Time for another update

It's been a fun-filled couple of weeks or so since my last entry, time to get everyone caught up on what's been going on. Before I get into the music updates, I had a chance to go to my 20 year high school reunion at the end of August. I had such a great time getting to see so many old friends, many of which I hadn't seen since graduation day. I ended up getting the award for "Most Changed Male" while I was there. Needless to say, I look a bit different now than I did 20 years ago :-) Hard to believe it's been 20 years! On to the music...

I was sad to see both Proving Ground and Surprise Homecoming come to a close over the last couple of weeks. I ended up having 65 placements in Proving Ground and 9 in Surprise Homecoming. I'm not sure if either will be having a second season but I'm grateful for the opportunities that I got with both shows.

Since my last entry, I've signed three new deals with some music libraries. The first deal came as a result of a TAXI forward. The company signed 5 acoustic guitar tracks in the singer-songwriter style, kind of like Ryan Adams. You can hear them all by clicking this link. I heard from him yesterday and all 5 tracks were sent to MTV for possible use in the Teen Mom series. Not sure if they'll get used or not yet but he told me that if he hears good news, then I'll hear good news, which means you'll hear good news too :-)

New placements (with a video clip!)

The last couple of months have been pretty good to me. I've been getting some regular placements in a couple of new shows, Proving Ground on G4TV and Surprise Homecoming on TLC. In both cases, I'm seeing, or should I say hearing :-) some tracks that I wrote and pitched specifically for those shows. Both of the shows also contain some personal "records" for me in terms of placements. In the Harry Potter episode of Proving Ground, I had the most placements ever in any one episode of a show with a total of 14. And in this most recent episode of Surprise Homecoming, I had my longest placement with a total length of 1:16.

It's a great feeling to be watching the show and then hear a cue that you wrote specifically for a certain type of scene, actually show up in the show AND get used in that type of scene! In this specific case, I'm referring to most recent episode of Homecoming and the "reveal" scenes. I had four cues used in this most recent episode with two of them being the "reveal" scenes. I've posted a clip below of one of those scenes. The cue is used from the beginning of the clip until the family "turns around" and it's a piece that I co-wrote with my dear friend Lydia Ashton.

It's been fun watching these shows with my wife next to me. Every time one of my cues starts I'll point to the TV and exclaim "MINE!!!" with the giddiness of a little kid at Christmas time. Though I've been writing music for a while, I'm still kinda new to the film and TV music aspect of the biz, and so far, the new-ness of hearing my music on TV has to yet wear off. I don't think it ever will. This business is tough and I feel I've been very blessed to see my placement totals continue to increase on a weekly, and in some cases, daily basis.

Some other recent placements that I've had would be in the shows Curb Appeal (HGTV), I Hate My Kitchen (DIY), 10 Grand In Your Hand (DIY) and according to my ASCAP international statement, an episode of America's Got Talent that played in the United Kingdom.

Like I said, the last couple of months have been pretty good to me. Can't wait to see what the rest of the year holds!

August Update

It has been a rather eventful summer to say the least. A couple of days after my last blog post my parents came down to visit. It was a short visit but a great one filled with lots of laughter and food. In other words, a typical family visit :-)

A few days after that I had a chance to write some music for a new reality show about a pest control service. Not sure if I'm allowed to say more than that at this time. I ended up writing and signing some new tracks in a couple of genres that were new for me, classic rock and hip-hop.

A couple of days later I got an opportunity to write some tracks for a new show that recently debuted on TLC called Surprise Homecoming, hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus. The show is about soldiers returning home from war and surprising their loved ones. It was a very quick turnaround time for the new cues as the show was already being edited. I wrote a few cues and I also did some co-writing with a couple dear friends, Lydia Ashton and Cathleen Weinrich, both of whom are amazing musicians. Cathleen and I had two tracks signed and Lydia and I had four tracks signed.

Perception and Reality

I was having a conversation with my wife yesterday about how I've been feeling that I haven't been as productive this year, from the standpoint of music creation. It's not that I feel like I've been lazy or anything, quite the contrary. I know I've been working as hard but for some reason, in my mind, it feels like I'm "behind schedule" compared to last year. So I spent some time on the subject last night.

Proving Ground sneak peak and Sniper

I don't typically do this but I'm going to start this post off with a viewer discretion is advised warning. Those of you easily offended or sensitive to violent images may want to skip this entry.

