For those of you who know me well, you know I love music. I love creating, manipulating, mixing, arranging, producing, listening … pretty well anything to do with music.
This was almost like sacrilege. I had a project to do what I love and I didn’t feel like doing it.
It All Piles Up
Just to give you some perspective, the week was hectic to say the least. Kids getting sick and staying home from school, my wife traveling for a couple of days, field trips to chaperone and the Easter weekend (with Friday as a holiday here) coming up quickly.. The list could go on…
To say the least, I wasn’t really getting any traction on my own projects and was set on spending Thursday catching up on things before the long weekend. Wednesday night, I get an email from a director that I’d committed to scoring for saying to expect a near-fine cut later that evening. Dang it! I hadn’t even looked at my calendar in all the confusion!
One of the things I remember hating the most when I was a kid was my parents constantly reminding me to “not put off what you can do today”. I still lapse into old habits – some will attest to that, but I’d like to think that some of my old tendancies don’t re-surface much anymore.
I won’t lie, there were so many other things I was thinking that I’d rather be doing – going to the gym, re-organizing my plug-ins, walking the dog (again) … even getting to painting the trim in the hall crossed my mind.
I balanced all the pros and cons of deferring starting to work on this and cool, calm and collected reality won out: it’d be in my best interest to not put it off and start in on the work.
I hated it when they were right then and I still hate it now! Grrr!
Buckle Up, We’re off to the Races
After making another pot of coffee, I settled down into the routine of spotting the film. It’s was only a six minute piece, but the director wanted a bed of music throughout – typical documentary style.
So, it came down to this: It’s Thursday morning, and the music was due Saturday morning. I realistically had probably five hours to write six minutes of music. Kids came home from school at 3, I had a night class to teach that night and since Friday was a holiday, I probably had Friday evening to make adjustments and mixing.
Shut off phones, emails, tweets, updates … go!
I ended up coming up with a nice 16 bar melodic theme that I could slice and dice throughout the piece. I was able to structure about 1.5 minutes of the music around beginning and end titles that featured the full theme, and then played on chord riffs throughout the film. I improvised five takes through the “meat” of the film and got some pretty cool ideas happening. “Magic” started happening and it just built from there.
Even though I had no motivation to start, “forcing” myself to knuckle down and get into the writing system I’d developed, kind of jump-started my inspiration to complete the project.
In the end, I was able to send off a rough draft for review and had some time to do minimal arranging from the piano sketch.
I would have liked to be able to flesh out a better orchestration and arrangement – I ended up resorting to faking a string section on a “full orchestra” patch rather than seperate out all the instruments like I usually do. And there were a lot of nuances that I’d probably have put in through a few more passes, but schedules are schedules.
The client was very pleased with the result and everyone hit their deadlines without a hitch.
I don’t want to think what would have happened if I’d decided to paint the trim instead…