Technology

New glasses and other things that don’t matter

Got my new glasses today, and they’re awesome, the world is so much more clear now! I love it!

Also, my album is finally on iTunes! Just go to the iTunes store and search “Voyage of the Dream Maker” or “Sean Patrick Hannifin” and it should pop right up. It took them quite a while to get it up, about 8 weeks. But I’m glad it’s finally there.

Also, I guess I’m pretty ignorant and stupid, because I just recently realized you can self-publish on Kindle (and maybe iBooks, but I think Apple might require you to have a Mac for that, because Apple is kinda stupid). If I can actually finish writing something, that might actually be worth a try. I’ll have to meditate on it, so please excuse me… oohhmmmmmmmmmm…

By S P Hannifin, ago
Business

My album is finally out!

Though I think more people visit my YouTube page than my blog, I still have to blog it: my album is finally out!  It’s currently only available on my own site, at Hannifin Records.  I sent it to CD Baby right away, of course, but it will take them some time to get it up on their site and get it on iTunes, Amazon, etc.  It’ll probably get a bit more notice once it’s on CD Baby.  Anyway, I think the artwork came out really great, and it’s nice to see my own name on something professional looking.

So… I finally have a product!  Now perhaps I can put all that stuff I’ve read about in business books to use?  Yikes, I don’t even know where to start.

One thing I ask myself is: what do I do with my future music?  This is my first album; up until now I’ve just been uploading my music as MP3s to my site, giving it away for free.  Now I’m asking people to pay for it.  Will they?  Or will they not think it worth it considering all the other music out there that is free?  When I write a new piece, do I give it away like before, or save it for my second album?  What I’m thinking of doing is giving some of it away for free temporarily, until my second album is ready.  So I’ll have a constant flow of free music for people who like that.  Then it will be available on an album with other exclusive tracks.

Though maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself… this album took me almost almost 2 years (maybe 1.5 years; I can’t keep track of time these days).  It’ll probably be quite some time before my next album is ready.

YouTube removes my video for no reason

In other news, I decided to try out YouTube’s video promotion program to try to promote my album.  That might seem vain, and it is.  Selling an album of your own music is kinda vain, so I think if you’re trying to sell your own work you kinda have to get over being too self-conscious about it (while, of course, trying not to be “in-your-face” about it; you don’t want to turn into an annoying salesman who’s only interest in other people comes from seeing them as potential customers).  In away [“in away”?? I mean “Anyway” … that’s such an odd typo to make, I’m going to leave it and just add this comment], my video for my piece On the Edge of a Dream was my most popular video on YouTube that was on my album, so I decided to try to promote that.  So I signed it up to be promoted and YouTube said “disapproved” … and I said: “Huh?  Why?”  And it said that it couldn’t promote a video that nobody could watch.  And I said: “What?  People can watch it!  They just go here…” and I went to the video page.  And it was gone.  It said “This video has been removed due to violation of terms of service” (or something like that).  What?!  So I tried reuploading it, but they must’ve somehow blacklisted the video, and wouldn’t let me.  At first I was afraid my music had somehow gotten on some copyright checklist that YouTube banned from being uploaded.  (Which would’ve really angered me since I own the copyright!)  So I tried uploading a video with just the music track and it worked fine.  So I tried uploading a video with just the animation and no sound and it worked fine.  Then I tried both sound and animation together and … NO!  Didn’t work.  So I finally edited the video and cut off the credits and it worked!  It stinks to have lost all the comments and stuff from the original video, though, but at least the music is back up.  I still have no idea why it was removed.  It really didn’t violate any terms of service.  There’s something stupid somewhere in YouTube’s system, but I’m glad it finally let my reupload the video.  It was quite a headache though.

Well, I guess that’s it!  I hope you, yes you, had a happy Easter!

By S P Hannifin, ago
Drawing

Can I learn to draw?

I’m trying to write this blog post from work, and Sundays are just awful, it just gets way too crowded. It’s just insanity! Insanity, I say! Aaaahhhhh!!

Upcoming music album and such things…

Anyway, my manufacturers should, by their own estimation, finish creating my album sometime this week. Then it will probably take another week or so to ship. So we’re getting closer…

I finished reading an excellent book called Music 3.0: A Survival Guide for Making Music in the Internet Age by Bobby Owsinski. It’s a rather quick and easy read, and it’s great for getting some ideas about how to make money with music in these technological Internet times, what the author calls the Music 3.0 era. Unfortunately, one of the top ways to make money is to tour and perform. Makes sense, but when you’re writing classical orchestra music (and can’t play an instrument anyway), that’s not very feasible. I guess one option is to try selling the sheet music to schools, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing that since my music has never been played by a real orchestra before and could have some orchestration problems, or might be too difficult to play, the harp parts especially. They’d have to be reorchestrated.

