Blog Archive

Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 Year in Review

Well holy shit...last year went by in a flash! Here we are, already two weeks in to January 2020 and I'm trying to figure out what I did and what happened to 2019.

At the end of 2018, I applied to USC's Masters in Film Composition program. Spent a lot of time on my personal statement, reached out to some past mentors for letters of rec., and turned in a handful of scores I was really proud of. I thought I had a decent shot at getting in, but my hopes weren't too high. It's an extremely hard and competitive program to get into. I got wait listed. Not gonna lie, I was kinda bummed. I followed up the best I could, but in the end I didn't get in. I decided not to reapply...don't know if the steam was knocked out of me, or if the weight of student loans and debt had clouded my mind and frightened me off. Or maybe I just thought I could do this on my own. Who knows...but I didn't apply...that's the point.

Instead of prepping for classes over the summer, I was hired to score a short film called "Canners". It was a great experience working on something longer than 5-10 minutes. I really got the feel for my file management and doing multiple rewrites and conforms. The project definitely ran a bit longer than I thought it would, but in the end I was pretty happy with the music and the film. It's being submitted to festivals now, and I just put the album together (available on bandcamp now, and other platforms on the 20th).

The Kepler Mission also hit the studio in early summer, and in proper Kepler fashion we've been sitting on the final product for the past few months. Maybe you'll see/hear the new track and video soon. Or maybe we'll just file it away in our private collection and no one will ever get a chance to experience what may be our last project together as TKM.

Other than that I can't think of what I accomplished last year. Need to get focused for 2020, write out a plan/strategy for the year, and get working.

Friday, January 18, 2019

2018 Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone!

A new year has begun, and as much as I love looking forward, I wanted to take some time to reflect on 2018. It's funny how quickly a year can go. In the midst of it, it sometimes feels like you're moving nowhere fast. Even though you know you're doing the work, it feels like nothing is moving forward. But when you take the time to look back, you might be surprised by how much you actually have accomplished.

The year started with two short films I worked on the previous year premiering at a few notable film festivals around the US, the Beverly Hills Film Fest and the Atlanta Film Festival. This was a huge accomplishment for the cast, crew, and myself. When you work on a truly independent production, you're never quite sure what will happen at the end of it. It was nice to see these two films get their time on the silver screen in front of an audience. 

The beginning of 2018 also saw The Kepler Mission back in action and hitting the stage. We had the pleasure of opening for Alien Ant Farm at the Whiskey A Go Go, and it was one of the best shows I think we have ever played. The venue was packed, and the crowd seemed to really be receptive of us. We also hit the Troubadour later in the year, and though the crowd we played to was a little more intimate than the Whiskey, it was still a fun show.

Summer of 2018 was an extremely busy and fulfilling time of the year for me. The last week of July, I spent three days in SESAC's first composer workshop hosted by Christophe Beck and Chris Bacon. This was an eye opener for me. I spent time side by side with my peers, being critiqued by true professionals, and realized how much I yearned to learn and missed being in a formal class setting. My classmates were all graduates of Berklee or USC's graduate program. I hadn't every really thought of returning to school, but after the workshop, I decided that it would probably be one of the best investments I could make in myself and my career.

After that eye opening week and decision, I wasn't sure how much better my summer could get. To my surprise, it got exponentially better about two weeks after the workshop. I ended up taking a five day backpacking/climbing trip to Tuolumne Meadows Yosemite with my friend Gary. The trip was definitely a life changer. We hiked in with a wilderness permit, set up camp near a lake at the base of Cathedral Peak, and started planning our climbs. The first climb was Cathedral Peak, a classic 5.6/7 route established by John Muir. It was my first time trad climbing, and my first multi-pitch climb. I was scared shitless, but I made it to the summit and back down alive. Our second climb was one I was hesitant to do, but I fought through my doubts and decided to climb it, for my sake and for Gary's (he'd been wanting to do this climb for a few years). It was Matthes Crest, a knife blade sticking out of Tuolumne Valley. The climb and traverse took all day. By the time we repelled, the sun was setting (which was breath taking). We ended up having to down climb in the dark, which was not as horrifying as I thought it would be. Maybe it was the exhaustion/dehydration setting in, or maybe just the fact that you can only see two feet in front of you so your brain blocks out the horrors beyond its line of sight...either way, we got back to camp alive and grateful to drink water and lie down. The climb started at 4am and ended at 11pm...quite the day! The next morning I headed back to L.A., and back to the grind of my day job.

