This week I’m talking with writer, producer and composer Brian Steckler in CA. Brian has made a successful career for himself producing albums, composing for sync and library production music with NBC, CBS, Netflix and more. Brian has won a Clio award for helping create the audio and star in one of the most famous Super Bowl ads of all time as a certain frog who liked to say “er!” We are discussing working for a jingle company and creating world famous ads, writing production library music used on countless shows, finding your niche to work in a field of music that only you can provide and how you need to decide what success looks like for you.
Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this episode we discuss:
*Working for Hummingbird Productions in Nashville.
*What a jingle company does.
*Creating the voices of the Budweiser Frogs commercial soundtrack.
*The difference in studio budgets from the 1980s and today.
*Working in sync music.
*Writing library production music.
*Writing to briefs on a deadline.
*Writing for a children’s preschool curriculum program.
*Making the right connections.
*Having a breadth of knowledge to do many things.
*Writing custom cues for Netflix.
*Putting favorite sounds into a template for speed.
*Align yourself with people who are good at things you aren’t.
*It’s a long term numbers game.
*Send it, forget it.
*Tear tracks apart to learn how to create them.
*Making your first instinct sound good.
*@briansteckler on IG.
I have made a career of creating music in a wide variety of forms and genres. The scope of my experience includes collaborations with directors, editors, and ad agencies for commercial musical purposes as well as working with individual artists, and bands to create and hone unique musical styles.This range of experience has given me a broad musical basis to draw from. I enjoy learning what people want and need musically, and then bringing even more than they expect to both the process and the result.
After receiving my BFA (piano performance) from Western Michigan University in 1993, I moved to Nashville and began my career at Hummingbird Productions, one of the leading jingle houses on Music Row at the time. It was there I co-produced the audio and lent my voice to one of the most recognized, Clio-winning Super Bowl commercials of all time: Budweiser “Frogs.” I wrote and produced national, regional, and local spots during my years at Hummingbird and it was there that I learned how to deliver great sounding audio on very tight deadlines.
I moved to Los Angeles in 1997 in order to pursue songwriting and production and began working with artists and bands crafting songs, producing tracks, and mixing my own work, as well as other producer’s songs. I wrote songs for Sony ATV Music Publishing, including co-writing with Billy Porter, Gary Barlow (Take That), Paul Stanley (KISS), 2Gether (an MTV boy band spoof series), and many others. With artist Angela Via, I co-wrote and produced a song that landed in Pokemon: The Movie and on the multi-platinum selling soundtrack album. It was also during this time I had my first taste of film scoring, working closely with Keith Forsey (Billy Idol’s long-time record producer) to create the score for Wisegirls, a film starring Mira Sorvino and Mariah Carey.
As the record industry underwent significant changes during the Napster era, my wife and I chose to move our young family to Northern California. While maintaining my relationships in LA, I was able to work with independent artists and bands, as well as grow my skills and experience scoring, working for Universal Pictures on trailers and promos, as well as regularly placing cues in TV shows.
Recently, I’ve written the score for the Netflix series The Day I Met El Chapo, provided the bulk of the music, including the Main Title theme for a number of other series: Hunted (CBS), S.T.R.O.N.G. (NBC), Ultimate Beastmaster, Awake, Cooked with Cannabis (Netflix). I also had the opportunity to score the award winning documentary Hand Rolled: A Film About Cigars, as well as Sun, Soil & Water, which is currently being screened at a number of film festivals.
My wife and I live in Granite Bay, CA which is situated between Folsom and Roseville, about 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento, and 90 minutes from Lake Tahoe. Living somewhere beautiful, outside the “rat race,” certainly helps my creative flow. I work in my well sound-proofed custom recording studio called “The Stickhouse,” which is an ideal place for creating and mixing music. My studio is built around the Slate Digital VRS8 system, running Pro Tools Ultimate and Logic Pro, depending on the functionality I need for each project. I have a substantial library of Virtual Instruments and samples which cover any genre, from orchestral to hip-hop.