On the Air: Writing a Musical – Part 2

Now, where was I? Oh yes, recording a demo. (In case you missed it, here’s part 1)

This can be a very intimidating task considering all that goes into recording.  Do we need to rent a recording studio? Who do we get to record? How much is this going to cost?

Anybody can record a demo and believe it or not, it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Robby and I invested in a mic off of Amazon.  This one to be exact.  It won’t cost you your first born child and the sound quality is pretty good.  We got a pop filter, music stand, a mac and were ready to go. We recorded the majority of the demo in my room, not some fancy recording studio.  The music stand was our mic holder.  This was the set-up (please excuse the mess, I was a shell of a human being remember?):


It was a bit ghetto, but it worked for us.

We used Garageband on our mac to record.  I’m mainly a PC person, so that was an adventure.  There was a time when I thought I deleted the whole demo and literally had a panic attack, calling everybody I knew who was familiar with Macs.  Of course, I couldn’t reach anybody, so I did what anybody would do.  Restarted the computer.

Problem fixed.  Me=Mac genius.

Ok, so we had a mic and our tracks laid down, but two people “an 11 person musical does not make.”  We needed to fill in three other principle roles and six ensemble roles.

We called our amazing friends.  Being actors ourselves, we had plenty of friends who were performers.  We begged  asked some of our awesomely talented friends if they would mind laying down some tracks for this new musical we wrote.  Of course, we couldn’t afford to pay them, so I made cookies.  Lots of cookies.

They were pretty awesome cookies.

Here is our friend Justin after he laid down his tracks, with his cookies.


Since we were only paying them in cookies, we tried to accommodate everybody so it wouldn’t be such a hassle for them.  We would go to their apartments, meet them in the city, at whatever time they wanted.  If their apartments weren’t an option (roommates, pets, etc.) we would rent a room at a rehearsal studio for an hour (15-17 bucks) and record there.

Word of advice.  If you do rent a room at a studio, make sure the room is an intimate one, not a large gargantuan.  Otherwise, your session will have an echoing quality.  (We learned that the hard way).  Ripley Grier has rooms on their tenth floor, specifically for recording (padded walls, etc.) that are pretty cheap.

You should have seen us traipsing around NY with our mic and music stand.  Our friends would laugh at our hysterical set-up, but once again, it worked!

Once we had everybody’s tracks laid down, we had to edit it. Which was a whole process in itself.  Leveling the sound, mixing, doubling tracks if need be, etc.  I now have an intimate knowledge of how garageband works.  Ask me anything.

Oh did I tell you we recorded the whole demo in a week? Yea, 21 songs. 7 days. Including mixing and editing.

Why did we do it so fast? Well, we had only finished the script and writing the songs the week before the NYMF deadline.  So a week is all we had.  The deadline was at midnight and we made it with 10 min. to spare.

This was us right after we submitted.


Notice the crazy eyes? Yep.

The next day I treated myself to a shopping binge.  I bought some great boots.

Then I had to start tech rehearsals for the show I was directing.

Ahh, the life of an artist.


Since I left my last On the Air post with a little sampling on what the show is about, I thought it only appropriate that I end this one with a song from the show (so you can see the results of all that recording!).

This is the Act 1 finale titled, “I’m Home”.  Jack and Loretta receive news that they are going to star in The Gibson Family, NBC’s new hit radio show, putting them on the map.  Throughout the song, they’re traveling from upstate NY to NYC, finally ending in the NBC recording studio.


What do you think?



  1. […] do anything you want.  Like record a demo for you.  Remember how I told you I paid my friends in cookies? Well, these are those […]

  2. […] project in the works, we’ve been getting even more.  Normally I direct them here and here, but for people looking to get started on writing their own I thought I would give a more detailed […]

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