One of the hardest questions as a songwriter to answer, is when people ask where they can see or hear what you are working on currently. The problem is, all projects take at least 5 times longer than people expect. Take the example of writing a song for an artist on a small label. You write the song, demo it, pitch it and if you're fortunate, your song gets chosen by the artist's label or management. There are then various boring discussions about ownership, production, costs and credits and once that has been ironed out, the artist has to then go in and record a new version, usually with a brand new production. By this point, it's often a couple of months after the initial song pitch. Then, the label or management make a plan to release the song, but the artist needs to get some attention first, so they head out on tour, visit as many radio stations, TV channels, magazines and publicity opportunities as they can and try to create a buzz* that will get people interested.
In the meantime, there are discussions about what song to release and if you're lucky and pick your song, they'll want to shoot a video. They will then want to try and exploit the single as much as possible so there could be further talks about sync opportunities which is where they try and get the song in television, movies and adverts, followed by more promotion meetings. So we are now, possibly 6-12 months down the line and you are still waiting to hear your song on the radio. The worst part, is that if you are the songwriter and not involved in the project on a personal level, you probably won't be particularly kept in the loop other than the occasional email here and there. That's the reason why it's often difficult to answer when people ask you where they can hear what you are currently working on!
In 2015, Producer/Songwriter Steve Curtis and I set up a "music for film" company called ZEN10. The idea was to create original, innovative content for television, film and advertising. We have been lucky enough to work with some really creative teams, including the comedy trio Broken Toaster who are not only extremely funny comedians but also hugely talented actors. I'll talk more about them in a future blog, but today I want to tell you about a very exciting project that has required a large dose of....patience.
The Manners is an independent feature film with an impressive cast and crew list, with actors and movie industry talent who have credits on the likes of Star Wars: Rogue One, Lord Of The Rings, Predator and Dragon Heart to name but a few. We were approached to write the theme song for the movie and in 2015, as ZEN10, we began the task of writing and producing our song. We delivered and the producer loved it and it was agreed that it would become the title track of the movie. I was now able to tell people that I had co-written and produced a song that was going to be in a movie, so look out for me at the premiere!
Fast-track to mid 2016 and we still hadn't heard much on the progress until we were invited by email to come down to London to the set, not just to have a look but to play a small background role as the band at a party! So we set off, arrived on set and enjoyed a fascinating day pretending that we knew what was going on, filming our background parts and then left, excited that we were going to be in a movie!
Almost a full year later and still no film release, but today I found out via social media that finally, two full years since we began working on the song, the actors haven't finished filming and they are now at the post-production stage! It's an incredible achievement to write, film and produce a movie independently, on a budget and we are incredibly happy to be a part of it, but I must admit to a sigh of relief when I finally saw the photo of the cast and crew celebrating the end of the filming process!
* not applicable to Ed Sheeran.