By Dan Kimpel
How do you hotwire your songwriting and composing career in a quick 15 minutes? If you plan on attending the 2013 ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO, April 18 – 20, in Los Angeles, CA, you should know that among the noteworthy opportunities offered in this three-day, career-boosting confab are One-on-One Sessions—face-to-face, 15-minute meetings between participants and pre-selected music industry experts.
“This is the perfect opportunity to get feedback from a pro who could conceivably help you with your career,” says Lauren Iossa, ASCAP’s Senior VP, Communications & Media. “When people say, ‘If I could only get 15 minutes with…’ then a One-on-One Session is their 15 minutes. We try to guide them, and to help them to make the most of it.”
The EXPO, now in its eighth year, is three packed days of classes, panels, workshops, performance opportunities and master sessions with legendary songwriters and trending hit makers. Past guests have included Quincy Jones, John Mayer, Ludacris, Bill Withers, Justin Timberlake, Carly Simon, Jackson Browne, Randy Newman, Tom Petty, Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke.
“Walking around the ASCAP EXPO must be like the ideal high school experience,” marvels Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning, Hall of Fame songwriter Paul Williams, ASCAP’s President and Chairman of the Board. “I get very ‘Jiminy Cricket’ with this feeling that we’re all attached, that we can make a living and create something as composers and songwriters, and are now surrounded by people with that same enthusiasm.”
There are 500 One-on-One Sessions, requiring an additional $30 processing fee for EXPO participants, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendees specify with whom they would like to speak in a One-on-One Session—i.e., a music supervisor, a record executive, a songwriter, a composer, a music attorney or an ASCAP executive. There is a limit of one Session per person. Every year they have sold out.
In its EXPO guide, ASCAP explains the process of aligning the participant with a corresponding industry counterpart: “If you want a session, you will have a chance to answer questions about your Session preferences. The answers you give will be used to match you—as best we can—to an industry professional. We can’t honor specific industry professional requests or requests for specific times. A week before the
EXPO, you will be emailed a tentative session time, day and name of the industry professional you are likely meeting with. At the EXPO when you pick up your badge at registration, you will be given your session time and the name of the industry professional that your session is with. Short biographies of the person you are meeting with can be found in the EXPO Program Guide.”
At the Session, attendees can choose to ask questions, create a dialogue, or to play music for feedback and critiques. Matching attendee to mentor is done by the questionnaire, according to Iossa. “This is not a random matching. We ask, ‘What type of career advice do you need? What feedback? To what level do you aspire?’ Then we work to match the registrant to the appropriate industry guest.”