Tracey: You never know who is going to come into your life and change it for the worse or the better, or when a connection from a friend or family member might become something a lot bigger than could ever be imagined. Thanks to my lovely sister-in-law Holly for bringing Abigail into mine. She became one of the life changers, for the better I’m pleased to say.
Back in my documentary production days I had a sideline business, which I still run, transcribing raw unedited footage of interviews filmed for documentaries. This means typing up all the dialogue and entering time codes for editors to refer to during production. For anyone who can type, read, count and watch endless hours of unedited footage it is a shoe in. But to do it right you need an unwavering ability to concentrate over long, preferably uninterrupted hours. Working full time in documentary production, and in the process of IVF to conceive little Audrey while doing transcriptions at night, I needed help. Fast. I put the word out and found an ‘overflow’ person. That person was Abigail. In our respective homes in Tempe and Randwick, Sydney, we’d sit at our computers, flicking files between us and punching out page after page to deliver for clients. Abigail was a gun. Phew I was saved! And clients weren’t lost. But it was during this process I came to learn that Abigail was not only a working mother but a composer. We worked this way for months before we actually met in the flesh, at a cafe sometime in 2013. First impression - she struck me as a together person with a great deal of enthusiasm and ease about her. We never met again. But we did start a business.
In November of 2013 Abigail wrote me an email and which I still have. “Do you remember chatting about my lullaby project? I was wondering if I could put the music video I made for one track in your drop-box for you to have a look at.” I did remember but I was moving to NZ in December with my husband James and at that time was also caring for nine-month-old Audrey. Abigail and I tic-tacked over the next few months but as I was settling into a new town, finding new work, buying a house, and with all the relocation stuff involved we didn’t truly catch up on the project until April 2014. Would I be interested in coming on board to help with distribution / getting the lullaby album out there? Abigail had asked. I believed in Abigail and I truly loved the songs she’d been sending me and Audrey did too. What was there to lose? Abigail knew I had distribution experience but not with music. Despite all this she took a chance with her musical baby on me.
2014 brought many highs and lows and decision making, all done via email and Skype. Many hundreds of emails and calls that year cemented our joint commitment to the project. We toyed with bringing in others to help with this and that and we did consult many friends and experts in areas like marketing and PR. We did a LOT of research looking at avenues for distribution, key audience, target markets, potential outlets etc. etc. We sought out an illustrator after a worldwide hunt to find the right fit for the brand. We looked at all manner of children’s merchandise, merchandise suppliers, manufacturers, product types. We had the music mastered, thought about ways to sell it, on and offline. There were so many things to do and learn and we went around the houses with decisions and often came back to our initial gut feelings on many things. In fact we have now, after much consultation and toing and froing, kept it all between us. Building the website, writing content, and Abigail is now illustrating everything.
A few times during the beginning of the process I even thought, she doesn’t need me! She’s on fire! And in retrospect I’m glad I didn’t pull away. That’s an old pattern of mine. Potential success? Oh no, that’s not possibly my trajectory. Quit. Immediately. Start from the bottom up on something else and abandon that before it really takes off - self sabotage. Instead of doing this I grabbed hold a little tighter. And now two years later and many hours spent working together we have a website, merchandise, a published CD, some retailers on board with more to come, events and expos booked in, and now a series of eBooks and read aloud audio picture books on the horizon. Oh and a blog. Ha!
Abigail: Aww… Tracey, that’s beautiful! I’m glad that you think me coming into your life was for the better. I chuckle loudly. Sometimes I think you must get exasperated by the outrageous amount of unpaid hours of work I’ve created in your life. I promise there will be some money one day!
I also laugh that you thought I was a ‘working’ mother when you met me. More like a ‘trying-to-work’ mother. At that time I had been out of the screen-composing scene for a few years since having my two kids, and was finding it almost impossible to re-enter. Yes, there were always keen directors who wanted a free score for their short film, but when it came to properly paid jobs they were few and far between, plus I didn’t have the time to commit 16 hours a day for a production on a short time-frame. Music is always one of the last elements on the post-production schedule, and it’s the norm that a production is running over time. By the time the final edit arrives they want an obscene amount of work done in a ridiculously short time, and that is just not possible when you’re a mum of two small children.
So when Holly came up to me in the school playground and asked if I’d be interested in some paid transcription work for TV, I jumped at the opportunity. She forwarded me her brother’s email and I made contact with you. Through your emails my initial thoughts were you seemed friendly and genuine, and the transcription work seemed pretty straightforward – I just needed to increase my typing speed!
I can’t remember exactly when I mentioned Dream Wonderland to you. It may well have been at that first, and currently only, meeting we had. You had baby Audrey with you but were very chilled and seemed to be dealing with motherhood whilst juggling your transcription business. How, I wondered? You were warm and witty, and yet professional and competent. Isn’t it funny how we make assumptions about people and what’s going on in their lives! You’d probably had no sleep the previous night and had to deal with a poo-nami before entering the café. But you swept in looking every bit the glamorous yummy mummy.
I do remember that when I did mentioned Dream Wonderland you seemed enthusiastic and suggested you might be able to help me get the project up and running in some capacity. I had nearly an album of songs, and big ideas in my head about a brand that would stem from the music, but it’s very hard to keep the momentum when you’re doing everything on your own. Self-doubt tends to creep in. When someone suddenly says, I really like this, I want to help, I believe in what you’re doing, it makes a world of difference. And your enthusiasm is infectious. You are the most positive, uplifting person I know. You’ve taken every hurdle we’ve come across to date in your stride and you are very practical in your approach at fixing a problem. Thank the lord! I’m the kind of person that thinks, oh no! Well that’s it then, we can’t do that, we’re stuck, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But you just say, oh well, let’s try something else! Simple as that. It’s enlightening and oh, so refreshing.
I envy your organisation, and love that you send me schedules and timelines. But I fear I’m always ruining them. When it comes to my work, I tend towards perfectionism, which means I don’t like to deliver anything I’m not completely happy with. (If only I leant towards this when it comes to housework). So this means things can tend to move slowly if I need to compose or illustrate, particularly with my 2 kids in the mix.
Tracey, I’m very glad you didn’t walk away – I don’t think I would have got to this point without you. You keep me focused, you keep me sane, and your get-up-and-go drives me onwards, towards our vision of Dream Wonderland.