Monday, December 27, 2004

Concert Preparation

I've recently been spending a lot of time preparing for upcoming concerts, including the two on Thursday, Jan 6th at the Grace Brethren Church of Columbus' Administration Center (across from Worthington Christian High School). Click here for details:

Trying to get a five piece band together to practice has been quite a challenge. This is a busy time of the year, and everyone has different schedules and commitments. We're trying to have at least three practices before Jan 6th. Some of the players involved are Brian Houts (drums), Shawn Wright (bass), Todd Alex (guitar), and Rich Barrett (piano/organ). All of these guys are great friends of mine, and I'm looking forward to getting out and doing some shows with them. We're actually having a three hour practice this evening.

With every concert comes the need for an experienced sound guy...and generally, most "good" audio people are going to want to be paid...and you really do often get what you pay for. I've tried having shows without a dedicated sound guy, and generally these shows are a nightmare, especially if you have a substantial band. I'm also looking for someone who would be willing to run/program lights. We hope to have some intelligent lights (moving) at the concert, so that should be fun. =)

Promotion is always an exciting part of any concert. Actually, I'm terrible at I prefer to leave a lot of that up others who don't get so stressed out about it. When I promote concerts by myself, no one shows up and I end up spending all my money paying the players/engineers involved...not to mention all the players leave bummed because the crowd never came. There are some other people involved in the promotional side of the January 6th hopefuly, Lord willing, there'll be a good show of folks. The best situations are when you and the band just show up and the people are already youth groups, outreach/community events, camps, etc. I remember hearing Moby (the singer) say once that things really started to pick up for him once he started focusing on the things he was good at, and left other stuff to people who were gifted in those areas (publicity, booking, etc.).

Friday, December 17, 2004

Long Time, No Blog

Yeah, I know. It's bee a while. Things have been busy lately. Working on a lot of "behind the scenes" stuff...calls, emails, making contacts, sending out promo packs to churches and radio stations, working to set up concerts, band practices. I have to be honest, it's recently been easier to work hard than to pray hard. I often find myself at this place where I maybe have done a lot, without really committing any of it to the Lord. God has again recently reminded me of the importance of including Him in all the details, even the small, sometimes annoying stuff. We can serve Him doing anything, even in making mailing labels. =)

I have not kept up with the weekly Monday "Behind the Songs" entry...but the "making of 'After Everything (track #5)'" is soon on its way.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

"In song composition, I often try to find the 'peak of emotion' and work backwards."
Posted by Hello

Friday, December 03, 2004

This was the original idea for the "Backstage Pass" CD cover, proposed back in early 2004.  Posted by Hello

The Path Beyond The Road

This surely has been an interesting week. My sister-in-law was in surgery on Tuesday (for C-section complications), and I've been in the doctors office a couple times over the past several days for some tests...some tightness/pain in my side, which may very well be related to stress (as all the tests have so far shown that everything is normal).

Work has been pretty thin this week. The winter season (especially December and January) can be very slow for audio/video production work. Last week, I was really stressing over how I was going to pay the bills at the beginning of the month, and it's been amazing to see how God has provided. One source of money came through returning a keyboard case which I know I shouldn't have bought. I knew God didn't want me to buy it, but I did anyway, and I ended up having to take it back...which included a 15% restocking fee. Again, this reminds me of the story of the Israelites and God's provision of manna. The manna would spoil if anyone took more than he/she needed. I bit off a bit more than I could handle, and I got bit in the process. Anyway, God has provided in amazing ways. Tonight, I received some money from CD sales just in time to pay a bill which needs to go out the beginning of next week.

It's very interesting talking to people about the CD. People often ask "are you selling lots of CDs?"...and sometimes, I feel that there is an expectation that the CDs should be selling world around after only being on the market for four weeks. The reality is, this is going to be a long process. There is a lot of ground work which needs to be laid before I can even start doing shows regularly...before the songs can be played on the radio...before the CDs can be available in stores. It just takes time, and I really see December as a period to get the ducks in a row. I hope (Lord willing) that I will continue to sell more CDs as time goes on. I would guess most CDs are going to sell at concerts. That's usually when people are the most apt to buy.

I've been working to get promo packs together, and it's crazy how long it's taking to collect all the elements. I just picked up 50 8x10 photos today. Tomorrow, I will probably pick up a "Backstage Pass" stamp which I had made for stamping the fronts of the promo packs. The other day, I bought some paper and pocketed folders from a paper surplus store. I'm still waiting on some reference letters from a couple of people. I am also trying to figure out the most cost effective way of creating demo CDs (with 4-5 songs from the album). I may need to end up buying a new printer which I can use to print on the surfaces of the CDRs. All these things add up. In the end, each promo pack with probably be worth about $3.00. It's been tough to cough up this money with the work situation, but I've had to as this a crucial part of the marketing process.

Along this path, I've really been trying to ask God what He would have me do. It's easy to believe that you are wasting your time and resources when it comes to marketing. Only God knows what doors will open. I doubt many people will throw away their "Backstage Pass" CDs, but a lot of promo packs may get tossed or buried under a pile of paperwork. Regardless, I'd rather spend $3.00 on something which has a better chance of catching someone's eye compared to a $1.00 promo pack which might more easily find its way to the paper stack of bands who cut corners on the marketing side of things. An extra bit of color, design, and thought can go a long way.