Sunday, November 1, 2009

Education, Rediscovery, Occupation

I am now moving into my sixth week of school online at Berkleemusic- which means I'm halfway done with the quarter. So far, things have been pretty interesting. I'm taking four classes this semester in order to prepare me for the Orchestration for Film and TV Certification program. I'm currently in Music Theory 1, Getting into Harmony (yes, that is the actual name of the course. Terrible, isn't it?), Desktop Music Production for Mac and Arranging 1: Rhythm Section.

Thus far, it would seem that the classes I'm breezing through are (surprisingly) Music Theory and Harmony. I imagined that both of those courses, being theory-based, would be a little more taxing. Oddly enough, I'm getting A's on the majority of my work. Desktop Music Production (hereafter referred to as DMP) and Arranging on the other hand are a little different.

DMP has me learning a totally new digital audio workstation- Reason. I'm finding that Reason seems to be more for sequencing as Logic is for recording (though I am not going to switch to Reason because I am only able to use my PLAY sample libraries with Logic). This is not to say that Reason has impeded my success in the course, but I feel like Reason's learning curve is steep. You certainly can't do a whole lot unless you really spend some time with it.

Arranging on the other hand, is the most taxing course; I have many assignments due in a week and often I will have to go back and revise my assignments for this reason or that reason. It's a lot of work in my opinion, especially since I don't normally notate music visually (in Sibelius, an equivalent to Finale), but just go ahead and sequence it in Logic. So I have to work backwards in a way. Most rewarding is the glowing reviews I've gotten from my peers in that course, and that reminds me that it isn't all for naught.

This leads me to my rediscovery of the music network GANG. I remember I'd heard of it, but I never investigated as to what it is. Sure, I have a commercial presence with iStock Audio, but perhaps GANG is an opportunity as well- it is specifically for video game audio. Hallelujah. While I don't expect to be immediately noticed, it's surely a possible avenue for future jobs.

That, then, lastly brings me to jobs in the present. I've been struggling to get a job- and I'll be honest, sometimes out of fear and sometimes out of reluctance. However, I did just send 4 applications each to 4 Apple stores in the Bay Area, and I did happen to get one to respond to me. While I am not one for putting all my eggs in a basket, I sincerely hope that this works out. I'm getting a little desperate as the bills stack up and I have but a limited non-art/music resume- I'm not incredibly marketable as a potential employee in this economy, but I have hope. Rejection and failure are often hard to deal with when searching for job- at least to me. I've sent out numerous applications and gone to outlets here and there but to no avail. Keep your fingers crossed, boys and girls. I could use a little luck.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fire and brimstone.

Ah, what a week. I suppose I should start at the beginning.

This week began with the realization that Logic 9 (my principal music composition software) would need at least Mac OS X 10.5 to run, and I had only OS X 10.4. Basically, I didn't have an up to date operating system to do all I needed to on a software level. So, I had my dear mother overnight the family copy of Snow Leopard, Apple's latest operating system. Stupidly, I neglected to back up any files before installing, including my work (trust me, this is a learned lesson here...) and recently-composed music.

I expected a normal install up until the installer said "Snow Leopard could not be installed on this computer." I was skeptic, and figured maybe I just needed to start over. I quit the installer and restarted the computer, assuming it would start from the beginning, but I was surprised not with a successful install, but an auto-shut down any time the computer got to the "Apple logo" white screen. I'm sure some of you know what I'm talking about. Confused, I attempted to start up again using the power button. Same thing, auto-shut down. I called the Apple Care people and lo, my machine suffered some hefty corruption when trying to install Snow Leopard. How's that for an upgrade, eh?

In any case, that was not good. I couldn't risk losing all my work, a lot of it I hold dear and am unwilling to let go. I went with my significant other to the Apple store, only to find out their Genius Bar queue was filled up for the next four days (honestly, people- most of your iPod and iPhone problems can be solved online. Google and Apple websites exist for a reason) which was not good either. I should also make note that without my software on my computer, I had no way to complete coursework for my online Berklee classes thus setting me behind schedule.

So, I had my dear mother send me my OS 10.4 disks in the hope that I could repair my corrupted computer with the Disk Utility. Some gnashing of teeth later saw no progress and no repair. I called the Apple Care line once more to see if I could recover data, and I was rewarded.

Of course, I had to go all the way to San Francisco to a local friend who also has a Macbook Pro, which enabled me to back up my data with targeted disk mode. On the other hand it was also good to see my good friend, a friend, and a new friend there.

Thank the powers that be that Apple people have a lick of sense about them. I still lost a lot of data and applications, however. Though I suppose I can change my attitude some, take this as an opportunity to begin anew- but not without my 21 days of music I backed up.

I apologize to all those who were not able to make heads or tails of this blog post because of Macintosh mumbo jumbo. For the "too long, didn't read" crowd: My computer pretty much crapped out on me while I tried to update it, though I did manage to rescue some data. You gain some, you lose some. Ah well, it's back to school for me.

On another note, I'm three degrees connected to EA Games and two degrees connected to THQ. Keeping my fingers crossed that one of these will pay off.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Self Promotion and Demographics.

My Youtube channel sometimes surprises me. Of the videos I've uploaded, the most popular are the Star Wars re-score video projects I've done. Two of my videos are two Star Wars videos- one with 94 views, the other with 406 at the time of this posting. Both were added on July 15, 2009.

The first video is Vader versus Obi-Wan, a video that uses content from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. I scored music for this scene just to see what could be done for the scene- the original scene has no music at all. Because there aren't enough views for this video, I can't show the demographics of who's viewing the video. Needless to say, this video was my first video posted on Youtube, and has content that I would think is somewhat popular- being Star Wars and all.

The second is Asteroid Chase, a video with content from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (the more recent of Star Wars movies). As above, I scored music for a musically-mum action scene. Below is a chart showing the age and sex breakdown.

(Click on image for larger version)

"That's all well and good," you say, "But where's the surprise in that?"

Oh, sorry. I guess I should have been a little more specific.

(Click on image for larger version)

"Well, shiver me timbers! You mean to tell me that more younger girls are watching that Star Wars video than boys?" I suppose so! This means that I have an older male audience for these videos.

Another video of mine is an arrangement of music from Valve Corporation's "Left 4 Dead," set to a video I edited with footage from said game. The video has about 171 views at the time of this posting. Chart below.

(Click on image for larger version)

This video's popular with the 65 and older crowd? Now I wonder if something is amiss. Maybe some younger people got on ol' pop's computer and saw this video. Who knows. Or- Valve Corporation could secretly be spreading this video throughout the office. I wish!

For the "too long, didn't read" people- The internet: contrary to expectations.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good news, everyone!

Well, small news really- but momentous to some degree.

On September 20th, 2009, I finally reached a combined royalty of fifty dollars from iStock Audio (from selling my original music). While this number may be markedly small, I find it a good way to celebrate the inaugural "Hello, world" post on this here blog. I made fifty dollars doing something I enjoy.

Unfortunately, I cannot claim said fifty dollars until I make a total of one hundred dollars. Boo. However, I have a fortune cookie fortune at my side telling me "An interesting musical opportunity is in your near future." Here's hoping, I'd like a music job. Or at least, something decent I could put on my resume besides portfolio projects and pro bono composition jobs. Any takers?

Well, enjoy some of my stuff anyway.