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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. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Working Composer...

I get paid to compose music.  If I could say that to my 23 year old self he probably wouldn't have believed it.  Or he would have been psyched to hear that his efforts would eventually pay off.

Still a little surreal though.  It's a good feeling.  But I know to be proud of my accomplishments and at the same time, not in utter disbelief.  I have, after all, been hard at work for the past 10 years and, to some degree, I was always confident that I would achieve some level of success.  Hopeful yet realistic, I never found myself getting ahead of myself with my expectations.  I always knew it would be hard work; that I would need to overcome many challenges and that it wouldn't happen overnight.  Any musings about Oscars acceptance speeches were exercises in pure imagination, meant mainly as pep talks to keep me going and not as a realistic goal in themselves.  

I'm still floored at the realization that I am, in fact, what one might call a working composer.  With three simultaneous projects, all with different deadlines and all for different types of projects, I'm feeling more creatively stimulated than I have in quite a while.

Just this week things started to move forward with two out of the three.  The bumper for the .org, and the song collaboration with Amanda Brecker for the end credits for "The Life" have both moved on to the next stage.  The bumper is almost done and the rest of the team likes what I've done so far.  I'm in a holding pattern while they talk final stages and decide if they need any further revisions.

Amanda and I are talking about getting together next week to hash out the structure of the song and talk instrumentation, etc. and possibly do a scratch recording.  We will likely eventually record the song with a friend of hers who has a pro tools set up.  Meanwhile, I will take some time this week to come up with more ideas and solidify the ones I've been playing around with.

For the piano theme for the short film, I'll be writing a lengthier version for the end credits in addition to the shorter opening theme.  I have some time to work on that so I've been taking a bit of a break from it. I want to get started again pretty soon though I haven't found enough time to sit back down at the piano and write a contrasting section.  After my trip to NC, I worked 17 days straight and had my first day off yesterday, a day which I used to catch up with friends.

I began notating the piece just so I can have it in front of me when I record it.  I like using the software to expand a song idea but my general feeling about composing almost anything is that I want to be able to write it all while at the piano and then bring the ideas to my laptop to notate and flesh out the ideas into something coherent.  Never writing solely on the computer.  That way what I write will be more organic and playable.  I was met with this dilemma a few times in grad school, especially when composing for instruments I did not play myself.  It was too easy to compose in a vacuum with the computer software and then get to a rehearsal and find that the instrumentalists couldn't play (or had trouble playing) what I had written.  Beyond that though, when composed away from the instrument, the music often sounds not as honest, perhaps even contrived.  It doesn't have that certain something.

Anyway, so far I've been lucky that the deadlines for all these projects have been pretty flexible.  Plus, I've found myself between revisions on one or more when feedback comes in on another such that I've never felt too taxed throughout the process of working on them all and have never had to work on more than one at a time.  Now, while I wait for the next round of feedback on the bumper, I can be working on ideas for the song Amanda and I are writing together and at some point, I can casually revisit the piano theme.  Compartmentalization.

The cool thing is, the experience of juggling all of these projects on top of the full time and freelance jobs gives me a sense of how I would manage multiple projects (potentially more than I have on my plate right now) were I just composing and doing nothing else.  Can't wait for such a time to come.

That's all I got for now.  I'm insanely tired because I stayed up far too late last night.  Now, it's back to work.

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