I FAILED HORRIBLY

It was early 2013 and I was two years into my career as a film composer. I’d just signed a contract for my first series with semi-major online distribution. The money was amazing and millions of people were going to have access to this show.

I felt on top of the world. “Wow, who knew my career would take off so quickly!”

THE DAYS LEADING UP TO GETTING FIRED

10 episodes, 5 – 8 minutes each, and 2 weeks per episode to write music. Plenty of time.

Hard music deadlines were set and rough cuts started to roll in:

Ep 1 – Delivered without a hitch – great music. Good kinds of exciting swear words all around from the team. “F*cking amazing!”

Ep 2 – Delivery was on time, but too close for comfort. Music quality was not good.

Ep 3 – Producers had a big meeting with the distributor to screen this episode. I was late on the music and it wasn’t even finished when I delivered it (again, late).

Silence. I didn’t hear anything for days. But I didn’t think anything of it.

I GOT AN EMAIL THAT SAID “EMPLOYMENT”

A few weeks after a brand new year – full of promise & opportunity – I got an email with the subject line “EMPLOYMENT.” That’s usually an exciting subject line to receive.

Well, see attached image. That’s just part of the email. The rest of it covered next steps and other business stuff.

I’d never been fired from anything up until then. This was a huge failure for me. I was sad and discouraged.

WHERE I WENT WRONG

A few weeks later, with a clear mind, I dug into what mistakes I made that got me fired:

Mistake #1 – Being so young in my career, I only wrote music when inspiration called me to it. That was an extremely amateur and selfish move.

Mistake #2 – When inspiration DID hit, I was a slow writer. I was inexperienced.

Mistake #3 – I thought I was really good at what I did, but I wasn’t even in the ball park to where I needed to be. I wasn’t humble.

HOW I IMPROVED

It took me a while to nail down what I had to do, but I started to improve in my career. I worked on writing more and writing faster. I started focusing on how I could best serve others, rather than myself.

After all that came together, I started seeing major success.

Amazing things happen when you focus on offering major value to the people you’re working with.

IT ISN’T ALWAYS AS BAD AS WE THINK

Things can seem so devastating in the moment. But often, in hindsight, they aren’t as bad as we thought they were.

The show I got fired from came out and it didn’t do so well. It got 10’s of thousands of views rather than the 100’s of thousands or millions that I thought it would get.

The director, who sent that email, and I are still friends. He’s still calling me up for really great opportunities.

The producers, who decided to let me go, later mentioned they thought my music was great. It just came down to not sticking to their schedule.

THIS ISN’T ABOUT ME

I’m doing a lot right these days, but I have so much more to learn. Many of us are in the same boat.

I actually don’t want this post to be about me at all. I want it to be about you. I want to learn more about you.

What experiences can you share with us?

What mistakes have you made and how have you learned from them?