The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

When I started this blog, I had no idea how long I would keep it up or what it would be like if I did.  What started out as a record of my Pete Carpenter Fellowship turned into a story of my quest to follow my dreams of writing music for films. As much as I can I try to add in little technical bits of how I put things together, what I’m learning and the people I’m meeting along the way. The dream is only a tiny piece of the whole story. How I get there and the successes and failures along the way are just as important as the end goal itself. My hope is that if anyone ever reads this blog someday who shares in the same dream, that my words can help out in some way and paint an accurate picture of what a journey like this really entails. Following a dream is hard to do, and the path isn’t always a pretty one, and I feel as though I left some parts out by neglecting to describe the difficult moments. While hard to write an read about, they are just as influential as my successes, so I want to include them now. But before I do, I should explain what happened that brought me to this decision.

In my last post I filled you in on just about everything that had happened during my blog hiatus. I was fortunate enough to find a passionate group of guys who wanted to include me on their project with ‘Sirius Black and the Secret Keeper’ and I finally arranged for my meeting with Greg Smith. Well a couple days after that I’m at work and I notice that I have a voicemail waiting for me. During my break I had a chance to listen and it was a call from Brandon, Mike Post’s assistant composer. He and I haven’t had a chance to speak in months so I was surprised to hear from him. He explained to me that Mike had been asked to score a Christmas, family oriented feature film. The film is semi-low budget but has distribution so exposure is high. Mike ended up being very busy and is in the process of retiring so he was unable to do the film. The director asked if there was anyone they recommended and they said me! I called Brandon back as soon as I could and he told me they were looking for someone who could write family-based orchestral music. Specifically for this score they were looking for a Home Alone meets Mrs. Doubtfire sound. Well guess who’s dream fits perfectly into that movie?

Later that day I was called by the producer and director to discuss my potential involvement in the film. They described the movie which sounded fantastic, sent me a digital copy of the unfinished film and asked if I could send them some of my work. I watched the film first and got sucked in almost immediately. The acting and cinematography is fantastic and the characters are believable and relatable. So I pulled together some of my family music and emailed it off. I got a response within a couple hours saying that some of tracks I sent were spot on the sound they were looking for. We scheduled a phone meeting for monday to discuss it further. This whole situation isn’t really sinking in yet that my name is being thrown around a bit and people are considering me for real projects now. I can’t wait to see how this meeting goes. By the time this blog goes live, I’ll have already had the meeting, so read on, and see how it went!

Five weeks ago here I was, living in a new place, wondering if I was ever going to get noticed or get a job in music. Why was I thinking this? Well at that time I had no commercials to work on, no prospects and I had exhausted all my contacts. I was treading water at that point. Now all of the sudden I have an episodic fantasy series, a short film and a potential family feature to work on. What happened? Well, this is where I feel I should talk about the fact that dreams are hard to get to. It’s probably why they’re called dreams and we want them so bad, because they’re not handed to us, otherwise we’d take them for granted and they wouldn’t mean as much. That said, I want to respect the hardships and talk about them a little bit, because I believe that had a hand in leading me here.

Before I moved out here, I had a very pretty but naive view of how things would go. I would trek across America to the land where movies are made and use the contacts I established through the fellowship to get a music job within a few months. I had already learned about myself that the place I’m living isn’t important so I felt the transition would be easy. At first it was. Everything was so new and exciting and life was good.

But eventually that new car smell wore off and I needed to figure out what I was going to do out here. After about 3 months, I had met with quite a few composers and emailed far more, but nothing was panning out. I had to resort to plan B and get a job to pay the bills. Right around this time (I think it was about December) things started to change. It was wrong of me to assume that I wouldn’t have a transition period; creating a new life for myself and leaving a life I had known for 23 years behind. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was depressed, and the person that I was in Connecticut ‘fell asleep’ for a while as I protected myself from all the changes that were happening, and preparing for what would be a long haul before anything regarding music happened. It was admittedly one of the darker periods of my life and it very much had an effect on those around me. It would take some months and more bad news before things turned around. Nearing the end of spring, things took their worst turn. Some major events took place in my personal life as well as finding out that I would need to find a new place to live with very little notice. I had lived a very stable and safe life up until that point so it is safe to say that this was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Now with nothing familiar and completely on my own, I had to figure out what to do. My entire support system and those who care about me were 3000 miles away and I knew I had people who were there for me, but I still felt very alone. At my lowest point, I had to turn things around. Step one was using those intense emotions to my advantage and write a piece of music that I could pour all that into. That’s where my song ‘Goodbye’ came from. From there I was determined to get music back into my life because during that dark period for me, I was writing very little as my heart wasn’t in it. I started to write again and began reconnecting with all my music contacts I had out here. It took a couple months but eventually I started hearing back from people. All of the sudden I had my phone meeting with Greg Smith, I was getting commercials, the Harry Potter film, and eventually the feature film. It’s as if life was waiting for me to recover from all the negative things that took place and then threw all these opportunities at me all at once.

So here I am. It feels like after coming out the other side of all this, I’m at the beginning I envisioned for myself when I first moved out here. For those of you in my life who stuck with me through the darkest period in my life so far, you have my deepest thanks. From the bottom of my heart thank you. To support someone while they’re at their worst, lift them up and love them even though they can’t return it at that moment is a true gift, and it saved my life. Because eventually all bad times come to an end, and now that I feel awake and like myself again, it’s time for me to give back. As my career in music seems to finally be starting, know that everything I write is for you all, for those of you who believed in me from the start.

At the moment that I finish this post, I have big news for you, but that will have to wait until my next post. Expect another entry in a few days!

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