A Fine Example of Scoring to Picture

The video above is the intro to a movie made by Girl Skateboard Company. I happen to have been a very active skateboarder for over twenty years so there is some bias in play here.

Despite my possible bias – this intro piece to their movie is a very fine example of scoring to picture. Based on the resulting work I would guess that it was a more – “Edit the video to fit the existing dope track” type of process. But don’t let that take away from the quality of the music and the tone it sets in support of the stunning images.

**Note: The music in this video is NOT me – I just thought this was a very fine example of the visuals and the audio (incl. FX) working very complimentary of each other.

The stunning images are a very well filmed, visual dissection of the almost unrealistic physics behind the mechanics of skateboarders overlooked dexterity and coordination requirements.

I have often said that you could take just about any skateboarder off his board and throw him any number of popular athletic apparatus; Football, Soccer ball, Baseball, etc. etc. – and for all intents the skater would at the very least manage to throw, kick, swing. hit or run at least enough to stay in the game a little while.

However, on the other end I can’t think of to many “popular sports” athletes that could stand on a skateboard for more than five minutes without shooting it out from under themselves as they flop on to the ground. Sorry traditional “Jocks“, it’s just a fact.

The music, that’s why we come here isn’t it? Sorry – old skater in me is quick to latch on to nostalgia!

Listen to the tune again as your eyes feast upon every nuance of motion in sync with the percussion’s and rhythms. Good stuff.


Goal Achieved!

I managed to impress my music supervisor and the last few days of focus and organization made it possible. I drew out the plan, took the critical steps and achieved my goal.

I am just writing this here to confirm / validate the previous post below this one.


m e e k

Social Networks Hijacked My Productivity

Or more appropriately, I allowed social networks to hijack my productivity. (because there is Always a Choice)



I was sitting in front of my computer screens yesterday morning, staring blankly and randomly training my eyes up to all the tabs running across the top of the browser.

Then I realized that two hours had passed with zero accomplished. That is when it started to sink in.

That is when the epiphany hit me:

I Must Spend Less Time In Front of the Computer.

My particular problem is akin to mild OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I robotic-like click through the same set of sites each day (every day!) with the quiet-back-of-the-mind worry that I am going to miss something. There are two specific things wrong with this:

1) Every day? Come on, I know that I need to put at least a day between ritualistic surfing habits.

2) I am NOT likely to miss anything. I haven’t in 38 years.

My point here is that the myriad of social networks used as free PR & marketing for independent musicians such as myself, can and often DO become a distraction and huge waste of time if not managed properly. I don’t even mean “managed” in the sense that each profile is pristine-diamond-class perfect. That is one goal to be sure but I mean managing time properly.

If to much of your time is being spent wading through each profile compulsively waiting or hoping for some kind of relevant information to reach you – well, maybe you could be spending that time actually producing something.

I know I could be doing more of that, and after all: This is really about my problem. I am merely sharing it. Firstly get it out of my head and in front of my face & secondly to possibly bring it to the attention of those others who might not have realized they may have the same problem.

I am currently leaning towards the following theory:

If I am not actually working on critical tasks to achieve a specific goal, I do not need to be sitting at my desk / workstation / drawing table.

Yeah, I know: it’s really very simple isn’t it?

Well it certainly is simple to write & read but for myself it is a wee bit harder to discipline and actually DO. I think it can be for a lot of artists who have a lot of “free” time on their hands. It is so much easier for me to work when given a task by others. When a colleague calls or e-mails a request for a composition or a certain number of tracks, I hit the ground running and get the work done. When it is just me in charge of me, I tend to procrastinate (SURPRISE!).

So in conclusion to this rant of self-awareness; Big shout out to Dave Allen & the GTD crew! I wouldn’t even have made it this far without all the great help from places like MTT & NMS, big up’s to Dubber, Sivers, Hyatt, Bruce and all the rest. I would also like to give a hand to all the pens and notebooks out there (you know who you are), that are going to help me get organized and focused. Lets hear it for my Mac and all the great programs – to many to mention – that will also be contributing to my social network addiction recovery.

