Gerald Slavet, executive producer of the series “From the Top” says:
“There is no such thing as failure in the creative world.”
With each “failure” is the opportunity to refocus, change directions and make adjustments so the final outcome is success. Those few words are extremely powerful IF you are willing to honestly take stock of your progress as you move along on your creative project.
In my title for this blog post I say “Artists and Entrepreneurs” because the process of developing an idea is very similar (or the same!) for entrepreneurs and artists. Both go through this process:
- You get an idea, a kernel of inspiration for a new work, or are assigned a new property to develop
- You visualize the possible areas to explore on that property, look at it from different angles or perspectives, a period of discovery to find how many different variations of the final product or create process you can come up with
- Create a plan to begin creating the property
- Execution phase: Now you actually have to work!
- Assessment, Evaluation and Valuation: Is everything going to plan? Does it need adjustment? What are the roadblocks to the final developed property and how do you overcome those? Is this project on a trajectory of success?
I just recorded and released an album in one day. In fact it took me five hours from start to finish. That time included the learning curve of setting things up for the first time, so in the future I may be able to cut that down to 3.5 hours.
What’s the point! A colleague of mine has got me really hooked on Tim Ferriss and the “4 hour work week”. One of the concepts is to do 90% of your best work, not 100%. Why? Because that last 10% of quality is what takes up 90% of the time and most people won’t notice the difference any way. (Now you say, “But I will notice the difference, and this is MY art.” True that. And different things for different times. I’m trying it though to see how it works.
(Overture from Romeo and Juliet the musical by Conrad Askland – Sibelius screen shot)
Here it is late 2015 and there is still the grand debate of whether to use Sibelius or Finale as your main music notation software. You can read hundreds of technical break downs that compare the two. Here, I will give you a real-world breakdown of my experience with both programs.
Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay for the 2015 movie “Steve Jobs”. I just saw the film and absolutely loved it. It has had disappointing ticket sales so far but has a very respectable 85% review rate from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
One of the complaints from tech heads is that some of the true facts have been adjusted for the screenplay to make it a better film. In the link below, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin explains the difference between “subjective” and “objective”; or in other words that some have said, “this is not a documentary, this is a painting.”
How did this box of Captain Crunch end up in my kitchen? I love good marketing and I think whoever put together this marketing for Captain Crunch is a genius.
I had mentioned to a friend recently how much I liked Captain Crunch – Crunch Berries cereal as a kid. So when they were in the supermarket recently they saw this and picked it up for me as a surprise. What a fun surprise gift – but what was even more exciting is the marketing behind this product so let’s look at that now…
(Photo: Andre “Virus” Karkos – Guitarist for Rock of Ages 2015)
Just finishing up my second contract as music director and keyboards for Rock of Ages out of New York with NCL International. What an awesome run this has been! The arsenal band for this run are some of the most talented and just all around cool musicians I have ever worked with. Awesome grooves and strong, hard hitting rock performances throughout the entire contract. Way to go Arsenal!
100 Rules for Drummers is a video compilation put together by my Rock of Ages bandmate and drummer, Steve Such. The catch is: each person could only use three words. My contribution is around #4 with “wear your earplugs!”
Peter Erskine, Jeff Hamilton, Zoro, Johnny Rabb, Curt Bisquera, Ari Hoenig, Victor Indrizzo, Jonathan Mover, Walfredo Reyes Jr., Steve Fidyk, Bermuda Schwartz, Dan Needham, Bruce Becker, Conrad Askland, Bill Bachman, Jeff Queen, Pete Lockett, Andre Boyd, Nick Ruffini, Dave Kropf, Richie Gajate-Garcia, Tim Lefevbre, and many more give their top piece of advice to drummers.
I am very honored to be included in the book Music Direction for the Stage: A View from the Podium, by Joseph Church and published by Oxford University Press. This textbook also includes a forward by Alan Menken.
Are you working in Ableton Live and trying to unsuccessfully load a set that crashes with “Out of Memory” warnings? A very simple workaround (as seen in the graphic above) is to turn off “Use Audio Units”. This will load the set without plugins so you can get the set up and running in order to cut it down and resave.
