• j.mee

Giving myself a little credit

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Woot! Woot!

This week, I finished* the polished draft of the sheet music for all the songs in Project Cat's Away: The Musical. With today's final work, it is now pretty close to being ready to share with musicians and actors.

It only took:

-writing the novel,

-realizing I wanted to make the novel into a play,

-realizing the play is actually a musical,

-singing random made up tunes into my cell phone in the Starbucks parking lot (you guys, I did this a LOT),

-having a friend blow off my idea because he thought I didn't have the skills,

-expanding the tunes to have choruses or verses,

-re-singing completed songs into my cell phone,

-sharing the cell phone recordings with my Mom so she could help to put them on paper,

-sitting with my Mom and correcting the vision for the cell phone recordings (spoiler: I don't always sing in 'tune'),

-finding a free score writing software (I used Musescore),

-learning the basics of how to use Musescore,

-showing my Mom the scores I had written so she could help me put them in proper musical timings,

-asking a friend to look at the musical and tell me what he thought,

-thinking about his notes,

-applying some of his notes,

-learning how to use the basics of a demo recording software (I used Garageband)

-asking friends to come to my Mom's house in Brampton to record basic demo tracks,

-using Garageband to finalize the songs,

-sharing the demo tracks with a friend only to hear his feedback as "I can't even listen to this, these tracks sound like chipmunks singing",

-entering a musical writing contest and not winning (interestingly as I wrote this line, I first wrote 'entering a contest and being rejected'. Not winning is not the same as being rejected, is it? One of those seems much harsher than the other.)

-asking two dramaturgs if they'd be interested in producing my musical and receiving notes back with rejections,

-thinking about their notes,

-applying some of their notes,

-asking some friends to come back to my Mom's house in Brampton to rerecord some of the songs based on some changes,

-asking my Mom's friend to come record last minute when my friend couldn't come for the recording session because their baby got sick,

-asking a group of friends to gather and do a cold reading of the first draft of the musical (and sit in silence through audio recordings of the songs since no one had the time or inclination to learn them... except Erin, who practiced with her daughter, bless),

-crying in the car ride home from the reading because although it went well and all my friends did their best, I didn't leave with a good feeling,

-letting the musical sit on the shelf for a while,

-working with my Mom to add a chordal structure to the lyrical base of the scores,

-finding a theatre for young audiences year-long development workshop at Solar Stage,

-getting feedback from friends that I couldn't apply to the workshop with the musical,

-writing a new play in order to submit something for the development workshop,

-being accepted to the development workshop (and developing Furbaby, another play for young audiences, having a blast, learning a lot, some of which I then applied to Project Cat's Away: The Musical)

-going to a school production of Tuck Everlasting and feeling inspired by the creativity,

-rewriting the opening number as an overture,

-sharing the overture with my Mom,

-sharing the overture with a friend in my car,

-sharing the overture with two friends on a girls weekend at Horseshoe Valley,

-sharing the overture with my university roommate from out of town in an back alley in Toronto,

-recording all the parts of the overture myself because I was too embarrassed to ask my friends to make the trek to my Mom's house A THIRD TIME to record again,

-recording separate tracks for the piano accompaniment of each of the songs,

-applying for Kidsfest at the Toronto Fringe Festival for the fourth (fifth?) year,

-asking friends to rerecord their parts on separate singing tracks,

-going to various friends houses with recording equipment in tow to record separate singing tracks (even on New Years Eve... note, we did not actually do any recording on New Years Eve),

-being pretty happy with my 1.5 hour magnum opus,

-sending Ontario Arts Council grant applications to nine companies,

-celebrating - my lottery number from Fringe was picked! It was picked!

-asking my co-producer to work on the project,

-trying to use the scroll from the Garageband recordings as a guide to create the background compositions of the songs based on the recordings (spoiler alert: that took forever and did not work)

-cutting the musical from 90 minutes to 60 minutes,

-receiving grant rejections from all nine companies,

-learning that the timeslot for Kidsfest musicals is 45 minutes max,

-cutting the musical from 60 minutes to 45 minutes,

-digitally editing the audio tracks to their new shorter versions,

-learning a 45 minute window means your musical actually needs to be under 40 minutes,

-doing a table read with my co-producer for length and discussing big cuts,

-cutting entire songs and even an entire character from the story,

-learning that my Mom handwrote the Garageband compositions on blank score paper,

-transposing the handwritten scores Mom created into Musescore,

-combining the new compositions with the lyrics and chordal structure.

and finally...

-printing the finished* compositions.

Phew! It's been quite a week.

Kidding. That's actually a rundown of some of the stuff I've been up to in the last TWO YEARS! Some of those moments were high points, some were low points, a lot of them are simplifications of steps that took hours or days or weeks. But, I'm proud of myself. I'm proud that I've stuck with it. I'm proud of all the learning and growth. And I'm pretty proud of where I'm at... even if I still haven't got a good handle on creating a subscription list on Mail Chimp. Damn you Mail Chimp!

I guess the moral of the story is, if I can figure out alllllll of the stuff that I figured out above, I'll figure out this little susbscription list, too.

Liked this post? We should hang more! If you wanna be sure you hear about somebody being dumb, taking risks, and learning new things in a creative field, sign up here, and hang out with Mee!

(*note: I highly doubt the music score is actually finished, but it's at a seemingly completed stage where new development will begin again)

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