If you have just come upon this Blog – Hello! This is a diary of a Year of Learning I am undertaking. The goal being to be able to produce and perform in the areas of music and video/film in the year following, from February 2012.It’s a risk to take a year out for anyone and has it’s expense and it’s own types of stresses and strains that come along as you travel. many of you will know. But it’s also exciting and definitely a journey.

Last Friday I had a MELTDOWN MOMENT. I have been doing singing exercises and imagined I was improving in my singing technique and was really improving. This building on lessons I have had in the past. I heard a little back the other week and was encouraged. Well, I put a backing track on just before going to the gym. I thought – I’ll just do “Hit the Road Jack” as a song. A quick little recording. It will be great. I have improved so much. Wrong! It was dreadful. I sounded like a parrot singing backwards. Arghhh! Doubts jumped in: maybe you’ll never do it, you’re rubbish, deluded, all this investment and you can’t sing, give up and forget the dream, it’s all been a pathetic mistake, etc, etc… Christiane was shaken because her hubbie is normally so sure of the path and the outcome being positive. So we had a moment.

Well here’s the deal that I see, without the emotion, a few days later: (1) I had not practised the song so I did not know it = I always think I know a song but have almost always made up a different melody!  (2) I have been doing excercises to strengthen technique and voice, but not actual songs = no application, (3) I ‘assumed’ I would be great! = assuming makes an ‘Ass’ of ‘U’ and ‘Me’  (4) I’m not good yet in that I have a base of skill but nowhere near that of a ‘pro singer’ and (5)  I’m learning that to be a professional  singer, for me, is not just a question of  assuming I can do it and some tech practise but of learning in more detail – it is a big job of work, (6) tone is key for me, I am too nasal in my speaking – northern roots – and need to address my tonality whilst singing which is not grounded yet. (7) I have not yet found  my ‘true’ voice?

Maybe it’s because of this experience I have run away from singing this week? I have embraced my Techie mode. My computer diary has different colours green for  ‘Being Artist’ and red for ‘Being Producer.’ There is mostly red this week. A different head space. I have a chart of ‘blockages’ written on the wall and am addressing them. The blockages are ‘Stops to action’ for the artist. The techie/producer needs to enable the artist to create – visuals, music, words… easily. I am working to enable this. Also – right now – for the last three years I’ve been on tour and I love hang out with the techies. Perhaps I am joing them in spirit?

Funny but with 3 TB of data on my computers – that’s a lot – and many duplicated files and needing a file strategy for Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Server and Logic I having to ‘LEARN HOW FILING WORKS’ for each system. I have always ended up with files all over the place, then I redo things because I have forgotten I did them in the first place! Creativity is great but the time used is not always effective! So trudging, quite happily through everything I have deleting – carefully – duplicates. Using GTD – GETTING THINGS DONE filing system Dave Allen recommends = lots of little files that enable a scan of what’s there – nothing hidden away a few layers down. Bringing lots of stuff to light. Some great things I did in 2005 and 2006 but never had the confidence to promote. So they stay buried as a quiet, desperate aspiration in the computer. Time to have more courage and change that. Looking at these things years on and in a different place I go ‘That’s really good.” A distance helping my view.

I have always kicked against the regimine’of having to address file structures. I have been confronted by the complexity of the programmes I am using. Why can’t they just help me instead of being so complex? I have been flumoxed by the quest to get broadcast uncompressed footage into the computer and 5D DSLR footage in on the same timeline and find the computer grind to a halt saying rendering needed! I hate ‘scouring the world of chat rooms’ trying to find someone who might know what you are doing. What a waste of time it seems to me. Somehow I’m getting over the HEAD BLOCKS in this and seeing possibility. Perhaps learning helps lower the fear and anoyance at the software, it’s creators and the marketing speel that tells me what it does! But forgets to tell me I need to train to use it! Something is shifting for me. I am becomming less of the victim and more of the ‘make it happen’ it will work person I want to be. I suppose Jean Michell Jarre had to spend a while creating the base for what he did, and still does, with his synthesisers. Perhaps this time is valid for me too? I hope so. THere is a key question for me. Is it valid to be tring to do full HD as in broadcast quality footage as it takes so much more time, expense and complexity? Don’t know. I have stepped on this path and need to see it through for now my current answer.

So Tech Time. What is my Acquisition Strategy for ingest into Final Cut Server? Do I need to back up before re-installing Raid drive software – yes. Need to buy a big back up drive before that job of work. And I do a lot of this work alone. Why is that?

I think I never had the confidence to step out in the world, in anything other than (1) my sport/art of skating whose world I knew or (2) in the project of the moment that demanded action or finally (3) for fear of the naysayers and the no’s. This drives what I do today. I aim to go direct to the audience and let them choose whether they like what I do or not. Not to go through interim agents and judges. I aim to create professional standard output. A production factory. It’s ambitious. Perhaps madness. But in the madness I start to see more possibility – working across technology and artistry gives a different perspective as to what’s possible for me. When I get to be working with great techies and engineers I will be more informed that’s for sure.

However I am absolutely committed to not staying alone in this. Indeed with Christiane’s input I am not alone, we are team but as she is full time mum and runs our house etc she has little time to practically help this area. I see that BUILDING TEAM for the future will be a huge win. I need great techies, enginners – sound, broadcast, internet architects, 3D graphics, great detailed admin people and people passionate about promotion. Just a small wish list then. Currently I do this myself! But I can only do one area at a time becasue I’m a chap. I’m reading ‘Business Laid Bare’ by Richard Branson and am inspired by the possibility of a culture of ‘Going for it in a maverick way’. (Maverick by Ricardo Semler is another inspiring book). God willing, one day, I will be working in a top team that has the ethos and drive Branson promotes as part of the Virgin brand.

For now, with that in mind, I shall get back to sorting through the detail of systems setup and old files. I hope I am not wasting my time? I hope the investment will bear fruit. We shall see. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Learning to make the pudding at present. Keep on, keeping on…

Hope you have time to pursue your dream in some way today – or maybe you are living it already.

The photo is of the roof outside of my local coffee shop taken at night. It is a view you might not really notice. Art in the Air. The interlacing of wires brings to mind the way the computer works. The computer has no emotions – although sometimes I think it has. It’s just a question of joining up the right wires, plumbing and having the ‘0’ and the ‘1”s work together. Simple when you know.



PS – Christiane says ‘Keep it short’ for my blogs. I have rambled on perhaps? But it is therapy and the truth as I see it today. So ‘Sorry Darling’ it just helps me get things out of my system. You never know it might help someone whose battling away too, somewhere?

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