Basic Broadcast Quality for Film & TV

If you’re pitching your songs to the fast growing film and TV song market – or thinking about it, which you should be! – there is one challenge that seems to overwhelm a lot of songwriters: Broadcast Quality recordings. It may seem like big a deal but it really isn’t. Read on!

For the film & TV song market, your song (or instrumental track) will be used “as is.” Production schedules don’t allow for time to remix or request changes from you. While they will edit the track to fit a scene, that involves only cutting or repeating sections of the song. So, in terms of recording quality, your track needs to be competitive with other tracks that are being used in this market

Also, to really be successful as a film & TV songwriter, you want to create a constant stream of new material. Does that mean you have to hire a pro studio and session musicians, then spend more $$$ and hours mixing every song you want to pitch? It does if every song has to sound like that fully-produced Electro-Dance-Pop track on the radio! Luckily, you don’t have to do that! Continue reading “Basic Broadcast Quality for Film & TV”

Holiday Songs: ‘Tis the Season

Unlike radio hits that burst on the scene then fade away, holiday songs have a long, long lifespan. Almost every major artist records at least one album of holiday songs. Sure they include the songs everyone knows and loves, but they need to sprinkle in a few potential new holiday hits, too. So, while the sights, sounds, and excitement of the season are all around., take the time to look and listen like a songwriter. Make a note of images, grab snippets of conversation. Be aware of your own feelings. Remember the holidays of your childhood. You’ll use all these ideas to make your song  fresh and emotionally honest.

Themes
One of the biggest challenges of writing a holiday song is coming up with a new idea or approach. A generic holiday song with all the usual images isn’t hard to write but it will be hard to sell. It’s been done already…a lot!

Emotional themes: “White Christmas” is a such a classic and we’ve heard it so many times, it’s easy to miss the things that make it so great. The idea of yearning for the ideal Christmas of youth – the white Christmas of dreams – is a powerful, moving theme.  What do you long for? What do you remember? Try writing a song about those feelings.  Continue reading “Holiday Songs: ‘Tis the Season”

Write Songs for TV Commercials

What was that song on the Delta Faucet commercial, the cute one that goes “So many things your hands can do”? It sounds like a children’s song, something maybe you might write for kids. Well, it is a children’s song. It’s from a Sesame Street record featuring The Count, the vampire Muppet who simply adores numbers. Could you write a song like that? You probably could and possibly you already have.

Songs add emotion 
Advertisers use songs to link their product to an emotion. For the most part, they don’t use jingles anymore – those little ditties that sell a product by naming it (“Campbell’s soup is, mmm, mmmm, good.”) or telling you what it does (”Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is.”)

Instead, we hear songs that have the emotional feel the advertiser wants to associate with the product. For example, Suburu used Sheryl Crow’s “Every Day is a Winding Road” to add an organic, free-wheeling feel to a big ad.

But you don’t have to be a hit songwriter like Sheryl Crow to get a placement in a commercial. For another one of their ads, Suburu used an unknown artist and song: Basia Bulat’s “Before I Knew.” Now, everyone is asking: Who’s that singer? What’s that song? And downloading it at iTunes. Here’s the commercial with the song…

=> Keep the lyric focused on a single emotional theme
To improve your chance of getting a commercial placement, choose an emotional theme that will appeal to advertisers. Look at the products that are being sold on TV. Ask yourself: What does this company want people to feel when they think of or use their product? Confident? Happy? Powerful? Loving? Whimsical? Adventurous?

Continue reading “Write Songs for TV Commercials”

Can You Pitch a Home Recording?

Q: Do you think it’s okay to pitch a home recorded version of a song or should I have the song professionally recorded?

A: It depends on how good your home studio is and your skills as an engineer/producer. There are very few limitations on how good a home studio can be if you have good gear and you know how to use it. But it will be harder if you’re recording a cutting-edge Electro-Pop-Dance track then it will be if you’re working on an acoustic guitar and vocal singer-songwriter song.
Continue reading “Can You Pitch a Home Recording?”