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dizzy

Production and fear of completion

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I saw this post on the mnml.nl forums:

I found this somwhere ages ago and it helped me

"Create 4 folders on your projects drive.

Name them: 'Archive', 'In Prodction 1', 'In production 2' and 'Done'.

Put everything you have done, so-far, in the first folder and forget it exsists!

Find a piece of music you would like your next 'song' to be similar to,and copy it to your drive.Analyze the song's structure and start to work on a new song using that structure.[or as close as you can get]

[you can drag the song into you sequencer,and block out the songs elements with markers, or empty sequences.]

Try only use 5 tracks. [Till you have a complete song,at wich stage you can start to fill out any areas that need it]

When you have a complete song, move it to the 'In Prodution 1' folder

Do this again. 4 Times. [even use the same 'template', if you like]

When you have five songs 'In Production' Stop making new songs and start mixing and refining.

When they seem finished,Move them to 'In Production 2' and bounce them to burn to cd.[These are what are known as 'rough mixes']

listen to the cd in various places. [home stereo,in the car,etc etc. [in the car is especially good]

You will hear loads of stuff that needs 'fixing' at this stage,so go fix it

Keep burnig cd's till you think the project sounds as good as it can be

But set a deadline! [3 months would be good] and don't go back to re-write the song.You will always commit to stuff wich 'could have been done better', in hindsight.But hindsight can often have a distorted vision.Leave that for your next project.

Move the songs to the 'Done' folder,then start investigating what you should do to 'Master'Them.

If you find yourself making new loops etc, wich are unrelated to 'the project', you need to do some research on 'Fear of completion'.You may not really want to complete anything,for fear of bieng judged,and found wanting. This is common.

Let me re-assure you,you will be judged,you will be found wanting, but, if you try do your job to the best of your ability,you will probably 'get away with it' [this is whats called 'succes'] Then you'll feel half good about yourself, wich is a whole lot better than feeling half bad about yourself"

This scipt is just a rcommendation for a task wich will get you over the hump.Everyone does things differently IRL,and you'll probably find your own way too,eventually.But if you at least do this one time,you will have stepped up to the next level, and into a position to develop beyond 'messing around'

Hope this helps

(emphasis mine)

Aside from an interesting method of working (which im sure people will jump on as stealing and blah blah blah lets not go there), I found this fear of completion thing interesting.

Maybe there is something to it? I know when i'm working on something and it ends up being a piece of crap i tend to abandon it, maybe beacuse deep down im scared of BEING JUDGED? I guess I find it embarrassing playing music ive created that i think is substandard.   

I'm pretty sure deep down society is to blame. (I WAS ALSO NEVER BREASTFED)

What do you guys think?

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I find it interesting that you post this after your previous topic about joining a band, as the two seem more than slightly related.

I know that while i was making solo stuff, nothing ever got finished, everything was a half arsed 8 bar loop, interesting breakdown, wierd drum loop.  Now that i'm working with another guy, with a view to gigging as soon as possible, things MUST get finished.  If something we make sucks, it gets worked on until either it doesn't suck anymore or we accept it for sucking and toss it in the bin.

And when you're collaborating, your stuff is constantly being listened to by at least 1 other person, meaning you'll get used to your stuff being constructively (hopefully) critiqued on a very regular basis.  That's a good thing.

As for the substandard thing, i think everyone thinks their music is at least a little substandard.  Every song you make always seems a little better than the last and by that rational, you'd never release anything.

Anyway, I really like the production method outlined, i'll definitely be using it.

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^ Reminds me of a book I once read called 'Pressure Sensitive: Popular Musicians Under Stress' by Wills & Cooper

http://www.amazon.com/Pressure-Sensitive-Popular-Musicians-Communications/dp/0803981422 ($330 on Amazon??)

The two greatest causes of stress* in the thousands of professional US musicians surveyed were:

1 - fear of not being good enough in the eyes of themselves

2 - fear of not being good enough in the eyes of their peers

Consciously or subconsciously, these fears can have a big impact on many people's ability to finish a song and release for public scrutiny. Some let it choke them and they never finish anything. Others actually harness that fear, take risks in releasing material for scrutiny and learn from the reactions. It also pushes people to keep on getting better and never accept mediocrity. So it can be a positive thing if used the right way. A little bit of fear can make you perform better - too much chokes you though.

If your work really is good then eventually other people validate that with CD sales, packed gigs, media praise etc. Then comes another kind of stress - living up to other's expectations. Again, people react differently. Some will enjoy the success and gain confidence from it. Others will feel doubly pressured to do better.

I see the 'finishing syndrome' being related to the kind of person and artist you are deep down. If you have no fear (or you can harness the fear) of public and self-critique then you'll tend to release and perform quite prolifically. If you are paralysed by your fears then little to nothing happens.

