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#997356 - 02/25/13 06:13 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: ]  
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DonnaMarilyn Offline
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Originally Posted by Carl_B
What are you yellin at me for. I read it! Others wont LOL

Not saying I read it yesterday, it was many years ago, its not a new book.

But the tip off should be "Billboards guide" , not too commercial!

Have you read any other books, perhaps we could click on one of those.

How to write a hit song, and live to hear it on the radio?
Sheila Davis Craft Of lyric Writing?
John Brahenys book?
Molly ann Leinkins Book?
Anne Stopes book?

I find useful bits in anything I read.

Have you read War and Peace?



I never yell, Carl. grin

Yes, I've read the books you mention. wink (Other than by Molly Ann Leinkins, a name I assume you made up. smile ) (And I presume you mean Andrea Stolpes?)

Yes, I get something useful out of pretty much every book I select to read on specific topics. (When I want to buy a focus-area book, I research it first. Beall's book has been around for 3-4 years, but I wasn't familiar with it.)

I'd hoped the thread might become an actual reasonable discussion of the book, as Colin had, I think, tried to set it up to be. wink (In fact, you came closest to doing that. wink ) I was overly optimistic, though, given that few if any threads of this nature here ever land on or remain on topic. grin

Anyway, back to songwriting, and using a few of my newly gathered tools. wink I take inspiration where I find it. wink

Donna





Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997372 - 02/25/13 10:13 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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John et al...I understand your take on this completely. I have met some great players who were not classically trained and some who are. I have met people who can improvise or play just about anything by ear and some who cannot play anything unless the sheet music is put in front of them.
I remember when every club singer sang in clubs with a resident live band who you had just met that night but were expected to perform a dozen or so of your songs to a professional standard in front of a very discerning audience. You presented the band with dots for the songs you were going to sing in the hope they could play the songs to a decent standard...no sound check or rehearsing...it was a nightmare. Some bands, in my experience most of them, could not read music and it was a hit or miss if they even knew the song or could play something remotely like your arrangement. It brought a whole new meaning to stage fright and nerves. It also taught how to ad lib, improvise and how to get the audience on your side. It was not uncommon to save embarrassment and change the songs you intended to sing by choosing songs from the bands own set list that you also knew. Most audiences could spot someone struggling with a bad band and made allowances BUT sadly the bookers or club owner sometimes could not. You sometimes had to decline work knowing that the band were so bad they could ruin your reputation. To say that a good band can make a bad singer sound good and that a bad band can make anyone sound bad is an understatement.

Anyways as to songwriting......any knowledge or classic training can only be a benefit providing it is used properly. Whilst the need for reading music and writing dots in this day and age is all but obsolete especially when it comes to songwriting I still think that anyone is operating under a huge handicap if they do not understand the practical aspects of music. To do it by intuition alone is asking too much. Perhaps the reason why much of todays music is so naff is that few understand these tech aspects. Some only know that a bar is where you get a drink. a Quaver is a kind of maize snack. and a crotchet is an area at the top of your legs.
As for books well I also have learned a lot from books...but I have to say I have learned a lot more from the experience of getting out there and doing it.

#997388 - 02/25/13 01:29 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
As I mentioned above, I don't really care if anyone reads this book or not. However, I do find it enlightening that people who spend hours on this songwriting board, and spend more hours writing songs, paying to have them demoed, and unsuccessfully pitching them, are not at least curious enough to spend the cost of a couple of lunches or glasses of wine to see if they might learn something worthwhile.


Yeah, I mean I think it can't hurt to learn. You can always decide you don't agree with material and not use it.

#997389 - 02/25/13 01:29 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Colin Ward]  
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
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HiDee Y'Alls!!!

Hmmm..."Write in One Specific Genre"... (Guess Taylor Swift's destined to end up Poverty-Stricken & Nameless...) ;-)>

OK..OK..."It's a GUIDE-Book for us LESS-Creative Creatives"..I GET It.

