I played a character in a short film called “Trail of Gold.” I also wrote an original song for the film and performed it in the film. The producer, Vincent Lowe posted a video on Youtube of the one take performance mixed as a vignette of scenes from the film. Unfortunately, the film’s editing wasn’t completed so you can’t see it in it’s entirety at this point and I haven’t cut this in the studio, but I was lucky to get this piece to share with you. I hope you enjoy it.
I was walking down the dairy aisle in the super market. From the top shelf, I grabbed a jar or Best Foods mayonnaise. I was a little perplexed when this large jar of the creamy white delight felt so light, so I opened it. This brand new never opened jar was less than 1/8 full. Now, I’ve always detested when the container for a product is excessively large for the amount of product inside but this pushed it all to a whole new level. I felt completely vindicated in making my sandwich right there on the spot, recapping the mayonnaise and putting it back on the shelf and leaving.
I was at an open mic in a small brightly lit cafe. It was a fairly clean cafe with polished wooden chairs and tables in a rich walnutty finish and matching wainscoting. It was a morning event that started at 8am and was ending at noon. I had been asked by the proprietor to do a 1/2 hour set at noon when the open mic finished but it was somewhat unexpected. I was standing in the doorway trying to work out logistics in my head and little concerned because I didn’t even have a guitar with me. On top of that, I wasn’t sure what songs to play because I was familiar with this group of people and what flavour of music most appealed to them. I guess it was an anxiety dream.
Wow, I can’t believe this is the ninth week! I have to tell you that I’ve played virtually no music over the last 9 weeks I’ve been so busy with all the changes I’m making. I think the foundation is laid from here on out and I’ll be able to focus a little more on the craft but there is a list of 22 things that I have to complete as of yet. For instance, I’m in the process of making ringtones which unfortunately, ReverbNation is doing a store overhaul so I can’t post them right now which is a bummer because I’m very excited about these. I did a test run of “Island of Misfit Toys” and sent it to my phone and I’ve shared it with a couple friends by having them call me, and watching their faces light up when it’s playing on my phone has been a very cool experience. I may look for another way to host them so keep a lookout for a service that will allow me to sell them either directly from my site or host them but give me an API that links back to their service. Oh, and by the way, that’s the topic of this week’s chapter in the book, what Ariel calls the “Continuum Program.”
Ariel really wants you to make money and doing it alone with just music isn’t necessary. That’s why she encourages you to look at other things you can provide to your customers like merchandise emblazoned with your logo, private shows, cheap downloads, or free downloads with email subscriptions (which I’ve already done). But she doesn’t stop there. She’s really trying to get you to think about how you can create an ongoing relationship with your customers, engaging them into a distribution funnel that starts with the inexpensive and capturing their interest by producing more exclusive products or programs that cost more money, but provide more exclusivity to them. I think that much of the thinking behind this is concurrent with a thread that she’s been writing about based on the 1,000 true fans theory that basically encourages you to find the right number of die-hard fans that are enraptured with your output. You cater to those fans with what they love about you and it’s a win/win: They support you by buying your products and you support them by being the creative you that you are.
There are a number of program ideas that the book suggests for keeping momentum with your fans and engaging new fans. Things like special exclusive events with the band, monthly gifts, artist critiques and even a private VIP fan website. I’m going to start out slowly on this because being one artist with a full-time job, I can only do so much and I really need to build a fanbase from the publicity work I’m doing from the last 9 weeks, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to have made much of a different yet except that my mp3 sales are improving a little. But, I got a great idea from my friend, JC which is to try to sell prints of my artwork on FineArtAmerica.com. I’ve had some drawing on my website for a long time and I have hi-def slides as well so I’m gonna go get them re-digitized and post them hopefully within the week and see if I can’t sell some prints. I also have a number of drawings that are near completion that I’ll add to the mix and maybe I can combine some art sales with music sales. The proposition is exciting! So keep a lookout for that.
I also wanted to add that the end of the book has a couple bonus chapters on traditional PR and choosing the right publicist. I really found the traditional PR chapter to be quite interesting and wish that I’d seen it a long time ago. Ariel includes comments from a couple of journalists who write about musicians and gets some nice feedback from them about what they like and how they like to receive press kits to possibly write about. I’ve seen other articles along these lines but what stands out about this one is the immense detail about the press kit itself, representing that press kit on your web site, and the pertinent advice on follow-up. I myself have not done due-diligence on follow-up sometimes and I know that I’ve suffered for it. You have to do it which means you need to keep track of when and where and who you send something to and be ready to follow-up a couple of weeks later. I remember listening to a panel once of music reviewers for agencies and someone on the panel talked about their office. It had three boxes in it. The first box got all the mail-ins of CDs. If an artist made contact one time either by phone or email, someone would hunt down the CD in the first box and move it over to the second box. If the artist made a second attempt at contact or follow-up, the CD would be moved from the second box and into a box that actually sat on the reviewers desk where it would be reviewed. Sounds a little nuts until you see the wall of CDs on some people’s desks.
One thing I’m learning about the music business: It’s a little what you know, who you know, what you do… and how much endurance you have. This concludes our regularly scheduled program. Please stay tuned to find out how this big shift will play out in 2010. I’m really wanting big things to happen this year and I’m really hoping that the effort that I’ve put into this blogging contest has will pay off. I would love to be publicized by Ariel. She rawks and has truly been inspiring too me!
I was out on some sort of large farmland. There was fencing and a very large barn and I had a knowledge of hunting deer with some woman. I looked over to what looked like an abandoned garden area surrounded by chicken wire. There was an animal there with reddish fur and we were commenting that it was a coyote. Then there appeared another very large animal that I was claiming was a moose but the woman I was with disagreed. The thing that was odd about it was that it didn’t have fully developed front legs but rather short stubby legs like a kangaroo and it was walking on its hind legs. It was quite a unique creature. When I awoke, I realized that the animal that we claimed was a coyote looked more like a fox, but then, coyotes are illusive.