Not the only causes, but significant factors I think. It could be as simple as being well organised and self-disciplined. There are many self-confident artists who'll never get anywhere because their heads are constantly in la-la land or they have poor time managment... That's where the tips dizzy posted could be really useful to get a bit of method and organisation to one's work. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Bruxism makes a great point that collaborating forces you to be judged in a positive and controlled way, before the ruthless public and media bash your ego to death. I completely agree. Getting tough love by your peers and seniors in the music world is a great incentive to a) improve your work and B) gain the confidence to present it to the public.

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* ps - btw, other big causes of stress in musicians - most are pretty obvious:

- financial, health and basic living security (mostly original artists)

- playing music they hate (mostly session players and cover artists)

- boredom (mostly orchestras and house bands - musicals, TV shows, cocktail bands, wedding bands, etc)

- noise exposure - both hearing damage and mental stress

- repetitive strain injuries, back injuries, lack of sleep, nocturnal hours, travelling too much, smoking too much, drinking too much... the list goes on!

In this book, professional musicians ranked in the top ten of stressful "peace-time" occupations (ie military jobs excluded).

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If your work really is good then eventually other people validate that with CD sales' date=' packed gigs, media praise etc.[/quote']

I've seen many great bands who later reach significant public interest/success perform to empty rooms. Fortunately they weren't in the 'giving up' category... so i got to hear more of their music B)

Point? Not all validation comes through public reaction. There's a great human history of rejecting artistic concepts until either the artist is gone, or generations have passed. I think searching for validation with the music/art you produce - unless your specifically aiming to commercialise - could lead you into a deep pit rather than toward the light.

Personally, my belief is that you've got to be satisfied with yourself, and enjoying what you do. In the long terms, even if you don't ever get some sort of dividend from it... it's the only thing that'll keep you going. I know a good mate of mine has trouble with this concept and me, in particular. I make quite a bit of music when in the mood, but very little of it see's the light of day. Most of it, the vast majority, is finished to the point it just needs post-production work. Some of it is absolute shite. He has a problem with the fact i don't feel compelled to release or try to. I some times share idea's and tunes with friends, but most of the time i just nejoy tweaking and fwoking about.

It has served me well to have this attitude, and regard anything more in the validation department as a bonus. IMO, i'm going to be a very very old man before i've had enough of noodling in the studio... regardless of the number of released works i have.

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hey thanks for you thoughts guys. i just had a friend over and was showing him some stuff ive done, i was looking for a specific file so did a find for cubase project files. There was 188, and only a couple that would be considered finished  :-[ So, not finishing tracks preys on my mind a bit heh.

I think i really just need to focus more and get over it. I think this 5 tracks at once thing might be a goer.

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I've seen many great bands who later reach significant public interest/success perform to empty rooms. Fortunately they weren't in the 'giving up' category... so i got to hear more of their music :o

Point? Not all validation comes through public reaction. There's a great human history of rejecting artistic concepts until either the artist is gone, or generations have passed. I think searching for validation with the music/art you produce - unless your specifically aiming to commercialise - could lead you into a deep pit rather than toward the light.

Personally, my belief is that you've got to be satisfied with yourself, and enjoying what you do. In the long terms, even if you don't ever get some sort of dividend from it... it's the only thing that'll keep you going. I know a good mate of mine has trouble with this concept and me, in particular. I make quite a bit of music when in the mood, but very little of it see's the light of day. Most of it, the vast majority, is finished to the point it just needs post-production work. Some of it is absolute shite. He has a problem with the fact i don't feel compelled to release or try to. I some times share idea's and tunes with friends, but most of the time i just nejoy tweaking and fwoking about.

It has served me well to have this attitude, and regard anything more in the validation department as a bonus. IMO, i'm going to be a very very old man before i've had enough of noodling in the studio... regardless of the number of released works i have.

And a cool attitude it is to have, actually. I think there's a few artists who could with reminding of that sometimes. I agree that it has to begin from within and that personal satisfaction and fulfillment is the greatest  validation and reward of all. It's nice to have people tell you they love your work, but it gets pretty hollow when you think you're own work is shit or you're paralysed by a fear of rejection or the like.

Reminds me of a few times as a younger muso asking a few 'elders' like David Briggs or Eric Powell for tips on getting my music to the 'next level' of success and exposure. As boring as it sounds, virtually every old sage has said the most important thing is LOVE WHAT YOU DO. Have genuine passion for your music and the rest will follow.

The logic being I think, that if you are true to what you really love, then it's easy to put in the commitment required to build your talent, experience, exposure, contacts etc. Also people can spot a fake a mile off - if you're genuine then people appreciate and respect it. Also being genuine about your art means that the real success is in making good art, not being commercially successful or adored by fans. Therefore like Jester if the tunes stay at home who cares - as long as Jester is happy rockin it out  :cans:

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the love what you do thing rings true - because if you do, does anything else really matter?

