Sunday, February 24, 2013

Look at ALL the Groovy Stuff I've Been Doing!

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One of the commonalities between teaching students and writing resumés is that you are forced to come to terms with all the stuff you have done in your professional life.

I have recently been collecting YouTube videos of corporate work I have done in the past few years as part of my “corporate communications portfolio”. You never know how much stuff you have done until you go looking through it all.

As for teaching, I have a great number of funny- and no-so-funny stories of my about-35 years (35 years?? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…thump) doing this stuff. I was relaying some of the amusing ones last week: the heroin-addicted director who fired me from scoring his film after hearing (on a dreadful, knackered sound system that reproduced nothing below 200 Hz) the first 8 minutes I had worked on. And how I was re-hired 2 days before the film went to Post because, through the drug-addled brains of those responsible, no one had thought about asking anyone else to do the job.  Or the time I hadn’t been paid for my work after 22 months- I called Blockbuster (they of late, lamented fame) and asked them to remove the movie from their shelves- I had not been paid; they were in violation of copyright for a music score I had not granted rights to. When the Producer heard about my call to Blockbuster, he threatened to kill me and burn my house down. Nice fella.

On a more benign note, years ago I had a client who was (and presumably still is) very, very wealthy. Yet every time he wrote out a cheque for my services, his eyes would well up with tears. It guess it’s tough parting with those whom you love most.

Or, as a producer, the fines I had to repeatedly pay ACTRA for late payment- they demand their money in 13 days while my client (a bank) took 90 days to pay me. You have to love being a bank to a bank!

Speaking of banks, I wrote a signature “branding” tune for a bank to be used every time an employee’s computer boots up or shuts down. (Those of you who take the Toronto GO Train, know which bank I am referring to…) over 10 years later, I am pretty sure it’s still being used. Clearly I did not charge nearly enough for it! But nevertheless…in a previous blog, I mentioned that last summer I was financially sodomized by a bank. (Yes it was that one!) While coughing up most of my retirement savings to keep from being pushed into bankruptcy, I did get a bit of a charge out of knowing that the Chief Sodomizer gets to hear my finger work twice a day for as long as he is in the employ of that bank- even when he leaves the Department  of Financially Sodomizing Non-Delinquent Clients. I wonder if they will give him a cake. Or some cufflinks.

It does take a couple of years to ramp-up business when you re-locate. I have done as much pimping of my wares as I can. One thing that I notice about blogs is how blatantly they are used as marketing tools. I suppose this is no different. I have posted the link to the Lunenburg Waterfront Walk, which I recorded and produced and look to do more this year as they whole town goes Wi-Fi. (yes that was a Marketing/ Pimping Alert. Sorry for the inconvenience). We did it in 3 languages. Speaking or recording in foreign languages...The hardest language I ever had to record for a voice-over was Tamil. I was totally at the mercy of the voice talent who was a delightful woman who helped me shepherd all those phrases into the correct spots (I have visions of people listening to voice-overs rolling on the floor as they hear, "belly bum bum poop..." as translations to a Very Serious Topic. Maybe it's because I am not above doing such a thing myself.)

I will be ramping up “spring singer/songwriter specials” in the studio. It's fabulous alliteration, I know. Stay tuned. I am especially motivated these days. And every time I get in that studio I get all silly and tell my console and every piece of my equipment how much I love them. All of them. And, truthfully, with me and my so-well-loved gear there have been some good things going on here lately.

Premier Darrel Dexter in the studio earlier this month
MORE Upcoming Marketing/ Pimping Alerts:  I had Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter in here recording a podcast for the Bluenose Operahouse Radio Network earlier this month. Any guy who remembers bands like Mashmakan, and know all the names of the members of April Wine is good with me. He really was a delightful fellow. I was wondering if there was any security around the place. My wife, Janine, said there was a suspicious looking guy outside wearing a baseball cap but was sporting an ear piece. I am a little disappointed there were no helicopters flying overhead. But they would have messed up the recording. I guess my security clearance is better than I think.

Bob Ardern is up for Instrumental Album of the Year on the Zone Music Reporter Awards. I co-produced, played on and recorded some of that CD and am very pleased with how well it turned out. I have quite a few CD’s that will be released shortly that have been recorded here and I think the place is getting a reputation for being a great place to create. And I have good gear. And God knows I am charming beyond all measure. Just ask me. I will even play on your CD as part of the package. Just like I did for the bank. Only better.

Seriously, though, I do find great similarity between being a teacher and recording/ producing music. In both situations you are helping someone realize their potential and using your skill, knowledge and tact to come up with something good. And being the age I am (AHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….thump) I realize more and more how valuable that is.

So with all that’s going on this spring (2 films I am scoring- more pimpage to come...) I am hoping I will be “entrenched” here. Not like I am going anywhere…

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