Few parts of the job of a composer are as boring or tedious as music preparation, also known as copy work. And yet, when it comes to communicating your ideas to the other people who must execute them, no job is more important.
Copy work can be described as the visual presentation of music on the page. The people who do this work professionally are called copyists. In musical theatre, copyists are typically the LAST people to touch the sheet music. After the music has been composed, arranged, and orchestrated, the copyist will craft the individual charts that each musician will play from.
Unfortunately, it’s rare to be on a production where you can work with a copyist. Most of the time the task falls to the composer, the music director, or sometimes the musicians themselves.
The problems arise when these people have little to no experience in writing good charts. They may know how to write a vocal lead sheet, or a piano part, but what happens when they have to write a string part? A drum part? A GUITAR PART?? (Seriously you guys, guitar parts are the worst. Unless you play guitar yourself, give up. It’s a hopeless enterprise.)
Fortunately, I just stumbled upon the BEST THING EVER. Continue reading The Sheet Music Whisperer
Anonymity is a powerful strength. You often see it used to terrible effect by trolls on social media and comment boards. But it can be used for good by famous writers who take on a pseudonym in order to write outside their “accepted” genre. It’s also the reason that masks are so intriguing. We don’t know who it is behind the facade.
Another way this can be used, but often isn’t, is in casting. Producers, directors, and writers are often celebrity-obsessed. Celebrity being in many ways the antithesis of anonymity. Celebrities, of course, allows any project to more easily attract funding. But it can sometimes get in the way of allowing the audience to really see and believe the character.
I had this issue when I saw the movie La La Land. Continue reading In Defense of the Unknown Actor
I have always been a worrier when it comes to money. Blame it on my practical Midwestern upbringing. Or my Father. Or the fact that I’ve chosen writing musicals as my ironclad fall-back career in case acting doesn’t work out.
Thankfully, I’ve been extremely lucky to make my living as an artist. I say “artist” because it encompasses the various roles that I play in my work. Sometimes I’m an actor, sometimes I’m a writer, sometimes I’m a musician or a teacher. But it all stems from my passion for and abilities as an artist.
It’s only been recently, though, that I’ve had to actually sit down and think about what to do with the money I’ve made.
Shortly after college, I found myself with a big chunk of credit card debt. And because of the piecemeal nature of making money as an artist, I had no real system to keep track of how much I was making and how much I was spending. Never mind saving or investing!
That’s when I had to get smart about my money. Continue reading The Money Problem
Before I get to the tips, I want to share some good news.
I’m very excited to announce that I have joined Arlene Thornton’s On-Camera Commercial Department.
My agent there, Janet Tscha, is a winner and multiple-time nominee of the Seymour Heller Award for Commercial Agent of the Year. (Heller, yeah!)
I’ll be sure to let you guys know when you can catch my ugly mug selling products on TV’s everywhere.
Now onto nailing your “no sides” commercial audition.
Continue reading Nailing Your “No Sides” Commercial Audition
The relationship between actors and the casting process can sometimes be antagonistic, and that’s super unfortunate. If you find yourself ripping your hair off over the audition/casting process, and feeling resentful toward casting directors who “always bring you in, but never cast you,” consider these 3 mind-hacks: Continue reading Mind-Hacking the Audition Process
When I was in New York recently, I remember seeing the billboards for the musical It Shoulda Been You and thinking – “It shoulda been better.” I hadn’t heard a single note, hadn’t seen a single scene, yet for whatever reason, I just knew this show wasn’t for me.
This article from Entrepreneur about the psychology behind logos might explain why. The font, colors, and pictorial choices (a fluffy wedding cake = not my thing) all read “This is a show for women.” (Incidentally, I thought Mothers and Sons read “This is a show for old women.” Maybe I just don’t like Tyne Daly?)
As actors and writers of shows are often their own advertisers and brand-makers, I think this article would be extremely useful to take a look at. What are you intentionally (or unintentionally) putting out there? Continue reading Which Color Defines You?