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  • Writer's pictureJoe Chris

Jan 2024 Joe Chris update

"Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years." - Ladies Love Cool James (aka LL Cool J)

This post is a look back at some goals I set for myself, projects I had in the work, & how I learned from the failures in the ones that fell through.

First off, I don't update my website as much as I should but going forward this is going to be a much bigger priority for me moving forward. This site is desperately in need of a makeover - I no longer have sideburns & a pony tail. Some of the tracks I'm showcasing were written over half a decade ago. There are so many credits on my credits page that it is sloppy looking, and to be quite frank I am not sure if having my student films listed on here will help me anymore either.

Two and a half years after the first post on this site, it's amazing how many of my goals remain the same. Yet, it is even more amazing to see just how much progress I made on every one of them and what new ones I have taken on. I love looking back and seeing projects I was excited about that failed, or other projects that I had planned but never came to fruition. A lot of growth has happened since I started this career, especially after graduating from Berklee in the middle of a pandemic and having to find a way to not just make a living doing music - but to do so remotely on the other side of the country from LA.

Updates on the original goal list (abbreviated version)

  • composer book club youtube series - dead but evolving. It was mostly business books I was reading, and I read a ton. I had no video editing skills and bit off far more than I can chew. This is still evolving into something else and in a better format though, and I am excited to share when the time is right.

  • Gig VLOGs - sort of did this on instagram with the intention to compile them together into longer form videos. I learned a lot about social media in this manner and plan to revisit this idea soon.

  • Electric Raindrop Sonic Branding Agency - man this one has been a constant push/pull over the past few years. I've read almost every book on this industry and have done so much research. I have even written my own white paper on the topic, only to learn so much more and better ways to format/explain the concepts. Like everything else, this is still evolving. My biggest challenge here has been prospecting by far, but I currently am studying and hoping to close this gap in my knowledge really soon and continue to build this out into a full sustainable career and company.

  • Local community group for artists - did it for a few months, but couldn't get people to attend as consistently as I liked. I reworked it and am now partnering with local business to host mixer events rather than me hosting a group. Failed concept that evolved into another success.

  • Photography - I do it from time to time just for fun. Somebody got engagement photos I took tattooed on them, so I consider that a major success and a lifetime honor. I don't speak with him anymore, but hope he and his fiance are doing well and I wish them the absolute best if they are reading this.

  • Updating my old tracks from my college days - man I have to get on this. Obviously I've written music over the past few years but I try to make custom pages for pitches when I can afford to, rather than send them a generic page of tracks. I may continue to look into reelcrafter soon, but at least the tracks here are getting me work (even if I can do a lot better than what I am showcasing)

  • a musical collaboration with a brewery - oh boy was I not prepared for how successful this would be. I ended up calling these "Sonic Tastings" and there were a few that were failures. For example, we learned pretty quickly that adding a food item to the pairing makes a huge difference and that drinks are hard to sustain this on its own, as well as the importance of scheduling a good date. But even with those failures, this has been a fantastic experience and I usually have at least one on the calendar at all times. One brewery even made me their "resident composer" and named a beer after me. I am currently working on getting this ready to be pitched to restaurants and enter phase II of this plan: Food operas and gastro-auditory installations. I am also looking to incorporate RNBO and XR elements to make this potentially a sort of "at home" experience as well.

  • A book on IT/tech in the music world - in depth update on this book, and the blog it inspired - here.

  • Producing a small series of audio dramas - I started recording these before realizing what I was really trying to do. Originally, these were just going to be glossed up portfolios for video game work, but now I have good plans with multiple co-writers to use these as a vehicle for creative exploration and collaboration in a low-stakes pure-fun environment. Updates coming soon here as well.

  • A short EP of original songs - dead-ish. I see no reason anymore to release an EP other than the narcissistic urge to say that I've released one. I do enjoy songwriting quite a bit, but have other projects where I'm putting those abilities to use for now: more on why this is later in my "new goals" section.

