Impending Parenthood & Pinterest Projects

 

There's nothing like a deadline. And having a baby in a few days is certainly a formidable one!

Actually, it's more like I had a list of stuff I've always wanted to get to, so waiting around for baby to arrive has its advantages.

This week, I took to Pinterest to start some projects I've always envisioned but never found time to tackle.

Designing Song Lyric Excerpts

First up, I wanted to present my original song lyric excerpts in a fun and engaging way, and then link them to the songs themselves. Thus, my "Lyrics to Live by" board was created.

Lyric Excerpt from "Listening"
Lyric Excerpt from "Listening"

 

My hope is that people who are unfamiliar with my songs will be intrigued or moved by the excerpts and want to read all the lyrics, or even listen to the songs.

My design skills are limited, but it was a blast to express my artistry as a songwriter even further in this manner!

Compiling Clever UX Content Writing Examples

Always seeking to balance out the two aspects of my professional life, my next project was to take the folder of screenshots of content writing samples that have impressed or amused me over the course of the past year and link to their respective websites of origin. The result is my compilation of Clever UX Content Writing.

Even the most seemingly insignificant content on your website can go a long way in creating a fun experience for your users, members or visitors.

UX Copy Samples Pinterest Board
UX Copy Samples Pinterest Board

You'll smile and/or laugh at some of the silly, even snarky, ways companies interact with their customers. Like Groupon giving you a chance to inflict pain upon a staffer; it's all in good fun, and all to build a rapport to put you in a good mood and keep you coming back.

As both a writer and a customer of these sites, I admire the decisions to express themselves and their brands in engaging ways.

Take a look; what you see just might inspire you to do similar things with your site content!

What kind of boards will you create to stretch your artistic muscles or help others discover your work?

Happy pinning,

Carla

The Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference

Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference Next month, I'll be attending the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference in Hollywood. As a songwriter looking to get my music placed in film and TV, this will be a terrific opportunity to learn from and network with the best music supervisors, editors and producers in the biz, plus have a blast with likeminded creatives. Christina Aguilera and L.A. Reid are keynotes, so it promises to be amazing.

I'll be tweeting from the event, using the conference hashtag #filmtvconf, so if you're attending or want to follow the action, let's connect. I've also started a Facebook group for NYC-area songwriters to share resources, info and tips, so if you're a songwriter in the Greater New York Area, give us a shout.

It's been 7 years since I've been in LA, so I'm also looking forward to seeing friends and family this trip!

Onward,

Carla

 

 

Sharing My Songs on SoundCloud ... Why You Should, Too!

Super excited to have finally hopped aboard the SoundCloud train! If you're a songwriter, musician, DJ, singer, voiceover artist, etc., you can use SoundCloud to house all your tracks, from mastered recordings to works-in-progress. And the best part is, SoundCloud provides you with a direct URL for each of your tracks! No more asking fans to go to your page and scroll down to a specific tune; you can now provide the direct link for each and every tune or file you share.

SoundCloud is also a social network: You can follow other artists and interact and share media! One of the coolest interactive features is that fans can add comments to ANY portion of the file. For example, say someone listened to my latest tune and dug the key change that happens at 3 minutes and 14 seconds in; that person could add a comment at 3:14 to say so! And I can do the same for any tunes I listen to uploaded by the people I follow.

I'm using SoundCloud to share my first major-label cut, "Go On" featuring EMI artist Amy Sky, and the rest of my tracks from my recent demo of songs for film & TV. Soon, I'll also use SoundCloud to share my newest tunes not yet recorded, so stay tuned! And as soon as "Go On" is available on iTunes (currently only available in Canada), I'll let you know!

Love and music,

Carla

 

Give to Live: Song for Donate Life Month Honors Local Hero's Legacy

Joe Acocella, the late town clerk of Harrison, N.Y., who passed away in 2011 at the age of 30 while awaiting a kidney transplant, was an inspiration to everyone he encountered. A double amputee, he never let the obstacles he faced affect his accomplishments, which included becoming the youngest member elected to the Harrison Board of Education and the youngest town clerk in New York state history.

Since his tireless work spanned many initiatives at a breakneck speed, it's a Herculean task to encapsulate Joey's short life. Many journalists and friends have done so in prose, and I was asked by the Acocella family to do so in song (listen to the song here), as a way to both honor his legacy and raise awareness for Donate Life, the organ donor registry initiative (and one of his near-and-dear causes). Joey was the recipient of a kidney transplant at age 18; ten years later, he found himself in need of another transplant to sustain his life.

