Once upon a time, someone said to me “Wow, I could really hear your music in films!” Has anybody ever said that to you?
So I decided, with very little actual knowledge or experience to support me, that I wanted to write music for the Film and Television Industry. Thanks to the Hawai'i Songwriting Festival (aka KMF!), I’ve attended seminars with industry pros, publishers, composers, and music supervisors. I was able to start and get smart about creating and pitching my compositions.
But how did I learn about all that? Well...
I attended my first Festival on Kaua'i in 2009, and everything…changed. It was my first real exposure to the people behind the "business" end of music. My first exposure to formal song and lyric writing, to applying form to television cues, to adding elements that enhanced the ability of an editor to make real use of that piece of music in media. And my first exposure to production as an art in and of itself.
Only then, after that first festival, did I realize how off-track I was in my approach to writing, recording, pitching, and networking. That change I mentioned did not come fast or easy (nor is it going to be over anytime soon)! And even though I had occasional small successes at that first festival, my take away was that I had a lot more to learn about the business of writing, and of music. I had a long road in front of me.
A year later I had read voraciously (still do), invested in a small production studio, and began treating my music as a business.
So, at my second festival...I’m armed with my latest creations, ready to pitch. Then, enter that old time-honored friend: rejection. Thankfully hindsight proves that differently...it was actually advice. Solid advice, about every part of my music, coming from people who knew what they were talking about. People who were generous and thoughtful, sharing their perceptions with a nervous newcomer, and kind enough to deliver the truth gently. If I was going to get anywhere in this crazy industry, I figured I better pay attention. I did. After licking my wounds, I took their thoughts to heart and worked even harder.
Fast forward to now, five years and five conferences later. I have numerous publishing contracts in the Film/TV arena, with music placements on major networks; the amount I have learned is crazy insane and I cannot imagine missing this festival. Truthfully, it’s my annual measuring stick of progress. I am on the road, armed with good info and a slowly growing network of contacts, many established at this conference, year after year.
Can you meet these amazing people too? Yep. Get your demo CDs ready, rehearse your songs, print your business cards and lyrics, and get ready to smile. The benefit of attendance is amazing: hanging out with music publishers, supervisors, some of the most amazing songwriters on the entire planet, and of course through it all, hanging with your good musical friends you've just made (like me), because all of us are doing the same thing, with passion and grace and bruises and smiles.
So I challenge you to look in the mirror and tell yourself, with all honestly, that you are where you want to be musically, and you don't need to hang out with all of these incredible, giving, and talented industry people, at one of the best beaches in all of Hawai'i.
Get out the mirror and do it, I dare you.
6/5/2015 08:27:10 pm
Excellent article, Brent. Yes, the experience is incredible. I have received some of the most simple and important advice from the instructors and the students at kmf, and met some of the best people, including you and Sherri.
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Welcome and Aloha! This is the KMF Blog, and we hope it can be a source of information and idea exchange for songwriters and KMF attendees. Julia Brotman, our board member and director of social media strategies will be moderating and encouraging others to join and comment!