I was standing in a courtyard that had some sort of large canopy over it. It was kind of like an ginormous parachute with a gingham print and it completely enclosed me but allowed sunlight to bleed thru. I was talking with Kirby on the cell tho I don’t recall what we were talking about. Next to me was a very old and large tree. I presume that it was a eucalyptus because it had the bark features of the painted variety except that it was white. There were slight colour variations in the bark but overall, it just appeared to be a huge white tree. That wasn’t the unusual thing tho. What was unusal was that it was covered with large pictographic symbols, similar to what you might see in the Northwest US. The colours were blue, red, yellow, green and black and most of the larger symbols were symmetrical ass opposed to the smaller, less mature symbols that were still growing and had not yet reached full symmetry. I recall finding a split in the canopy where there was a large seem the fell to the ground and divided the canopy in two, but seeing it was only by accident because it was an optical anomaly and I only found it by standing in the right place and looking to my right.
I don’t have a lot of detail about either of the women; both were blond, shorter than me, and thin. The first encounter was brief and I don’t really recall much of it. The second was more detailed and explicit. The bed was probably a king with satin blue sheets. When I first remembered the act, we were actually standing on the bed against a large mahogany headboard and she had one leg up and in my arms and I was to the side and the back of her. Then I tilted her upside down so that her shoulders and head were on the bed while I was still standing and facing her. The sex was quite passionate and heated with no rest involved. It felt very carnal but there was an association between us other than our sexual intimacy.
I was working in a super market as a stock clerk. It was a little more than a super market as they carried home goods and some furnishings, kinda like a giant Target, but the shelves were more like Home Depot. I ended up walking a long ways looking for some place to put something and I realized that I was naked and I was talking with someone that was walking with me. I wasn’t really bashful about being naked but it was something I was aware of. I walked out into some sort of loading area in the back where I met a group of co-workers. One of them turned out to be my boss who was an Asian woman that went be the name of Deb. She was going to promote me to being a cashier of which I was pretty indifferent. She asked me why I wanted to work there in the first place to gauge my interest and commitment to the position. I told here that I’d worked in the computer industry for 15 years and that I was completely burned out on it and that I was completely happy with my new job at this market. I put a lot of emotion behind what I was telling her and she seemed to appreciate it.
Well, this is really winding down now. This week’s chapter is fairly short and relatively simple and all about non-virtual communication with people. For instance, going to a party or other event and really staying focused on what you want to achieve when talking to people face to face. I’m not sure who does that anymore but it sounds intriguing. ;O)
Ariel cites Larry Sharpe as the inspiration for some of the information in the chapter and explains the reasons why we network, like finding customers, gaining a sphere of influence and finding resources for new ventures. She’s emphatic about being memorable by getting other people to talk about themselves. I actually really enjoy getting people to talk about themselves so this is easy. I rarely ever say anything about myself unless asked, because frankly, conversation is a two-way street. Now, if someone only likes talking about themselves, I’d just give them a mirror and find someone else to talk with. But maybe now, I’ll give them a business card first, which just happens to be another bit of strategy that Ariel gives.
For getting business cards done, Ariel recommends Vista Print for free cards and Jak Prints for designing your own. I’ve actually been getting cards made at Vista Print for years for the price of shipping. You can choose from a number of templates which change often enough that you may be original, provided that you don’t use the one with the red painted tapestry with the microphone in front. I got that one when it came out and so did 1,000 other musicians. It was kinda funny actually. The only catch is that they put their logo on one side. When “Between the Lines” came out, I got custom cards made with one of the photos from the photo shoot for the cover of the CD, and really spent time crafting a card that was part of the image I was working with for the new CD. They came out very nicely and were dirt cheap, they threw in a custom mailing ink stamp for outgoing mail which is getting a lot of use when I send CDs out, and the turn-around was lightening fast. I highly recommend them. There are some tips about what to put on the card, like your pitch, a photo, something that indicates what you do or play, email, and links to web sites where you’re found. I did all those things and people have actually hung up my card because they like the picture on it, so I know what Ariel is saying is right on.
So, without using the word “intention”, Ariel very much is recommending that you know what you want out of making a contact in a social situation. Setting intention is such a powerful thing because it sets a lot of wheels in motion because you’re putting out there what it is you want, and when you do that, you draw situations toward you that support your intention. Even when meeting people, have a vision of what you’d like to receive, and then be willing to put effort into following up with people that you meet to find out how you can get what you want from them and give them what it is they’re looking for. It’s about creating synergy with people. I always try and think about my music as being something that people really want so that when I’m sharing with them, it’s not laborious to be selling myself. But I’ve found that you have to let them open the door to you, and they do that when they know you’re listening too them. I just never try and sell something without being invited which is why I’ll never be a door-to-door salesman.
I was with Anthony W in some dwelling that he’d acquired and was making upgrades to. It was an older home that had been Frankensteined since the early 1900’s and we were assessing a room that had once been an outdoor patio, but had a roof put over it to connect it to the main house. Whomever did the work didn’t put a ceiling in because it would’ve made it too low and I was holding up 2×4 to see if there was something we could do to close off the exposed roofing. Anthony was standing next too me and was talking about going into the back where there was a 3 story apartment building with one apartment on each floor, across from a large carriage house. I decided to walk out into the front of the house o take a look at the entire grounds, but when I turned around, all I saw was that the apartment structure was starting to collapse. I started screaming Anthony’s name over and over, but I had laryngitis and could hardly get his name out to warn him. As I started running toward the house, I watched the apartment completely collapse. I ran into the courtyard looking for him but couldn’t find him.