And..soon..I WILL.

I figure it's WORTH the $17 Outlay to hopefully Catch-UP with The Industry Today...(Even IF it's Fulla-Crap..)

I rather expect it'll say, in-print "Pen SHORT Songs, so Radio has more Airtime-Left to sell as Commercials."

It also oughta say in-print that there ARE Songs Airplayed that are basically BOUGHT & PAID-FOR by Labels and Managers so they DO get Airplayed, that DO go-on to become Hits. (Since we ALL are Aware that "The Airwaves DON'T belong to The People anymore...but to The Highest-Bidder.")

So-Far, my Top-2 Songwritin' Books: "The Craft of Lyric Writing", by Sheila Davis (Yeah, 'tis a wee-bit Dated, BUT nobody's topped it for the CRAFT Part, JMO) and "The Craft & Business of Songwriting" by the late John Braheny.

I think my limited Budget CAN absorb a $17 Hit...heh-heh..IF it helps my Learning-Curve even a WEE-Bit.

QUESTION for the Cognoisetti: CAN ya pay for it, the Online Version, AND read it Bit-By-BIT, OR do Ya HAVE to download it ON-The-Spot, never to return to RE-Read???????

Thanks for Educatin' Me...I'm usually In-Need!

Best Wishes & Big Hugs,
Stan

PS: I Googled "Books on Songwriting" and Amazon has a list of the Top 25. & Lo-&-Behold, I've got a few more here I'd forgotten-about: "6 Steps to Songwriting Success" by Jason Blume ($5.73 & Up)..{Seem to remember Jason recommends visiting a Music Center at least 5X a Year..as one of The Steps..[Alas, in My Case..heh!]}..and Pat & Pete Luboff's "101 Songwriting Wrongs (& How to Right Them)"..{Very Fun & Well-Penned How-To Book..You'll enjoy it!} They also self-publish "12 Steps to Building Better Songs"--& I've met 'em personally many a time back when I COULD travel to Music Centers--They're Really Nice Folks/Know Their Stuff.

AND..just remembered Another Book, penned in 1998 by JPF Mentor, & Friend of Mine, Harriet Schock, "Becoming Remarkable". 2 Quotes that've stuck with me in it: "If you're doing it for the money, you probably won't make any" and, craft/inspiration-wise, "If it's something real that is screaming to be said, it'll write itself."

Last edited by "Tampa Stan" Good; 02/26/13 03:34 AM.
#997395 - 02/25/13 01:56 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: "Tampa Stan" Good (D)]  
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I would imagine that you download the file usually as PDF and it is there for you to read on your PC whenever you wish and as often or as little as you wish.

#997469 - 02/26/13 01:59 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: ]  
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Hey Colin -- Do you have a movie you can recommend? I can't decide what not to see this weekend! Thanks! Lisa

#997474 - 02/26/13 02:35 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Lisa Gundling]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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Lisa,

Don't go to see Identity Thief. I have not seen it because the company that made it wants to be profitable and sell movie tickets. Plus it's a hit so it's probably crap.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#997491 - 02/26/13 07:15 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: ]  
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Carl, thanks for the name clarification (and for introducing me to Leikin).

Interesting that she's a Canadian (like me smile ), and fled to California to escape our harsh winters.

I had a look at several of her books. I was tempted to buy one of them out of curiousity, but noted that the particular book - and the others - had been published many years ago (the one that interested me was from 2003). I also noted that the books had only a small handful of reviews, and not all were positive. This is in contrast to books by Davis and Pattison, for instance, who update their material in line with developments in the industry, and whose work is highly regarded.

Nevertheless, without actually reading the book it's not fair to judge. wink I found a cheap secondhand copy online, and will order it. I'd like to compare it with material by Davis, Pattison, Stolpe, Blume, Webb, Rooksby, and others.

