A Message to a Distant Shore

I was just watching a news story about a girl whose father was Chief Steward on Malaysian Flight 370, the plane that has disappeared over the Indian Ocean. Not knowing whether her father is alive or dead, not know how to reach him but needing to connect, needing to believe he can hear her, she turned to Twitter.

She lets her father know he’s missing his favorite football game, the one they always watch together. She tweets raw feelings: “Daddy, come home. I miss you.”  She sends the tweets out into the vague, everywhere-ness of the Internet. Isn’t it just possible that somewhere, she thinks, somehow, in this vast, airy endless space, he might hear her?

We often make fun of Twitter as 144 characters of trivia. But a few words in the hands of strong emotion can be so much more.  Continue reading “A Message to a Distant Shore”

VIDEO: Secrets of Hit Songwriting – “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is a major hit song that’s a master class in songwriting for the Pop charts. Learn today’s hottest song structure for radio hits, plus ideas on how to write a great Pop lyric and build emotional energy into your melody. I’ll take you through this song step-by-step and show you simple exercises that will get you writing like the pro’s do!

Universal Lyrics for Film & TV

Songs for the film and TV market need to enhance the emotion in a scene without drawing the viewer’s attention away from the story. Lyrics that are too specific or feature their own story lines can be a problem.  So Music supervisors look for songs with what are called “universal lyrics.”  But just what does that mean? Continue reading “Universal Lyrics for Film & TV”

PLAYLISTS: A Film & TV Songwriter’s Secret Weapon!

When I asked successful music supervisors how they manage to find just the song they’re looking for among the thousands of song links, mp3s, and CDs they collect every year, they all told me they keep “playlists.”

If you use iTunes, you’re familiar with playlists. And, in fact, the iTunes playlists are the very ones that many music supervisors use. When you open the iTunes window, you’ll find “PLAYLISTS” in the left hand column. You can add playlists of your own and name them according to artist, genre, mood, or anything else you want. Here’s how they can be helpful if you’re writing songs for film & TV.


Let’s say you have an opportunity to pitch a song to an ad agency looking for  “quirky, playful, upbeat songs about falling in love.” (TAXI has run many listings like this!) What does that kind of song sound like? Do you have a song that sounds like that? You could take a guess. You could spend hours searching for ideas.  Or you could go to a playlist of “Love Songs” that you’ve created and search for those you’ve tagged as “quirky” “happy” and “upbeat.” Maybe you’ve even put one of your own songs onto the playlist.  Continue reading “PLAYLISTS: A Film & TV Songwriter’s Secret Weapon!”