Your future hangs on a wish You're a name on a list. You deserve another chance, You deserve more than this ...

THE WRITING PROCESS Already a registered organ donor, I was honored to also donate a song, which will be unveiled in a video about Joey's life at the Give to Live Fundraiser on April 26, scheduled to be an annual event to raise money for Donate Life and Joey's other beloved charities, such as animal rescue shelters and support for our troops.

For the song, I collaborated with NYC singer-songwriter Brenda Rudzinski. Together, we delved into the stories of those seeking a second chance at life from those who donate living organs and those who register to give organ, eye and tissue donations when they pass on. The research moved us deeply. We decided to focus on the importance of spreading the word, whether sharing it publicly or sharing with friends and family in a quiet way. Each helps the cause. You can listen to the song here.

Brenda also lent her beautiful voice to the tune, which was recorded by producer Adam Harley at Gnome Music Studio in Larchmont, N.Y. The gorgeous guitar parts were played by Justin Gild. My husband, Thomas Fisher, also contributed to the song's arrangement. This truly was a group effort.

The song was premiered on "Harrison Live" on WVOX on April 19, by Dennis Nardone and his co-host Tonny Guido. We are thrilled to honor Joey's incredible life as well as spread the word about a need that affects so many throughout the world. We hope that the song moves enough people to get those registry numbers up! Kleenex in hand, we look forward to seeing the song paired with the video at the fundraiser.

For more info on organ donation, visit the Donate Life site. To donate to Joey's charities, email joeysfoundation@gmail.com.

Hear the song and read the lyrics on SoundCloud.

And feel free to comment below. Joey was all about making the most noise, so let's help make some noise and carry on his good work!

Spread the word,

Carla

Shout it from the rooftops Make the message heard If you believe in second chances, Share life with the world. It only takes one person at a time who wants to give. Help spread the word and Give to Live ...

Talking Social Media Strategy & Crowdfunding with America’s LinkedIn Lady

It was my extreme pleasure to join Carol McManus America's LinkedIn Lady — on "The LinkedIn Lady Show" on Toginet Radio. Talking shop with Carol is one of my favorite things to do, and we covered a lot of ground, including crowdfunding and my latest musical pursuits.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes (choose the 10/19/11 episode) or you can download it directly from my site. Carol began our chat by focusing on my corporate experience, then transitioned to the significance of my domain name, my recent site launch and my songwriting news.

PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS By listening to the podcast interview, you'll get in on:

1) The name Saidandsung and how my songwriting informs my copywriting (8 minutes into the podcast).

2) My involvement with the new musical IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU (10:20 into the podcast), now playing at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

3) How Crowdfunding can help you move projects forward (18:36 into the podcast) and why I chose RocketHub.com.

4) How I used Social Media for My RocketHub Campaign and how I use it for my business (32 minutes into the podcast).

5) The #1 tip I learned from @BloggingMentor Annabel Candy to help separate my 2 selves on Twitter (34 minutes into the podcast).

6) A frank discussion on Social Media Strategy — thoughts on automated tools, the future of Facebook and more (45 minutes into the podcast) — with Carol's "Marketing Minute" partner Ken Herron a.k.a. @PurpleComm.

UNDER THE (POSITIVE) INFLUENCE At one point in the podcast, Carol asked me about my business influencers, and I gave her a handful:

+ Annabel Candy of @GetInTheHotSpot a.k.a. @BloggingMentor (34 minutes into the podcast): I learned such great Twitter tips and blog tips from Annabel and her "Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps" book!

+ @RobinDickinson (39:52 into the podcast): Robin was the first source I turned to for lessons on how to tweet. His Success with Twitter video was terrific for learning nomenclature, strategy, etc. He continues to inspire through his Facebook page.

+ @JasonWomack and @DyanaValentine (40:45 into the podcast): Two superb coaches/professional instigators whose workflow and big-picture ideas (often in the form of fiery I-dare-yous) are all kinds of inspiring.

+ The authors of "The Wealthy Freelancer" — @EdGandia, @petesavage & @steveslaunwhite (41:10 into the podcast): This book not only helped me get to the next level in my freelance career, but it also lead me to form a friendship with freelance illustrator @DonnaBarger, who is also a terrific accountability partner.

+ Jennifer Shaheen of Technology Therapy (48:15 into the podcast): Jennifer's Advanced Facebook for Business webinar is full of tips and long-term strategy ideas.

