few days into the New Year now and I've been somewhat productive.
The main thing is that I overhauled my website to fix a
couple things I'd been meaning to get to for a long time.
First, I made it so that the mp3 links all open up a new window with a
player instead of just linking directly to the mp3. The
advantages are that it looks a bit classier, and people can't download
the music. (Well, actually they still could, but they'd have
to be a bit more clever now to do it.) It's not that I care
whether anyone has the mp3s. Lord knows, I would be
flattered if anyone wanted to download them! But I decided
to make the change anyway because it seems more professional, more
respectable somehow not to be giving stuff away. That's sort
of a theme with me for the new year... professionalism, and the attempt
to get some.
Which brings me to the other really exciting new development at
pcmills.com: I stopped giving away my sheet music for free!
Well, so far I've only set it up with a dozen or so of the
songs that people actually seem to want--like the Caveman song or
Highway Miles. But now when you click on the PDF links for
those songs, it takes you to the "Pete Mills Page Store," where you are
asked to pay $2 for the sheet music. The idea is that people
pay me using PayPal, and then I email them the song. I
checked around to see what various other songwriters charge for their
sheet music, and my finding was that $2 is on the cheap side.
Others charge $5 or even $10 for a song, but I guess after
years of giving it away for free, I couldn't bring myself to jump in at
that higher level. It will take me a while to build up the
necessary self-esteem to ask for more money for my work. I
haven't had any customers yet, but I will be *very* excited when and if
I do! Not that I'm expecting this to pay my rent... Again,
it's more the principle of the thing. I'm trying to convince
myself that this really is my career.
I've also finished up the HONOR demo recording, and I've posted some of
the stuff on here. It's definitely one of the better
sounding demos I have, even though it was done, like all of my stuff,
on the cheap. This time I paid money to do the tracking at a
studio with some better gear... and then did all the mixing and editing
myself. Another improvement this time around is that I
actually got the orchestra into the studio, rather than overdubbing
vocals onto a live recording of the orchestra. In any case,
I'm pleased with how it turned out... Even so, it makes me think about
how I always seem to opt for quantity over quality. Like I
got all seventeen tracks of HONOR recorded, and it all sounds "pretty
good." I probably could have invested the same amount of
time and money getting the four best songs from HONOR and having them
sound really good. I think most composers would opt for the
latter. Professionalism. After all, four songs is
probably all someone wants to listen to anyway. And four
amazing tracks will sell the show better than seventeen decent ones.
Oh, I don't know what will come of it all. Every new year I
think that it's the last possible year I can keep this up and that I'll
have to switch to some sort of "Plan B" career. And now with
every show on Broadway closing and all the theater world hunkering down
for a miserable winter, it seems like there's little hope.
And yet I don't know how to do anything else. And it's late
now. Embarrassingly late for me to give up or try to do
something else with my life. I've had some small successes
along the way... always just enough to keep me hooked for a little
while longer. And yet still, I am nowhere in particular.
Teaching may be the answer. Today I wrote a recommendation
letter for one of the Triangle Club kids who's applying to the same NYU
musical theater writing program that I went to years ago... (ten years
ago?? Yikes!) And I felt a certain pride in having been a
mentor to him and having encouraged him in his writing and helped him
develop his craft. I really like doing the writers' workshop
with the undergrads, and I could imagine myself having a more full-time
teaching job... if I could find one. I've also started doing a bit of
coaching... mostly coaching people on my own songs! Well, at
least I feel qualified for that. But that's something I need
to start doing more of ... on my theme of professionalism and making
musical theater pay.
I never knew how to get money, but I'll try, by God, I'll try.