Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dreams are built on this....

I have had a great trip so far.

Last night I got in and hung out with a pastor and his wife who have become like family to me over the past 7-8 months. We ate and watched football and then the last of the Red Sox game. It was a great night. Then I came to my place here and crashed.

I woke up early, went for a walk, watched ESPN and then headed into L.A. from Laguna, where I'm staying. I hung out with my manager for a little bit, then had a big meeting with my agent on the acting side of things. We are working on a gameplan of how to approach the acting side of things and how to make all that happen. It was a really good meeting and an encouraging one. Obviously, when it comes to entertainment, nothing is promised. But my agent is excited and encouraged after learning some of my background and the fact that I actually studied acting and the theory of acting and the method of acting. So , in turn, that was encouraging to me.

Tomorrow I have two meetings with heads of casting for major studios. Wednesday, I have 2 more meetings with studio casting heads and also with casting directors for tv.

Apparently there are several strikes looming over the entertainment industry, so tv and movies may very soon be screeching to a halt. So, it may take some time to get a series going or some movie roles nailed down. But most actors never get through these doors. All I need is for one casting director to take a chance and then I just have to deliver.

Just know this: it's going to take hard work and a lot of patience getting into acting. But I'm excited about the possibilities. Who know? I may never get the chance to do acting at this level. But there's always that chance that I can live that dream also! It's early. So bear with me.

I mean, I'm still developing the sitcom idea. Once we figure out some of this stuff with the strikes we are going to pitch the show to various networks. It's a cool idea, I think, and a somewhat novel way of looking at the sitcom genre, so it could be cool. Also, I'm developing three screenplay ideas...one a drama, one a comedy, and one a family comedy/drama. I think I'm going to be hooking up with a couple of writers to work on the drama. I'm going to have to go back and look at my textbooks from my screenwriting courses from college, haha. I have the ideas, I think...I just need a technician to help me take them to the next level (or up 15 levels). I am just trying to be proactive in all of this as much as I can.

So, anyway, I'm excited, apprehensive and thankful all at once. I'm getting to live the dream. I mean, a year ago, I would've killed to walk into CAA, hang out with an agent for a couple of hours and leave with 4-5 casting appointments in hand. In fact, most young actors would kill for that. And because of one silly turn of events (me actually making it on AI), dreams are coming true.

Though I'd love to be a huge, popular, well-respected actor and would love to be able to fulfill more dreams down this road, I honestly would be okay if this was it. Today was a huge day for me, and I can live with that for a long time.

Dreams are built on hopes for tomorrow.

I'm just an optomist who can't wait to see what is waiting for me.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Working Feverishly

Well, I leave tomorrow morning for sunny City of Angels. I'm excited. But I am working feverishly to get caught up on demos. I wrote 8 songs this week and finished up 2 other songs. So, I have 10 demos that I'm trying to get done to throw into the mix for my record. As I said before, we have 15 that we're mulling over, but I'm hoping to write better songs to knock some of those 15 down the totem pole. I think I succeeded this week.

I wrote with Tony Wood on Wednesday and we wrote a new song and he helped me finish the lyric for another I had. The song we wrote together (well, he wrote lyrics, I wrote music) is called "Between Two Forevers" and is the idea that an end could come at any time, so we should live life to the fullest. The lyric is gorgeous. I put music to it, but am re-writing to make it even better. This lyric deserves my best shot musically. The song we finished was called "The Movement" but when we re-wrote the chorus and pre-chorus, the name changed to "Good Intentions". I really, really like it. It's very agressive musically and the lyric is really cool, and different for me. So I'm excited. I mean, we spent 4 hours just rewriting the chorus, so I hope it's good.

I wrote with Sam Mizell yesterday. Sam and I pushed out a song called "Hurts Just a Little Bit" which is a soulful piano mid-tempo rocker that talks about the idea of "if it hurts just a little bit, you're probably doing the right thing". The lyric and music on that one is really freaking cool, too. I am struggling to figure out if it fits on my record, but even if it doesn't it's one of those songs I could see getting cut really quickly. It's really cool.

Then later yesterday, I worte with a NY writer named Nate Campany and a Nashville guy named Chad Cates. We churned out a great 6/8 rocker called "Grace Finds Me". The lyric on the chorus is:

Somehow the night finds the day
Fall finds the spring, the rain finds the sea
And just as the wind finds its way
Jesus, each day
Somehow your grace finds me

I'm really excited about this one. I think this could be a strong CCM single. And that's what I'm trying to get right now. So, hopefully that works out.

