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Thanks for dropping by. Can’t wait to hear from you,

Heather x

Green Juice in Martini GlassThe year is flying by. April is speeding to a close as I finish up the bulk of the music on a very cool project for the V&A Museum down in London. More about this challenging experience in later posts nearer the time the exhibition will open…

I’m starting work on a new feature film in May. Again, more about that when it’s underway.

The theme of women in society is quite heavily featured in both of these projects. With the recently highly successful Everyday Sexism campaign, the reality of what it means to be female in today’s society is very much the flavour of the day. I don’t think I’ve written much (or anything at all) about this here. I think, on the whole, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with men and women for whom equality is second nature, whether in the face of sexism, racism, homophobia… it very rarely has become an issue. But then this interesting article turned up in my feed and I did a double take – I wondered if some form of insidious, culturally-accepted sexism had affected me without realising it…

Why Women Don’t Ask For More Money

“…When women advocate for themselves, they have to navigate more than a higher salary: They’re managing their reputation, too. Women worry that pushing for more money will damage their image. Research shows they’re right to be concerned: Both male and female managers are less likely to want to work with women who negotiate during a job interview.”

The article is from a management, business, officey world (is there a catch-all word for this? Not media, anyway) but negotiating fees as a freelancer is never easy in any capacity, especially media where you’re supposed to love what you do so much you’d do it for free, and money is a dirty word. No matter what anyone tells you, there is no industry-standard per-minute rate for music composition. There are just too many factors to take into account. BASCA did a survey last year illustrating how varied the fees are that are paid to composers across a wide variety of media and segregated it by region too (UK, Europe, US, other) which was eye-opening.

But is it even more difficult for me because I’m a woman?

The variables are too intertwined for me to know for certain – the only way to know for sure is to compare a male composer a similar life experience and personality and see if they’re asking for and making more money. I certainly don’t feel more inclined to ask for a low fee because I want people to like me, but I do want respect and repeat business, so I don’t want to piss anyone off – so it’s more of a practical consideration.

I’m very open with my negotiations – I’m more of an asker than a guesser so whilst there’s always a little bit of nerves involved in stating a fee without any sort of hint from the other party what their budget might be, I’ve become used to that uncomfortable sensation. It kind of becomes exhilarating after a while. It is a negotiation, after all, a back-and-forth – the other side is always expected to come back with a counter offer in this scenario. It’s not personal, it’s business.

Another interesting women-centric post…

The 7 habits of successful women

Leila Johnston, aka Final Bullet, gets all sorts of awesome stuff done, has brilliant left-field ideas about technology, media and art, and has a brutal sense of humour. I spoke at one of her recent events; the camera failed before my talk so you’re saved from listening to me witter on about the nature of magical reality and how to make the audience cry (and laugh and feel all the other emotions) through the medium of music in Slung Low‘s shows.

This post is exemplary of her style. Read the whole lot. It’s brilliant. I agree with it all.

And in a bit of a left-field segue...

The Writers’ Blog Tour

The lovely John Hunter writes about his writing as part of an international, informal, tag-your-writing-mates, chain-letter-style blog tour, answering four questions about his work. I get a mention so I had to return the favour! John writes dead interesting female characters, is massively about the equality of his characters – that they’re people, not just a set of stereotypical genital-carriers, and, more importantly, his stories always (if memory serves) pass the The Bechdel Test:

  1. [The story] has to have at least two [named] women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man

I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with The Bechdel Test of late. Everything I watch gets scrutinized for it. It would make for an excellent drinking game were in not for the fact that the criteria so rarely occur. So I remain sober. Just as well really, got shedloads of work to do.

Meandering Thoughts on the Ego

27 February 2014 Miscellaneous

Time is flying by, and we’re already nearing March of a year that feels like it only began a week ago. I’ve been working on Red Star’s latest animation this month, in a very different music style to my normal orchestral/sound-designy schtick! ‘Tis alway nice to have a challenge.

Next month brings with it more new and lovely challenges: preparatory … Read the rest

New Album Release: Blood + Chocolate

24 January 2014 Theatre

The soundtrack album of music from Blood+Chocolate is now officially released.

It’s available on iTunesGoogle Play and Spotify et al…

Post-show thoughts and links to reviews of the show

More post-show thoughts and lovely pictures

The official site (Pilot Theatre)Read the rest

Happy New Year 2014!

20 January 2014 Miscellaneous

… that is, if it’s not too late for that sort of thing.

2014 has been lovely so far. I’ve practically become a hermit. The short days and chilly weather don’t encourage venturing out and about so I’m embracing the introversion, staying cloistered and writing library music ’til the end of the month.

The tail end of 2013 saw a … Read the rest

Looking back on 2013

6 December 2013 Miscellaneous
I've just finished on my final freelance project of the year; a perfect opportunity for reflection.

War, Hell, Blood and Chocolate

20 November 2013 Theatre
So here goes: when I first heard about the show Blood + Chocolate, I didn't want to do it. Now, this isn't a new phenomenon for me. It's just the lizard brain going into overdrive protective mode whenever I'm presented with a project that I can't quite wrap my head around. I just ignore the feeling and accumulate more facts and ideas from the people who know more of them, and eventually, I come around and start looking forward to it.

Blood And Chocolate And Beyond

18 October 2013 Theatre
As usual, it's all been a bit of a whirlwind of late. Seems like longer than three weeks ago that we had this sunny Sunday morning choir rehearsal for Blood+Chocolate, out on site.

Somewhat Off-Topic…

5 October 2013 Miscellaneous

FOODS! Nomnomnomnom…

Highlights from the last few months. Nowt beats home-cooked grub.

(Credit goes to John for most of these meals.)… Read the rest

Blind Faith vs Evidence-Based Expectations

29 August 2013 Creativity

I wrote a post a while back about being ok with not knowing. Sometimes you don’t know what your next move is, how you’ll get from the start to the finish line. The gist of the post is that this usually feels uncomfortable but it’s ok to feel that way. There’s no need to shy away from it – … Read the rest

Yoga, Music and Being Slightly Obsessive Compulsive

23 August 2013 Miscellaneous

You know I love the yoga, no? Well, asana, at any rate. Not least because you pronounce that word ASS-ana. Heheheh.

I’ve been at this asana (snicker) malarky for going on 6 years now, the majority of that as just a home practise with follow-along videos. But then… da da daaaa! I signed up for an actual led class, … Read the rest

Work and Play

20 August 2013 Miscellaneous

In July, I prepped some choral work for Blood & Chocolate. The preliminary rehearsal was very encouraging. Those chaps can really sing.

During August, I’m working on several Red Star projects.

I’m also doing a Twitter and Facebook fast. Admittedly, I logged in when I got a mention on the twitter, and also to play Team Cooper’s latest game … Read the rest