(By the way, I visited Leikin's site: She's quite the businesswoman. grin )

Bottom line, of course, is that books can't replace hard work and getting out in the thick of things; but they can be very useful as guidelines, at least to people like me. And as the song says: "You take what you need and you leave the rest". wink

(If you're interested in guidelines, you might want to check out SongU.com.
The instructors/mentors there are widely experienced, have equally long lists of credits, and are active in the profession, including performing live and giving workshops.)

Lisa, oh no, not another hijack! I know you did that on purpose. grin Check out the movie "Peacock". It's from last year, but is, I think, only available on DVD. It's a gem. Thought provoking and wonderfully acted.

Donna


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997495 - 02/26/13 08:46 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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(By the way, I visited Leikin's site: She's quite the businesswoman. \:D )

I visited the sites of most of the bookwriter people who have been mentioned........guess what..... they are all businesspersons. They seem to put making money before anything else. That IMO is completely the wrong way to approach songwriting......it stifles and restricts free expression as most advocate obeying rules, writing to, or following a formula or copying what is in the charts at the moment in one shape or form....this I see as a huge negative to music as an artform.
My advice if you want to be a great songwriter..... read the books but pay little heed to what they say.
If you want to write naff songs that could potentially make money.....then do what the book says. The chances of actually making dollar one are somewhere between very slim and none with none being the favourite.
You could of course have a nice lunch, or a good bottle of wine, or pay for a music lesson instead of buying these type of books......that would probably be of more benefit to you.

#997497 - 02/26/13 09:30 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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DonnaMarilyn Offline
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As I said, Big Jim:

"You take what you need and you leave the rest." smile

Donna


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997499 - 02/26/13 09:42 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Sadly Donna most people are not as intelligent and discerning as you. The target market for these books are delusional people who know no different and will blindingly part with money and obey in the false hope that they too can be a hit writer. There is one born every minute. Whilst these unfortunates are more to be pitied than censured I do have issues with people who exploit such gullible people.

Anyone who has had any experience with the sharp end of the biz knows that these type of books are nothing but bull. They either state the blindingly obvious or are totally inappropriate for the target market.

#997535 - 02/26/13 02:21 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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I agree, Big Jim, that it's important to walk a fine line, and to choose carefully which 'bait' to be hooked by. wink (This is of course true in any area of life.)

Perhaps it's because all my life I've been book oriented (personally, academically, and professionally), so it's natural for me to turn to books that I feel might provide additional tools for me to fine-tune my craft, such as it is.

I have to say too that - as a non-player of any instrument - as well as learning a lot about music and melody from the collaborators I have the honour to work with, I've also learned a fair bit about music in general not only from listening to it but from reading about the elements that comprise a quality song. My life has been enriched as a result. smile

If I were to start over from 15 or so, I'd grab a guitar or a piano and learn the heck out of it, and I'd write lyrics and music and I'd sing my heart out at every possible gig opportunity or open mic. smile

Failing that, however, I do the best I can with what's at hand. And that includes picking from books the information that's most relevant to what I'm doing at a particular moment. smile

Each of us has her or his own learning pattern or process. And thank goodness for that. smile

What I'd like to have seen on Colin's thread here (and on others of its nature) were maybe simple expressions of interest/curiousity, such as 'Oh, what did you find most helpful in the book?' Or 'Is there something in particular you're going to implement in your own songs'? And so on. smile This doesn't mean that folks have to agree with the poster's opinion. But at least they would know what they're disagreeing with. wink

It simply allows for an actual discussion. But - as the kids say - 'whatever'. grin

Donna


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997540 - 02/26/13 03:08 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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That would have been nice.....however it seems that very few on this site have actually read the book. Therefore as was stated many times it is difficult to enter into this kind of discourse under these circumstances. What has come out of this thread is that many of us with age, wisdom and experience view these type of books, and there are many, with cynicism and scepticism. Perhaps it is the wild claims they all make that we cannot take seriously. We all know they can be easily promised but not delivered. Perhaps it is the pedigree and integrity of any writer who claims to know the business inside out yet makes wild claims and exaggerations about the contents of a book in a bid to make money.
If success was as simple as reading a book by one of these authors then we would all be successful. Maybe they should not write books or hold courses or workshops that give away such secrets which are so valuable to the recipients because the competition it would create would be a huge threat to their own success.
The only thing they might be good for is perhaps their contact list and an introduction.

