Archive for September 1, 2011

Industry Tips & Advice: Top Five Parent Questions about Music Industry by Heather McDonald,

Your child wants to work in the music industry – now what? Many parents worry about their children hitching their wagons to the music industry because they’re concerned they won’t find secure jobs, make enough money to support themselves or get serious about life. The reason for many of these concerns is that the music industry is a great unknown to many parents. When your child tells you they want to work in the music business, your mental picture may go to Spinal Tap-esque stereotypes and not much else.

The good news is that the music industry can be a viable goal for your child if they are dedicated to working hard. With your support, they can thrive there as they would in any other industry. Check out these common questions parents ask when their kids want to work in music for the answers to some of your biggest concerns.
1. What Kind of Education Does My Child Need?

This topic is a tricky one. In terms of getting a job in the music industry, experience is what really matters, and it is true that many people working in the music industry don’t have a college degree. That isn’t a hard and fast rule – some industry jobs do require a degree, such as working for a major label. On one hand, the question of college comes down to what exactly your child’s goals are. It may not be required.

That is, it may not be required to get certain industry jobs, but it might be required by you, and that is OK. A college degree offers a good back-up plan and gives your child something to fall back on while they are trying to break into the industry. In terms of the music industry, the major doesn’t matter so much, but subject areas in the arts or business related courses can both be helpful.

What about music business degree programs? These can be good as well, but judge the programs carefully. Look for schools that have a strong track record of internship placements and have faculty with actual industry experience. These programs will be most valuable to your child.

While in school, encourage your child to get as much hands-on experience as possible. Encourage internships plus getting involved with the music community on their college campus. These are the things that will make their resumes strong. A degree alone will not cut it.

2. Can My Child Make Money in the Music Industry?

The music industry is highly competitive, and your child will likely face having to work for free or for very low pay to get a foot in the door. That is the reality – however, remember, that experience isn’t exclusive to the music industry. Many people who are trying to break into the music industry work second jobs to support themselves while they are paying their dues and looking for a good music related opportunity, so have a conversation with your child about their ability to commit to that kind of schedule.

However, once they DO get into the business, sure, they can make money. There is a vast middle class in the music business – people who don’t make millions but make enough money to support themselves and their families. Like any industry, the music business is subject to highs and lows based on any number of internal and external economic factors, and these highs and lows can affect employment and wages.
3. What Kind of Resume Do You Need in the Music Industry?

To work on the business side of the music industry, there’s one thing that trumps all else – experience. As previously stated, employers may or may not require a college degree, but experience always carries the most weight.

If your child is intent on working in a specific role in the industry – for instance, they know they want to be a manager – then of course experience like interning with a manager is a great thing for them to have under their belt. However, any and all experience is a good thing – working at the college radio station, promoting shows for the local club, being a runner at a label – it all counts.

Why does experience count so much? The music industry is highly competitive, but many people trying to gain entrance have a skewed idea about what music industry work is like. They aren’t prepared for the long hours and hard work that is really required to succeed – they buy into the “swimming pools and movie stars” Hollywood version of the story. That means that companies are always bringing people on board who aren’t really there to work – and that costs them time and money. The more experience your child can put on your resume, the more that resume will say, “I get what it means to work in music, and I really want to do this.”

If you live in a place where music industry experience isn’t forthcoming, encourage your child to get active creating their own opportunities. They can contact to local paper to see if they can do some music reviews, organize a battle of the bands showcase, approach local musicians and volunteer to run their social networking sites – this kind of ingenuity and self-starter attitude is prized in the music industry and will look great on their resumes.

4. How Can My Child Find Music Industry Employment?

Here’s the tough part – finding the job. In this competitive industry, your child will need to have several irons in the fire at once when it comes time for them to seek their first job. Here are a few things they should be doing:

Monitor company websites for job openings
Monitor music industry specific job portals, like Music Jobs, for openings
If they go to college, using their university job placement center, internship center and/or professors. Even if they didn’t do a music specific degree, they should approach professors in the music department for advice.
Asking contacts made through work experience/internships for advice about any openings and for referrals to companies who may need help.

In many ways, applying for a music job isn’t different from applying for any first job. However, word of mouth goes far in the music business – another reason experience matters so much. Those contacts can be invaluable.

If your child reaches the point where they need to apply for jobs and they don’t have any contacts, now is the time to start making some. They can start by introducing themselves to anyone local who is involved in music, and they should also reach out to music industry professionals online via email or social networking sites. They won’t always get a response, but it just takes one person to take interest to make a difference.
5. Is The Music Industry REALLY a Serious Career Choice for My Child?

