“The best piece of advice is to create frequently, copyright frequently.”
This week we would like you to meet Marcus Manderson.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a producer/audio engineer/composer? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
My inspiration for becoming involved in music began when I was younger. I was taking piano lessons at a young age and stuck with it. I was involved with music all throughout school, playing violin in middle school, percussion in high school, and piano in college. Along the way, I also served as a keyboardist for my church where I currently still play. In addition, I get the opportunity to play locally at various events and with different groups.
What I enjoy most about the creative process, whether it be composing music for a project, mixing audio, or even something as simple as recording a voiceover, is that no 2 days are the same. There is always something new to learn. Working with other creative people also may yield new ideas, such as picking up a new riff on the keyboard, or being creative with effects in a mix. The possibilities are endless. Plus with the number of quality plugins (many of which are FREE) and sounds, it seems I have more ideas than time.
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
I have various processes. Sometimes I come in to the studio and load up a template (ProTools 11) and create something from scratch. Sometimes it’s just whatever comes to mind; could be a pop track, or a hip hop vibe, or even a dancehall track. Other times, I’m working on cues (soundtracks) for projects. In that case, I would open up a “Composing” template I use that has a few of my favorite string sound presets, some synths, and a piano track.
The time it takes to create something could vary. A simple piano piece may be created in a few minutes. A more complex orchestral piece could take hours or even a couple of days (working on and off). I feel the most creative when trying to complete something within a deadline, whether it be a hard deadline (for a concrete project such as a museum exhibit) or a soft deadline (which I create, such as have a piece of music created within an hour).
Everything I created does not (or has not) made money (yet). But some of it does. The goal is to keep creating with the hopes of making some money off of the music, but also there are some pieces that I like to just share with the world (i.e. via social media or SoundCloud).
3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
The biggest misconception may be that everyone is rich. That all may depend on how you define rich, but think about it more in terms of how you define success. Everyone may not be rich, but they may be successful (and happy). Some people may think that creating music is also easy. There may be times when ideas just may not be there and that’s when I have to step away, sometimes for a few days, and then come back to it.
4. What do you do when you encounter someone stealing something you’ve invested your intellect, time and money into?
Depends on the extent. When people feel that stealing someone’s intellectual property is the only way to move forward, they are inevitably setting themselves up for failure. For the few times it has happened to me, I have tried to reach out to the individual directly and offer alternative solutions, such as licensing music or finding sources of free music online that they could use.
5. What is your best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
The best piece of advice is to create frequently, copyright frequently. Meaning have a time set, perhaps quarterly, or even bi monthly or monthly, to gather all of the pieces you’ve created in that time frame and register those pieces with the copyright office.
Producer/ Audio Engineer/ Composer
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