Six months ago I met Alan and Colleen Sinclair. Together they own and operate the Siphon Draw Apothecary in Apache Junction, Arizona where they sell a variety of organic handmade items that range from supplements to soaps. Just before Christmas Alan approached me about the possibility of doing not one, but two commercials for their business. I leapt at the chance to be involved.
The first commercial was pitched to me as a concept. Alan first explained to me what the apothecary meant to him and then went on to explain that he wanted the audience to develop an emotional connection rather than a commercial one. Luckily, my job is by definition to create and/or enhance the emotional base of any given media. Alan then asked me to approach the commercial as I would a film.
Now it may go without saying, but to have full freedom over the musical direction of any given project is simultaneously the most freeing and most constricting thing that can happen to a composer. There is something about being able to go anywhere and do anything that makes you want to go nowhere and do nothing. However, by the end of our initial discussion I had, for the first time in my young career, walked away knowing exactly what I wanted to do and with what I wanted to do it.
Not long after that conversation I had sent Alan a rough cut of the cue to use as reference in the editing room and to my surprise he loved it so much that he asked me to develop the sections even further. This, for those of you who are unaware, is not a request that is typically made of a composer. Especially when they are writing for a commercial considering that you want to condense information not expand on it. Regardless, I did. In fact, by some miracle I did not end up rearranging or rewriting any of the music present in the rough draft. Which is a really big deal because this job usually revolves around the cutting room floor…I guess Alan didn’t get the memo.
A few weeks later, I paired up with Siphon Draw Apothecary once more to produce another commercial. This time it was dedicated to the holidays!
[This next part is something I probably shouldn’t be writing down considering the fact that either Alan or Colleen could read this at any moment, but hey…I heard somewhere that transparency is a virtue.]
Admittedly I approached the project with a bit more confidence than I had approached the previous.
Or perhaps a better word is not confidence, but hubris.
I believe that it was equal parts my recent success and my general distaste for Christmas music that had me thinking that not only was I going to deliver once more, but that I was going to reinvent the Christmas music wheel. Of course only one of those expectations was in any way realistic. I did not reinvent the wheel…and I was hardly able to deliver.
Instead I spent the most part of two weeks biding my time. I came up with literally every excuse to restart or to work on something else. I had no idea what I was doing and I definitely had no idea where to start.
So, when Alan asked me if I could have the music ready by tomorrow I said something along the lines of, “I finished it yesterday. I’ll send it when I get home.” That was of course a rather considerably large bluff and believe me when I tell you this…I have never written anything so quickly in my life.
The next day I finished it. Or maybe it was that night. Either way I did the job and to be honest I did a damn good one if I do say so myself. Not only did I manage to reorganize the material from our initial commercial into a song-like format that pushed the music into vastly different places, but I also managed to sneak one of those classic Christmas carol into the back half of the composition.
P.S. This year I am going to focus more on producing sheet music from each of my musical projects. I didn’t really make an effort last year, which is a hypocritical thing to do considering that I get upset when my favorite composers don’t release sheet music. So, if you have any requests for sheet music or even full scores with relation to the music on the website or on my SoundCloud please let me know. Otherwise I am going to be putting together sheet music on a case-by-case basis!
See you in two weeks.