Anyway, I must run to finish demos. But before I leave, I thought I'd let you know, I put "Good Intentions" up on myspace, so check it out and let me know what you think.

Also, I put up an acoustic demo of another song called "The Breakdown". Let me know what you think.

Monday, October 15, 2007

No News Is Good News?

Haven't really had a lot on here lately, when actually my life is extremely busy of late.

Obviously, I've been writing. I just wrote another song that I'm really, really pumped about called "The Breakdown"...it's about the idea that there is this weird dochotomy in life that being broken down is somehow beautiful. You can't truly love without defenses being broken down; you can't truly give yourself to something or someone without barriers being broken down; there's beauty in the breakdown.

Kevin Max and I, I think are becoming friends. How weird is it that someone I have idolized to some degree is now becoming my friend. Anyway, we're working on a couple of ideas right now that are really strong, I think. We're getting back together on Thursday to work through and hopefully finish a song or two. We may possibly involve a guy named Will Owsley who produced Kevin's Blood album and was the lead singer of the band Owsley. Owsley has become a friend also.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting with Brown, the producer who'll be producing most of my album. We are listening through songs and figuring out the 5-6 songs that are definites for the record...basically we're defining the record we're making. We'll also be talking about who will be playing on the record, who will be producing other tracks on the record, etc. So, tomorrow, hopefully, we'll have a definite vision of what this record will become.

Wednesday, I'm writing with one of my lyrical heros, at least in the CCM market, named Tony Wood. Search Tony's name and you'll find he has written songs that you know and that you love. He's a fantastic lyricist, so I'm excited to see what kind of ideas we work through. I have ideas for lyrics, but he's the technician who'll take the ideas and make them great.

Friday, I'll be working with a guy named Sam Mizell who is had like 6 number 1 CCM hits last year. This will be interesting. Sam's style of writing isn't my personal favorite, but he is great at what he does. If he's as talented as I think he is, it'll be cool to pull him to where I like to write and have him make me better while doing something different than he normally does, or maybe we'll meet somewhere in the middle.

I've been working out 3 times a week for an hour with a trainer, plus small cardio on my own on off-days. It's kind of cool to see my endurance growing quickly. I actually can run a pretty good distance now, so that's exciting. Plus my face and stomach are rapidly growing smaller, so it's nice to at least see those things tone up.

Next week, I fly to sunny L.A. to meet with publishing, labels, tv studios, casting directors and film companies. I have a busy 4 days. I also will hopefully be writing with a writer who had something like 5 number one hits on the mainstream side last year. CAA has done a great job with lining me up with people who will help me on the acting side of things while my management is chasing down some ideas on their end that look very promising. In the next few weeks, I may have some exciting news on the acting front!

Finally, it looks like my label hunt is finally coming to a close. Recently, a label has stepped up to the plate and really made it worthwhile to work with a label. There's a lot that still has to happen before a formal announcement, but let's put it this way: I'm excited. It's a label that's been in the hunt from the beginning, never fallen off and stayed true to making great music and helping me build a career off the great building blocks we have already.

So, stay tuned. My guess is that, if everything goes to plan, within a week or two, I should be announcing my label home.

So, believe me, no news is good news.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Co-writing 101

Today, I cowrote for the first time. Well, not for the first time, but for the first time successfully. I've never enjoyed cowriting. I'm very private about my writing. Ask Sarah...if I'm writing, Sarah can't even be in the same room as me. I'm weird about it. So cowriting has never really worked for me.

Today I went over to Chris Eaton's house to attempt to cowrite.

Chris is a Brit who was signed in the 80's and 90's to Reunion Records (Smitty's label), and has been a successful songwriter for a long time (he wrote a huge hit for Jaci Valasquez in "God So Loved the World"). Brown hooked me up with Chris as my first co-write session. And I'm glad he did.

We kicked butt today. I got there about 10:30am and we just hung out for a few minutes, then I let him listen to several of the songs we're sure will be on the album to give him a context of what the album will be like. He asked me if I had any musical or lyrical ideas, and I played him a little acoustic thing I had. I told him that I really didn't have a stripped down kind of song, so it'd be kind of cool to work on a piano or acoustic song. Chris is a really great piano player, so my acoustic riff quickly turned into a very nice piano riff.

Lyrically, I've been thinking about the idea of being almost 30 and feeling like I'm still a kid. When do we grow up? Those kind of questions. So, we took that idea and formed a lyric around it. The name of the song is "Potential". It's definitely the most vulnerable I've ever been lyrically and the song turned out to be one of my favorite I've ever written. So, I'm excited about that one.

