Whether your project is a single song for digital release, a sound design project for a film, or a full length concept album to be released on multiple formats - with accompanying artwork, music videos, and digital content - its best chance of succeeding is by having a strong production plan from the start. Clarifying end goals, identifying clear production paths, as well as preparing and creating as many contingency plans for as many foreseeable road-bumps as possible will ultimately save time and money, and waste as little creative energy as possible.
For many years the Ishikawa team has been at the helm of countless projects - spanning many genres, across different countries and continents, and working with many different partners - seeing them through from conception to completion. For larger projects that require additional multimedia input, there are some incredible colleagues and clients associated with Ishikawa Media, so we have the connections in place to create a dynamic production crew that is most appropriate and cost effective for projects of any size.
WHAT HAPPENS IN PRE PRODUCTION?
Pre-production is not an easy thing to explain definitively, because the approach will be different for each project. In the case of producing an album of contemporary popular music, however, one approach might look like this (assuming you already have simple “microphone-in-the-middle-of-the-room” demo recordings):
- You will work with the most appropriate team member to determine where you are now, what you already have in place, and what realistic goals can be set for the project as a whole.
- We will listen to your demos (which might only be a simple riff and whistled melody line), and will spend time discussing with you what can be improved and manipulated from structural, harmonic, melodic, and lyrical points of view. This might be achieved in the studio in one afternoon, or as a process over e-mail, spanning a longer period of time. The key here is that basic ideas and themes are explored, in order to form a strong foundation, on top of which the overall production can be built.
- If your demos already have quite a strong instrumental arrangement, suggestions for improvement might be limited, whereas stripped back demos leave the door open for discussions about what instruments/voices/found-sounds can be combined to create a suitable aesthetic that will be built around the strong foundation.
- Now the discussion about how to go about bringing this together from a logistical point of view takes place. Perhaps that forty piece orchestra you really wanted to have is unrealistic from a budget point of view, so how can money be saved? Perhaps turning the concept on its head to have something abstract that doesn’t sound like an orchestra, but which can fill the same sonic space, would be a better, or more interesting idea. Maybe hiring your dream session drummer is completely out of reach, but an up-and-coming drummer who can bring enthusiasm and fresh techniques (for a more attainable price) would end up being even more exciting for the music. This is the stage where the idealistic dreams are brought to earth in the most creative (first and foremost) and financially viable way.
- Finally, a timeline with set goals will be formed. The flexibility of this will be determined by budgets, your release schedule, pressures from third parties etc.
Of course for a composer writing for a string quartet, laptographer, and Moog guitar, the end goal, timeline flexibility, budget, and musician requirements will be completely different. That being said, please take the above example as just one potential pre production path. The key element to take away is that creativity always comes first at Ishikawa. There are usually ways to make what you want to achieve happen, but sometimes the path to that goal might be winding…
DOES THIS COST EXTRA?
Pre production is included in any full-production quote, but it is important to remember that the point of pre production is to reduce time and money wastage further along in the production process. After initial discussions, before the project is put into motion, it will be clear how much planning needs to be done. If you have any questions, please get in touch via the contact form.