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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 20, 2010

Confidence...

How did I get to a point where at 29, I see an job posting on mandy.com for a freelance composer/sound designer with 3 years of experience in the business (i.e. the perfect job for me right now) and, after all the work I've done composing and recording, it's still not enough for me to feel confident enough to apply for the job?

Mildly frustrated at this point. I mean, I'm feeling a lot like I'll never measure up to a job like this particular posting if I spend so many of my waking hours at a full time job, never having an adequate amount of time to devote to honing my skills and getting better at what I do (I'm talking about the recording, mixing, and mastering part of the job that'll really make my music sound professional if I can just get good at it). Meanwhile, I sit and wonder how all these kids my age who are successful somehow managed to make the right choices.

Maybe it's just that rock-out envy I spoke about earlier and I should just disregard. After all, I chose a path here and, though it may not feel like it, I'm making progress. The plan is to work on my voice over career and simultaneously keep honing my composing and recording chops until I can be my own boss. I may not ever compete on the level of this particular job that I saw today. I gotta keep on trying to find my own niche, as it were, instead of always trying to be what I see or wishing I had done something different. Anyway, that's no way to discover my own musical identity. Because if I keep changing directions every time I see something cool that I wanna be doing (playing in a rock band again or working for a company that does commercials and film music), I'll just be a confused pseudo musician who never completes anything. Maybe in time I'll be all to do all or some of that stuff but I need to focus on honing my skills right now with what little time I do have to work on it.

I came to a realization over the weekend while reading a book called "Grand Central Winter" by Lee Stringer, a former homeless New Yorker who became a writer while living on the streets of New York City. He was writing about his brother in one of his short stories and how he was a classical musician and how his mother always said he "lacked confidence." His music was just too personal for him to offer it up for personal consumption. I thought maybe that's my problem but I'd just never heard it put so eloquently. I get squeamish when I think of how my music is going to be received or how it's going to fit in with (or stand out from) the flood of music out there. To some degree it is very personal to me, my music, and I want it to be understood, just as any composer does. It even dawned on me that all of that might have an effect on why I'm never confident to go out for these jobs.

Also affecting my confidence is the fact that I spend so much time bouncing back and forth between emulating a style for a particular project and trying to come up with my own style. This is probably a pretty common dilemma for commercial composers looking for work. I admit that some of my most uninspired stuff has been written for a director who was asking for a specific style. But then again, some of my most inspired works, where the music really gelled and really hit with the director and the audiences who heard it, were also for film directors(independent film, mind you). They were jobs where I was given free reign and I was able to write from my heart. It probably helped that the projects I'm thinking of also contained subject matter that was easier for me to relate to.

This may sound limiting but what's to stop me from just going out for those kinds of jobs where I really connect to the project? Or should I be branching out and trying to compose in different styles. Emulation is a tricky thing, most especially because doing it not quite right makes it sound contrived and contrived music never convinces. Never.

Gotta focus. So today I'm going to spend a great deal of time on the piano music I've been writing. I also have to find and reenter the score for my minimalist piece as well because that got wiped back in March after the virus. I have a printed copy somewhere thankfully. The piano piece was something I started writing in the spring of 2008, when my piano had just been moved into my old apartment in Greensboro. I, unfortunately, had to abandon it and several other pieces that I wrote during that time period because I had to ramp up my studies for my comprehensive exam and starting focusing on writing my thesis on polymeter. Where have those days gone? This particular piece wanted to be a chamber piece for a while but now I think it's going to be better suited to being played solo in front of the Brooklyn UU some Sunday this fall.

So, I'd better go and start that up.

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