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"Uncle Jack's Pep Talk For Songwriters And Artists"

Misty and I have four guidelines
for writing songs, singing, recording, and doing shows:
1. Make them laugh.
2. Make them cry.
3. Make them think.
4. Make them feel.

If we accomplish any one of these
weíre doing okay.
If we can combine two or more of them,
Weíre doing our job.

Just evoking any kind of emotion is not enough
unless youíre a professional wrestler.
Anger is an emotion,
but we try not to bring it out in a live audience
for health reasons.

I admire and study comedians.
I think the difference between a comic and a comedian is this:
The comic makes us laugh.
The comedian makes us laugh, cry, and maybe think.

The true comedian has depth,
not just the shallow gag lines you see so often on late night TV.
Jackie Gleason and Robin Williams fall into the ďcomedianĒ category.
Comedy combined with pathos.

The same applies to actors.
You can give the same lines to different actors
and certain ones will make you believe it.

In my case at least, I have to feel things myself
before I can project them to others.
Audiences can sense insincerity.
I have to learn and analyze the material
until itís real to me.
Get into the story.

I like story songs,
and write them when I can.
And if nothing happens, itís not a story.
Itís a sketch.

I think the songwriter ought to feel it while creating it.
To me itís like a screenplay, and Iím in it.
Rhyming dictionaries and clever word play will get us by,
but they seldom create a classic.

Writing, singing, and performing are all creative efforts.
Donít settle for polite applause.
Go for a standing ovation every time.

Leave them thinking about it
after the last note fades away.

Copyright © August 30, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. 
Reprinted by permission.

 

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