The email list I DIDN’T unsubscribe from

January 20, 2012 | Posted in Blog | By

Luke Wieting, a film composer I met at a Saundra Lord networking event sent me a quarterly update email to keep in touch and let me know what he has been working on… and it was the first time I’d EVER been happy to receive an email newsletter. Ever.

Here was the introduction to the email:

Dear Friends,

You’re receiving this because we’ve corresponded, collaborated, or are otherwise acquainted, and I would like to share my whereabouts with you. This will only go out four times a year, but I don’t want to add another piece of unneeded mail to your inbox, so if you’d rather not be updated, please inform me and I’ll happily take you off the list.

[Luke then goes on to provide links and brief descriptions of his latest 5 scores]

Thanks for listening!


First of all, I remember Luke. We met at a Sandra Lord networking mixer and he made an impression. I enjoyed chatting with him about his composing and I made sure to listen to some work on his website when I got home. I have not had any need for or opportunity to recommend a film composer since we met so we hadn’t reconnected since I first emailed him, but I definately liked his work and wanted to keep in touch.

The problem is, I get TONS of email. Think about it, if you’re like me and you know a lot of artists, what do they all want to do?… get you on their newsletter right? That’s all well and good, except for me, I tend to get visual inbox overload, which makes me miss important emails because I simply do not always see through the weekly clutter. This issue has forced me to unsubscribe to pretty much every newsletter I get, including the non-musical ones.

I now manage all my subscriptions through RSS and only read those in my spare-time. What this means is that I often miss out on shows that my friends are playing close by a lot of times because I simply did not know about them, or if someone has released a new track maybe I catch it on Facebook or Twitter… not that I’d see any of that if I were subscribed to the email list anyway, because there is just too much information to process.

Here’s what I liked about Luke’s email:

1. He let me know it was QUARTERLY. Luke’s resume is not a time-sensitive issue. As a composer he’s not selling me downloads or trying to get me to a show. What’s important for Luke is awareness. In other words does he stick in people’s minds enough to be thought of the next time someone needs scoring for a film. The way he handled this reminder lets me know that he respects my time and that he would appreciate staying in touch with me.

2. He used Blind Carbon Copy (BCC). Luke apparently is not using a mailing list manager. Well and with only 4 emails a year who needs one. One of the biggest and most annoying mistakes people make when sending emails to multiple recipients from their email software is posting multiple recipients in the To or CC fields. This is annoying on two levels, one, what if I don’t want everyone knowing my email address and two, now other people on that list can use and abuse my email address. Luke did it right. He used BCC. BCC means that I can’t see who else is copied on that email and that they can’t see me either. Its a show of respect, and savvy.

3. He kept it brief, but informative. The purpose of his email, besides wanting to stay in touch was to let me know to check out links to his newest scoring projects (which are pretty cool, btw). Besides the links he gave informative descriptions so I knew what I was looking for. For example:

Eclipse Master Class 05/18/11

Fujitsu Ten, Columbia College Chicago and The Fulcrum Point New Music Project teamed up to perform sections from classic soundtracks, and my score for “Beast” with a full orchestra conducted by Stephen Burns. Sound Reinforcement showcased Fujitsu Ten’s ECLIPSE TD speakers; they rock.

4. He let people know they could unsubscribe. This is just a good practice, period.

Had Luke not done any of the above things his email might have gotten marked “white noise” by my brain and been skipped over, or worse deleted or unsubscribed. However, I was so overjoyed with the difference in this case that I felt like I had to write a blog about it!

Good job Luke! Nice work too, by the way.

If you’d like to check out Luke Wieting’s reel go to

A real CD with artwork and liner notes!

January 19, 2012 | Posted in Blog | By

Today I received a CD copy of a heavy metal project I worked on calledFarewell to Graveland by Martyn Lucifer. It was a project that was recorded internationally with vocals, guitars and keyboards recorded in Italy, Bass in Ukraine, and drums recorded both in London and here at my studio with my friend drummer “Grom” Meraviglia.

When I worked on it it was very basic, just some midi drums and guitars to a click track as placeholders for Grom to drum to, so of course it had come a very long way when I heard it again the following year.

What impressed me the most was not only how well the album turned out but also the album sleeve. Not only were there full liner notes with credits and thank you’s but the artist also included lyrics with creative artwork as well as photos of all the players! Even down to the detail of which tracks Grom drummed on as opposed to which Adrian Erlandsson tracked in London.

It was very enjoyable listening through the tracks while absorbing the liner notes as they were intended. However, I am finding this is becoming a rare thing.

I think too many artists these days skimp out on the liner notes on their releases and I think its sad. To me, lyrics, notes, credits, artwork and the like give me the listener more levels to connect with you the artist while listening to your album. It adds the sensations of feeling and looking to the listening experience, making more concrete my mental connection with your music.

Sure it costs a couple more bucks to make, requires more time in design and demands that you carefully curate credits and proof read your revisions, but it also tells a story. And in the end, isn’t that what we do?

Do I go by Steve or Steven?

January 10, 2012 | Posted in Blog | By

Today I was asked a question I get sometimes, do I go by Steve or Steven?

The answer is, well, both. I guess. I mean, I don’t really care. Most of my friends and family call me Steve and I put Steven on my stationary. I’m pretty used to hearing “Hey Steve!” although when working with more than one “Steve” in the same place I will often not respond at all, but only after one too many times of thinking they meant me. In that case, call me Stevie or Bob, or anything unique.

Apparently getting this right is a big deal for some Stevens, who prefer to be called Stephen, or even Stefan. I mean, Stephen Jobs? Doesn’t that sound a little weird? How about Steven Urkel? I mean, to him, variations on his name were like alter-egos. “Yeah, I went to sleep and Stevil made a guest appearance.” “Stevil was back and he was coming for my soul!”

And who could forget how smooth and suave Urkel became when he was Stefan? Oh Laura.

When I was eight I got to meet Bill Murray on the set of Ghostbusters II. You could imagine how excited I was to meet Venkman! He asked me my name and I told him “Steven.” “Steven?” he said, “isn’t that a dog’s name?

Oh yeah, he was joking. He’s a comedian, that’s what he does. Took me a second though, I was eight.

I think shortly after that I started going by Steve…