’s scary, sometimes annoying, and completely invigorating. The creative energy I feel right now is something of an elixir.
So that’s what I’ve been doing. 🙂
I mentioned that all of my family is “on the verge,” which means that there are good things happening with The Wild One and The Director as well. Their stories are not less important than mine, but theirs are still sort of evolving, and I’m aware I’ve bent your metaphorical ear long enough. More soon. 🙂