5 Social Media “Don’ts” for Young Film Composers

  I recently brought up some “Dos” and “Don’ts” for composers entering the film business to a professional development presentation for a class of grad students, and I thought I’d take a moment to share these with you. I see these mistakes being made all the time on forums, Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else. If you want to be a professional, it’s best to start presenting yourself to the world as a professional. Anything less than that hurts all of us. So here we go: 5 Social Media “Don’ts” for Young Film Composers   1. DON’T make general offers of music on forums, message boards, or any other public site. This casts way too wide a net, makes you look desperate, and is a waste of time, since no-one really listens to these posted tracks with any degree of seriousness, anyway.   2. DON’T make general offers on any of your social media pages. It’s very easy to think that your social media pages are perfect advertising billboards, but it’s important for you to consider how you are advertising. Imitating a TV lawyer and going with the “Do you need a film composer? Then I’m your guy!” route is not the way to go.   3. DON’T beg. Too often, young composers are so hungry for work that they will run around the internet begging for random projects to hire them. This, again, makes you look desperate, and is also unprofessional.   4. DON’T enter contests. You are a professional. If anything, you should be helping judge contests. This is not ancient Rome. We are not on the floor of...

The Newest of News!

It’s been a very busy few weeks here at Blue Police Box Music, and there will be a lot of opportunities to see what I’ve been up to coming up in May! Scary Normal, our little feature that could, is screening – in competition – at the Golden Egg Film Festival in Cancun, Mexico, April 30th – May 7th. We are in the running for Best Feature, Best Feature Director (Jennifer Bechtel), and Best Actress (April Cleveland). It’s an honor to be nominated, of course! I’ll be on an industry panel, entitled “Rockin’ Music, Rollin’ Film: Creative Collaborations of Musicians and Filmmakers” as part of CIMMFest 2014. This Sunday – May the 4th (be with you) – at 2:00pm. Collaboraction in Wicker Park. I’m thrilled to be on a panel with John McNaughton, Wendy Jo Carlton, and some other serious pros. Hope to see you there! Our two recently wrapped short film projects – Bowes Academy and Safe Word – will be coming to film festivals this summer! Stay tuned! I’m currently working on the brilliant short film, “Get The F K Out Of Paris” – which will knock your socks off – and getting ready to hit the ground running on TV, film, and dance projects this summer! Thanks, as always, for listening and spreading the word! -d.  ...

Dharma Project: Revisiting the Roman Forum

I just had the pleasure of working with Director William Donaruma and Cinematographer John Klein (Fate Accompli) on this beautiful short for the DHARMA Project. DHARMA is a student-led team from the University of Notre Dame, that has been documenting international heritage sites with a 3-D laser scanner, giving us the most accurate depictions of them, possible. This film deals with their work on the Roman Forum. I was thrilled to work with this team, and I’ll be sharing more of our collaborations in the future! Enjoy! Revisiting the Roman Forum: From Pen to Pixel from William Donaruma on...

News! : Love Taps, Outer Voices, Alex & Ali, Short Film-a-palooza, and more!

It’s a very busy next couple of weeks, here, at BPB! Here’s the scoop: Love Taps, the full-length tap opera that I originally wrote, with Chicago Tap Theatre Artistic Director Mark Yonally, in 2010 is being remounted next week. With a new script by poetry slam creator Marc Kelly Smith, and a live on-stage band playing the brand new arrangements, it’s going to be a really exciting show. The audience gets to be a dating website, to choose a different second act every night! Running March 14, 15, 21, & 22 at 8m, and March 17 & 23 at 3pm. Stage 773. 1225 W. Belmont. Go here for tickets!   Outer Voices is a brand-new vocal group – founded by composers Kenn Kumpf and Robert Reinhart – dedicated to the performance of obscure one-per-part vocal repertoire from before 1750 and after 1950. I’m really thrilled and quite humbled to be performing with this group in their debut concert on Sunday, March 16th, at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville. It’s a free concert, and suitable for all ages. We would love to see you there.   At the beginning of February, I had the pleasure of heading out to LA to work on the final sound mix of Alex & Ali, the highly-anticipated documentary that I’ve been working on for almost 2 years. Director Malachi Leopold, Associate Music Producer Gabriel Dib, and I had the incredible honor of working with legendary sound mixer Geoffrey Rubay (Basic Instinct, The Fifth Element, Serenity) at Sony Studios in Culver City, and the results are nothing short of stunning. We’re looking very forward...

Love Taps Returns!

I’m incredibly pleased to announce that Love Taps is once again hitting the stage here in Chicago, in the spring of 2014. Originally conceived by Chicago Tap Theatre Artistic Director Mark Yonally and me in 2010, Love Taps introduces you to a cast of lonely urban dwellers, and then invites the audience to play match-making website. Every night the choices are the same, but the endings can change, based on what the audience chooses. The original score featured lyrics from a number of poets, lyricists, and writers, but – for the new version – we’ve pared all of the songs down to their instrumental roots. The new arrangements – created by music director Kurt Schweitz, my associate Jordan Lewis, and myself – will be performed by a small ensemble of multi-instrumentalists – guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, mandolin, and accordion – live on stage at every performance. The script – or bible – for Love Taps has been beautifully rewritten by Marc Kelly Smith (creator of the poetry slam), and will feature some new music written especially for the revamped version of the show. Starting March 14th at Stage 773, we hope to see you there! Here is some music from the original to whet your...

Urbana Pops Orchestra – “That’s No Moon!” Recap

I had the great privilege to be one of the judges, this past weekend, for the Urbana Pops Orchestra’s First Annual Student Composition Contest. Junior High, High School, and College students from the Champaign-Urbana (IL) area were invited to submit original compositions – written for orchestra – to be considered for a premiere by the UPO at their space-themed concert, “That’s No Moon!”. We had three excellent submissions in the Junior category, carefully scrutinized by my fellow judge, LA-based composer Kyle de Tarnowsky, and me. The winner, “Cold Moonlight,” was written by 16-year-old University High School student Daniel Stelzer, and given its premiere, between Holst’s Planets Suite and John Williams’ suite from Star Wars, this past Saturday. Not bad company for your first premiere! His lyrical, evocative piece was a lovely contrast to the other pieces on the program, and a remarkable work for a young composer. We were so pleased with this experience, and we’re looking very forward to see what the talented young composers in the Champaign-Urbana area bring to us for next year’s contest. Again, congratulations, Daniel! On a personal note, I got sing in the choir on “Duel of the Fates” from Star Wars Episode I, which – with the full orchestra – was exhilarating. Thanks to the UPO for asking me to join them for that. Getting to be a part of a big ensemble executing this legendary film music gave me a renewed appreciation for the power, complexity, and brilliance of this music, and the importance of live music, both in film and in our lives. Bravo to the UPO, and we’ll see...