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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Composing in spurts instead of all at once...

I did manage to get a day off in the midst of all that work the past few weeks. Until yesterday, I hadn't had a real day off from every job including the film shoots since the day I got back from Boston. I guess that's what you gotta do sometimes. I knew I wouldn't burn out. So what's new since I last blogged in any sort of detail? Well, I've worked at all three of the paying jobs at least once, helped with the 16mm film shoot in Sunset Park (Saturday we were in Bay Ridge), drunk way more coffee and tea than I usually do, took one hellacious cab ride home from NY 1 the day of the primary election (I swear it took us an hour and fifteen minutes...stupid traffic), helped out with a rather ingenious workaround when our servers crashed at NY 1, helped out with the recovery from said crash, which entailed the staff of the media department re-digitizing all of the commercials and promos that had been corrupted, won my latest poker game, and tried my first bottle of the latest batch of homebrew, which was a surprising success. Good thing I have about 36 more bottles left. Time to brew more.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I've just about wrapped up the music for George's short now. I don't think anything remains but to give them audio files for each track so they can mix with the sound designer.

Meanwhile, I have to be at work this afternoon at NY 1 so I'm just sitting around the house getting things ready for that. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I work at both Technicolor and NY 1, one right after the other. This time it's a morning screening at Technicolor and then I walk up a few blocks to Chelsea for a 1:30 shift at NY 1. Cool how that works out.

Pretty soon, I'm going to start thinking about what music gets worked on next. I may just not think about it and when I get that first day where I can work on my own music, I might just dive into whatever I feel like doing on that day, whatever it might be. Half of me wants to splurge on the upgrade to Sibelius 6 before I get started on anymore notated music but at the same time, I shouldn't let software dictate what I do. I have the tools right now to get to work on the seven or so minimalist pieces that are floating around in various stages of un-completion, and the string quartet as well. I've just been...I'll go ahead and say it: lazy.

Back on this topic again, of whether or not it's laziness to think that there's no point in starting to work on something if you only have an hour or so to devote to it. I'm beginning to think the way to go is really to just dive in, no matter how little time you have to work. In the past few weeks while working overtime at my day jobs, I was still able to wrap up the score to George's picture, with ease, in fact. Why? Because I actually took those tiny time slots and did something with them, without concern for finishing everything I had to do in one sitting. It's all about phases when composing. Because it's folly to think you can finish everything in one sitting, no matter how much time you have to devote...at some point you're going to have to at least get up and go to the bathroom or eat something.

Anyway, I find it helpful even to just jot down notes about what I think I can accomplish at the beginning of each session. That way, even if I accomplish very little, I can at least have a minor sense of accomplishment by ticking things off of a to do list, and hence grant myself the momentum to come back refreshed the next time I sit down to compose.

This is key info that I wish I had had earlier in my career. I always had this mental block in my head at the beginning (say, post undergrad) that having a full time job would make it near impossible for me to compose, or at least to compose for a living or even as a side career. This is a fallacy, as I have proved to myself over the past year or so since graduate school. It's too easy to get overwhelmed by the size of your ideas and to succumb to the line of thinking that composing the way you want to compose is going to take you so much time. Such thinking is exactly what can trap you into thinking that there's no point in sitting down to work unless you have a full day of uninterrupted composing.

Sometimes, the opportunities to get up and walk away occasionally and go do something else are the best thing that can happen to your composing. I quite frequently walk away from my work, humming what I've just written and before I know it, I come up with another part to whatever it is, and before I know it I'm scrawling in a notebook so I don't forget it. Something that might never have happened if I remained in front of the computer, or the piano even.

So, that having been said, here's to composing something, anything, of my own as soon as we've wrapped this score.

And beyond that I have another endeavor I'm working on that I won't say too much about just yet.

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