I found out last night that the premiere episode of the show Proving Ground on G4TV is actually viewable online at YouTube as a sneak peak until June 6th. So for those of you who don't have G4TV you can actually watch the episode online now. I watched it last night and discovered that I had 5 tracks used in the episode. I'll put a list of them after the video for those interested in knowing which ones are mine. If you want to hear my vocal "debut" then skip ahead to around the 16:40 mark to hear me "singing" about bananas:

1) Thorn In My Eye from 0:04 - 0:17
2) Blues Fun from 2:16 -  2:35
3) Fender Bender from 6:08 -  6:23
4) Going Bananas from 16:42 - 17:13
5) I Don't Even Care from 19:13 - 19:24

For those of you who do have G4TV, the show debuts on Tuesday June 14 at 8pm Eastern and will run for 9 episodes.

Seriously wiped out by crushing cicadas on the ground

The title of this post doesn't mean what you may think it means but if you continue reading all will become clear. But before I do that, here are a couple of updates about some items from my last entry.

First off, the Fantasy Factory episode is now online. You can view it by clicking this link. My cue begins at around the 17:10 mark in the episode.

Second, the "Writer's Detour" that I was suffering from finally went away and I was able to meet my deadlines. Barely, but I met them. And now thanks to the detour, I've got a few new tracks to finish in some new styles for me. And now on to the new updates since my last entry...

April showers bring...

One of first things I had to learn when I decided to try for a career in the Film and TV music business was just how patient you have to be when it comes to getting paid. Take the title of this entry for example - "April showers bring..." - Most of you would probably complete that phrase by adding "May flowers." But to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about, let me change it up a bit and say it this way... April 2010 placements bring December 2010 royalties... So as you can see, patience is a necessity in this business. That's one of the aspects of this "glamorous" business that I end up having to explain the most to my non-music biz friends.

And speaking of April placements... For the first time ever, I know about a placement in advance of the show actually airing! I'm not sure which specific track is being used, but during Act 3 of tonight's episode of Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, I have a 20 second cue being used. I'm fairly certain it'll be an uptempo hard rock/metal cue. The show airs at 9:30pm Eastern. Check it out!

March Madness!

I don't think I could have come up with a more appropriate title for this entry. As many of you know, I'm a huge Kentucky basketball fan and (most) every year during the month of March they compete in a little basketball tournament affectionately known as March Madness. Well, they're not the only ones dealing with madness this month. I'll get to that in a minute but first I've got a quite a few items to update everyone on.

Let's start with where I left off, and that's with the film score project. In spite of the fact that my main studio computer was down for over half of the project ( It was a power supply issue, and after a poor job by the 2nd service tech that HP sent, I was able to get the machine back up and running by myself later that night), I was able to meet my March 1st deadline.

I can share more about the film now as well. It's a faith-based movie called Decision and it stars Natalie Grant and Billy Dean. I'm not exactly sure when it's going to air but the latest I heard was they expected it to be on TV sometime near the mid/end of April. Once I know more, I'll be sure to let everyone know. It was a great experience working on the film. The production company is planning on shooting more films this year and I've already been told to expect a phone call from them in the upcoming months about scoring those as well. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about that.

About 15 minutes after I found out that that every cue had been accepted and I was finished with the score, I got a postcard from our water company stating that our usage for the past month was higher than normal. This is where the madness begins...

Quick Update

While the studio computer is booting up, I wanted to post a quick update on what the last two weeks have been like. First off, my new studio computer is still down. The new motherboard got installed on Monday but it didn't solve the problem. They now think it's the power supply. The replacement part arrived today and the service tech is scheduled for tomorrow. So HOPEFULLY I'll be back up and running on the new machine by tomorrow night.

In the meantime, my old machine is doing the job. I've submitted 11 cues so far for the film score. I've been getting some positive feedback from the director so that's very encouraging. I've started to get into a bit of a groove and I think I've got a pretty good sense of what the director is looking for score-wise. I've still got quite a bit of music left to write, but not a whole lot of time left to do it in.

Speaking of which, gotta get back to it, that March 1st deadline is coming up quick!!!! But before I go, I just got to give a "shout out" to my awesome wife who is being so extremely supportive and encouraging through this "stressful" couple of weeks. I love you honey!

-Big Blue

The Best Laid Plans...

Ever have one of those days when the one thing that you absolutely could not afford to go wrong does? That was today for me.

I awoke this morning to find that my studio computer had decided to engage itself with a game of tag. But instead of chasing someone around and slapping them, it decided to turn itself off, wait a second, turn itself back on, but within a second or two before it could even get booted up, it would turn itself off again. This vicious cycle could only be stopped by disconnecting the power cable.

Obviously, there is never a good time to encounter this kind of computer problem. But when you're on a deadline of basically 3 weeks to compose a film score for a full-length film, well, that just makes matters worse.

