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Tales From the Trenches, vol. 3

If there is one thing I've learned from the discipline of audio branding, it's that words are important. Many composers fluff off creative briefs from clients for a variety of reasons, and I don't blame them. Most are poorly written.

My colleagues and I joke about all the rampant clichés in the biz and the very uncreative parroting of popular briefing jargon. Tracks need to have "swagger," be "disruptive," and in years past tracks needed to be "sophisticated, elegant, and cinematic." Bullshit. It all means nothing without context and a real conversation. Without that conversation, it becomes a silly game of Whisper Down the Lane.

Composers and musicians need to choose words wisely as well. Don't write "demos.” I never refer to my tracks as demos when I submit them. I write music, not demos. When people ask me what my music sounds like, I never answer with a comparison to other artists. When I write music, I never say to myself, "I think I'll do a U2 kinda guitar thing here." Words are important!

How can a composer figure out what to write if he or she is not involved in the creative process? If everything is laid out in the creative brief in trite, well-worn clichés, what provokes the composer to ask "Why?"

I avoid creating briefs for composers that create the dreaded "apathy neck." I'll provoke the writer, create new metaphors, encourage questions and dialogue. I'll offer my personal instincts, not just the client's formal requests. And the two most important words I use in my briefs: "You decide."

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