Well the orchestra is starting to play and they are telling me to wrap it up…So I am getting the hell off this blog because I have got some critical steps towards a goal to take!

It’s Not About Me

Seriously, it’s not. I just needed to post this tune by one of my favorite artists from the late 60’s. The cool thing is that several decades later in late 2008 the man released a NEW album…And it’s smoking in my opinion. I like my Amy Winehouse (really it’s her band I like; The Dap Tones), and I am even fond of Adele even at just 19 (pun intended)…But this man inspired them even if they do not realize it.

So here it is if the player embeds as I hope it will (fingers crossed): ***zzzzztttttttttt**! Ok that did not embed so I will just provide this link:

Sexy Mo Fo with a Dope Ass Beat One Click Away (oh, and campy as hell in the funkiest sincerity)

It’s cool if you don’t dig it but I think you would be hard pressed to deny the mans influence on a certain sound resurgence we have recently experienced in Pop music. And it is just classy and respectable that this mans voice and hybrid form of soul have managed to stand the test of time (minus the 80’s and 90’s! Sorry Tom).

Who You Know

Just above this sentence is a link to a post and it’s comments on the blog Music Think Tank. The particular post deals with the corruption and waste of talent and materials in the A/R, P/R, new artists demo debacle. It gave me an opportunity to re-emphasize my belief about what it “really” takes to make it in the music business.

Below I will copy and paste my comments as well as a slight validation of my concepts by the original author of the post. (But please swing by the MTT site if you have never been, it is a wealth of knowledge and speculation about music in the digital age.)

Paste from MTT:

I also think this post is great and that it is good to have exposed (however limited this audience may be) the utter waste of talent, resources, time, etc. etc. just for 95% of the hard work being sold for profit by the very people an artist pins many (all?) hope on.

But I must ask: Who here is surprised by this? My guess is not many.

I have said this many time before and I believe it bares repeating (once again) here: There are two main ingredients involved in becoming a “successful” or “working” musician / artist:

1) Great music / art

2)Great communication skills to develop strategic alliances / contacts / connections

Of course there are several other elements. One of these being getting the “great” music heard (one of the points of this MTT post)…Getting the songs heard falls in line with the second ingredient…BUT, I would dare to suggest that this part comes after establishing contacts / connections.

NO, there is absolutely no point in pushing CD’s into A/R or PR hands if they never knew of you to begin with. It is a complete waste of time, talent & resources (read the original post again).

As much as I hate it myself, the key is to “Make Contact” first. Be finicky, be selective but make the calls, send the e-mails, go to the parties / events and get to know the people that can help you. If these people like you for you and you like them…AND if you have a cache of great songs / art…Then you just might stand a chance of having them actually LISTEN to it.

Saturation is the enemy along with industry greed and selfishness. “Rock Star” ambition mentality is the enemy too. If you have great music / art, all that is left is to make sure the “right” ears get a chance to hear it when they WANT to hear it. There is no point sending a CD to someone who never heard of you or doesn’t know you personally. They DO NOT want to hear it. They do not have the time. But we all know that “friends” make time for each other.

You need a friend in the business. Do you have any? How would you go about making friends in the business?

Might I suggest limiting your expenses on making promo CD’s and PR materials. Rather be very frugal about how many of what you manufacture. Spend your money on trips to events that will allow you to socialize with people in the “industry”. Things like the Winter Music Conference in Miami each year (lots of fun). This is the kind of place where if you make some “friends” and you have a small supply of CD’s, USB sticks, DVD’s, vinyl, etc. etc. You can selectively give them to the contacts you have made that you honestly believe WILL listen to them.

I really believe it has always been this way but given the ridiculous amount of saturation in the music environment, this strategy is almost the only option left…Otherwise your music / promo just gets drowned in the sea of unsolicited music being (virtually) anonymously pushed on the music biz types.

