If you've never been to a TAXI Road Rally before, it's hard to imagine what the experience will be like. You may wonder if all the "hype" is true. You might wonder if you'll feel overwhelmed or lost in a sea of 2,499 other songwriters, artists, and composers who've come from all over the world.
That's understandable! It can seem daunting when you think about the odds of actually getting to meet any of the industry pros, or having them hear your music. After all, you'd be just one of thousands of musicians vying for their attention and hoping for your "big break." Yet somehow, there are so many people who tell us the Rally was "life-changing."
"I gotta say, it lived up to the hype and then some. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life."-Mike Baressi, TAXI member
Here are some tips that can help you have that life-changing experience that would motivate you to get on a plane and fly to Los Angeles with nothing more than your music, a hope, and a payer!
Don't be a "poser."
Resist the temptation to act like you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. Just be yourself. Be authentic to who you really are, and don't be afraid to let people know that you're just getting started on your journey to success, if that's the case. Industry pros and your fellow members will appreciate the honesty and respond by being far more helpful than you might imagine.
The Road Rally is famous for our most successful members and industry professionals alike "paying it forward" by being incredibly forthcoming with their knowledge and experience if they feel like you can use their help. Virtually every person who has ever attended the Rally will tell you that even the most shy and reserved among us will make friends by merely standing in the registration line.
"I was surprised at how easy it was to meet people. I'm pretty introverted, so it's tough for me to go up to a stranger and start a conversation, but it was so easy there – in lines, classes, at the bar. I met a ton of people, had some great conversations, made a bunch of new friends. And I was surprised at how eager the experienced members were to give you tips. Everybody seems to want to help you be successful. Great vibe."-Rob Roper, TAXI member
Thousands of life-long friendships and business relationships have started in the registration line. One of our members met a music publisher in the line a few years ago, and landed a publishing deal for dozens of his songs!
Have a specific goal in mind
While you'll still get a lot out of the Rally if you don't have a goal in mind before you arrive, you'll get much more from the experience if you have a specific goal in your mind's eye.
"I want to get my music out there," is a goal, but it's vague!
"I want to learn how to craft Instrumental Cues" is specific, and it gives you a conversation starter when you meet fellow members.
When somebody asks, "So, what brings you to the Rally?" and you respond by saying, "I'm a songwriter, but I want to learn how to create Instrumental Cues for TV shows," they'll probably say something like this; "Make sure you don't miss Dean Krippaehne's class on Demystifying the Genre! I took it last year, and it was a game changer!" That response, and attending Dean's class would make the entire trip to the Rally worth your while.
If you goal is to learn all you can about creating and placing Instrumental Cues in Reality TV shows, then attending a the Instrumental Pitch and Feedback Panel on Saturday morning could definitely be life-changing and here's why! That panel will have Music Library executives and a Music Supervisor giving feedback on Instrumental Cues, and in little more than an hour, you'll get a really good idea of what works, and why it works – straight from the people who sign Cues and use them!
The best way to start a conversation
Walking up to a Music Library executive you saw on that panel and saying, "Hi, wanna hear some really great music?" is vague (and maybe a tad obnoxious). Approaching that same executive in the hotel bar an hour after the panel has wrapped up and saying, "I thought you gave some great advice on that panel, do you mind if I ask you a question?" will most likely be answered with "Sure!"
Bam! Conversation started!!
"I've got a bunch of songs I recorded about five years ago. Should I just mute the vocals and pitch those, or is there a 'form' for Cues that's different than typical song form?" The industry pro will likely tell you that you'll have much more success creating Cues in one of the typical Cue forms, and then ask you what genres you feel most comfortable writing.
Hint: Don't rattle off a laundry list of every genre known to humankind! That's always a bad move, and will likely make them want to extricate him-or-herself from the conversation pretty quickly. Instead, say something like, "I mostly do acoustic singer/songwriter music. Is that a genre that you typically need?"
"Sometimes, but you know what's closely related that I can use pretty frequently - emotionally upbeat, acoustic-based Pop/Rock. I get a lot of music in Property Brothers on HGTV, and I can always use more of that. Why don't you watch some episodes when you get home, and when you've got ten solid tracks that sound as good as what you hear in that show, send them to me. Here's my business card."
That's how it's done! And when you have those tracks and want to follow up with that Music Library executive a few weeks (not months or years) later, trying sending an email like this:
I met you after your panel at the TAXI Road Rally, and you gave me some great advice about creating emotionally upbeat, acoustic-based Pop/Rock tracks. I followed your advice (thank you very much) and have 10 tracks that feel like they'd work in shows like Property Brothers. Can I send you three to check out, and if so, what's your preferred method for me to send them to you?"
Hint: Don't attach Mp3s to your email! Most industry pros much prefer to stream music, then download what they can use. Try using SoundCloud links or sending via DISCO.
Result: I'll bet that if you follow the steps I just gave you, you'll have a positive outcome!
Go easy on your alcohol consumption
If you have some drinks in the hotel bar, remember that your goal is to meet people – the right people! If you play your cards right, you'll meet industry professionals, as well as fellow members you might end up collaborating with, or possibly making introductions to industry pros they have relationships with.
While it's fun to party at a convention, and you might want to have a beer (or two) to loosen up and feel sociable, you can easily make a bad first impression by overdoing it and feeling a little too "bold." If a trip to the bar turns you into a close-talking, spittle-generating person with bad breath, you're probably not going to make a great first impression. Keep your eye on the prize, and act accordingly.
Choose your One-to-One Mentor BEFORE you arrive...
And have 2nd and 3rd choices, ready-to-go as well! We have the best Mentors I think we've ever had, joining us this year. Get in line early so you can get your first choice. Mentors are on a first-come, first-served basis. Yes, you'll spend a chunk of time in line, but it's so worth it!
Getting the right Mentor can absolutely be a life-changing experience. No guarantees, but we've heard hundreds of incredible stories over the years, and we'd love for you to be the next one! If you come to the Rally with a goal and a plan, you're much more likely to go home with success in one form or another in your pocket.
We go to incredible lengths to give you more music education and industry opportunities than you've probably had in your entire life. We hand it to you on a silver platter, and it's up to you take full advantage! See you soon!