WOMEN WHO ROCK IN MUSIC SERIES 2020 BLOGS
Continuing on from last weeks theme of Self Production and the Feminine Voice, read the previous blog below or here https://www.catherinemeeson.com/women-who-rock/self-production-the-feminine-voice-women-who-rock-in-music-series/
Look after your mental and physical health (I will write more about that in another blog later this year). Your health is your greatest asset and it is crucial to completing work. Life gets in the way, we have our up cycles and our down cycles, and our cruisy cycles. Bills come, stuff happens such as births, deaths and all in between.
It is advisable to have a dedicated account or saving strategy for the long haul, to fund yourself and your work. I got a university award for my honours work and that helped to pay for album number 2 Atmospherica. Get funds where you can, crowdfund, get grants, teach, whatever it takes (this again is my struggle, you can be creative both with and without the financial assistance). But, for God’s sake, just press on regardless, you don’t know where you will be in 5 or 10 years even if you plan. You don’t know what work will resonate and what work will not. Keep creating, keep producing and nurture yourself.
Take time out when you need it.
Collaborate and continue to learn and develop always. The best thing about conferences are the little gems, things you may not have tried and new stuff as well as access to all sectors of the music industry, such as those who have walked before you who are brimming with insight and experience. I see it as a rich treasure trove.
I wish I were better able to reach out and get help beyond just mastering or photography or digital arts, but I struggle a bit with people. I’m very much a loner, I thrive is solitary to do my work. So, with tangents included, let’s come back to the goal or blog focus. The feminine voice and self-production process. It is a lot for only one person to do. How much self-belief do you have and how much work you want to put in, to produce your art? For me, it is every moment I can. I also regularly rebel against my own self-imposed disciplines and order, creativity is chaotic, for most creatives it is therapy (myself included, it is my lifeline and my guitar my greatest companion).
By 2015 with my third album Contemplating Buddha I had managed to get supporting actors into my video clips and someone to help film. I had my mastering engineer and a small team which that helped me slowly take my vision and work to the next level. It was still very much self-directed. People from other disciplines can get frustrated with you if you don’t talk their lingo so learn some, and do ongoing professional development. Film Summer School was fantastic, they offer short intensives in all aspects of film making, with industry professionals. It gave me more guiding structure which helped to commit my ideas to form. My approach is two fold, brainstorming and story-boarding and spontaneous improvisation working with place and anything that pops up out in the field, whether idea, shot type, scene, etc. If I’m doing a film clip I will write the vision down, know what I want and learn as I go. With film clips there is a lot of unexpected on-site learning. Getting others involved requires planning, OHS stuff, equipment, funds, food, budgeting, considering light and weather conditions, having meetings, clear definitions of roles or communicating what you want and expect. I’m still working on that. You might get many gigabytes of footage and do the same scene 3 or 4 times and only get 5 to 10 seconds of usable work, you just have to hope for the best, life really goes to plan. Story-boarding is great, but don’t rely on it solely or you could miss the magic of the moment, which is part of the joy of improvisation. A response to place which then leads the creative imagination. Spirit will always speak through you in response to the world around you, if you let it, it is called follow your gut and follow your intuition.
Contemplating Buddha gave me ‘Ascent for the Eastern Sunrise’ and ‘Rainbow Bridge’ videos. With Ascent for the Eastern Sunrise I wanted to jump out of a plane, but alas, I didn’t have the funds so my nieces partner had just been to Queensland and jumped out of a plane. I asked if they had any footage and they said yes, I asked if I could use it and they said yes! So, I got the footage and there was just enough to fill the film clip and sort of convey my idea. It wasn’t a complete rendition of what was in my imagination, it didn’t demonstrate turbulence and a few of the other aspects I hinted at in the audio, with the captain speaking to the jumpers before they’re about to jump out of the plane, but nonetheless, it taps the same essence. With my track ‘Windcatcher Upon the Waves’ off Atmospherica, (album no 2) I had arranged to go out on a tall ship called The Endeavour. When the day came to go do my filming, it was slightly stormy and broody and it was perfect but they cancelled the ships sail, due to the winds. I was upset it was exactly what I wanted. So, I ended up having to drive a lot further down the East Coast and did the sunset sail instead. I could not produce the full-fledged sailing ship dynamic rise and fall that I had seen when creating the track, (you know, imagine it going through the cresting waves and panoramic cliffs all around or a vast crevasse type structure opening out onto the open sea). So, you do what you can with what you’ve got. I had an old portable handy cam. I had to convert the footage I took and did that video clip with Windows movie maker. It is far from perfect, but conveys a story in music and picture. Again, It was on a wish, hoping that I had enough footage to populate the video, but I didn’t know until I got home and was able to assess it all.