The rest of the year was a blur of writing, some performing, and putting together my application for school. I started on a new solo track, submitted to a few new scoring competitions, volunteered for another SESAC event with Richard Kraft, had a few tracks released by Velvet Green Music, and kept climbing as much as I could. The year ended without any real extravagance or excitement, but I felt that it was a year well spent with another few inches gained on my path to becoming a full time composer.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018 Update

Hey there!

Long time no talk!  Been keeping busy here, grinding it out.  Just wanted to update everyone on what's been going on in the life of John.

"Bad Hombres, Best Men", the horror/comedy short film I scored last year, was accepted into the Beverly Hills Film Festival and premiered at the Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood on April 5.  Was quite the experience!  The movie turned out beautiful, and it was great catching up with the cast and crew of the film.  This was my first IMDB credit, and I'll remember the experience of working on this film for the rest of my life.

"Alone", another wonderful short I scored late last year, is premiering at the Atlanta Independent Film Festival on April 21.  This was another amazing experience for me, and I got to hire Deryn Cullen again to play cello on the score (she played on the animated short "Abendrot" I worked on last year).  I'm pretty excited to hear the reactions to this film and to be able to show everyone!

Just finished working on another short film titled "Getting to Know You".  It has a killer cast, an amazingly talented director, and everything is being mixed together as we speak.  Got to do a nice little cover of the song, "Getting to Know You" (The King and I).  Excited to share this one with you! 

Other than that, just been busy climbing rocks, writing new tunes with The Kepler Mission, and writing some killer music for a few music libraries I work with.  I'll keep ya up-to-date with anything else new and exciting that comes along!

(p.s.  Might do a little website redesign coming up soon...stay tuned!)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Show Announcements

Hey there everyone,

Exciting times ahead!  It's been a busy year, and it's not slowing down any time soon.  This Wednesday I'll be playing a solo show at the Colorado Center in Santa Monica at 4PM.  Then, next week, I'll be flying out to New York and playing an amazing show with my friend Colleen Ruddy accompanying me on cello.  Flyer for that show below!  Hope to see some of you at one of these shows, and stay tuned for more show announcements with my band The Kepler Mission!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Man


Was an interesting year


Will be an even more interesting year

Bring it...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Art of Finding Work

It's been a busy few weeks!

So awhile back, I posted an ad on, as most composers looking for things to do should.  Now, composers are notorious for begging and pleading for work.  Most of these pleads make composers look needy and annoying.  I mean, it annoys me, so I can only imagine how a director feels!  The composer ads on that site, unfortunately, fall victim to this practice, with composers posting and reposting and commenting on their own profiles to keep their pages on the top.  ?!?!  STOP!!!  It's annoying, unprofessional, and probably not helping you get any work.  /rant
Any way, I posted my ad with a picture of Bill Murray back in February...because who wants to look at my face...someone they don't know or trust yet?  I figured that the picture would at least garner a few clicks on my profile.  Low and behold, it did!  Happy to say, I was recently reached out to by an up and coming animator to help score her final project.  The animatic looks great, and I'm more than a little excited to really get cracking on the music.  I've already started to write some test themes and get a palette of sounds going.  I'll talk more about the project at a later date, once things are finalized.

This weekend is the American Film Market (AFM (not to be confused with the AFM Local 47)).  This is the place to be in Santa Monica this weekend if you are looking to meet financiers, producers, and people from around the world who may want to get your movie made or distributed.  I'll be going and trying to meet the directors and editors who still need music for their films.  It should be an intense and interesting four days of networking and learning more about the business I find myself falling in love with.  And that my friends, is the business of telling stories.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Action On

BAM!  Lot's of good stuff going on in the World of John.

First off, I was accepted into this year's SCL Mentorship Program.  What does that mean?  It means that over the course of the next three months, I'll be meeting with various industry veterans and learning how to go about making a living as a composer.  Our first two meetings were inspiring and informative, and I'm extremely excited to really find my way as a composer in this crazy town.  I've been to a few SCL events now, and can't believe it has taken me this long to really reach out and start to network properly.  But better late than never.

The "Action On International Film Festival" was a few weeks ago, and the short action film "The Has-Been" I wrote music for screened.  It was exciting to see the film on the big screen, and to hear my score in a theater.  The project was a great learning experience, and I really enjoyed creating something to help tell the director's story.  Excited to find and start a new project...hopefully sooner than later (here's the film, for those who are wondering).

Haven't really written anything new lately.  I found myself rather preoccupied with learning a bunch of music for a wedding.  But now that that is over and done with, you can expect to be hearing some new stuff coming from me soon!

Be well readers.  Stay inspired, stay positive, and keep on keepin' on...