And, honestly, Carol continues to be one of my biggest influencers. Each week, I learn so many great pointers from her show, especially about LinkedIn and business strategy. You can tune into "The LinkedIn Lady Show" every Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST on Toginet.com, or listen to her half-hour show at 9 a.m. EST Wednesdays on WGCH AM 1490 in Greenwich, Conn.

I've had a lot going on this past month or so, and like I said in a recent blog post, it takes a village. I'm so grateful to be surrounded by inspiring collaborators, colleagues and friends, and look forward to what's to come!

Onward,

Carla

Mover, Shaker, Art-Maker? Consider Crowdfunding, with Tips on Day 26

I'm 26 days into my music fundraiser on RocketHub.com, and I'm 93% there, thanks to the kindness of friends, family, colleagues and supporters! Just 4 days to go, and I'm so excited to get these demos printed and pressed so I can start using them as my calling card.

I thought I'd mark this almost-there occasion by spreading the word about crowdfunding, for those out there who may not know what it is, and who may benefit greatly from it.

WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING? Crowdfunding is a form of fundraising popular among artists, musicians, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs that is generally carried out via the Internet. The process involves making your project's purpose, plans and outcomes known to a large audience (through social media, email and often the making of a video to let prospective funders know what your project is about), in the hopes that even small contributions will collectively add up to reaching your set fundraising goal in a finite amount of time. Many crowdfunders make it possible for people to donate as little as $1 to their projects, and set a time limit of anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

RocketHub.com is the crowdfunding platform I chose for my "Send a Hamilton to Harrison" CD project. One of the biggest reasons I chose this NYC-based dot-com is because unlike some competitors in the space, RocketHub enables you to keep whatever amount you raise, even if you don't reach your goal (minus the site's nominal fee). For me, this was an important consideration in today's economy, as some friends and family may not be able to contribute.

Another big distinction is that crowdfunding isn't charity; it's a two-way transaction. Donors — or as RocketHub calls them, fuelers — receive rewards in exchange for their donations, and the greater the donation, the greater the rewards.

A music-related project (like mine is), for example, may feature rewards that range from public recognition to copies of the work to dedications, customized compositions and at-home concerts.

START WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW Most of the people who will contribute to your campaign will be people you know, as crowdfunding is about reaching out to your closest, most supportive network of friends and family first, then branching out through blogging, social media and email asks. However, there are fuelers out there who are frequent patrons of the arts or other projects and may be looking to support a project like yours, even though they don't know you personally. This is common among projects by music artists (like fellow songwritier Kerri Leigh, whose campaign to record her album reached an overwhelming 129% of its goal), as fans can connect with their music from all corners of the Internet.

CROWDFUNDING TIPS I'VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY To see if RocketHub (or crowdfunding in general) is right for you, check out RocketHub's list of Crowdfunding Basics, and explore some of the projects currently underway. You can also head over to the RocketHub blog because I've shared some insight of my own experience in crowdfunding in the final paragraphs of an interview with RocketHub Co-Founder Vladimir Vukicevic. The RocketHub staff has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout this nearly 30-day adventure.

You just may find that RocketHub is right for your next project.

I welcome your comments and questions below.

Good luck!

Carla

Follow me and RocketHub on Twitter.

New Site, New Music: It Really Does Take a Village (and Sometimes Red Bull)

Wow, the past three weeks have been a whirlwind! After some all-nighters, daily Red Bull (Am I in college again?) and a little help from my friends, I'm happy to announce some exciting developments: First off, not only are you viewing Saidandsung.com's new look, but I also launched a fundraiser on RocketHub.com to get my latest song demo pressed! We made a silly video for the campaign — click below to get a glimpse of what this project is about, how you can help move it forward and how to get your hands on the music:

As of this post, I'm nearly 80 percent toward my goal and I've got just 8 days left to complete it — if you can, please consider sending a Hamilton my way to get your own copy of my tunes and other fun rewards!

Here's Where That Village Part Comes In It really does take a village for big projects to come to fruition. None of this progress would have been possible without the help of the following wonderful people (you may be able to use some of their services for your own projects):

+ S.W. Senek ... The playwright-director and EVP of Eagles Talent (and also a dear friend) conceived, directed, filmed and edited the RocketHub video, and whose son, Sheldon III, plays the role of The Last Hope. Plus, a special shout-out to Sheldon's wife, Krysta, who was so patient as we invaded her home for the shoot. And my goddaughter, Josephine, for being so darn adorable on set!

+ Tricia Okin ... This graphic designer/food blogger/woman-about-world was instrumental in giving me ideas for my video, and basically taught me not to be afraid to ask others for help.

