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”

Songwriting Trends in TV Commercials

Lately I’ve noticed a whole lot of TV commercials using a similar sound. It’s generally acoustic and organic with a singer-songwriter feel. Some of the selections are taken from songs by known artists like Katie Herzig, others from unknown artists like The Hunts, and still others seem to have been created for the ad. Click on the YouTube videos below to listen to three of the dozen or so I’ve found.

If you play acoustic rhythm guitar and can put together a warm, energetic vocal blend of layered “ooo”s and “ah”s this could be a style you want to pursue. It not only works for TV commercials but it’s a popular part of many of today’s successful singer-songwriter songs.

Macy’s

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A Three-Stage Rocket to Lyric Writing

When NASA blasted a rocket into orbit, they did it in stages: The big lift-off, a second stage to get the payload into orbit and a third to fine tune the direction. So, what’s this got to do with writing lyrics? You can think of the lyric writing process in three stages:

  •  1. Getting started. (Lift off)
  •  2. Developing your idea. (Getting into orbit)
  •  3. Rewriting (Fine tune it)

=> STAGE ONE: GETTING STARTED
Beginning the lyric writing process with a title can give you a central beacon that will keep your song lyric focused – very important if you want to keep listeners involved. Any short phrase you find emotionally intriguing – or simply an honest statement of how you feel – can work as a title. Make it something you want to write about.

Then make a list of questions the phrase suggests. These are the questions you’re going to answer in your song. Try questions like: What does this mean? Why do I need to say it? How does it feel? How did it happen?  What do I think the consequences will be? Every phrase suggests different questions. And every songwriter will find different ones to ask.  Continue reading “A Three-Stage Rocket to Lyric Writing”

Song Ideas: Use TV Scenes

If you find yourself looking for new song ideas and inspiration, here’s a tip that works! Watch television. I know it might sound crazy but many TV scenes are built around common emotional situations the audience can relate to. That’s just what you want for your song.

CHOOSE A TV SHOW
Just about any drama series will provide you with plenty of good scenes. Look for emotional interaction between two characters. Watch the scene and note the dialogue – you might even write down a few lines to get your song started.

Comedy series are not as easy to use as drama but they will work. If you choose a sitcom, check out the last 5 to 10 minutes of the show when any conflicts or problems are wrapped up and there’s often a heartfelt moment between characters.

Soaps operas, yes, good old-fashioned afternoon soaps, are a good source if you can manage to watch. (There aren’t many left.) They’re slow moving and nothing much happens but that’s because everyone is busy emoting all over the place. There’s enough emotional confrontation, regret, tearful forgiveness, and joyful reunions  to fill a couple hundred songs!

Action series are fun to watch but chase scenes and shootouts won’t give you much to work with. Like comedy series, the emotion is usually in the last  few scenes.

News shows: News shows are filled with emotionally intense drama that just happens to be real. Talk shows and interviews can also be a source. There’s a great story behind the song “I Drive Your Truck.” One of the writers saw an interview on a news show and was inspired to write the song.

A FEW SONG IDEAS FROM TV
Use my article How to Write a Song in 10 Steps to complete any of the following ideas.

SHOW: Classic Perry Mason TV series
Theme: Be Strong
Concept: You have the strength to meet the challenge. Those who love you will help.
Dialogue:

  • “I know things look tough.”
  • “You’re carrying a lot of weight on your shoulders.”
  •  “Let me help you.”

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