What is the key to moving your musical forward? While you definitely will need courage, openness, creativity, and hustle, the number one key to progress is…
The Musical Writers Development Series
The journey to getting a musical on its feet is a long one. We can’t—and shouldn’t—do it alone. Knowing that, we created the MusicalWriters Development Series, a 12-month coaching and musical development program that begins with an initial script review and ends with your show on a stage of its own.
We have several focused, determined writers and insightful, experienced coaches working together through this process, and we’re excited to highlight one of our writers, composer Todd Low.
Meet writer Todd Low
This is how Todd describes his time in the MW Development Series thus far…
This my first-ever musical, so everything is new to me. So far it’s been wonderful working with my Development Coach. It’s been great to be challenged and be pushed into the difficult areas that I would normally (on my volition) avoid. I just finished version 3 of my musical and am looking forward to hearing feedback. I feel like the story is already so much stronger than it was when I started, which is amazing! I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow. I’m very pleased with the program and my Development Coach has been a pleasure to work with!
Where are you from, and what is your “day job?”
I’m from Jacksonville, Florida. During the day I’m a web developer/programmer. It’s a very technical job that leaves me hungry for creative outlets. Over the years I’ve found ways to satisfy that craving with creative writing, painting, improv, writing/recording nerd-rock music, and performing as a musician in local theatre. And now more recently, I’m taking on the challenge of writing a musical!
What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working on writing a musical called Trials of Iron. Imagine Game of Thrones meets Wicked; set to a Broadway pop/rock soundtrack. The youngest daughter of a respected knight’s family is forced into a fight-to-the-death battle to win the right to marry the one she loves. It’s very much about family, and while the story is not something we would see happen today, the situation that caused it to happen is relatable to people feeling the pressure of living up to their parents’ expectations.
Writing a musical isn’t easy. What’s your “why” in being a musical writer?
I’ve come to realize that I enjoy being uncomfortable (ha ha). I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of writing a musical but felt it was something far beyond my capability. In 2018, I went through a sort of personal renaissance and embarked on several creative projects which culminated in my attempting to write a musical. I’ve been a musician and singer/songwriter for many years. It seemed like a natural progression from story writer to musical writer, but I found out the two are extremely different beasts.
What are your favorite software programs for writing musicals?
A few years ago I made the switch from Windows to Mac and decided to try out Logic. It was a tough change at first, but I can’t imagine writing without it now. It’s literally been the best investment I’ve made. In fact, all of my musical demos were recorded in my house with Logic. I highly, highly recommend every musician have this program in their arsenal. (Here’s a great little how-to book) For the actual script writing I only use Word and created a script template based on a the guidelines I found on MusicalWriters.com about formatting for a script. It’s not the best setup, but it works for my budget. =)
Is there any tech you can’t live without?
My tech setup is pretty slim, but—in my opinion—very powerful. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 interface, a Casio 88 key weighted keyboard as my midi interface, a Shure SM7B microphone for my vocals, a Luna acoustic guitar, and a MacBook Air that I use to run Logic. This combination has been exceedingly powerful for my recording/writing needs. My setup is super simple and easy enough for me to work with, while also giving me a polished and professional sound to showcase my ideas with great quality. I seriously can’t live without it!
What’s a lesson you’ve learned from your writing journey that you’d like to share?
Accept early on that nothing you write is set in stone. There’s very little (if any) from my first draft that’s still in my current draft. In the first few rounds of edits, I felt emotionally attached to certain scenes or songs, and it was difficult to break away from them. Holding on to these made it difficult to tell the story in a concise manner; it felt like I had to add too much complexity to make those scenes/songs work. But, once I removed them, the story flowed much better and became easier, and more importantly clearer, to tell.
Why did you join MusicalWriters Development Series?
Being that this was my first musical, I knew I needed help from people that have done this before. I was really impressed with the MusicalWriters development team and their overall professionalism. They seemed eager to help out of a passion for creators and writers. Now that I’m nearly a year into this, I can say that is definitely true.
What do you love or find most helpful about MusicalWriters.com?
I love how much information is available on the site: blog articles, resources, submissions, worksheets, masterclasses, and so much more. I truly tell everyone I know about MusicalWriters.com and how I wouldn’t have been able to take on this project without them!
[icon name=”comment-alt-check” class=”icon-1.5x”]Want to move your musical forward like Todd? Sign up for the MusicalWriters Development Series and get started on an exciting, productive path of your own!