+ Dyana Valentine ... The wily Muse and professional get-you-movin' solutions gal was the one who forced me to name a hard deadline for my Web site launch. And boy, there's nothing like a deadline! She also took the time to interview me about my music and get to the heart of why I'm doing this: because I want to help others embrace life experiences and give themselves permission to feel whatever they need to through my music.

+ Nick Norris ... This principal at identifiDesign not only gave my site a fresh new look, but he also jumped in at the 11th hour to fine-tune the site pre-launch and held my proverbial hand through the switchover!

+ Lauren R. Popek ... A designer with identifiDesign.com, Lauren created not only the cover art for my CD, but also my rebus-infused logo (the fact that I get excited by that reveals my inner nerd, but oh well). You can find more of Lauren's work on her own Web site.

+ Allen Mogol ... What can I say about my copywriting colleague and friend I recently voted Most Likely to Be a Business Coach Someday? Allen kept me focused on the light at the end of the tunnel, helped refine my ideas and gave those all-important Lombardi-esque pep talks that kept me sane!

+ Ted Allen ... My fellow songwriter also had a crowdfunding campaign for his upcoming album, so he consulted on the organization of my campaign and the content. His current album, "Nothing to See Here," is so likable and catchy, I highly recommend you take a listen!

+ Thomas Fisher ... Besides being my co-writer on some of the tunes — and my life partner! — Thomas was immediately on board with the video concept, and really dove into his portion of it. He's a talented performer as well, plus he provided the accompaniment and gorgeous harmonies for the "Send a Hamilton to Harrison" song; I couldn't have done it without him.

+ Adam Harley ... Besides being a recording engineer and producer with the best set of ears in these here parts, Adam is also a great videographer who can create attention-grabbing promotional videos for your business as well as local cable commercials that look anything but local.

+ Mark Buono ... Another skilled recording engineer, producer and wicked drummer, Mark worked his magic on my tunes, adding tracking that enhanced the production and even expertly replicating the acoustics for whenever I'd change up a lyric or an entire section!

+ Craig Wilson & Mat Leland ... These two musicians/songwriters/producers/engineer extraordinaires got the ball rolling on this demo years ago, when they tracked, produced and played on the first versions of these tunes at Haven Studios in NYC. Though the songs have developed over the years, I'm so grateful to Craig Wilson and Mat Leland for their work on this demo as well as for their collective belief in me as a writer.

+ Stephanie Harrison, Christina Lea, Brooke Campbell, Thomas Fisher & Fortune Creek ... The singers who brought their unique styles to these songs are all songwriters themselves, and I know that's why they were each able to give such heartfelt performances. I'm happy to suggest you visit their sites to hear their own work: Stephanie Harrison ("Prettied Up" and "The Clearing"), Christina Lea ("All I Could Do"), Brooke Campbell ("Listening" and "Go On") and Thomas Fisher (solo "Where We Begin" and "Rather Look at You" with Fortune Creek.

+ Randy Merrill ... A sound engineer at the renowned NYC mastering house Master Disk, Randy made my songs on this demo pop, and I mean in that sparkly kind of way. If you need mastering on your tunes, he's your go-to guy.

I've learned so much from all of these fine people, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their contributions to this effort. You know what would warm my heart even more? If some of you commented below to let me know that you also remember the TV show "Rags to Riches" — it will make me feel less geeky! (Watch the video above to get my drift.)

Onward,

Carla

P.S. Visit my Tunes page on this site to find out about my new musical that opens in New Jersey this month!

Art Is Relevant: Never Forgetting 9/11 and All We Need to Say

There’s a ring I wear on my pointer finger with the phrase “Art is relevant” engraved on the outside. I got it years ago at Campbell Pottery in Cambridge Springs, Pa., near my hometown. This was before I moved to New York, when I was interviewing the shop’s owner for a business magazine’s cover story. While touring the facilities, I spotted the ring and was so taken by its simple and powerful statement that I bought it on the spot; it has been on my finger ever since. It wasn’t until after 9/11 that I questioned my art’s relevance.

Just two months before that horrific day, I moved to New York City after winning a songwriting competition. Finally, I had validation that songwriting was what I was meant to be doing, and that New York was where I needed to be. My family had visited in August 2001, and we viewed the city from atop the towers. Little did we know just two weeks later, everything would change.