oh, i guess ego comes into it a bit - i'm sure we all love being told how good we are

fierce, yet constructive criticism on the other hand is maybe a little less loved, but more important i guess (don't really know - never really had any 'peer' feedback, barring the lm remix)

i have probably hundreds of tracks in various stages of completion & i would be happy to play them to anybody that wanted to listen, but generally a few mates and the mrs are the only ones that get to hear them, i don't think my tunes are quite up to the level where they could/should be publicly released, but maybe this is just a sub-concious fear of a judgement that i don't want to hear

or in other words - i love listening to my own tunes, because obviously i am making what i want to hear (or as close to as my skills will allow), if i start whoring all my tracks for review on sp etc. and i don't like the way my eyes are opened, then i may not hear my music the way i hear it now and i may lose the love of listening to my creations which would possibly be the end of it all for me as far as production goes

or maybe i'm just being an armadillo

/end crazy post - sorry dudes i've had no lunch today and i think i'm getting slightly delerious and i'm not sure if that even makes sense, or is relevant - i'll check back when i get home and try clear up any mud

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^ ;D

Your post makes perfect sense to me :o

I think the SP Track reviews section has been a very good testimony to how accepting and diverse SPers are. Always constructive criticism and good old fashioned knowledge sharing. Speaks wonders for the community here, and the quality of tunes they can produce.

Personally, i've found it quite an interesting read and always a great way to hear some new original tunes. I recon airing some of your tunage laundry there would go down a treat!  :cans:

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I'd echo Jester's words Rumbling, if you want to dip your toes do it in the SP user track reviews, you'll get precisely the fierce but constructive criticism you mentioned - without getting your ego bashed! The reviewers here are pretty kind really.

I assess enough music at work I'd do my head in reviewing too much more but there's a lot of other folks do great reviews in there. Never know - someone might ask to play it out in their dj set, and the ball starts rolling - it does happen!

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I'd echo Jester's words Rumbling, if you want to dip your toes do it in the SP user track reviews, you'll get precisely the fierce but constructive criticism you mentioned - without getting your ego bashed! The reviewers here are pretty kind really.

except jester fu ;)

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I don't mind showing people but often it is without extensive alternative system testing so the end product isn't not as good as it was when I spent hours adjusting for my shiteful monitors.

But I do it for love anyway.. I love the fact that I can compose a full song not rely on other people. I just get this sense of satisfaction wash over me. It is like a lovers breath on the side of my cheek. It makes my milky white breasts heave with anticipation and my loins crave endless attention. :-* and just when I think I can take no more of this tantalisation my gf walks and wonders why I am writing writing music naked. If only she would join in.

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Many times I wished I had the balls to drop all of my usual employment, tell it to fuck off and do music full time.  I could do my Jazz project (on guitar) for the pure love of it, sell my soul in a covers band on the weekend to pay the bills and go hard in the studio the remainder of the time to try write electronic stuff. I think if I "failed" tho, a part of me would consider it wasted time. I do love what I do very much but I'm sure for many plugging away at the industry soon find that when the effort far outweighs the various rewards it ends up wearing you down and you become a jaded fuck. So for me, yes, the fear of rejection by the public, and my own thoughts of "I'm not good enough" do hold me back quite a bit.... However, on the other hand my usual form of employment makes it easier to save for and invest in my project music stuff (much more fast than I would otherwise) so its sorta a double edged sword.

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its a massive catch 22.... dedicate yourself to music.. work your arse off playing to get semi-decent gear and your levels of talent up - don't have some kind of fall back.. and bam funnily enough you become one of the 99% of us that don't make it despite best efforts and become jaded.. or you can work your arse if in a 'normal' career earn good dosh, buy top notch gear, but you don't have as much time to put into it getting mad skillz..

I would never choose the first option personally.. because although I appreciate single mindedness/determination of somepeople there is more to life than one thing. You need to enjoy life as well. And living a life outside that single minded focus gives you different experiences [and skills] that you can bring back into it. (that doesn't mean I disrespect anyone who thinks differently to me, nor does it give me an excuse for failure or not putting in effort)

Life, existence and everything is about balance or equilibrium

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I totally agree with what your saying. I suppose the choice of either 1 or 2 depends a lot on where you are in life, your past experiences etc and you aspirations for the future. I always think of Deniz Tek. He is the guitarist/songwriter for Radio Birdman. Somewhere in between this he also found time to train to become an emergency medical specialist and navy fighter jet pilot. What the fuck??

Personally for me, I have come to 2 times in my life when I'd had thoughts doing music full time. The first was when I was 19 years old and I was willing to bar uni to become full time jazz/blues guitarist. Ha ha. At                              the time I'd secured a place in a local band who did rock/blues stuff ala Blues Traveler, and at the time I fully believed that we had good enough stuff to do it for a career. I still think we do, but what we lacked was cohesiveness and drive from all band members to make it happen. The guys I was playing with at the time were in their late twenties, early thirties and had a totally different outlook.

The second time was recently (age 27) with respects to electronic music. Both times, though I have decided against it, mainly because my expectations were unrealistic, and more recently my "age" being against it with regards to other things I want to acheive. And I had other goals with respects to career and family etc. Anyway, out of all of it I decided that a) there are not enough hours in the day to always do everything you want to do to the degree you want to do it and ;) life really is short He He.

Above all tho, I still dabble enough in other stuff to keep me happy

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