Friday, February 25, 2011

SDML: Creative & Biz Goals for 2011

For educational purposes (mine & anyone in the arts who is or wishes to be self-employed), I decide to put all my cards on the professional & artistic goals for 2011. The qualitative I don't list (things like "improving as a guitar instructor"), but the quantitative goals are put here in advance to provide a way to assess accomplishments & trajectories by year's end.

I should mention that as I've provided opportunity for others over the past decade, I've usually done so painlessly (hahaha!), but often done it by either giving up an opportunity of my own or by waving financial gain. It has become clear that this is cool when it works to everyone's advantage, but that I can help everyone much more from a position of increased fiscal security. Lucky for me that my creative projects contain a high degree of revenue generating potential, so the following projects are designed first to serve creative ends, but can also easily be monetized.

ALL of these goals include partnerships with others (financially, we're talking about up to 50% splits), so if you have expertise & desire and want to be involved, feel free to contact me.

Here's the baker's dozen:


1) Skinny Devil TV: Actualize the "Skinny Devil TV" performance clinics, bringing regional & national talent to Lexington to produce clinics similar to what we've done in the past with Muriel Anderson and others, in a more compact 60 minute "ready for broadcast" format.

2) A Personal Note: Revitalize "A Personal Note" (custom music compositions for individuals & business) and sell 6 in 2011.

3) Music Production: Get back into producing, engineering, & mastering. In addition to Alien Blue, engineer &/or produce &/or master 6 projects this year.

4) Alien Blue: Complete & release Alien Blue's 3rd CD....release on hard-copy as well as digital download using experimental model (perhaps a "set your own price" or free lo-fi/pay up-grade) similar to Radiohead & NIN. Alien Blue live: Put Alien Blue on stage with prominent national acts at at least 4 gigs; book "revenue" restaurant gigs; book at least 3 rockin' blues &/or general music festivals; begin cost-effective merchandising.

5) Skinny Devil Magazine: Launch web-zine "Skinny Devil Magazine" and streamline web-site. Re-vitalize "Guitar Gods" and "Artists at the Edge" interview series and create creative & financial opportunities for performance artists (music, dance, etc.) as well as other artists (writers, visual artists, etc.).

6) SDML Instructor Network: Actively work to expand the SDML Instructor Network to include instructors in at least 5 states outside KY. Produce expanded teaching & business materials.

7) Gun for Hire: At least 4 gigs working as studio musician on projects where I am not involved as producer or engineer ...OR... in live setting as hired guitarist &/or music director.

8) Film/TV/media and Music Licensing: At least ONE film credit as musician, producer, engineer, or composer....At least ONE success in licensing music (using either Alien Blue or my personal music) for broadcast or other media (radio, games, etc.) - then begin expansion.

9) Endorsement Deals: Completely re-align endorsement partnerships, and work more closely with Eric Hutchens on his awesome Cigar Box Guitars and guitar customization.

10) Skinny Devil Records: Expand Skinny Devil Records to include artists other than Alien Blue.

11) Recording Studio: Partner to open recording studio by end of 2011.

12) Music Workshops: Partner to conduct educational workshops on hand-drumming, singing, & song-writing (lyrics & music).

13) Student Opps: Outside of obvious opportunities for students by achieving the above list of goals, provide expanded opportunities for guitar students in the areas of live performance, collaborations, TV/radio, live/studio session work, and the like.


I'm considering dropping to 4 days of teaching a week to spend more family time (and to allow for the above projects). Despite the decrease in teaching, a definite financial goal is to aggressively seek to increase income dramatically (at least 50%) and aggressively reduce/eliminate debt.

Also considering expansion of past "style" guitar lessons into e-books to include song snippets, interview with the artists, lessons, style analysis, and more. I also hope my blog posts can begin to sound less like an office memo and more "literary"!

Time to fly...!!!


  1. Hi David,

    I'm very interested in helping with the e-zine. I see huge potential with the certification as well, which is not part of your list. That's why I was trying to get a hold of you. I have a student who is starting his own film company here in the Seattle area and is MORE THAN willing to do work pro bono to build repertoire for his business. Please get in touch.

    Matt Lefler
    Raw Calander/guitar guy

  2. I'll get the training material for the instructor network expansion ready for the next phase. Guess I need to get on my own list of goals here, soon.

  3. I will add one goal here each day until I am done (for the year).
    1. Create and implement a proper and very detailed business plan. Get rid of the "fly by the seat of my pants" nature and plan out my path. “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”

  4. 2. Create a shop that is organized in such a way as to allow things to be easily accessible, and easy to keep organized without clutter.

  5. I'm happy to report things are coming along nicely....though still looking for partners on various gigs. The up-date, in order....

    1) We've stalled a tad on the Skinny Devil TV thing, but I do have some guitarists lined up and a venue for the "pilot" episodes. Just looking at a bit of funding to get rolling, but more on that later.

    2) We've totally re-vamped the "A Personal Note" web-page and have 2 partners attempting sales. A few more tweaks to the web-site, but the new gear is in & software loaded, so we're just about ready for business.

    3) The production didn't come from the expected direction, but that's OK...getting several student CDs recorded now with summer release dates pending!

    4) Alien Blue is back on-track and getting the last of the new material composed & recorded. Gotta tweak the trax we did last yuear in Atlanta, too. We've booked 3 really cool blues festivals (Blues Between the Bridges, Capitol City, and Tybee Blues Jam) and plan to line up a recurring restaurant gig.

    5) Skinny Devil Magazine is mildly stalled...but only temporarily. We exporting 90% of SkinnyDevil.Com over to the new e-zine site, then we'll woryy about current material.

    6) Doing a trial run on the long-distance certification process, then finalizing the material to make available for potential instructors as well as players looking for the player certification. Going to put together e-books with the instructional info.

    7) The goal here was 4 [projects this year. I've already got a metal project where I'm doing bass & guitar, a dance project from a composer/DJ in Denmark where I;m doing guitar loops (which we may sell independantly of the DJ's release), and a coupl eo f other offers on the table.

    8) I'm currently editing a piece for an indie film, but orking only as engineer (I did not compose or perform the music). This does the trick, but I really want to get one more credit by year's end (one where I compose the track).

    9) I've not secured any new endorsements, but we'll be offocially dropping several older deals later this year.

    10) Alien Blue as well as several of the aforementioned student CDs will be released via Skinny Devil Records.

    11) Studio? Still in the air...

    12) Workshops have taken a back burner.

    13) Student opps? No problem...Lexjam, more Woodsongs dates, festvals, & charity gigs all rolling in smoothly!