I won. I really won!
If you listen to IHR, in the last episode (#82), I talked about the Orchestral Library Shootout hosted by Sonar and Garritan. It all started as a curiosity project by Randy Bowser and Dave Townsend over at the Sonar forums and turned into a contest half-way through the project. Essentially, the two guys posted a MIDI file of a version of the theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The purpose of the project was to get people to try and finesse the MIDI file with their orchestral sample library of choice with the intent of seeing if they could approach “sounding real”.
Well, I submitted an entry before it turned into a contest and kind of kept a casual eye to the progress to see how many entries were getting posted and listening to others’ work to see what was happening every once in a while. It’s been a busy summer and a lot of different things have been going on … I even missed the fact that I hadn’t voted myself when Dave sent me a reminder message.
Well fast-forward to last week when the voting ended and found that my entry had actually won the “contest” after the voting had concluded.
My family and I were on vacation and I had an iPod and a Netbook to connect to the Internet. I checked in a couple of days after the “polls” had closed and found out the results. I emailed Randy and Dave – thanking them for running the project and they informed me that a discussion had already started over at the Sonar forums.
There were some fantastic posts there by both casual listeners as well as contest participants and I will gladly admit that it’s quite a fantastic and knowledgable group of people.
Being the “winner” of what is essentially a popular-voting contest does paint a big, bright target on you.
Comments such as “… the mix was awful …”, “… I didn’t vote for the winner because…”, etc…. Some were constructive, but when I was reading through the posts, all I could pick out were the negatives in there.
You can’t help but feel a bunch of different emotions when someone criticizes your work. There’s anger and confusion right off the bat, as you can’t really understand how someone could lash out at something you spent any amount of time on. Then, I think there’s also some self-doubt: “Maybe I DID do something wrong… Maybe I could have changed such-and-such…”
Inevitably, there’s always some point in the thought process where you start composing some sort of post that is going to lash out a retort at the attacker complete with insults to their intellect, picking out the gramar faults in their post and, of course, a snide comment about their avatar.
One thing I always go back to a quote I heard from the wisdom of Bill Cosby:
“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.”
After mulling initial reactions over for a while (I kept myself away from the “reply” button for a while), reality set in: “For Pete’s sake, I obviously got the most votes, so SOMEONE must have enjoyed what I submitted.”
It’s one of those lessons that always comes back over and over again – especially in something as subjective as music. Everyone has a different opinion on what is “good”.
No one is EVER going to be able to produce something that everyone will agree is “good”. When it comes to building something musical, I always follow my own advice to myself:
“Make it your own, do something unexpected to add some spice, don’t compromise (aka don’t suck) and use your ears … if you like what you hear, then you’ll be fine.”