After that, Chris started playing a Celtic sounding piano riff and we quickly wrote a simple worship lyric. I got the idea to put a modern rocking chorus with it and suddenly we had a song. We quickly fleshed out the 2nd verse and I threw down an idea for a bridge and within an hour, we had a great worship song...I can hear churches singing this song all over. I don't think I'll record it, but I think it could be a really big song.

So, today was a great day writing wise.

My cousin is in town, too, so that's fun to hang out with him. We're watching Monday Night Football as I write. Anyway, back to football. Cowboys better win. Romo is sucking tonight.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The New Life

Well, life has changed considerably. Sarah and I are in Nashville...well, Franklin...and enjoying life. We love our new house. We love our new neighborhood. We love our new life. It's awesome.

We have a 3 bedroom/2.5 bathroom house in a Franklin neighborhood called Fieldstone Farms. My next door neighbor is the head of Warner Brothers Christian publishing. We have a Publix and Blockbuster down the street from our house and just last night, I was stopped by a songwriter who has been a part of records that have sold 200 million records who stopped me in Publix wanting to write with me; then in the parking lot, I was stopped by the producer who co-produced the MuteMath albums just saying hey and thanks for doing MuteMath all summer. Only in Nashville.

Next week, I'm writing with a guy named Chris Eaton who has written number 1 hits on both the CCM side of things and the mainstream side of things. Wednesday I'm writing with Kevin Max. Over the next coupla weeks, I get to write with songwriting heroes like Tony Wood, Chris Rodriguez and many many more. It looks like we are going to be starting the album around November 1.

I'm also excited because over the last week or so, we've kind of moved the direction of the record from a straight up Christian record to making a crossover-type record, which is exciting for me from an artistic standpoint. On Tuesday, the producer who is producing most of the record (Brown Bannister) and I are getting together to choose the 5-6 songs that are definites for the album and then choosing 7-8 more that are possibles. Then as I write between now and November 1, we'll figure out what songs are the best 12-13 to make the record.

Last week was a frustrating time for various reasons. It's nice to be back to being excited again. I think hopeful suits me better than frustrated.

Life is good. I can't wait for music to start pouring forth and for label news to be out.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Wasting Time

Well, I'm sitting out on my porch listening to the packers packing up my furniture and, I presume, getting ready to start carrying stuff out. I feel a little guilty. Sarah and I have moved 4 times since we've been married and every time it's been a stressful, miserable experience that involved me lifting a lot of boxes and carrying my wife's too heavy furniture. This time, I fell a little guilty because the movers are doing all that for me while I write a blog entry. But you know, the guilt is not enough for me to be anything but happy to be sitting writing a blog while they pack up my house.

This is the beginning of a new stage of life for Sarah and me. Sarah, I think, is going to pursue her dream of doing interior design, and it looks like we've got a place for her to work and learn. So that'll be exciting. She's an amazing designer naturally so it'll be fun for her to be able to do what she loves for a living (even if she doesn't make a lot of money at first).

I'm excited, tomorrow I start my workout regimen and, afterwards, head in to work on some finishing some of the songs I have written. I'm a little worried. I've never worked with cowriters before. Well, I have, it just wasn't a good experience. So, I've never worked with pro cowriters before. With the new songs, I feel like musically, they're really close...just the touch of a fantastic producer, I think will shore that stuff up. Lyrically, they're a little further away. I just need a technician to take my ideas and make every word perfect. So, I'll be sitting with some lyricist, showing them how the songs go and letting them work their magic. I think that this could be a big breakthrough for my songwriting. I hope...I'm nervous, but hopeful.

Wednesday, I think I'll be doing some co-writing, having a meeting with one of the producers I'm working with and then I'll be heading over to another producer's house to start work on some more intensive demos. These demos should become the basis for the album, so that will be exciting. Studio work is my favorite...I love being behind the board and creating. Obviously, the touring side of things is ultra important to me...I can't wait to get out on the road. But the creating of the music is so much freaking fun for me. So, it'll be fun to start getting more serious demos done.

Still not sure what will happen on the label side of things. The more I've researched and thought and looked into the whole indie thing, the more I think it could work. However, after all the research, too, I feel like the right label could be great, too. So, the next few weeks are going to be vital. I would have loved to have had a label decision by now, but ultimately I've come to realize that this decision is the most important, so I can't sign with a label simply to have a sense of accomplishment. It has to be the right fit. Looking at friends who have gotten signed in the past, and looking at past Idols who have gotten signed, the right label fit makes all the difference.

So, I'm sitting on the porch wasting time. Dreaming. Looking forward to the next few months. These are the good times.