Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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Jim1960
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Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Post by Jim1960 » Tue May 14, 2013 10:40 am

I’m been writing songs for 30+ years with some national success way back. When I write a song, it can take months to develop into a sophisticated album quality cut. When I look over the Taxi listings, many are for “movie/TV” and require the song to “Sound like” one of the new artists and the “vocals and instrument quality must be top notch.”

As many of you do, I work alone in my home studio and I slave all day working 8 to 5. Sometimes it takes weeks just to write the perfect lyrics and melody, not to mention the arrangement and what all instruments will be playing. When recording it can often take several different arrangements and hours upon hours of recording until the final approved cut is finished. Then I need to find that “Sounds Like” vocalist which could take months to locate. Then it’s mix time, which if done right sometimes takes weeks. Then there is mastering which is two more weeks sending it out to be done. By the time its finished ready for submission, the “Movie/TV” listing has expired months ago.

So how do you (for Movie TV only) write, arrange to perfection, records all instruments to perfection, hire the perfect “sounds like” vocalist, mix and finally master in 4 weeks before the listing expires? Or do you simply slap together a rough idea and call it a day.

Thanks in advance

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andygabrys
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Re: Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Post by andygabrys » Tue May 14, 2013 3:41 pm

just my 2 cents here, but.....

you do get faster the more you do, the more you study, the more you try, the wider your stylistic net becomes.

If you want to hit the short term listings, you either have to:

1. develop a catalog of the usual suspects done in your usual time frame (and something like Robin Frederick's book "Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film and TV" will help you target those usual suspects to fit the types of songs that are sought after) and submit them as listings come up for them.
2. learn how to do it in a day, or in hours. Unfortunately, that is the competition, those who can get a brief and come up with a great instrumental or song the same day.

good luck!

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Re: Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Post by Jim1960 » Wed May 15, 2013 4:11 pm

Thanks Andy.
I just purchase the book you suggested, thank you for the heads up. Best be armed with knowledge before heading too deep into this industry.

When they need a "Sounds like" as many TAXI listings require, that's when it takes weeks/months to finalize a tune. Lets face it, if they want a certain artists sound and you sound nothing like that singer, you can either run adds looking for that voice (months and months) or don't submit because you are wasting your time and money. Pumping out a instrumental with full instruments in 1 week is not a problem as long as it remains an instrumental.

So, I have now decided to entertain music libraries with only instrumentals. This way I can pump out several per week and get them submitted.

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Re: Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Post by mikeymike2000 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:07 pm

Hi Jim,

There are many different "schools of work" here and many different style of writing and going about this.

What you are describing is "main event" or "radio hit" songs. These take time to write, arrange, re-write etc. I was confused by this as well when I started hearing people talk about whipping out songs in a few hours time. Those are almost always gonna be furniture music kinda things that are mere underscores for a few seconds. (Not knocking this type of music, there is money in it and it is not 'easy' to make and it does play an integral role in scenes).

but not everyone makes the same type of music.

For the 'sounds like' most people who go out for those are gonna already sound like that artist or maybe do vocal impressions or something. But they prolly sing themselves and play at least one instrument too.

You get faster with practice of course but at the same time what are you writing. Even John Williams, while he may be able to sketch out a complete orchestra in a day someone has to then arrange his hand scribbles and then set up rehearsals etc. - Green Day recently released a new album that took several months to make. Sarah Brightman the same. Enya has been know to take 2 years for an album. The list goes on and on.

I think this is a great topic cause I firmly believe that everyone throughout the world, in every aspect of life gets too caught up in "make everything fast" or throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. - There is a very fine line to what I am trying to express but I think if many people would just slow down a little the would be surprised at how fast they would actually end up being.

This has potential to become a hot topic and I hope it does cause I have been wanting to talk about this for some time now. Let's take the Taxi Road Rally for example, I heard some people talk about just write, write really fast and who cares if it is good or not, something... somewhere... sometime is bound to be good if you just write enough. -- And then I heard other people talk about how they edited or re-wrote a song over 100 times.

Different strokes for different folks I guess but I also think it has a lot to do with where the music ends up as to how long it takes to create it.

Exploit your strengths.

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Re: Advice needed, Movie TV listings

Post by CHuckmott » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:07 am

ANother angle on this: If this is your full time job, and you take a month to write a song, then that song has to generate a month's worth of income.........in the real bill paying word unfortunately this is a reality. This applies I suppose only to people who consider htis their primary living. Everything I've read says this is difficult or next to impossible to do in the tv/film world generating a track a month....if this has worked in the past then my apologies. Even working consistently for the rock/pop stuff I do I have never seen the benefit of less then two a month and I have a full time day job.

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