My Pitch – Reiterated

Re-posted from the original ‘pitch’ of August 15th of this year.   Not one word has been changed.  Unfortunately, not much of anything else has changed either — yet.  

I have been flagrantly panhandling online for far too long for the sake of the advancement of my project.  I suck at marketing, sales, and advertising.  In fact, all those departments annoy the living daylights out of me.  I rock at playwriting, singing, playing the piano, writing music, musical direction, and homeless rights activism.  Blogging probably falls somewhere in the middle.

online-business-to-start-nowIt has occurred to me that if people perhaps knew why I’ve been asking for money, and where the money would be going, it might help me to get some donations from sympathetic people who can afford to do so.  So here goes.

I’m a person who has written a musical, and I would very much like to see this musical produced.  The musical paints a picture of the effects of homelessness on the youth of today’s America.  It is a very positive, upbeat show with an extremely encouraging, happy ending.  I have written the entire script, all of the music, and all of the lyrics.

But there I stop.  It will not be possible to move further toward the production of this musical without getting the kind of green stuff that doesn’t grow on trees.  This stuff is not known to come wafting through the window.  So I need to make a pitch.

There are numerous hurdles I need to surmount before anyone is going to take a look at this show — that is, anyone having the power to produce it.  First and foremost, I need to make an adequate demo recording of three or four of the songs, with real singers singing with their real voices, rendering the melodies and harmonies I have so meticulously created in the musical score that I have painstakingly composed, over a number of years, as I have been passionately absorbed in this project.

Talking around campus, and especially at the local School of Music, I get the feeling there are competent singers who will get behind me.  But like all singers, they will need to be paid.  My songs are catchy, urban, progressive show tunes, Broadway-influenced, and according to many, Broadway-bound.   However, it’s not the kind of stuff that even the quickest of studies are going to be able to pull off with minimal rehearsal.   No singer worth their salt is going to want to lend their voice to this endeavor without at least two or three rehearsals, prior to recording.  The very least I feel I should pay such a singer would be $125 for the whole shot.   I also need five singers to pull this off.  Even some of those five voices will be doubled or tripled, in order to replicate the chorus sections of the musical numbers that I have scored.

I am a serious composer who emphasized in Music Theory and Composition at a major Conservatory, and I hung out with my composition mentor, Dr. Stan Beckler, till shortly before the day he died.  My music draws from folk, classic rock, hip-hop and rap as well as from traditional comic light opera, but by no means does it entail your typical, tired old  1-4-5 progressions.  I have taken great pains to honor the genre of my youth, and bring fresh life and vigor to my favorite Performing Arts Form.  So basically, I need $625 to get started with this leg of the project, and create a decent demo of at least three songs.

I am technically situated so that I can record the singing over the instrumental tracks you hear on this page, eliminating doubled melody lines when necessary, to emphasize the live vocals.  This will sound a lot more authentic than one might think, and any irksome complaints regarding the “canned” use of the “electronic” sounds wll be instantly jettisoned, once my project is heard.   If I had the money to hire musicians and schedule studio time, I would probably go that route instead.  But I don’t have the money, and it would take quite a bit more rehearsal time — so this is the starting point that I propose.

It has not been easy to write these words tonight, much less paste them in three different spots on this web site, and blast them all across the Internet, to the expected ridicule of those who don’t believe me.   But because I know what I am doing — musically, artistically, and theatrically — in the realm of Musical Theatre where most of my lifelong experience lies, I can confidently tell you that I will back up my claims with action — as soon as I have the bucks to make it happen.

powerofprotestWe can take it from there.  I am not above self-producing the show locally, and directing it myself.  But all these moves will require money, which a mere church musician in between jobs on a fixed monthly income cannot possibly conjure.  Rather, if I could conjure up that kind of capital, I’d neither have the time nor the energy to pursue my passion, and the dream of my lifetime will land in my grave.   Daylight’s burning.  I’m in my sixties already.  Let’s get a move on.  Let’s get this show on the road.

If you’ve been reading this blog, and listening to my music, and reading my posts about the Homeless Phenomenon in America, then get the word out to those who have the power — assuming you don’t have the power yourself.

And power to the people.  Power to all the people!  Power to the Homeless People of the United States of America.

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All to the Glory of God

The function of “incubation” – being the second of the four stages of the creative process as posited by Graham Wallas – is amazing in the way that it validates for the Artist that he’s on the right track with his work.

For example, I knew that, in order for “Sirens of Hope” to come across like the opening number of a musical or light opera, five events needed to take place:

(1) There had to be a certain extension of the theme. It had been exposed, but not sufficiently developed.

(2) There had to be a certain type of modulation involved in this extension; otherwise it would seem both boring and unnatural.

(3) There needed to be a certain change in instrumentation toward the end, not only to give the number more variety, but also to give it a “grand sense of finish” — as befits an opening number.

(4) It needed to “rock out” at the end. It had rocked a bit earlier — now it needed to rock harder and longer, in order to honor that “grand sense of finish.”

(5) It needed to end in a certain key, where it could segue most gracefully into the next number: “Bone of My Bones.”

What I did not know was:

(1) The instruments that were logical for the change in instrumentation would happen to turn out to be the instruments that would “rock” the hardest, as needed, for the end of the number.  So I was able to accomplish two purposes without compromise, even though I hadn’t planned it this way. 

(2) The modulation that was most logical and natural — that is to say, the least forced or contrived — turned out to modulate into the exact key which I needed in order to segue into “Bone of My Bones” most gracefully.

The first five events were a function of my conscious intention and choice. The second two events were, according to the Wallas model, a product of unconscious creative incubation.  As such, they were “given” to me as unexpected gifts that, for me, validated that I was on the right track artistically. Moreover, because I am a Christian; and I believe that all good gifts are given by God, it validated for me that God is supportive of my project. After all, it is written:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
— James 1:17 NIV

The Wallas model interprets such gifts as a function of the second stage in a four-stage process. I fully accept that model. I also accept that, for a Christian whose aim is to glorify God in his work, this stage of incubation is the work of God. My own process may seem completely chaotic, haphazard, and random. But it is God who can “make the crooked paths straight.” (Isaiah 42:16) 

bach
Johann Sebastian Bach

What is even more astounding is that, even though I haven’t written any of the lyrics to this piece of music, I can “hear” the lyrics “Glory to God” fitting into a logical place in the melody line, having the same meter as “Sirens of Hope” in a different verse. This is further evidence to me, in a very frank and flagrant fashion, that God intends to be glorified in this piece.  I wonder if an experience similar to this is what was felt by the great composer, Johann Sebastian Bach.  I wonder if it is for reasons such as these that Bach was moved to inscribe, at the bottom of every piece of music he wrote, the words: “All to the Glory of God.”