So once again I join the Rock of Ages cast as music director and keyboardist for the 2015 runs in New York and Bermuda. The band “Arsenal” is rocking hard this year with Guitarists Gino Del Sole, Andre “Virus” Karkos, Steve Such on drums and myself.
Most people know me as a music director, pianist or conductor for live shows and recordings. But what is very dear to my heart are my new musicals. These have all had an amateur 3 week premiere run to work out all the script, score and technical elements. They are all currently unpublished and await a professional run and agent representation.
I hope you will contact me either about agent representation of these musicals, or about performing them with your theatre group. I am very excited to see what other groups will do with these new works!
Romeo and Juliet the musical
Overview: Set entirely to William Shakespeare original text. In over 400 years there has never been a successful musical version of Romeo and Juliet using only Shakespeare’s original words. I believe this could be the first.
Reviews: “Revolutionary music”
For more info visit: http://www.RJmusical.com
PAN the musical
Overview: A retelling of the Peter Pan and Wendy story by JM Barrie. A new Peter Pan musical with classic score and updated for contemporary audience interaction.
Reviews: “Askland creates magic again”
For more info visit: http://www.PanMusical.com
Witches! the musical
Overview: The Salem Witch Trials come to life in 1692 Massachusetts.
For more info visit: http://www.WitchesMusical.com
Romeo and Juliet the musical will have it’s world premiere January 30 – February 15, 2015 at the Historic Lincoln Theatre in Mount Vernon, WA.
RJ is my largest and most advanced musical score to date and features 10+ live musicians with a cast of 30+. The script and lyrics use only the original source text from William Shakespeare’s original Romeo and Juliet. Our time period is the authentic time period of Shakespeare’s original world premiere of RJ, late sixteenth century (1592-1594).
This work is orchestrated for Key 1, Key 2, Trombone, Horn, Flute/Piccolo/Recorder, Oboe, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Drums Bass and Guitar.
In over 400 years, since the original premiere of Romeo and Juliet, there has never been a successful musical rendition that has been embraced by both audiences and theater critics. Artistically this is a momentous challenge as we aim to do just that. We are brave. We are strong. We are RJ 2015. HUZZAH!
Follow our progress at the website for Romeo and Juliet the musical
I had a great time taking a break to take some photos in Lyman, WA. Particularly I enjoyed the rustic landscape and looking for interesting textures that we might overlook on a brisk walk.
I’m always amazed how just having a camera in hand can change our perspective for what the eye notices in it’s surroundings.
(Score sample of Keyboard Two part from Conrad Askland’s “Romeo and Juliet – the musical”, July 2014)
As I’m working on orchestrations for my third full length musical, “Romeo and Juliet” (http://www.RJmusical.com), I realize the need for a particular scoring approach for the Keyboard Two part. Here is the solution I came up with to incorporate Apple’s MainStage with Sibelius for use in orchestrations and creating the final Keyboard Two patch setup.
From left to right: Miki Santamaria (Guitar 2), Conrad Askland (Music Director and Keyboards), Paul Wandtke (Drums) and Angel Paz (Guitar 1).
Diario de Pontevedra, a Spanish newspaper, published an article about our Rock of Ages lead guitar player Angel Paz and included a photo of our band. This is “Arsenal” for the 2014 Rock of Ages at NCL New York.
We’ve had a great run as the 80’s Arsenal band on this show. A lot of work, but totally worth it and a stunning cast to work with both on and off the stage. Now, if I can only figure out what the article actually says…
The scripts and scores are completed for my latest musical – “PAN” (http://www.PanMusical.com). Even though the show had a community theater premiere in Sept. 2013, the follow-up process of completing the scores is very intense. Edits to script and score from the live run have to be incorporated. Tech notes, alternate melodies, clarifications to script and tech, and the never ending process of adding as much complete information as possible to the final orchestral score.
Here’s the Rock of Ages band for the NCL Breakaway run from March through September 2014 out of New York. We just finished several weeks of rehearsals down by Tampa, Florida and we’re getting ready to install the show on the ship.