What I would like to do is to create a “guide” for the album. A free PDF with the complete scores to all the pieces, as well as a page or two about my process of composing each piece, kind of like a short episode of The Compose Pile, but written out.

I also need to figure out how to take orders right from hannifinrecords.com, so people don’t have to wait for CD Baby and Amazon to process the thing. I think I can slap on a PayPal button easily enough, right? I just have to figure out how to charge sales tax for people who buy from Virginia, as I’m guessing I’m supposed to do that, right?

Right? RIGHT? Don’t you know?

Can I learn to draw?

Also, I’m once again interested in learning to draw. A year or so ago I went through this guy’s YouTube tutorials, which are very good, and drew some of these things (I think that old man Gerri came out the best). However, his method seems to be based mostly on looking at stuff and redrawing it, trying to get the spacing and constrasts right. I could continue to practice this method, since I’m obviously not that good, but… that’s not exactly what I want to be able to do with an ability to draw. I want to draw dragons and castles and knights, oh my. I want to draw from my imagination, without using references. I have a few ambitions:

1) To be able to create something as awesome as this stuff just for the joy of it.

2) To illustrate my short stories and/or create some graphic novels.

3) To create some animated shorts.

4) To become a billionaire.

One thing I’ve noticed with artists who draw from the imagination is that they tend to work more from the inside out, starting with a bone structure in the position they want and putting flesh on it.

So… how long will that take to learn? Too many years? Guess we’ll find out. Long have I wanted to be able to draw, but only now and then do I feel like practicing.

I joined DeviantArt at wizardwalk.deviantart.com … I’ll see if I can upload my sketches there so that you can see my bad sketching morph (hopefully) into good sketching. I guess I’m way behind on my skills, but if I can get to be OK by the time I’m 30 years old, it will have been worth it, yes?

By S P Hannifin, ago
Purchases

Short Wicked review and other boring things

Seeing Wicked

My family and I went to see the musical Wicked yesterday.

wicked The bad: Going in, the lady person (at the Landmark Theater in Richmond, VA) handing out the programs wouldn’t give me one. She said “Oh, it’s only one per family! Snicker snicker snoody-doo!” I made that second sentence up, but $55 for way-in-the-back seats and you don’t even give me a program?! You pathetic loser booger-heads! We did end up getting more; who doesn’t like to collect programs of the performances you’ve seen? One per family. Tsk tsk. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Secondly, the seating at the Landmark Theater in Richmond, VA is just pathetic; at least up in the balcony seats. (I think the place was built in the 1920s or something.) It was like stadium seating, but extremely squished. Not designed for tall people at all.  The seats in front of you dig into your knees. It’s just really poorly designed. I would recommend nobody ever going there again for anything. Pathetic, you fail, Landmark Theater!

The good: The musical itself. After familiarizing myself with the Wicked soundtrack for the past few years, it was great to finally see the entire story behind it, which was a quite engaging story (should make a good movie someday – I doubt much story editing would be needed). I loved the whole fantasy feel to the whole thing, in the set designs and the costumes and the lighting. The big talking Oz head is just awesome. You don’t get that stuff on the soundtrack.

A bit of trivia (that I found online; probably old news to die hard fans): the first seven notes of the tune “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” are hidden in the musical. Stephen Schwartz used them for the “Unlimited” theme. The rhythm and harmonies are different, so you don’t recognize it at all, but it’s awesome that they’re there.

Album art

In other news, here is a preview of what my first album’s cover will probably look like. The manufacturers are estimating they will be done manufacturing the thing by March 31st. That’s, of course, just an estimate, and then it will still require some time to ship. But we’re getting closer and closer! Maybe this whole process becomes more mundane after you do it a few times, but for a first time it’s extremely exciting!

Alice in Wonderland soundtrack

alice Speaking of albums with awesome music (heh), I recently bought Danny Elfman’s score to the newest Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland. Even though the movie as a whole was kind of meh, the music is fantastic. It’s some of Danny Elfman’s best work in a while. The first track is kinda like the first track on the Coraline soundtrack, except in Elfman’s score the children’s choir is singing in English (in Coraline it sounds like they’re singing in gibberish). Both utilize children choirs singing hauntingly beautiful melodies with delicious epic orchestration. Ahhh… awesome stuff. So… you should buy it.  At least buy the first track “Alice’s Theme” on iTunes or something.  It’s Hannifin recommended.

