Saturday, March 2, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 69 Resources

Monday will be day # 70.  Seems like I should celebrate somehow.   Have to think about that......

For now, I am blogging today, Saturday, because so much happened today.  It has been a day of discovering more resources for this  'one bite a day diet'.

I met with Dr. Dennis Ritz and his wife Barb in their quaint home in Shippensburg.  The house 'ticked and tocked' with amazing clocks while we 'sipped and talked' about all that is involved in doing a show.

When I first met with Dennis and his wife, I came away sensing that he had many more talents than just conducting or arranging.  His years of experience provided me with more options and resources for my journey.  I am so grateful they have come into my life.

Because of my past experience with trying to do 'shows' similar to what I have in mind, I already have an idea of what I need to do, but he made it more concrete for me.  (More to-do lists ahead!)

Task Deadline Calendar

Design a Task Deadline Calendar listing all tasks involved and the date they need completed by
(I am already well on my way because of my business plan in place, but it needs to become much more detailed)

Assign Tasks

Decide who can do what tasks, contact them and give them a deadline so they have clear direction (the deadlines can always be changed)

Task Manager

Find a person to manage the task calendar for me so that I can stay focused on the show itself (this does not mean they do the tasks, it just means they delegate tasks to other capable people, but make sure the tasks get done)  This alleviates the stress that can come from doing a show.  All tasks are accounted for and done on time so that there are minimal last-minute details that cause stress.

Stage Manager

Find a Stage Manager - a person who will make sure everything that's supposed to happen on stage the night of the show will happen as planned - this was the missing link to my past show years ago when a number of things went wrong (bad memories!)  Dennis was able to recommend someone for this and give me their contact information.

Concert Master

This is the person who I would use for an orchestra if I end up not needing a conductor.

I learned that not every orchestra needs a conductor.  It depends on the music.  Even a 100 piece orchestra does not need a conductor depending on the type of music.  This was something I didn't know.....and it wasn't the first piece of new information for me today.  I learned so much in one sitting with this wonderful couple.  Of course, Dennis had a name for this person too and it's someone I already met at the Ballet in December where I first met Dennis and his wife.

We talked about many other things and at the end realized that this project is an evolving project with lots of variables.  Fortunately, he is flexible enough that we can find our way through this together and I can call on him when the CD is closer to being finished.  Once that piece of the puzzle is in place, many other pieces will come together.

Dr. Ritz doesn't listen to music much.  He's been a music educator for a long time and at the end of the day, he would rather be gardening.  But he became animated when he started sharing his website with me that he uses to teach his music students at Shippensburg University.  Since most students don't know all the instruments, he has put together his own site of youtube clips to demonstrate each instrument and the masters who can play them!  He came alive as he pointed out the warm tones and controlled vibrato of the cello player.  It was obvious that he loves music.

As you can see. This was an amazingly profitable day. It's a long post, but this is becoming a log for me on so many levels. It's a daily record of my progress.

Now it's time to get that stuffed chicken out of the oven and enjoy a wonderful dinner with my doubly 'hand'icapped husband. He's learning how to maneuver without his thumbs.

Friday, March 1, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 68 Filling in the blanks

Today, between taking Tom to the doctor (2 different times), I was able to fill in some of the blanks in my business plan. There are plenty more blocks to fill in, but slowly, as I gather information, everything becomes more clear one step at a time.

I was supposed to meet with a sound company today to talk about the show and gather information about that, but because of the doctor visits and a husband that's not feeling up to too much running around, I postponed it.  It's ok, this is all in God's hands and so I just try to go with the flow of things.

Goals are great, but they must also be held loosely when more important things come up - like caring for your family!

Tomorrow I meet with the conductor.  This is our 3rd try.  Hopefully it will happen!

Below is an updated business plan (only page 1) where you can see the cost of the album itemized.

Things are coming together.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 67 Money and Clicks

Today I sent a check to get started on the CD.  Celebrate!  That's the money part.  I work hard, save all I can, and then suddenly, it is gone.  But I'm so excited to get started!

Brian Green of Castlebury Productions will be doing most of the initial work until we add guitars, etc.    He did the song "That's What Faith is All About" - the song that comes up on my website when you first arrive.

I also spent a good part of the day getting my monthly e-notes ready to send out.  These go to people on my mailing list whom I have met over the years at concerts, etc.  Every month I try to write an encouraging article for my fans.  If you'd like to sign up, you can do so by clicking here.  You get a free song if you sign up and you can order a CD at a discounted price with no shipping charges!

I also finished up podcast episode # 20.  Celebrate!

This is an on-line show where I share all kinds of stories, songs and updates to my ministry.  This episode is part 3 of a message I shared at a church in Lancaster, PA.  It's an encouragement to hang on to the seed you have in your own heart.  There will be many things that will try to steal the seed, devour it or choke it once it starts to produce and I've certainly seen this in my own life.  But if you hang in there long enough, you will eventually begin to see the seed germinate, take root and finally, produce!