#997542 - 02/26/13 03:29 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
That would have been nice.....however it seems that very few on this site have actually read the book. Therefore as was stated many times it is difficult to enter into this kind of discourse under these circumstances.


Right there I laughed so hard I almost fell off my chair. laugh


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#997543 - 02/26/13 03:43 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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DonnaMarilyn Offline
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Big Jim, I'd have thought that not reading the book (by that, I mean any book of its nature) would be a good reason for people to ask questions about what the folks who did read the book got out of it in practical terms. grin
This is the type of dialogue that discussions are made of. wink

I don't believe promises. Full stop. And no one with half a brain believes success - in anything - is as simple as reading a book. That's never been the issue here - and the notion is simply a red herring.

What I have discovered is that applying certain guidelines (given in books or teaching situations) has helped me to become - I think - a better songwriter than I was 5 years ago.

An author's intention when he/she writes a book isn't my concern. But what he/he writes is.

I'm afraid though that I don't follow your reasoning about not teaching, writing, or holding workshops for fear of competition. grin grin grin

Mike, I've just seen your comment. Yes, I had a chuckle too. wink

Donna





Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997549 - 02/26/13 05:58 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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"Big Jim, I'd have thought that not reading the book (by that, I mean any book of its nature) would be a good reason for people to ask questions about what the folks who did read the book got out of it in practical terms.
This is the type of dialogue that discussions are made of."

Questions of this nature were asked very early on in this thread.....but so far we have not had any direct answer as to exactly what the book contains that makes it required reading or even worth a read. On the other hand we have had people making valid points about the guy's sales pitch being less than honest and his claims less than believable. I actually read the first 26 pages......via a site that allows previews of e books....I was not impressed as it only contained long winded waffle and just kept saying what the book could do without actually getting to the point.....even the joke about the A&R man was pretty puerile...I know a lot better ones. Eg. What do you say when you find a A&R man with a bullet in his brain.....one less....or what a great shot especially considering the target was so small.
What do you call an A&R man with an IQ of fifty.....gifted.

My analogy is.....no point in discussing the finer points of Homeopathy or trying some of its remedies...when the whole concept does not work is preposterous and is built on sheer bunkum.
This book is the equivalent of Homeopathy....it does not produce the results it claims.

All that said perhaps if you gave specifics about parts of the book that you did find worthwhile then maybe I might change my stance.

#997550 - 02/26/13 06:06 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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PS Sorry.....My reasoning about the not passing on of secrets was a sarcastic joke.....however few prospectors who found gold were reluctant to say exactly where it was found to protect their interests in fear that others would muscle in. I am surprised this guy and others would give away their secrets for the same reason.

#997554 - 02/26/13 06:28 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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DonnaMarilyn Offline
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DonnaMarilyn  Offline
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Big Jim, Colin did respond to those early questions (one was from John Voorpostel). smile

I'll reply to yours as well, but later. Hoping to have an early night. wink

Donna


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.

http://www.reverbnation.com/donnamarilynrichblend




#997598 - 02/27/13 02:36 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Colin Ward]  
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D) Offline
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"Tampa Stan" Good (D)  Offline
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Hi Colin...Saw "Identity Thief" this evening with La Femme...and...it IS Crap!!! (Good Acting/So-So Script. Save Your Loot!) (Just one man's Opinion!)

"Groundhog Day"...or even "Uncle Buck"..it sure wasn't!