I’m not offended you ask. My parents wonder(ed?) the same thing. But in a word – YES! The job description may include things that might seem like social occassions – going to shows, going to the studio, going on tour – but being involved in these things from a work perspective is much different from having a night out. The music industry is a business – period. Whether your child ends up working in the independent music world or the major label music world, they will be expected to work long hours in a highly competitive work environment and to achieve measurable successes under difficult circumstances. They may get to wear jeans and Converse to work, but they doesn’t mean they are working any less their friends who have to wear a suit and tie.

The product may be music, but ultimately, your child will experience working life like anyone else. They’ll have long hours, the potential for advancement if they perform well, the potential for dismissal if they don’t, good bosses, bad bosses, troublesome clients – you know, standard stuff. They will definitely get some cool perks, but trust me, they’ll earn them.

Music and/or working with music is a legitimate talent. If your child has it, then the music industry has a legitimate, serious career for them.



Industry Tips & Advice: Opening Band Etiquette by: Heather McDonald

Landing the opening slot is an excellent opportunity for any musician trying to expand their audience, but failing to play by opening band rules could put the kibosh on ever being invited back for another set. See, for all the good things about being the opener, there are a few “done things” that the support act kind of has to put up with – and some of them can be a little frustrating from time to time. Just remember that the benefits of being the opening act usually outweigh the fact that, say, your soundcheck may be 3 minutes long, and keep these opening band etiquette rules in mind.

Being chosen as the opening band for a more established act can mean great things in your music career. You will get to play for larger audience than you might draw at your own show – an audience who might then get excited about turning out for your next headlining set. An added bonus is that peppered in amongst those potential new fans might be members of the press and industry who may become contacts for future opportunities.

All of those good things could evaporate pretty quickly if you violate some of the unwritten rules of being the opening act, though. Some of these rules might a touch frustrating, but take the long term view – making a good impression now is money in the bank for your future music career.

1. Co-Promote

There may not be a formal arrangement for you to roll up your sleeves and help promote the show, but get on board and do what you can. Announce the show on your website, social networking sites and via your mailing list. Be sure to include info about the headliners in the promotion you do to your existing fans.

Contacting the local press and radio may also be helpful, but consider checking with the show promoter before you do that. They may have plans for reaching out to the local media, and you don’t want to step on their toes and confuse the message. Generally speaking, the larger the show, the larger promotion machine behind it, so do check before making the media calls.

2. Watch The Clock

When the headlining musicians, their management, agent or the show promoter asks you to be somewhere at a certain time, be there. Yes, even if you know if absolutely everyone else involved in the show is going to be late and you’re going to be spending a lot of time standing around waiting. If something happens that is going to delay you – getting lost on the way to venue, flat tire, forgotten instrument, etc, etc, etc – call someone and let them know. Even if they treat you like you’re giving them T.M.I., better to err on the side of being thorough and showing that you respect the schedule set for you than to bank on the fact that everyone will be cool with you rolling in when you can.

3. Accept The Sound check

In most cases, sound check starts with the headliners and finishes with the first opening act. The reason for that is partially a practical one – the first opener will take the stage first, of course, so when they sound check last, the stage is set up with their gear so the show is ready to start.

However, the reason is also partially hierarchy. Allowing the headliners to get the first crack at sound check means they can kind of take their time and sound check until they feel good about their set. Sometimes, this means the headliners end up taking up ALL the sound check time – or most of it – and that of course means the opening act gets little or no time to check their own sound and get comfortable with the stage/acoustics.

For an opener, that can cause some serious stress, but your best bet is to grin and bear it rather than kicking up a fuss. Sure, it would be great if the headliners made sure everyone got a pop at a sound check, but it IS their show and their prerogative to take the time.

4. Discuss Merch

Before you assume that you’ll be setting up a merch table the night of the show, discuss it with whoever booked you for the gig. Sometimes, headliners (or their reps) frown on support bands selling their merch because any money thrown your way is money not spent on the headliners’ merch. That may rub the wrong way – especially if the headliners are making big bucks for the show while you’re getting a pittance – but you’re kind of bound to the rules set by the people who invited you to play the show. Have a discussion about this before the night of the show.