You can click here to listen.

So today was about money and clicking.   Clicking as I typed away on my computer and clicking you can do when you're done reading this.  : )

Time to go help my husband take a shower.....and then we will finish the apple pie I made Monday night.

Happy clicking!

Hang on to that seed Part # 3

Hear various scenarios from the scripture that can keep you from pursuing the fullfilment of your seed.  I include stories from my own journey too.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 66 Kindred Hearts

Today Tom had hand surgery.  It took longer than the doctor thought it would and was more difficult than he planned the doctor said.  I just wanted to be present with him for the day and help him over this hurdle.  Now both hands are bandaged up and he is resting under the influence of pain medicine.

Though I did work on music-related projects while I waited for him to wake up and feel well enough to go home, it wasn't Christmas stuff.  I am speaking in New York in April and spent part of the time working on the content for those messages.  I also read some of the textbook written by the live show producer that I plan to work with this year.

I was thankful that I could be with him all day. We are kindred hearts.  We're certainly very different in our temperament, but our hearts long for and value the same kinds of things.  I'm so grateful for his support on this musical journey.  He is my sounding board, my cheerleader and my biker buddy I might add.

I have another cheerleader and friend with a kindred heart.  Her name is Ellen.  We know each other because of my church position and I am thrilled to have the chance to see her follow her passion.  She is a beautiful dancer, singer and writer.  It is because of her participation in the ballet production of The Nutcracker this past Christmas that I met the conductor who will most likely be conducting the orchestra for the show I have in my heart.

After reading my blog last week, she handed me a beautiful card that was created with thought and care to encourage me in my passion.

 I'm so blessed to have people like Tom and Ellen in my life (and many others!).

Ellen after her dance in The Nutcracker

A beautiful card from Ellen

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"The Elephant Diet" Day # 65 Curve Balls

Yesterday I had a full day at church and then went back again in the evening for a meeting. The only bite toward my project in that full day was an email to my producer with a link to a song that captures the feel of what I want for one of my songs. It's the song 'Night Of Miracles'.

If you have been following the blog, you might remember that this is the song I already had someone else produce on a trial basis to see how we worked together before hiring him to do the whole project. It was coming along quite well.

But he threw me a curve ball on Friday (after I had blogged for the day) that is changing things and has been rather upsetting. But since I've had time to process it, I think I'll share it here.

I share this to help you see what navigating the music industry can be like. I thought I had a good understanding of how things work in the business and what to expect when you do a project with a producer. I've worked with at least 6 different producers in various capacities in the past 15 years, but after Friday, I realized that I still have more to learn.

After telling the trial producer who was working on Night of Miracles that I had decided to do the rest of the project with my former producer, Eric Copeland, I received an email telling me that though it was fine to use someone else, he wanted to know if he could have 3-5% of the income from Night of Miracles for producer royalties/licensing, etc., like he would normally get from producing a song.

This was the first he had ever mentioned it to me.....after two face to face meetings in his studio in Nashville, many emails, a phone conversation and finally a project cost sheet listing his charge to do the whole project, sent to me 2 weeks ago. This was never mentioned to me until I asked him to send the rough mix of Night of Miracles to Eric, who would be producing the rest of the songs. I was hoping to use the current arrangement and add the other 11 songs to the project under Eric's direction.

I had never heard of such a thing and was quite alarmed upon reading the email requesting that I give him this percentage.

I began searching the Internet and discovered that indeed, this type of thing does exist. Of course, when I asked Eric about this, he knew all about it and confirmed what I read in the article on-line, but never asks that of his artists and works with other producers who never charge that either. Another plus in sticking with Creative Soul Records. This fee seems to be reserved for the major league players.

I now have another set of questions to ask if I ever consider a different producer again. I learned a very hard and costly lesson. It's hard to get the answers you need when you don't even know the right questions to ask. I could have saved both of us a lot of heartache if I would have known to ask him up front if he charges any producer royalty fees for producing a song.

I would feel much better about it all if he would have been up front about it before I began working with him, but fortunately I had only hired him for one song. And that's just the kind of thing that has made me cautious in this industry.

Learn all you can before committing to anything. I thought I had. I've been through this so many times before.

We are still in communication about this, and I have come to believe that this was not done maliciously, but without a lawyer, I don't feel safe to proceed any further with this song. I don't want to spend money on a lawyer, though I see why they recommend that you have an entertainment lawyer to help you avoid things like this.

So at this point, it looks like we will be starting from scratch with Night of Miracles again.

I never was good at curve balls, but every situation presents another chance to learn and become more educated about the music biz.

I didn't know elephants played ball!