Last edited by "Tampa Stan" Good; 02/27/13 02:36 AM.
#997612 - 02/27/13 08:28 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: "Tampa Stan" Good (D)]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Do not bother with Skyfall either. I watched it after wasting money by buying the DVD probably the worst Bond film ever made. Great special fx and stunts but little else. Bad script.... Plot if you can call it a plot was woeful even for a Bond film.....OTT and so many flaws. Even the theme song from Adele was pretty poor....bad song iffy arrangement and mediocre performance.

#997615 - 02/27/13 08:45 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: DonnaMarilyn]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline

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Indianapolis, IN USA
John,

You've got it right. I said that if you're doing a score for a film, then theory is certainly going to be critical... though I know of exceptions even there where people have done soundtracks simply using midi and sequencing and creativity to do impressive film scores. But you need to be able to understand the parts for each player/instrument and what range it naturally uses and so on to accurately mimic or score for a real symphony orchestra etc. But if you are doing a score of original material that isn't using live musicians, you can pretty much do whatever your mind imagines and there's no need for rules, or someone else's structure etc. Just compose by ear and with your talent. It may be brilliant or it may suck, but it can be done easily and is done by millions of untrained composers every day around the world. And it's sounding better and easier to put together than ever before every year.

Now, I do think some knowledge of how to put together instruments etc. can be very helpful. But classically trained musicians rarely make great composers of original music regardless of style. Are there exceptions? Sure. But in modern day, not so many who have done anything significant started as classically trained players. They can't just riff on your demo like someone using nothing but their own creativity and skills on an instrument to play something new.

I think it's really different parts of your brain which rockets the best players and the best composers versus the best technicians on an instrument doing other people's work.

Bob Malone is a guy who can play anything AND is an amazing composer. He's an A list LA Session piano player and in my view one of the best singer/songwriters I've come across. And I have come across quite a few good ones over the years.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

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#997616 - 02/27/13 09:22 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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The Theme song did suck bad (Skyfall) and it won an Oscar for 1 reason only: Adele wrote and sang it. But I loved the film. It was action packed. Who goes to a Bond film to see plot? None of them have had serious plot writing at the top of their attributes. They are fun popcorn movies with silly plots (the older ones) and only slightly more serious (the current series) but they've always been about either gadgets, cars, guns, exotic locales, beautiful women and massive impossible action. On that scale, Skyfall was a lot of fun. And I enjoyed seeing the locales as well. Reminded me of Western Scotland heading out towards Isle of Skye, one of the most beautiful areas I've seen in the world.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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#997618 - 02/27/13 09:42 AM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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PA
"But you need to be able to understand the parts for each player/instrument and what range it naturally uses and so on..." - Brian

Just a note on this... Sample packages like the East West Quantum Leap Orchestra won't allow playing an instrument out of range. It will only sound on the instrument range that is selected. Many times I needed an F# under middle C for a violin part and had to switch instruments to a viola (or raise the key a half step).

John smile

#997673 - 02/27/13 07:20 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Yes Brian...but you would think that when spending millions on making a film it would not be rocket science to employ a decent team of writers capable of writing both a plot and script that is at least semi believable and suitable for characters with more than one dimension. Just because you have escapism and action stunts does not mean you have to ditch a semi believable story.

Heck If I had known they were really stuck for someone with even a basic skill to do this simple screenplay job I would have offered MY services......I would have done better for a lot less money.....frankly so could just about anybody....few could be as bad.
As for Adele well I simply do not get it. I cannot understand why she is so popular. She underachieves and falls short in every avenue... with the exception of making money.... she has developed some terribly annoying bad vocal techniques......JMO.

#997675 - 02/27/13 07:33 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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ben willis Offline
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ben willis  Offline
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Ft. Myers, FL. USA
I'll take Shirley Bassey ("Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever") any day.

#997676 - 02/27/13 07:42 PM Re: Required Reading - The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing.. [Re: ben willis]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
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Ben I agree you cannot compare the two....in fact Adele is not even good enough to appear in the same sentence.

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