Fortunately, for me, I still have my previous studio computer so I'm not at a total loss. But I did spend the entire day just installing two pieces of software (around 100GB each) just so I'd be able to keep working while I wait for my machine to get repaired. It is under warranty, but this is the second time I've had to have it fixed for basically the same issue. The last time they replaced the processor. This time they're replacing the motherboard. If it happens again, they'll be replacing a customer ;-)

Well, it looks as if the software is done installing so I better wrap this up and see if I can get anything done tonight.

- Big Blue

What's Up Ahead

As some of you already know if you happen to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I recently got a gig scoring a full length film. I've had the rough edit for a few days but tomorrow I'm getting the locked version, as well as having a spotting session with the director. I'm very excited about this project, as it will be my first full length film scoring gig, and with a very quick deadline, I'm also slightly terrified :-)

Fortunately, I've got the support of many friends, family and colleagues to help provide some words of wisdom and encouragement. If this one goes well, then the possibility of other projects looks to be there. But I'm not worried about that. As a sports fanatic, I plan to take it one score at a time.

If the deadline wasn't as soon as it is, I would take the time to blog about the process while it's going on but I'm just not going to have enough time to do that. After I'm done I'll try to post a blog or two about the process and the overall experience.

Once I'm finished with the film project I'll start writing some "Reality TV" cues for my largest library client. I wrote a couple of them last year and so far one of them has been used in a couple of different shows over the last 3 months. I expect I'll be writing quite a bit more this time.

After that, well, if it's anything like the last project, then I'll probably need to take a break!

- Big Blue

Looking back before looking ahead

It's hard for me to believe that 2010 ended over a month ago! What's the old saying, time flies when you're having fun? Last year was definitely a fun one as I was able to see my dream of having a career in music take several steps forward. I've still got a lot of hard work ahead of me but that light at the end of the tunnel is looking quite a bit brighter now.

The year started off with me participating in a social networking Blog contest sponsored by Ariel Hyatt. It was during the contest that I really began trying to figure out my musical identity. I was torn between trying to be "Big Blue Barry" the artist and "Barry French" the composer. At first I struggled with the decision but eventually decided to go with being the artist. Then near the end of the year, I re-visited my choice and began moving forward as "Big Blue Barry" the composer. Now I'm at total peace with my choice and it feels great.

During the spring I began signing some new deals with music libraries, both for myself and for Crushing Gray, all of which were results of direct forwards from TAXI. I also began getting some new placements outside of the daytime TV medical talk show that I wrote some tracks for the previous year.

Unfortunately, not everything in 2010 was great. In May, Nashville was hit with one of the worst natural disasters it's ever seen, simply known around here as "the flood." We were fortunate in that the only damage we had was with our driveway, but others were not as fortunate. The effects of the flood are still felt throughout the city.

The summer was spent cranking out as many tracks as I could for another daytime TV talk show, this one being focused more on home and lifestyle, produced by the same company that produces several of the largest daytime TV talk shows out there. I ended up signing 50 tracks with them at the end of the project. It was a very tiring project but well worth it in the end as I ended up with around 120 placements on the show during the last three months of the year.

Speaking of the last three months of 2010... I had a chance to take my annual trip up to the Big Blue Madness to see Kentucky start off the 2010-11 season, as well as my trip to the TAXI Road Rally. The week after the Road Rally I found out that I had landed the theme song for a new TV show that was debuting on a brand new network that debuted in 2011. Again, it's one of those deals that I'm not permitted to disclose the name of in public but you can probably guess which network I'm talking about. I'll give a hint about the show, it airs on Monday nights at 10pm, but that's all I can say :-)

Finally, in December I got a chance to become a "Go To Guy" for the library that had gotten me placements on a couple of TLC shows earlier in the year. I've already signed a handful of tracks with them and look forward to writing more.

I believe that covers the highlights of the past year. And from the looks of things so far, 2011 is going to be just as exciting!

Couple of quick items

First off, I can't believe that January is already over half-way finished! This month is flying by! I wasn't as active updating my blog as I had hoped to be the last couple of months. But I made some changes tonight that I think will help with that problem.

I'll spare you all the technical details but the short version is that I combined my 'home', 'news' and 'blog' all into one page. This will be much easier for me to maintain and it will also be much easier for everyone to keep up with everything that's going on.

Speaking of which... 2010 was an incredible year for me. I was truly blessed more than I could have ever imagined. And though I'm still a few years away from making my dream a reality, I can't believe how much progress I made this past year. I'll be doing a "Year In Review" post with a "Here's What's Next" section included in there as well.

Well that's all for now. Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the new web site format, especially for those of you who subscribe to the blog with an RSS feed. You probably saw quite a few posts tonight!

- Big Blue