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Story Telling Makes Song Writing Easier

Recently, Music Industry Professionals have complimented me on crafting a good song. Notice I didn't say good vocals, or recording, or producing? So, I'll take the songwriting bit as a compliment.

Russ Maines as regular JOE 3.0

As much as I appreciate compliments, it wasn't until I took a class from Tom Worth that I started to believe in myself. Don't get me wrong, please. I don't mean to sound egotistical. Being an artist is a scary thing. Everyone whom hears your art can instantly become a critic. And professionals can be the worst critics. For example, the first song I submitted to Stewart Epps, he pretty much laid me out for good. I'll paraphrase, "Your voice sucks, you can't play worth dirt, and I can't fix how bad the words are." It took me a year or two to ever email him back.


But when I did, I sent him, "Everyone Needs A Hero." And even though I couldn't sing it, the song was well written and the production quality was good enough for him to consider fixing up.


Back to Tom Worth. As we went through, "Everyone Needs A Hero", he tried to focus it on a "boots on the ground" motif. After about an hour of discussion, I realized he was killing a good song by focusing it too specifically on emergency services people. In other words, too specific. I thanked him for spending an hour with me for an exchange of $75 bucks. I wanted the song to be more universal. Why?


"Everyone Needs A Hero" was based on a movie scene I saw in "Dawn of Justice" when Superman was talking with his mom, looking for advice about a harsh and cruel world. I said, "What?! Superman talks to his mom when he needs support? So, who does a regular tough guy talk to when the world's getting the better of them?" I previously reported this in my blog as I wrote it for Dawn of Justice, but that's no quite right. I wrote it for Wonder Woman based on the Dawn of Justice movie scene. And it was rejected by the Music Industry Professional representative from Warner.


What I realized was, indeed, everyone needs a hero. Even superheroes. And hence the title, "Everyone Needs A Hero." Not just firemen and cops, and soldiers. Everyone. So, given Tom's advice about focusing the song on a particular niche audience was relevant, it wasn't pertinent. And I've never looked back since. Tom Worth's help let me know that I was fine and really didn't need much help.


Then, when the song was written, I noticed it followed the movie story telling formula. Using "Superman" as a place to start, the formula goes like this:


Once upon a time, there was a orphan named Clark Kent who got this funky high on a yellow sun.

Who dreamed of finding his people because he was an orphan and was remarkably different from everyone around him.

Until one day he got into a big argument with his dad about revealing his powers

And because of that he watched his dad die in a tornado, when he could've easily saved everyone

And because of that he vowed to never hide his light under a bushel

And because of that General Zod called him out

Until One Day he had to kill General Zod to save Earth

And in the end, he realized he had more growing up to do


Here is the story of the "Everyone Needs A Hero" song.


Once upon a time, there was some guy

Who dreamed of saving everyone

Until one day he found out he couldn't

And because of that he felt inadequate

And because of that he sought a shoulder to cry on

And because of that his vulnerabilities were exposed

Until One Day he found someone he could lean on for help

And in the end, found compassion and strength in vulnerability


And that, my friend is what the song is about.


The thing about songwriting is you have to make the story interesting by putting in different formats. In my song, I wrote it as a one sided dialogue. Now, the lyrics are:


"It's aways darkest before the dawn.

Everyone around you wants to be safe and warm.

Time and time again, like a fool you go rushing in.

To save the day. To save the day".


"Cause Everyone Needs A Hero

Everyone needs a friend

Everyone needs someone to talk to

Every now and then.

I'll be right here for you

No matter where our when

'Cause Everyone Needs A Hero

Now and Then"


"Nobody sees you when you're alone

When you're not so brave, when you're not so strong

When you fight battles you just can't win

When your courage starts caving in

At the end of the day. At the end of the day."


"If one day this world gets the better of you

I'll always be there to help to pull you through"


The movie story telling method (again, I discovered this by accident) helps me boil things down, and gives it just enough detail to flesh out further as production gets started.


If you go through the rest of my songs on Bait & Switch, you'll find most of the best ones follow this kind of story telling. I changed the names to protect the innocent!


Thanks for reading my blog. I hope it helps.


Love & Rockets,

Russ

PS. I have a CD for sale called Bait & Switch. Get your copy now!


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