Newly rattled, life in NYC at the time was enough to make you question everything, from an unattended bag to the first time a plane flew overhead since that day to the reason you were spared over so many others and you wondered whether you would ever feel safe again, let alone experience joy. Suddenly, pursuing my songwriting seemed frivolous. And the record label with which I had deals pending, like so many others in the industry, was no longer willing to take risks. I thought, “How can I spend time writing songs and poems while others around me suffer immeasurable grief?”

Then I realized that proof of art’s relevance was all around me. A former Windows on the World server I met named Leda Young told me how she volunteered playing piano at the McDonald’s on Broadway near Ground Zero to provide solace to others through music; in doing so, she also helped herself cope with the loss of her co-workers in the attack.

My good friend and writing partner Barbara Anselmi had chosen to use her art and her empathy to compose the song "All Join Together," the title song for a CD that raised over $40,000 for the New York Times 9/11 Fund.

I remember poring over the liner notes to Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, his album of songs in response to the tragedy, and finding comfort in its universal messages of hope and unity.

From art installations to plays to I-Love-NY-More-Than-Ever T-shirts, artists were funneling their deep sorrow, their camaraderie and their highest regard for their fellow New Yorkers in ways that would begin the road to healing. I began writing poems and songs, some scraps and some fully realized.

Now, 10 years later, James Taylor sings at the memorial to soothe our collective soul. The TV show “Rescue Me,” whose series finale aired earlier this week, has for the last seven years portrayed 9/11-related themes with such honesty, sensitivity and humanity, through both scenes and monologues that make me cover my mouth from feeling so much. In so many spaces and so many places, artists are creating powerful messages daily. Messages relevant to our shared understanding. Messages we need to say.

Today (as I’ve done so every year), I watch the names being read, scored by a lone cello. My eyes well up with every cadence, when those at the podium get to make their personal tributes, beginning with the words “And my …” then filling in the relation to their loved ones lost. Heartbreaking beyond belief.

But whether it’s a brief mention of the life they lead to a full profile in print or onscreen, we share in their stories, and those who tell them do their best to carry on. As we all do.

Facebook.com/saidandsung

Today, my Saidandsung Facebook Page got its custom URL, also known as a vanity URL. Now, I can use facebook.com/saidandsung in promotions, whether verbally or written, and people can easily find my page. To get one for yourself, read this previous post. I will be using my page to offer people insight on more effective writing; links to fun design, copy and innovative marketing; and ways to be more creative. The Page also features a 'My Band' tab, where you can listen to the songs I've written. Finally, my two worlds of copywriting and songwriting are together on the same site!

Visit my Facebook page and click Like to stay in the loop and to hear my tunes. Hope to see you there!

And send me the link to your Facebook Page.

Thanks for reading,

Carla

Pockets of Information, Part I: Empty Yours by Speaking Up

Yesterday, I enjoyed a brief respite from work to play softball for my Broadway Show League team. During a post-victory conversation with a teammate, I mentioned I was on my way to a meeting with my writing partners for a new children's musical project. My teammate just happened to know a higher-up in the children's musical world, and thus, smack dab in Central Park, a connection — or the promise of one — was made.

The lesson here? My teammate had NO IDEA that in addition to being a freelance business writer, I am also a songwriter, let alone that I have children's songs in my repertoire.

This is a perfect example of what I call Pockets of Information. And they need to be emptied.

SPEAK UP

Don't assume that answering the question "What do you do?" (WDYD) with a job title is enough to spark a connection in the mind of the person to whom you are speaking, especially if you are in business for yourself. In fact, if you answer that initial question confidently (which you always should), then that person may assume that you are all set in your profession and aren't seeking new clients. You also should share more about your other interests, but I'll say more on that in a couple paragraphs.

I'd say a better way to answer the WDYD question (using myself as an example) is, "I'm a freelancer writer and consultant for Web and print, and I'm always seeking new clients in small businesses, corporate clients, even individuals."

As the conversation continues, you should then try to work in any other passions you are pursuing (in my case, this would be my songwriting). Side jobs or businesses, even extracurriculars, can lead to tangental conversations, which are great breeding grounds for expanding your network.

If you own a business with a storefront, that's one thing, because people can see what you do. But if you have additional businesses or are an independent contractor of any kind who keeps the other sides of you deep in your pockets, few people will be able to guess them. By opening your mouth, you open your work and your interests to a new world of possibilities.

So get out there and get talking! Get on Twitter, on Facebook and LinkedIn to share your likes and dislikes, your passions and your strengths. You'll be stronger for it.

In Part II, I'll discuss how Pockets of Information affect business teams.

Thanks for reading,

Carla

Want more tips? Find me on Twitter, on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

Want to hear my music?