A couple of weeks ago, a company contacted me regarding some music for a showreel that they were producing. Unfortunately, somebody else’s pitch was chosen but I write about it today as I feel that it is important not to be ashamed of your near-misses (or way-off misses for that matter!). In a commercial environment, it could be said that such action unnecessarily highlights your flaws, but on the contrary I believe such action highlights strength and motivation to improve). It is important to think about these misses and learn from them. By doing that, your confidence remains intact and you will also improve your craft ready for the next time. I never had any feedback as to why my pitch wasn’t chosen but I have included some hindsight at the bottom to give my own criticism; self-criticism is very important!
Due to my pitch not getting chosen, I haven’t been able to gain permission to display my audio with the video so here is the standalone audio:
For a reference track, I was asked to listen to the Alex Metric Remix of ‘Sabotage’ by the Beastie Boys and was asked to create an energetic and explosive music track. Reference words used were ‘mega, kinetic, loud, unique and fresh’ and all had to be in sync with the fast-moving video of the showreel.
The beat of the showreel actually reflected ‘Sabotage’ so I had to make sure that my music did the same so that it would fit in with the scene cuts and actions on the reel. To make the track ‘mega’, ‘kinetic’ and ‘loud’ I included some powerful, distorted rock guitar, a bass-heavy kick drum and thick synth noises that whirled about all over the place; I felt that some of the more quirky-sounding synth noises also made the track fresh and unique.
With hindsight, I would probably define the bass end of the synth more and bring the guitars forward to give them a more crushing impact. At the time, I deliberately chose to keep the bass-end of the synths less defined to add to the chaotic feel, but I probably sacrificed much power and definition in doing this. It may sound counter-intuitive that bass can lead to less power but it really does make a difference! The bass contains a lot of energy which can eat up a lot the headroom, or space to make the track louder. Also, the muddying effect of uncontrolled bass leads to less clarity, and a powerful feel does need a sharp, precise element. With the guitars, I kept them less prominent as I was quite conscious of the track becoming too metal… yeah that’s right, I said too metal… That’s me being all grown-up and thinking of the client and not my own rock-god wannabe ambitions!
Well, I hope you like it, but the music isn’t what’s important here. Remember it is ok to not make the grade every time – it could be down to something as fleeting as taste, not your ability; and remember to use these opportunities to reflect on your work and improve it, not to be ashamed!