Thursday, January 6, 2011

Do the Hustle

I was sitting in a walk-in clinic yesterday. It wasn't for me, but for my daughter who is visiting. She arrived with yet another throat infection and part of the family fun was to spend an hour (luxury by modern Canadian health care standards) in a dirty, germy waiting room. Perhaps that's why I feel a little "off" today. Sure, go ahead. State the obvious: I am a little off. There feel better now? Vultures....

My point was that while I was catching some bugger's anthrax in the waiting room, I thumbed through a Canadian Business magazine that was all about getting an MBA. The stats were all there: how much money MBA's make, what great business leaders MBA's make (especially if they are from Queen's) and how you can live a better life as an MBA. And I thought, "Golly! Maybe if I had an MBA I'd be able to get those 5 new agency clients that I have been seeking!"

Actually, I didn't think that at all. I thought, "Fuck! All the assholes who precipitated the recent global financial disaster we've been enjoying have MBA's." But at the same time, it seemed like getting an MBA would be a good way to reinvent myself. If I thought it would help business I might.

But the toughest thing about making a living in the music business is not administration. Nor is it about making spreadsheets and running around an office with bits of paper and looking grim. The hardest part is actually finding business. I am on Linkedin- something I recommend for everybody, actually. There are a number of group forums with comment threads on "How to get a start in my career as a ...blah blah blah". Maybe I am wrong, but if I thought getting an MBA would help me in my particular business I would do it in a flash. I already have a bunch of degrees. What's one more?

I am reminded of something I once saw in a magazine. It might have been Playboy or Penthouse, because I only remember the articles:

Q- How do you get to the top?
A- You have to start at the bottom.
Q- How do you start at the bottom?
A- You have to know somebody!

True enough! I got my start in film scoring through a friend and high-school teaching colleague. He had a friend (you seeing a pattern here?) who was making his first, low-budget movie. Since I had done some music with this friend- and I was the school's music teacher- and had a small home studio I was recommended. Highly. So I did the gig and it went well. Then this friend-of-a-friend made another movie. And another. And two other film makers who had worked on one of these films made their own- and had heard what I did on the previous films. I got their business too.

The rest is sort of history. The hard part is that the hustle is never over. Even within the last 10 or 12 years things have changed a great deal. And clients have come and gone. and you have to do a lot of different things- write, produce, record voice-overs, mix. There doesn't seem to be a point at which you ever have "too much" business. The hustle becomes more than a bad 70's tune. (awww damn...I am hearing that in my head now. Thankyouverymuch.)

So if you know anyone who is looking, send them my way. I even do bad 70's knock-offs. Or maybe I will just go and get an MBA. Or not.

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