  • Live streaming - always had better and more important things than a good capture card to spend money on unfortunately. But maybe I'll do this for fun soon with a second hand card

  • Silent Film live - had some major breakthroughs with this, especially in regards to technical details. Still a huge dream of mine and hope to get to this soon. Was talking with a few possible venues for a date this year, but nothing firm yet

  • Live band - made a lot of friends with super talented musicians recently. Hoping to get something small going soon here too. Miss playing live and just want to play some simple pop tunes at a bar from time to time, nothing serious.

  • CompTia ITF+ certification - I passed in summer of 22! Currently want to get Project Management+ or A+ but those are just fun "when I have the time" type certifications so we'll see.

  • An audio based VR experience - my friend recently released an awesome VR album. I think he outdone anything I could have dreamed of at that point in my life. I still love and believe in the power of XR, but at the meantime I don't see myself focusing on anything in this area unless I have a true reason for utilizing mechanics of music only capable via this tech.

So hopefully you can see that even goals that I failed completely or gave up on continued to evolve into something greater.

"The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else" - Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

So in the spirit of the above list, I'd like to share additional goals and projects that I didn't have on my plate when I made that first post a few years ago:

  • "The Soundscape Museum" - picture a museum where instead of pictures from various places/times, it is audio recordings. Relive the terrible screech of the greenline on the T at the Boyleston stop or remember New Years Eve with your friends in your basement last year. I want to create an online "museum" encompassing both fiction and non-fictional soundscapes to experience. Real recordings as well as web based generative soundscapes will be on here. Possibly even some web audio/data sonification experiments and other audio based art installations. And yes, I already bought a domain and started building this site.

  • Custom D&D campaign systems - I got very interested in D&D through a friend who meant a lot to me recently, though I never got the chance to play. I think it would be awesome to do a few one-off interactive music/sound systems intended to be utilized by a DM during a campaign to create a much more immersive experience. It would come with a ton of programming, UI, and other tech issues but I think it would be awesome and a fun unique way to utilize interactive audio techniques and custom designed sound engines.

  • Live country karaoke band - live karaoke bands are on the rise, I love country music, and I think it would be an awesome event to get coordinated and going especially as an "event" type band. Possibly when I move to a more music-centric city. I have the tech figured out, but again the issue is the lack of musicians in the suburbs.

  • Music Tech House - I'd like to expand ScoringTech.Net into a larger scale operations, where yes - I continue to assist composers - but also have other assistants/contractors work with me to be a full service Music IT company for composers.

  • Musical Podcasts - I am working with a couple writers to revisit the podcast idea, but to do them in the context of short musicals. You may have seen me post about "The Unsilly Goose", co-written with Lizzie Zink, on instagram. That is part of this project. Have a few in the works including a horror one and a sci-fi one.

  • Murder Mystery Dinners - Mena Guy & I have been hosting Murder Mystery parties at local venues to great success. We have been selling out and even turning people away at the door. We have a few more scheduled and more venues waiting in line to book us. This is incredibly fun and a great way to explore some areas I don't usually see composing work in (Hawaiian vacation music, anyone?) while also getting to flex my improv and acting chops a lil bit.

  • Open Source Music Project - I am a big supporter of the FOSS movement, and I want to continue to support and add to the Open Source community in the music world. I would like to feature more open source software in my works, as well as build and share more musical works in that vein. Need to figure out a way to do this "musically" but it is definitely an important cause I strongly believe in.

  • Live Theater - now that the pandemic has officially come to a close, I would like to do more music in the live theater world - be it playing in musical pits or composing for stage plays. I did a lot of performing in live theater programs growing up and I'd like to get involved in that community again

  • Musical Collaborations - I have a lot of co-writes in the works right now. I mainly write music as a media composer, but lately I have just been wanting to write everything from songs to ambient music with some friends and just have a good time and explore things I don't usually get to do on film projects.

What's interesting in comparing my goals from back then to now, a majority of my goals then were designed around portfolios, getting the gig, etc. Now, it leans much more heavily towards things I would love to do just for the sake of doing it. My core three is still going to be media composing, scoring tech assisting, and electric raindrop, but once a system is set up and in place it is very easy (and fun!) to do these side projects and I hope I can continue to do them and explore whenever I have time.

Anyway, looking forward to progressing on these goals and seeing where I am at when I revisit in a few years.


Joe Chris

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