Story-boarding for Come Back
After these clips I got more ambitious because I was starting to achieve a little bit of my creative vision and direction. With ‘Mr Big Man’ and ‘I Am (Song of the Earth)’, they were a huge step up, with a new computer, using Da Vinci Resolve and Green screen footage, as well as stock footage and good old YouTube tutorials. I also take advantage of samples and Creative Commons stock and have a dedicated attribution’s page on my website for this purpose. I love Creative Commons but it can also hold you back in both audio and video work. So, I just document everything and have a dedicated page under the music tab.
‘Mr Big Man’ was a punk rock inspired protest song written in response to a call out from Green Music Australia. I attended the Stop Adani tour and I got permission from protest groups to use footage and also got some paid stock footage, the rest I did with green screen in my garage. It communicated what I wanted an in your face confrontation and protest against an idiotic government and multibillionaire who is determined to rape and pillage the Earth in a dying fossil fuel age.
By I Am (Song of the Earth) I had met my friend Maria (R.I.P). We dreampt the clip up together. We met at Summer Film School in Melbourne. She was a photographer and aspiring cinematographer / film director who dreampt of getting an Academy award, but sadly never got the chance. She was behind the lens on-site. We did scounting trips after Google searches and had regular meetings, settling on a site close to her down around Mount Martha for it’s stunning geology and changability in the light. I spent weeks as costume maker, researcher, stage make up artist and created Oma the ancient clan mother, which itself grew out of another one-woman show that I did that was filmed and made into a movie. ‘By The Mandate of Heaven’, it is on Youtube or available from me.
In the above Playlist you can see for yourself the development of my ideas, tools and knowledge grow and expand.
We were able to expand my creative direction with film clips. I love making film clips. I have always seen works in sound and pictures, ever since I was a young child. My music naturally evokes the visual sense of the 3rd eye. People tell me they see what I saw when I was writing the music, the places that the sound takes you to, which is why I say Music is the Master Key The Universe. In Guided Imagery in Music (Helen Bonny), music is used as a therapeutic tool because of its ability to generate rich imagery and promote integration of the personal and collective unconscious. I will write more about that another time, (music sound and healing). I am obsessed on all levels with music sound and healing, they are the fields that I’ve developed and devoted my life to. I have practitioner level training in development, as well as many other music and sound related services which will be released under the business name of The Way of Sound©. The health benefits of music and sound are the future of medicine.
It is important to have self respect and to value what you have to share. I want you to reflect for a minute, on ‘Success’. Is it sales? Followers? Likes or shares?! No, it is successfully expressing the self on all levels and giving form to one’s ideas and then letting them fly into the world to live on, beyond you. Success looks different for everyone, anything beyond completion and release for me is a bonus. With the current state of the world in Covid chaos, the world needs its artists more than ever, to create a paradigm shift and a revolution of consciousness. So, I want to go back to the etymology of words for a moment.
Self is according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, ‘an individuals true self or typical behaviour’. I would add, it is an innermost introspective sense of who we are and all that that entails.
Production – is the making or generating of a given thing, the creation of something from raw elements or parts.
So, self-production is the creation of musical works driven by the innermost self. With the process being of stages of production going full cycle. Creation, gestation, incubation, development, birth and release of the final finished product.
What self-production looks like will be different for everyone, there are Industry norms, but norms aside, everyones sense of completion will vary as well. As in life so in nature, human nature. All art forms are subjective, yet we base our worth in the world on the perception and practices of others. Success for us, must be firmly rooted in a strong sense of self love and respect. If we have those things, we are part way there, open to learn, grow and adapt as needed. So, to summarise, the feminine voice caters more to the inner nature, it does not disregard the pragmatic or discipline necessary to achieve results, but it works holistically and with empathy. It is the Yin supporting Yang within self and in the work and the steps out into the world. It is the balance of forces within self which is necessary to contend with the forces without outside of self, that are in the world.
So, self-production and the feminine voice is about embodying your path, walking your walk, doing your work, doing and being true to this sense of self, able to call on others to support your goals and progress along the path of your choosing. Self-production and the feminine voice is about knowing that it is time to listen to both self and to your dreams, and go your way, self-assured and confident with your choices.
I invite you to join me for a series of Self-production Creativity Coaching for Musicians workshops by Zoom to explore this process and be guided through an action plan. You’ll receive PDF documents with links and worksheets to explore what your path might look like in practical terms. I am offering a series of Free Zoom meetings for anyone interested (men or women) that will introduce you to the course content, should you want to explore a bit more in depth and chart your path for a specific project or production. No dream is too big or too small. I dream of having a production company one day, a label to support other artists and creating music for film clips and movies, but at this time, that is something beyond my reach. For now, I have to be satisfied with creating smaller works to share those things which I feel need to be shared and spoken about in the world.
INTRODUCTORY WORKSHOPS date Sunday 12th & 17th of July – Free
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SELF PRODUCTION CREATIVITY COACHING FOR MUSICIANS- (block of 4) begins online August 23RD, 30TH and September 6th and 13th Bookings info coming soon
For more information on creativity coaching I invite you to search and read the creativity coaching tab . Bookings can be made for my services for one of sessions @ $60 an hour or a block of 4 at at $220. Please inquire.