After all, many of the “execs” you are trying to get to are human beings just like you. They have friends just like you and they have a passion (well, most of them) for music just like you. Get to know them and get them to know you…Then if your music really is “Great” you just might find your dreams becoming reality.

It is 2008 almost 2009…The days of shagging the proper executive are over…But you can still buy them a drink and talk shop. Maybe even find other common ground to make an even deeper connection. (But if your music / art is crap, you just stay in the studio and tighten up first!)

And now the original (Ariel Hyatt) blogger’s validation of my rant:

@Milton you are dead on – it all starts with someone you know! Derek Sivers always points this out in his talks and it is so totally true. I am always amazed to see our more successful artists are the ones that totally understand this and they elegantly work relationships with people in the industry in a wonderful way – I think musicians often forget that we (or at least I and most of the people I know) are in this business to be in contact with creative people and I love and value my relationships with artists. It’s funny many musicians who I consider colleagues and friends are not always artists that we represent – they are the smart ones.

  • Validation is a very comforting feeling, even if only one person is validating your idea.

I have often stuck my own foot so far down my own throat that many times I was sure it would be the end of my blogging / commenting days. It is the small moments like the one cited above that make it worthwhile to offer an opinion. That combined with the fact that I am older, a father, a husband and I have been playing around in this silly and ultra superficial world of musicians, clubs, parties, promoters, etc. etc. for over 20 years now. Where I was once jaded, I am now educated. A very fair trade if I do say so myself.

And here is a tune I am working on (soundtrack stuff, no pop aspirations here folks). Gosh, I hope it uploads proper:

OK, I am still a little rusty here on WordPress. It seems to have uploaded the track.


m e e k

Opportunity Shows it’s Pretty Face

When things aren’t going your way, does opportunity show up when you least expect it? If it does, is it because you are living right? Being the best you that you can be no matter how grim the circumstances? I like to think my answer to these questions is yes. Yes opportunity does show it’s pretty face when I least expect it. I am expecting the hard times to be hard and I take steps to handle it. I am not thinking about something falling into my lap unexpectedly favorable to me.

But I consider myself to be “living right” by hunkering down and preparing myself to deal with the hard times at hand. I thin this is why opportunity came calling. I am trying to be the best me no matter the circumstances.

For the last couple of years I have established a modest but noteworthy list of contacts and strategic alliances. As of recent I had begun to doubt all the effort and ambition I had exhausted in establishing my “network” as it were. Well today it has begun to pay off.

I have been asked to compose multiple tracks for use in film and television. The tracks are to be in the genre of “Trip Hop” which happens to be one of my strengths. In fact up until today I considered it to be somewhat of a weakness in my big picture plans because it seem slightly out of date for what the scoring / soundtrack industry was after. Luckily for me I was wrong and this production company is looking for just that.

So my current musical work is being done for hire and that is good. It is also something i excel at and now I will not have to over-think my compositions trying to figure out how “dancey” or how “aggressive” a track should be. Just down tempo, mellow, light trip hop. Nice.


m e e k

Music Is Art and Music Business Is Not

And one can live without the other but not make much money doing so. Of course music is art and music can exist all alone without the music business (and it did for countless centuries). Music business is not art but if you are a musician and you want to make money from your craft, you must involve yourself and understand at the very least the basics of music business. You need only learn enough to keep your hired PR and management from ripping you off. Or you take it upon yourself to DIY the whole thing in which case a much broader and multi-faceted understanding of music business is needed.

I would rather not deal with the business end of music. But I do because I would like to make some money from my work. Luckily because I am not solely dependent on my music to make money I am not discouraged by a lack of substantial success. Also I am very hampered by the exact same circumstance. I would love to pour more time into my music and my music business. I just don’t have the time right now. I do not look to my future and see myself being a pop star, I see myself being a older musician making tunes for use in various media projects an applications. As a husband and father of two, this is the practical path for me.

Music is art and I love to create. I hope it makes me money someday and I am not ashamed to say that at all.