We are all in the same boat. We all are being forced to adapt to the blistering pace of change we see in the world. It’s unsettling, it’s scary, and, worst of all, nobody knows what will happen next. Alvin Toffler predicted that we would live in a state of “cultural anxiety” in Future Shock. Who would have known that what he predicted in 1970 would come true?
For many, death is something to be feared…hence the massive pain we see in the world as we witness the end of the Industrial Age. And why is it that death is promoted as the ultimate “dark” experience? Are we even aware of what is dying?
It appears that the 300 lb. gorilla in the room is that what we have known to be true is not only being questioned, it’s dying. (Kubler-Ross talked about grief in her famous book: “On Death and Dying” ).
Fear not…what is dying is what we are conditioned to believe…not life itself.
Life constantly moves forward regardless whether we like it or not. Engaging fully with life is the hard part…especially when we are desperately holding on to the past to make sense out of our future.
Accepting is to let go. It is impossible to truly accept and be fearful.
If you understand the process of grieving you will be on your way to accepting your current circumstance.
The fascinating thing is if you let go, you won’t break. You will be set free.
How do you stand out? How do you become memorable?
Think about the waitress who has a spark in her eye…the one who goes out of her way to make you feel special, the one who you think is best at what she does. If a specific person comes to mind it means she has been successful in creating a connection with you. This connection will appear effortless and authentic. You understand who she is, her passion for what she does and the value she places on her relationship with you. Her “brand” has made an impression.
Branding is about how you are perceived and how other people feel when they recall the experience of their encounter with you or your product. Therefore it is the experience of the human connection that is important.
Today the consumer is in charge of the conversation…not the business. An online “conversation” can literally happen in a millisecond. We scan because our attention is our most valuable asset. We engage only if it is important enough to invest our time and attention.
GETTING YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS
Focus is everything. The reader must be able to determine who you are, what you offer, how you do it and whether or not they choose to participate in a matter of seconds. . Following basic branding principles helps you focus your presentation. It will help you discover what makes you unique by forcing you to think differently about how you present yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are your core values? How do you support these values? What is your promise to your reader/client? Can you define the culture of your business? Describe your personality? What do you aspire to? Define how your characteristics makes you unique?
Asking yourself these questions (going through a branding process) will keep your messaging clear and concise.
You are not an inanimate object. You are a person. Branding is only a tool to help you express yourself. Make connections with people (through authentic, concise messaging) and your brand value will rise.
9. “ All I have to do is write wonderful music and I will be a success”
I think it would safe to say that if you are reading this you have a passion for music. More than likely I wouldn’t be surprised if you spent large amounts of time pursuing your passion. Some might describe it as an addiction, a compulsion, or worse. They are most likely correct in their assumption. Not to worry- to achieve your goals all of these attributes are needed and more.
You might be prone to sitting at the piano, composing or improvising– envisioning your music being heard in a darkened room with hundreds of people sitting in rapt attention. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Undoubtedly there are some of you who have a healthy ego and believe that your musical skills are well suited to the task. You’ve studied Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Strauss, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky and more. You’ve also are fanatic about the latest scores from James Horner, John Williams, James Newton Howard etc etc.
You’ve also done your homework regarding popular music. You understand pop, rock, rap, rave, electronica. I imagine you are a programming whiz…highly adept at making samples and sequences rock.
All of what I’ve described above are pre-requisites for a career in film music.
But, and this is a big but, most of this really doesn’t matter to a film director.
Did you hear me? …it doesn’t matter.
They may appreciate your expertise but at the end of the day all they will truly care about is whether or not you can deliver a score that will help their movie be successful.
Directors, in my experience, are single-minded people.
From the moment they begin a project they are, and have to be, consumed with their movie. Directors not only have to answer to studios, investors etc.,hey constantly have to manage everyone who is involved in the process. Can you imagine being asked questions from everyone you see 24/7? I can’t imagine being in that position…it has to be exhausting.
Why is all of this relevant to the statement above?
Music is only one part of the process of making movies. In a sense you are part of a hierarchy that includes, actors, production designers, cinematographers, writers, producers, lighting designers, costumers, editors, dubbing mixers, adr engineers, gaffers, best boys, etc.
Important points to remember:
Understand your place
Be prepared (know the story, the cut, each character, their back story if possible)
Learn how to communicate effectively (more on that in subsequent posts)
Above all- don’t waste your director’s time. Time is their most important asset.
Being talented enough to be able to write wonderful music is a given. It may even get you a meeting.
Being talented will only take you so far.
Acknowledgement and understanding of what I’ve said above will be needed if you want to create a career as a film composer.
Coming next: #8- “I’m the composer- I’ll write what I think is best”
I met a friend for drinks last night and invariably the conversation turned to the creative process and what that entails. I was fortunate to have as a mentor a very experienced arranger/musician. His name was Billy Byers. I was 17 years old and green to the gills. I trusted him implicitly an made myself available to help in whatever capacity in return.
Most all of us at some point have experienced the same anxiety over: “How do I begin?”
Let me share a few pearls of wisdom Billy imparted to me:
“Don’t wait for inspiration-just start”
“If you sit there long enough it will get finished”
“It only takes a little longer to do it right”
Creativity-IMHO- comes from training yourself to concentrate your focus and attention on the task at hand. If you let your mind wander-(what’s in the fridge?, I didn’t take out the garbage, what is so and so doing,etc, etc,) it is impossible to come up with any ideas because you are thinking of something else. “Don’t wait for inspiration just start”. This is not a game of perfect…it’s about volume. It’s about trial and error, revisions, and taking risks to increase your knowledge and experience.The only way you can be objective about your work is to physically get it out of your body…take a break…and then, go back to it with fresh eyes and mind and see what you think.
There was only one Mozart…everyone second guesses their choices when creating something. I would like to think that he went through the editing process in his head BEFORE he ever put pen to paper. And even he made revisions later in his life.
The second part of this idea is that you MUST become an objective critic of your own work. It’s the only way you will grow and actually get better.
So, the deal is this- put your ideas out there, get to the end, step away, be objective about it and either change or leave it alone.
No matter what your endeavor-music, art, photography, mashing, writing, coding-whatever, the art of inspiration is the same as practicing your instrument. No real mystery here…just hard work.
The only way to get better is to just do it, often, with as much passion and disciplined, focused attention as you can muster.
More on the other quotes soon.