TAXI Road Rally 2010 Day 1: Panels & Brain Pickings

After yet another great breakfast, the Rally proper started with the presentation of the annual Lifetime Achievement Award to Michael Lloyd, a cat with six decades’ experience in the music industry. A fascinating cat who was terribly inspiring, really.
This was followed by a moderated talk with Jay Frank, author of the book Futurehit.DNA, essentially a breakdown of the common elements of hit songs. The ideas were smart and compelling, so much so that I decided to buy that book. Granted, I’m not into songwriting–yet. That may change. I haven’t figured that out yet.

Next was essentially a listening panel, where critiques and comments were given on member-submitted pieces. The panel was a TV song supervisor, advertising guy, and two guys in production music.

I was shocked when I was one of the lucky few chosen.

Even eight hours later, I think I’m still processing what really happened. It was a cinematic/orchestral cue which, in hindsight, needs a bunch of work. But they didn’t know that, so they could only comment on what was presented. Basically, because there’s a LOT of competition in that field, something I definitely am aware of, the bar is terribly high. That said, they called it as they saw it–something I really appreciated.

So this has been a humbling experience. Yet I also know it’s been a good one. I got feedback from people who know what the hell they’re doing, who know where the bar is set, so now I know I need to set my own personal bar to THEIR level, not mine.


I have to get to that point. I’ve been out of the music writing habit for far too long, and it should be a habit. Yes, I’ve done this and that project, but I really should be writing every day, or at least something every night.

This afternoon we had another listening panel, only this was much more wide-ranging and exclusively songs, followed by two great moderated conversations: one on advertising music, and one for film & TV. Great talks, great information–though most of it I knew already, or at least had a good understanding.

I should head to dinner now and will probably take in an open mic.

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TAXI Road Rally 2010 Day 0: Registration

After starting the morning with an excellent breakfast, I had some decisions to make. Load in wasn’t going to start until around 10:30, which I’d planned on lending a hand with, followed thereafter only by registration proper starting at 5:30.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson had different ideas. It’s a brilliant book that I’ll probably finish before my flight home–maybe even before the day is out. So, I wound up not helping with the load in and headed down to wait in the lobby. Once I saw the line start to move, I decided to get in line.

Out the lobby door into the parking garage. Down one full side. I actually registered shortly after 8:00pm.

I’d only had breakfast until then and vacillated between skipping dinner entirely or not. Intelligence won out and I had a delicious chicken Caesar salad, followed almost immediately by overwhelming fatigue and pillow contact shortly thereafter.

I missed the first open mic, which is a bit of a bummer. Tonight I’ll make up for it, though. However, it’s time to prep for the real start of this thing…

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TAXI Road Rally 2010 Day -1 part 2

Earlier today as I was helping stuff goodie bags I overheard one of the workers state there were 2,192 registered attendees this year.

I knew that the Rally was big, I just didn’t realize _how_ big. 120 business cards may not be enough. :)

I was a bit surprised this afternoon when I ordered a chicken pot pie for dinner and was served something roughly the size of a beret. I’m used to pot pies being small, dainty things. And it was delicious, too. Sadly, there’s no refrigerator nor a microwave in the suite.

Time for some reading before turning in. Tomorrow: assist with the load in, registration and the first open mic.

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TAXI Road Rally 2010 Day -1

UPDATE: Took just 20 minutes to get through security, so now I’ve got an hour wait until boarding.

Typing on an iPad is…interesting. I can almost touch-type, but things are just wrong enough to limit utility. But all in all, it works pretty well. I guess I just need more practice.

Over the weekend I’ll be attending TAXI’s Road Rally 2010, an annual convention of fellow musicians, songwriters and composers for education and networking. Registration begins tomorrow afternoon. Today is my travel day.

I’ll do my best to write about my experiences at the end of each night, if for no other reason than as a personal journal. It should be a good thing, especially when it comes to networking. My plan is simple: network, network, network. I’ve got a grip of business cards made up and am burning CDs as I type.

Next up: packing.

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One Take 09-16-2010

Maybe I should start making a series of these like I’ve done in the past…

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Tools are not the issue

One thing which is now quite evident is I no longer have any excuses. For a long time I’ve been of the mindset that the audio tools I had were “not good enough” to produce high-quality audio and/or music. Sounding near-real wasn’t good enough, I wanted it to be as good as I could get. Well, now I have those tools. I can produce the high-quality stuff that I’ve been “hearing” all this time.

But there’s a learning curve.

I have to get on that curve. Over the weekend I created a demo track for a possible writing gig. It sounds good, but… there’s something not quite “right.” I’m on that curve and need to fully go down it to get the skills and confidence I need. This will take some time. I realize this, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

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Prepping for audio post work

So over the next few months I’ll be doing audio post on two movies, in addition to writing music for Zetaman and getting ready for TAXI’s Road Rally in early November. I thought it would be instructive on my own part to go back to Spidertron, the first film I did post for, and see what I would change flow-wise now that I’ve “done” one.

The first of any thing done is where the bugs get worked out, and I can certainly tell where there were bugs. The Pro Tools (M-Powered) project is rather loosely organized. Due to the M-Powered edition’s track limitations (48 stereo), I doubled up on a lot of the FX elements: one individual track has multiple fx clips strewn throughout the timeline, which makes control a bit harder. Sub-mix tracks are interleaved with the source audio tracks, and the effects are not as well organized as it could be.

Granted, the entire project was one large learning laboratory. Now I feel I’m better prepared for the job(s) at hand, especially after not only completing one entire project but also reading up a bit on some of the tools of the trade and how they’re used.

I will probably do the audio mixes for these two films using a bunch of tools: Apple’s SoundTrack Pro & Logic Pro, Bias’ Peak XT and Avid’s Pro Tools M-Powered. A lot of tools to use, but they each have a purpose.

Here’s hoping the source audio is clean and plentiful.

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One Take August 18, 2010

Hmm, maybe I’ll make this a weekly thing. This one is in C Major, the simplest (but not the saddest) key.

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One Take, Again

Another one-er done this morning.

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Seeking WordPress/UI Designer

In the interest of furthering my career, I realize this site needs a little TLC. Unfortunately, while Web programming is a core competency of mine, it’s not my primary life goal. In short, I want to concentrate on other things instead of designing a fun, interesting and well-maintained web site.

So if any of my friends know of a good, reliable, specifically media-centric Web designer who has a good grasp of WordPress theming, I’d like to hear about them.

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