Monday, August 13, 2007

GMA Festival - Thursday, Day Five

Thursday was another great learning day, one that started off with a class called "Protecting Yourself - A Look At Song Publishing Agreements". It was led by an entertainment attorney and it was incredibly informative. I think it is common for artists to want to leave the money and the business stuff to others, and I am certainly one who would be tempted to do that (cuz, I mean, borrrrrring), but for me, it is hugely important to know and understand that side of things. As dry as I thought this class might be, it was actually very interesting, and I found myself listening intently and taking notes rigorously.

I then went to an Open Forum with several record company representatives entitled, "Discovering What Record Labels Are Looking For In Today's Changing Marketplace". It was a pretty informal, Q&A-type session, and one in which I, once again, learned a great deal. Many artists are able to market themselves and sell their music independently these days, and this session helped to answer the question, "Why would a burgeoning artist want to be signed to a record contract?" Very helpful stuff.

This may sound bad, but one of my favorite moments of this session was when one of the record execs admitted that he had "passed" on signing the group Casting Crowns, who I adore, and who have since gone on to become one of the biggest-selling acts in the history of Christian music. I guess I enjoyed that because it was a good reminder to me that even the experts aren't always right. There's a LOT of rejection in this business, and in the face of it, you have to keep plugging away.

In the afternoon, I went to another one of Tom Jackson's performance coaching classes and continued to emerge from my state of denial about the fact that I am not a great performer (ha, ha). And by the way, this realization is not discouraging to me at all. On the contrary, I love knowing that I have identified such a specific area to work on. I have a huge desire to get great at my craft, so this revelation was critical.

That evening, I got an unexpected treat! Early in the week, I had met a guy named Tom Morris, and throughout the week, I continued to run into him in a number of classes. Tom has been a firefighter for 24 years, all the while playing in bands and writing songs. His wife was along with him, and they invited me to dinner in Estes Park Thursday night. Aside from the welcome break from the cafeteria, I was so excited to get to go "in town" to eat.

We went to a Mexican restaurant (sweet!) right along the river in downtown Estes, and we had a great time. We shared our life stories, and talked about our faith, our families, our music, etc. They were SO sweet, and they had the most GLORIOUS Northeastern accents (they were from Rhode Island). I had to share with them that I love quoting lines from the film Good Will Hunting in my best Boston accent, and I gave them my favorite example: "Let's go to a bah in Hahvad and beat up some smaht kids." Ha, ha. They also enjoyed my Southern accent, and as much as I may deny actually having one, I know deep down that I sure-as-shootin' do.

It was a delightful ending to another good day, and my heart was filled with gratitude. Rather than attend the evening concert (which was going to be kind of heavy rock - not my fave), I stayed in my room, let my creative juices flow, and did some writing. For the first time that week, I went to bed sort of early.

I blame the Mexican food. ;-)

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