• With story songs, you’ve got to think of it all making sense, start to finish, and have a twist at the end, almost like a punch line.
  • Sometimes you’ve got to be more obvious than you’re artistically comfortable being. You already know the story, but the message has to shine through at a bar at 1 a.m. when everybody’s hammered, the band is too loud and the P.A. sucks.
  • When a song isn’t working, leave it alone. Go do something else, or keep the instrument in your hands, keep singing, but work on vocal or guitar exercises or learn cover songs. Sometimes things will slip in and come to you that way.
  • Choose chord voicings according to the mood, style and instrumentation of a song. When I’m playing alone, acoustically, I’ll play different voicings. In our four-piece setting, sometimes what I’m doing is more textural, so if there’s a key riff, voicing or feel, Grant will take it over on electric so it speaks out.

  • Write with a pen on paper! It gives you ideas that maybe you might erase when you’re writing on a computer.
  •  Picking another instrument you don’t usually play can be really fun. You won’t go to what your sense memory knows, so you’ll find a new place to start from. If you play guitar, sit down at the piano and see where it takes you. The chords will be totally different and you’ll play different melodies. That has worked for me before.
  • If you haven’t got something really solid within 90 minutes, don’t bash your head against the wall. Inspiration is a gift and you can’t force someone to give you a gift. As soon as you start thinking too much and trying to grab and hold onto it, it’s going to die. That’s like love.
  • You can revisit a stalled song idea later. You might have a new perspective on life a couple of years later that means you can understand the song in a way you needed to in order to finish it.
  • Try reading a book, a novel idea! I always get inspiration when I read a good book.

What is the SCGC?
The SCGC, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, is a trade association certified under the Federal Status of the Artist Act, to represent all screen composers in Canada except those working in the French language, who are represented by our sister organization La Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs (SPACQ ). The SCGC promotes the status and rights of screen composers through professional development, sharing information, and advocacy on issues such as copyright and the value of screen music.

Who are SCGC members?
SCGC members are music composers who are creating, or are interested in creating, scores for large, medium, and small screens such as cinema, television, web, mobile, and video games.

Why should I become a member?
• Community – Our profession is a unique one, and the SCGC has built a strong culture of openness and sharing for members.
• The SCGC Discuss List – The discuss list is one of the most powerful information resources in the industry. This e-mail chat reaches all of our members, providing advice to and from composers at all stages of their careers and varied musical backgrounds. New members are frequently amazed at how generous the SCGC community is with technical tips, business advice, and other forms of help. We truly believe that “a rising tide raises all ships,” and strive to make every member the best they can be so that collectively, Canada remains known and respected for it’s excellent composers.
• Professional Development – SCGC offers a wide range of professional development programs for our members at all stages of their careers. These include business, technical and creative workshops, seminars and Master Classes. We have also developed more than 15 hours of instructional video clips covering 17 topics posted online as well as many hours of DVD tutorials and seminars that are available to our members free of charge.
• Advocacy – The SCGC is your voice as a working or aspiring composer. It is vital for all of us to engage and join the industrial and political conversations that impact our working environment and our ability to earn a decent living. As we are increasingly being isolated in our personal studios, the SCGC connects and enables us to find common positions on how best to lobby for and advocate for the livelihoods and rights of all screen composers in Canada.
• Additional Member Benefits – Your SCGC membership provides valuable discounts on hotels, car rentals, health clubs, shows, attractions and movies. We are currently working on a group health plan.

What are the membership fees?
The SCGC provides three membership options geared to composers at various levels of their careers, as shown on our website. The fees are very reasonable and 100% tax-deductible.