Blah blah

It still feels like it should be an hour earlier…

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

Nothing of importance

If I can get all the paperwork in order tomorrow morning (my part time job gets in the way… but at least provides me the funding to be able to do this), my CD manufacturing order will be in the mail tomorrow afternoon.  I’m not sure how long it will take them, but I’d give them the rest of the month.  In the meantime, I purchased the domain www.hannifinrecords.com (doesn’t go anywhere yet) as Hannifin Records is my new record label that I will use to sell the album (along with CD Baby and iTunes and whatever).  So I’ll be busy setting up that site while waiting for the manufacturers.

That’s probably not very interesting news, is it?  I really haven’t been up to much else; been spending my free time obsessing over this project.  Probably too much obsessing, but it’s a lot of fun, I’m excited.

Oh, I did get a couple rejections for my fantasy short story No One Was Abendsen.  One of these days I’ll sell something, even if I have to buy it myself.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

Album continues to be worked on…

Just a little status update on my album…

I’m currently working on reorchestrating and mixing and writing an ending for my 15-minute piece Castle Sky, which will be the second-to-last track on the album.  In my humblest of opinions, it has some of my most delicious melodies.  (Is that humble?)  Then I only have a few other tracks to reorchestrate a bit, then the rest of this album work will be “post-production” I guess.  Almost there!

By the way, I did hire a fantasy artist to create the album cover image, and I think it looks awesome… there be dragons…

Oh, and on an entirely different note, I was playing chess on Google Wave yesterday and discovered that the chess applet really stinks; I couldn’t promote my pawn to a queen!  How is anybody supposed to play a proper game of chess with software like that?  Your pawn just gets stuck at the end of the board.  Very lame!  Whoever programmed it should be ashamed!  Though I realize Wave is still in beta, blah blah blah…  Maybe later I will post some of my games (and maybe some of my games from high school) with comments about them.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

Album update

We got about a foot of snow on Saturday, so I got off work all weekend and Monday.  Woohoo!  That was awesome.  Loved it.

It also gave me some time to work a bit more an my album, so here’s a little update on that as I get closer and closer to finishing this thing…

Some hours ago, I finished composing the last measures of a piece called A New Journey Begins which will be the last track on the album.  I have one more track to finish composing called Castle Sky.  That’s the one that’s over 15 minutes long.  I’m almost done; I just have to reorchestrate some things and compose an ending.

The album will be called Voyage of the Dream Maker, named after one of the tracks, and I think the name fits the spirit of the entire album.  It will have 12 tracks, over an hour of original music, most likely in the following order (you’ll recognize some of them from my YouTube channel, if you’re familiar with my YouTube channel):

1. Across the Kingdom
2. I Will Not Go Home Again
3. Voyage of the Dream Maker
4. The Secret Lullaby
5. Awaken
6. White Castle Waltz
7. The Dragon King
8. On the Edge of a Dream
9. Clockwork
10. Seeing Infinity
11. Castle Sky
12. A New Journey Begins

I can say with 90% certainty that the album will be available in May.  That might seem like a while (around 3 months), but that’s being gracious with myself; it might be out sooner.  I of course want it to be out as soon as possible, but I also want to be pleased with it.  Even after I finish composing, I want to go back through all the track recordings and tidy up everything as best I can, mixing/mastering, blah blah blah, whatever.  There’s the graphics for the jewel case and CD.  Then there’s the actual physical manufacturing and CD Baby processing.

And… that’s it, I guess.  So if you have to mark your calendars, I think May is a very safe bet.  Again, might be sooner.  Some of the process is of course out of my hands.

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

My good friend snow

My dreams and wishes came true today as we got over 8 inches of snow, allowing me to sleep in and stay home from my usual weekend job. And I get to stay home again on Sunday too. Woohoo! Thank you snow, I appreciate your kindness.

I spent the free time wisely. I slept (as I already said) and I worked on some music. I finished a 7-minute piece I call Seeing Infinity (Opus 58). It is the 10th piece completed for my upcoming album. I have two more pieces to finish up, so I’m hoping I will be able to have all the songs completed some time in February. One is over 15 minutes long, and it needs some (maybe a lot of) orchestrational editing and an ending. The other is much shorter, only 2 or 3 minutes long. It needs just a dash of orchestrational editing and an ending as well. So the melodies and structures and whatnot are all there, they just need a good polish. Then my album will be done, over an hour long with 12 pieces of music, some short, some longer, some in the middle.

Of course, then it will take another month or so to actually get the thing manufactured and processed by CD Baby. But that will be the easy part for me.

I guess that’s it for now.

By S P Hannifin, ago
My life

Goals for 2010

I don’t think I really like the idea of giving myself goals, at least not these kinds large goals that are so easily influenced by uncontrollable events in my life.  But I’m going to do it anyway just to see what happens.  It might give me a bit more focus throughout the year.  Or I might become too disinterested in them and try other things instead.  I guess they can be considered “Goals I currently think would be interesting to achieve in 2010” and not so much “Goals I will use to judge myself at the end of 2010.”  In other words, I’m not going to strictly hold myself to them; it will all depend on where my interests lie when I have the time to pursue them.