5. Respect The Set Length

Even if it feels like the audience is eating it up and you’re having a great time on stage, wrap up your set when you’re supposed to. When you run over, you take time away from the headliners. It’s important that they get their full set – or if they don’t, that it is not your fault. Remember, the headliners are who the audience is REALLY there to see, so just be glad you made some new fans and promise them a longer set in the future.

6. Stay for The Show

Unless there is a valid reason why you have to play and dash – you’ve got a plane to catch, a 14 hour drive home, an illness or something along those lines – don’t skip out before the headliners play their set. Yes, even if they are not your favorite band, stick around and watch them play.

7. Say Thank You

Say a quick “thank you” to everyone who helped you land this opportunity and everyone who helped the show run smoothly. From the headliners and their reps to the venue manager and sound engineer, a quick thank you goes a long way.




Quote Of The Day

A man always has two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason.

Industry Tips and Advice: 10 Tips On Becoming a Actor

Have you ever dreamed of one day becoming a famous Hollywood actor? If so, the first thing you need to realize is that this dream can become a reality if you’re willing to put in the time, training, dedication, passion and patience required to make it in Hollywood. If you’ve always wondered how to become a film or television actor, then here are ten steps that may not get you the role of a lifetime, but they will help you to treat your acting career as acareer and not simply as something you choose to do for fun.

Keep in mind that if you’re hoping to become a theater actor, some of these may not apply to you. However, all ten steps are good to keep in mind no matter what type of acting you decide to pursue.

Step 1: Learn How to Act

Seems like a given, doesn’t it? But I can’t tell you the number of people that come out to Hollywood thinking that all they need to do is get a job as a waiter at some popular restaurant, meet an agent, get “discovered” and then it’s nothing but champagne and caviar from there. Uh…no.

Acting is first and foremost a craft. The best of the Hollywood actors understand this and no matter how far they have come in their careers, they are constantly looking to improve upon their craft. They take classes, work with acting and dialogue coaches, they study life experiences, etc. They know full well that even after a lifetime of work and study, they may never reach absolute perfection.

So, for you, it’s imperative that you take a wide variety of acting classes. Work in a wide variety of styles with a as many different groups of people that you can find. Try it all. From Shakespeare to comedy, from improv to cinema verite — the more you know, the more well rounded you’ll be and ultimately, the better prepared you’ll be for whatever roles come your way.

Step 2: Location, Location, Location

I hate telling people this, but if you hope to work in film and/or television as an actor, you need to go where the work is. Now, that doesn’t necessarily doom you to living in Los Angeles or New York. After all, there are plenty of acting jobs in Vancouver, Montreal, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, etc.

But, New York and Los Angeles are where most of the casting directors work and live. So, many of the shows that are shot in Canada or other cities within the U.S. are still cast in LA or New York. So, even though you don’t necessarily need to move here, keep in mind that it is where most of the action is.

Step 3: Be Willing to do What it Takes

No, that doesn’t mean what you think it means. Don’t worry about the “casting couch.” But you must be willing to do what it takes for the sake of your craft. You might ultimately have to sacrifice certain aspects of your life to ensure that you will have success as a working Hollywood actor.

You must take the time to master your craft. If that means sacrificing a relationship or a few friendships along the way, so be it. I know that sounds rather harsh, but acting is not a 9-5 job by any stretch.

If you’re lucky enough to land a role in a major film or television production, realize that this is not the glamorous Hollywood job you might’ve thought it would be.

It’s a lot of work, often 14-20 hours per day, in all kinds of conditions and at least initially, for not much money.

Even actors who make millions of dollars per picture still must “work” to earn their keep. They are on location for months at a time and every day they commit themselves both emotionally and physically to their roles. It can be extremely exhausting. You must prepare yourself both mentally and physically for this type of challenge.

It’s one of the many reasons why Hollywood stars have trainers, psychologists, plastic surgeons, nutritionists and divorce attorneys at their beck and call. Their job is hardly an easy job.

Step 4: Commit Yourself

I once had a friend of mine tell me that there are no bad actors, just actors who aren’t willing to “fully commit” themselves to their craft.

Just as I mentioned above that you have to make certain sacrifices to make it as an actor in Hollywood, one of those is your ego. If you’re about looking cool, or trying to maintain a certain image, then acting might not be for you.

The best actors are those who are willing to let themselves be 100% consumed by the role they are playing. They physically become the person they portray.

If you’re in the middle of delivering your lines and suddenly you let yourself drift back into your own life, you are not fully committed to the role and your performance will show it. You have to literally “forget yourself” to help ensure the quality of your performance.

