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Composer: Advice on pursuing a creative career

Video transcript

you get a lot of advice when you're you know studying a different field and specifically with music there wasn't a really great conversation going on as to how one makes a living in music people end up making a mistake I think when they leave school that by not having by virtue of not having those conversations spend so much time trying to figure things out that they get themselves in trouble by the time the 30 if you'd you know if people had just had open discussions about you know what a commission is what advertising is what is performing you know for a SM or doing something with dying after or you know we all it variety of different things that we end up doing once we figure out what it is that occurred music if they had that conversation earlier on he probably wouldn't be doggy-paddling in the ocean of the world so to speak that most of us do for this first years of school for me living in New York just in general you know people figured it out you figure out you know where to get an apartment or we're sharing an apartment um as a musician though it's tricky because typically on you know you're forced to write at home it was only until right before I left New York that I actually could afford I had an $1,800 a month studio recording studio that I was working at but you know $1,800 and I'm going to have studio if that was your mean apartment that would be too expensive so you know so it's tricky on that front just staring out where you're going to be able to work is tricky let's musician I think the reason why some of the talented most talented people aren't successful is because they need to balance that creative ambition with the practicalities of running a business even if that business is just you so for example I'm working on a personal record right now and you know part of my gut wants to have there be no limits I'm going to hire anybody I want I'm going to buy all the plugins I need I'm going to expand my computer power and you know and that list goes on and on and if I were to do that obviously I go broke and this would be the most expensive project I've ever done so you have to really kind of fine-tune what things you actually need how much money you're capable of spending get creative both not only with your music but on the business end of things to make sure you say a blow there is certainly some pitfalls composers should be wary of one of them has to do with the business of music for sure which is you have to be careful obviously not to overspend yourself because money is like what allows you to be able to feel comfortable doing creative projects I mean unless you don't have that part of your mind that gets nervous if you are concerned with you know with having a stable financial life and maybe even having a family at one point on then you want to be careful not to dig yourself into into a hole pursuing one music project that that you know may or may not be a Hail Mary my teacher many teachers have said that you know music something that you should do if it's the only thing you think you should do or the only thing you can do and I think you can apply that to different projects you know it you know if you feel really compelled to do a record to make a piece of classical music you should do it but at the same time you have to kind of run the calculus in your mind to figure out what's the best way to go about doing that project and sometimes there are huge projects that you have to wait to do you know for example in my own life when I had gone off the road I was really inspired to do do something theatrical like that when I got back to New York and I had some savings at that at that moment in time and I blue I want to know if they blew it but I spent $20,000 putting up a ballet in New York City and and I was really really proud of that ballet and it was really important for me as a person but I was too young to understand at that time how kind of the business of music worked in terms of like putting up live shows and complicated shows like that for example very simple example being when you put up a show like that make sure you have somebody to review it you know make sure you have to press there because if you put up a show and you sell the whole show out and no press shows up then it's almost like it didn't exist it never happened so anyway I'd done the show really proud of it was completely attended everyone loved it had no press and you know the week after you know I saw 20,000 dollars disappear after paying all the musicians and paying artists to do on to do all these video installations and for costume design for the dancers and that $20,000 I honestly believe set me back probably five years financially I mean I was always thinking about where I would be with those 20 thousand dollars and of course that's a huge exchange not only because of it sets you back financially but you know let's say you really need a guitar for the next project or a piano for the next project all of a sudden this money that you use someplace you can't use in the next place and maybe that's money that you actually need to get the next job one thing that I wish I knew about making money in the beginning before I start you know embarking upon this business career things occur on is that people had always told me and teachers had always talked to me about how difficult it is to make as a musician and while that is true the truth of the matter is if you work hard you'll act you you'll make a living as a musician I mean it's shocking people say that there's no money in classical music I know many composers who make a living in classical music you know they teach they write music they get Commission's on in all this is to say is that you know if you live in that kind of fear where you think it's so difficult to make a living doing what you want to do and then all of a sudden start hedging your bets from a career standpoint then you end up it with a career that you never wanted you should be doing what you want I mean you should literally if you if you want to be a classical musician you should be writing classical music and you should be doing it all the time obviously you can do something else you know as you're growing in that profession to make money but if you you know but you will eventually create a career by by putting yourself out there and by doing the work that you want to be doing the same thing can be said regarding film the same that can be said to regarding being a songwriter as well you know so yeah I guess I wish I knew that ten years ago
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