BMI and Bulk Emails

This week started out as a bit of a melancholy week for me. No new commercials came in this week so I didn’t have anything to work on, and with no new leads for composers, I was pretty much playing the waiting game. But on friday I had my meeting with Lisa at BMI. I drove down to Hollywood to have coffee with her. Right off the bat she was so easy to talk to and it was such a comfortable conversation. She explained to me that the industry isn’t the same even as it was 5 years ago. There used to be a clear way ‘in’. Now things are so different. The industry unfortunately is now less about talent, and more about who can get what they want for the cheapest price. Lisa told me that the best way in is to be doing as much as possible, every way possible. The fellowship opened the first doors, but no one is going to do anything for me, so I need to find any way to get an email, a phone number or a meeting and see what sticks.

She had some really great advice for me. First off, she said that although the SCL (Society for Composers and Lyricists) is a wonderful organization where one can learn a lot, it is not the place to go if you’re looking for a job. Too many people are doing that now that the composers who may offer jobs don’t mention it at SCL meetings or gatherings, so that’s out. One things Lisa did say was a great move is to go online and look at who composed most of the TV shows out there. Odds are the majority of the composers have a personal website for their music career. Some of those websites have contact information on them. She said I should email as many people as I can find, and make sure I drop Mike Post’s name and see if anyone responds. She also agrees with Christian’s assessment that I should also try to attach myself to directors and producers either in film school or in the same position as I am, because should any of them make it into the industry, I could be ‘their’ composer, thus launching my career as well as theirs. All great things to think about.

In addition to that, she said that meeting with her was a good move. The collective resources of BMI means that as a company, they know and have access to literally everyone. Although they don’t hand out phone numbers and emails, she said I’m on their radar now. They know I’m looking and what I’m looking for. They get asked a lot for recommendations from composers who are looking for an assistant. Now that they know I’m looking, if someone is looking for an assistant with my qualifications, they can pass my information along.

Finally she told me that because of the way things are now, I can’t be picky to start. If a composer needs an assistant, and they happen to be unpleasant, she said it’s best to stick it out right now. Better to have someone who’s only okay to work for than not having anyone to work for. That’s not to say I’ve had any unpleasant experiences yet. Everyone I’ve spoken with so far have been great people so I’m excited to whoever I make work for.

Fully inspired after our talk, I did exactly what she recommended when I got home. I went online and made a list of all the TV shows that I could find where the composers information was listed and I emailed all of them. Close to 40 people. I did this on a saturday. On sunday, I already had one response from Tim Jones. Tim said he is in the market for a new studio assistant. He asked me to give him a call on monday to discuss it. I was one for one, and I was so happy to hear positive news from my search so soon. Come monday I had my phone meeting with Tim. He wanted to know a little about my background and about my time with Mike. He said his rig is wildly complicated (though he is trying to simplify it) and he needs someone who can do a lot of the technical work. I told him that I haven’t worked with a wide range of software and hardware but everything I know is self taught and I pick up the tech stuff real fast. He said he was working on a bit of a tech crisis at the time and that I should speak to him next monday to set up an in person meeting. Sounds good to me!

Then Lauren and I had a dinner date with Brandon. I haven’t seen him since the fellowship so it was great to meet up with him. We met at this fantastic place in Hermosa Beach which had a kind of Mystic, CT feel, so it was good to be in a place that felt a little familiar. He had just started up with Mike again on the new season of SVU. Once we got in to the topic of music, he was surprised to hear how much I’ve been doing and how many people I’ve been in touch with since I got here. And here I was thinking I wasn’t doing enough. We spoke about loops and he mentioned before I even had a chance to say it that a lot of people think using loops is cheating, and I just have to get over that fact. Everyone uses loops (which doesn’t necessarily make it OK) but when I get to a point where I can hire live players and collaborate and such, I’ll need to use loops much less. But for now, I’ve got to do it. He also gave me tips on which software to get next in order of importance. I told him about my call with Tim and he said I could give him his email in case he wanted a recommendation from Mike Post Productions. He told me he’d help with anything I need, and it’s such a safe feeling to know that someone in the industry has my back out here. After dinner Brandon showed us around the area and we took off, but we plan to hang again soon.

With Brandon’s help, I managed to get my hands on a copy of Ableton Live, which is a great program for loops, and (for you techies out there) it comes with a feature called Rewire, which automatically finds other programs with Rewire and links the two programs together without the need for any complicated tech work. So Live detected Logic right away and I decided to do a loops test. I wrote this little test piece that is half loops and half my writing. It’s not the kind of piece I’d write every day, but I only have so many loops right now so the styles I can write in are a bit limited at the moment. I’m pretty happy with this as my first foray into composing with loops.

As I write this, another lead has come in from my bulk email kick. Adam Berry has also gotten back to me and has asked that I speak to him in October. On top of that, Greg Smith has also gotten back to me to schedule our meeting for the week of the 26th. With all this good news and so many people getting back to me, I can’t help but be optimistic. Looks like next week is shaping up to be quite the week.

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