And so here they are, the Goals of 2010:

1)  Get a full time job. I kind of have to put this on.  Obviously.  The alternative is to go to grad school.  But, c’mon, can you see that happening?

2)  Continue keeping Hannifin World updated daily for the entire year. This shouldn’t be too hard as long as I can keep thinking of ideas and don’t run out of ink and paper and the scanner keeps working.

3)  Finish writing a novel. Or a novella.  Or a novelette.

4)  Continue practicing sketching. I hardly did any sketching at all this year, but I got some extra drawing supplies for Christmas, so I should try to spend some time practicing with them.

5)  Finish writing screenplay for The Melody Box. This was a screenplay I started this year that needs to be finished.  I don’t know what in the world one does with a finished screenplay, but it was fun to write; I really need to get back to it.

6)  Get started on animating a short film. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for the past few months.  It doesn’t need to be long, it doesn’t need to be drawn very well, but I should at least get started.

7)  Finish album! This is something I’ve been working on since the end of 2008, and I’m still not finished!  2010 should be the year for that.

8)  Listen to all of Mozart’s work. In other words, finish the Mozart Listening Project.

9)  Make some sort of progress on a machine creativity program. Either make progress on my music generator (which still doesn’t generate music), or try creating a story generator.  This [machine creativity] is the subject I’m most fascinated by at the moment, but it’s also the most frustrating and hardest area to make any progress in, as it floats near the invisible edges of the impossible.

10)  Become a millionaire. While I’m at it.

Well, there are only 2 goals I know I definitely won’t achieve!  A-heh heh heh…

2010… a nice decade-ish number…

By S P Hannifin, ago
Music composition

No NaNo and other stuff instead

I guess NaNoWriMo has officially started!  And … I don’t care.  I’ve once again changed my mind, and will probably not participate this year.  I have a bunch of other stuff I want to do, including finishing my album that I’ve been working on for over a year now.  I’m still about 10 minutes of music away from completing the thing.  I’m currently working on the last section of an unnamed orchestral piece.  I’m orchestrating / composing the climax and end, so it’s almost done.  Then I have four other pieces started that need finishing, though I don’t believe all of them will make it onto the album.  One will probably be called “The Journey Ahead” and I am fairly sure that it will indeed appear on the album as I think it really fits with the spirit of the other pieces.  And one will probably be called “Castle Sky” … that’s my long 15-minute orchestral piece (and still unfinished, but I don’t think it will be much longer).

Oh, I started a new project, one that I know I’ll finish eventually because it requires hardly any work at all from me.  I call it: The Mozart Listening Project.  The objective: to listen to the complete works of Mozart while following along with the scores.  As you can see on the side, I made a page about it.  Because it is just so important.  I just started working through his symphonies.  Got a long way to go.

Android Lastly, I was chatting on a music forum on Friday, and someone mentioned the new Verizon phone coming out called Droid, which will compete with the iPhone (though, of course, that’s some very tough competition).  Looking at the Droid rekindled my interest in creating an app.  It was something I looked into in college, when Google’s Android OS first came out, but somehow lost interest.  (And as far as I can tell, one must have a Mac to use the iPhone SDK, so I don’t think I’ll be trying to develop for the iPhone anytime soon … though, from a business perspective, that’s currently where most of the phone app market is, methinks.)

Anyway, I’m downloading the newest Android SDK and will perhaps try creating something with it.  Having long been interested in game development, two things excite me about the phone app market: 1) It’s rather new, and is still at a stage where a single developer can develop a sellable app by himself.  In most of the video game industry (except perhaps online Flash games), those days are long gone, never to return.  And perhaps one day the phone app industry will be like that too, but it isn’t now.  And 2) it can be very lucrative.  Actually, I’m not sure how lucrative it is.  I’ve heard that some iPhone apps are making millions.  But that’s only a very select few out of tens of thousands, so I suppose it’s like saying that the music industry can be very lucrative.  Well, yes, it can be, but only few a very select few.  Still, I’m guessing the phone app industry is more lucrative than the indie artist industry.  Unfortunately, I’m sure it’s even less lucrative for non-iPhone developers at this time, but who know?  With Google’s more open platform, Android or some similar OS might come to dominate the phone industry, just like Windows now dominate Macs, despite Apple’s oh-so-witty ads.  In fact, I predict that will happen in the next decade or so … Apple may still dominate the iTunes / iPod industry, but the iPhone might meet its demise with a collection of other phones that run the same OS and are thus compatible with the same programs…

And… I guess that’s all I have to say.

By S P Hannifin, ago