So, it’s the end of the semester? It’s crazy how fast this semester has passed by. I could have sworn summer vacation just ended and I was preparing for classes to begin. Now it’s that time of year where everyone is rushing around to get things done, study and finish up odds and ends. However, looking back, it’s crazy to think of all the stuff and experiences I have accomplished over these three short months.
One thing that I am ecstatic about is having the opportunity to interview two well known bands: Blessthefall and Chiodos. Not to mention that they are probably two of my favorite bands. Since this is what I want to get into after I graduate, I am so fortunate to have my foot in the door so-to-speak.
Right from the beginning the whole process was a little nerve wracking for me. It’s the first impression so typing up those email to send had to say so much while saying as little as possible to get the point across. It was also important because not only is it a first impression, but I also wanted to build a solid relationship with the record label for future instances.
The whole ride there I was a nervous wreck. I kept going through all of the things I wanted to say over and over, while thinking I’m in over my head because I was there by myself and have no one to fall back on. And then there was doubt. Would my recorder not work properly? What if I thought I was recording, but when I played it back I actually recorded nothing? Did I make sure I charged both batteries on my camera just in case? I must have went over every worst case scenario.
As I neared the venue I decided it was time to focus on nothing, clear my mind and listen to the music playing in the background. Ironically enough I heard Chiodos’ new single “Caves” playing. I say ironic not because it was a song off the new album of one of the bands I would be interviewing shortly, but because the lyrics were the ones that inspired me to have the courage and actually do all of this in the first place. “When you’re afraid, when you’re afraid, take a chance, don’t let it weigh you down. You gotta get out. Stop hiding in the shadows.”
When I finally got to the venue I had my “game face” on and it was time for business. After I contacted the first tour manager, it was go time. No holding back now. No longer nervous, I went into auto-pilot and focused in on the task at hand. As soon as the band arrived I put on my best smile and just went with it. The interview went great. As soon as I was finished with the interview the band actually said that they thought my questions were really fun and they genuinely liked the questions because they weren’t the stereotypical questions they hear all the time.
The second interview went even better. Now that I had just finished one, I knew more of what to expect. The greatest part of the second interview was the back and forth, so it wasn’t such a one sided interview. They even asked me a question to see how other people took in their new music video and if I got the twist at the end like everyone was supposed to get.
However, by far the best part of the whole experience was standing between the stage and the barricade. It was the best feeling standing there that close to the band with the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Would I get that one shot? Would I get pummeled by crowd surfers? With all of the rush and fear, I was living the dream. I also got to hang out with the one band after the show and talk a bit and I got a few business cards from everyone in the process.
The next day (and week for that matter), I was so excited to run through all of my tape and see what worked and what could be cut. The one thing I learned about myself: I use meaningless words way too often. Hey, I guess you have to learn the from mistakes right? At least I could edit most of them out.
After it was all said and done (and a handful of very long nights), I finally produced two podcasts: one for Blessthefall and the other for Chiodos. On top of finishing the two podcasts, I also made two videos (one of BTF and the other Chiodos) of the footage I took of each of the performances as well as making an album of all the pictures from the show (here and here).
Hell, even one of my pictures was even chosen by the one record label for their newsletter as the featured photo. My first show interviewing, and I kind of get published! I will say that if there is one thing that I could have done differently, I would have watermarked my name on that photograph because nowhere on the newsletter does it have my name.
Band interview aside, I also did a lot of class work. Balancing both though was rough because it wasn’t like I was getting paid to produce all of the work I did, but it was above and beyond my class work and took time away from other things. However, I just convinced myself that I am building a relationship with record labels and all of this work can be added to my portfolio.
I also did a lot of tweeting this semester. Not that that’s any different than any other semester, but I’d say I used it more as a communication tool than I have ever before. I also communicated a little bit with the one band through twitter which was very cool in my opinion because they actually liked some of my pictures.
And then there is facebook. The only productive thing that I have gained out of facebook is creating a page and keeping it updated for my radio show. It’s a place where I can post articles the people who want to learn more about the articles, as well as communicating with my followers. Other than that, it has been nothing but getting me into trouble. And when I mean trouble, I mean being my number one procrastinating tool.
Lastly, I produced three websites for the class requirements, the big one being my website for a local band Shotgun, No Blitz. I originally had high hopes and expectations for what I wanted to do with this website. I have always seen band sites and thought that they are amazing so I wanted to replicate that as much as possible. Unfortunately, the more I worked on the site, the more I realized that some stuff I just didn’t know how to do which was the annoyingly frustrating. I am proud of my final product and how the site turned out. I just wish I had more time and knowledge to do what I set out to do.
The other two sites are full of links. The first was a website that featured most of my favorite links. I liked how it turned out, but I was just disappointed how the colors turned out. When I was putting it all together the colors meshed much more than what it looks like now. It wasn’t terribly horrible, I just wish the colors stayed true.
The second site that I made I am proud to say that for the most part I coded all by myself. It took a lot of figuring out, but after a while I got the hang of it and the certain rules I had to follow. I am very glad how it turned out and further more, I think it is a great tool for me in the future to use for a portfolio!
I guess what this semester boils down to is experience and practice. Some of the things I did/ learned these past few months can only be perfected by the time you put into it and doing it over and over. You have to make mistakes and take chances because that is the only way you can learn to overcome them. Besides, who wants to be perfect anyways? It’s highly overrated.