Step 5: Be Nice

Hollywood is all about helping those you know because they might one day be in a position to help you as well. So, you need to remember this steadfast rule — be nice to everyone. From agents’ assistants to fellow cast members to whomever you meet in Hollywood. Remember, that assistant you treated poorly two years ago might one day become a casting director, film producer, talent agent or whatever. And trust me, they’ll remember those who stomped on their toes on their way up the ladder.

Conversely, they’ll remember those who were nice the whole way up and they’ll be that much more inclined to help them achieve their own goals.

Step 6: Focus On The Craft — Not the Agent

There are many actors I know who spent years worrying more about getting an agent than becoming a well trained actor.

Agents are a necessary evil, but they do not make you or break you (as much as they like to think they do). As many actors will attest, simply because they have a powerful agent does not guarantee their success.

The happiest actors are the working actors. And just because you might not be getting paid for your acting, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a working actor. Every experience is experience. So, spend less time seeking out an agent and more time seeking out acting opportunities yourself. From small plays to student films — you’ll be happily surprised how many seemingly insignificant opportunities are the ones that make your entire career.

Besides, when the time is right, an agent will come and seek you out.

QUICK NOTE ON AGENTS: If any agent makes you pay for their services up front than don’t walk, RUN away from these guys. Legitimate talent agents only get paid when they get jobs for their clients. After all, what incentive do they have to find you a job if you’ve already given them their share in advance? No matter what they try to tell you, or however they try to validate charging you up front (e.g., personalized service, guaranteed jobs, headshots, etc.), do not under any circumstances pay these individuals a cent.

STEP 7: Take Some Improv

Regardless of what you may think of improvisation theater, it is one skill that most actors that I’ve worked with count on in a time of need. Especially for you theater actors who might be stuck with someone who freezes midway through their lines.

Beyond a crisis situation, improv is one of the few styles of acting where you have absolute freedom to discover what things you’re good at, and which things could use some work.

As one actor friend told me, “improv is a way to discover your range as an actor while at the same time, it forces you to explore new territory while having to commit wholeheartedly to the situation at hand.”

So, where you can find an improv class, consider adding it to your repertoire.

STEP 8: Know Your Range, Then Break Through It

We’ve all seen those actors who seem to constantly be working in a particular range of roles. For years, Clint Eastwood epitomized the “tough guy” image, Meg Ryan, the “cutesy, girl next door” even Tom Hanks was once the “goofy, nice guy.” These actors made their name playing certain roles because they found a range they made work for them and stuck with it.

But then, as many of the better actors will often do, they decided to challenge themselves and break through the mold that audiences, producers and their agents had put them in.

Initially, it’s somewhat important to find a range that works for you. It helps people (meaning, casting directors) know who you are and often when you’re starting out, it’s those memories that get you paid work.

But that doesn’t mean you stop developing as an actor. Use the character traits you’ve discovered to get yourself working. But continue to learn new facets of your person. From voice characterization to exploring a wide variety of acting techniques. You will find that everything you learn in the acting realm will be put to use someday.

STEP 9: Be Persistent

There is one general rule in Hollywood — talent won’t get you there, but persistence just might. If you are a dog with a bone, then Hollywood is the town for you. Those who are gritty and willing to give it their all day in and day out will have a much greater chance of success than the Juliard trained actor who waits around in his apartment for opportunity to come knocking.

The trick is, you have to get out there. Meet people and let them know what you are doing. It’s absolutely essential to your success.

STEP 10: Have Patience

Rare is the true “overnight success.” Sure, there are those actors that seem completely unknown one day, only to dominate the limelight the next. But the reality is that there were years of hard work and preparation that led them to that “sudden discovery.”

Hollywood is a strange town. There are actors who have literally been working for decades when all the sudden, they’re in a role that gets a bit of attention and suddenly, they’re famous.

Patience is not only a virtue in Hollywood, it’s an absolute must to keep from going insane. So develop your patience and you will enjoy the process of rising to stardom that much more even if you never end up getting there. ~Phil Breman

Industry Tips & Advice: Music Street Team: 3 Keys to Success Part 1

http://www.musicsuccesscoach.com/teamvideos Music Street Team success keys to building a strong and successful music street team to market and promote your music. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Industry Tips & Advice: How to Promote Parties in a Bad Economy

How to deal with customers during a bad economy. Sharing a couple of club promoting techniques that can assist in getting more people out when they are penny pinching. Learn how to throw a party the right way with Party Promoting 3.0 learning course. Video Blog by: Trent Dunn


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