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Using a dedicated group of classical musicians, Composed is a feature length documentary about overcoming performance anxiety.
Using a dedicated group of classical musicians, Composed is a feature length documentary about overcoming performance anxiety.
95 backers pledged $4,654 to help bring this project to life.

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COMPOSED : Classical music's prescription for success

$4,654

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FUNDED! Thank you so much to all those who've shared, donated, or just talked about my project. With seven days to go I'm not done yet, but floored by the generosity of so many musicians, strangers, friends, and family. 

Medication has become an answer to many of our problems. From life-saving antibiotics to performance-enhancing steroids, medication helps us live longer and achieve more. So would it surprise you to hear that classical musicians utilize medication such as beta blockers to improve their performances?

With this documentary we hope to showcase the extraordinary preparation classical musicians undergo when auditioning for jobs, as well as the sometimes controversial methods used to perform at professional levels. For most musicians seeking spots in large orchestras or admission to top schools, years of practice lead to an audition lasting no more than 20 minutes. Understandably, the pressure is enormous. So is it any wonder that a musician might turn to a wonder drug without thinking twice about it in the face of an audition they'd prepared so hard for?

Focusing on subjects from diverse backgrounds with various methods of maximizing performance, we will explore their world. The questions I hope to investigate with this film are about: 

  • What we consider to be an advantage in a competitive field such as music?
  • How medication could be both helping and hurting musicians?
  • How we as a culture view medication as a tool for success?

WHAT IS A BETA BLOCKER?

Beta blockers are designed to stop adrenaline from getting to our adrenergic beta receptors in the central nervous system. When faced with fight or flight scenarios, our body releases adrenaline to give us the strength and energy to face the task at hand. Beta blockers do as their name suggests and blocks those receptors reducing heart rate and increasing blood flow.

You can imagine then how valuable a drug like this could be in pressure situation. The ability to face your fears without your heart racing or palms sweating can be a good thing, but we'll also explore how it might be hindering musicians at the same time.

Beta blockers are currently banned by the Olympic Committee as well the Professional Golfers Association of America. In 2008 a North Korean pistol shooter was disqualified and stripped of his medals after beta blockers were found in his system.

CAST : (so far)

  • Matthew Decker, Assistant Principal Percussion North Carolina Symphony
  • Brent Edmondson, Principal Bass Lancaster Symphony
  • Zoya Tsvetkova, Violinist Vermont Symphony Orchestra
  • Tim Genis, Principal Timpanist Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Dr. Noa Kageyama, faculty The Juilliard School
  • Diane Nichols, LICSW former faculty The Juilliard School
  • William Short, Principal Bassoon Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
  • Barry Green, author/bassist The Inner Game of Music
  • Emi Ferguson, Flute soloist/Graduate The Juilliard School
  • Nicholas Pallesen, Clinical Hypnotist/Founder Whole Artist Hypnosis
  • Max Michael Jacob, Freelance Bassist/Graduate Manhattan School of Music

I've talked to and am planning to meet with..

  • Tom Hooten, Principal Trumpet Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Jim Wilt, Associate Principal Trumpet Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • William VerMeulen, Principal Horn Houston Symphony

GOAL : $4000*

  • $2000    Travel Expenses (rental cars, flights, accommodation)
  • $1500    Motion Graphics and Effects Editors
  • $500      Festival Fees

*This project is as DIY as it gets. All the filming, lighting, sound, music and editing is being done by myself and few family members willing to help out. (THANKS LUKE AND KATIE!)

STRETCH GOAL ONE : $7000

  • $3500**   Travel Expenses (rental cars, flights, accommodation)
  • $1500      Motion Graphics and Effects Editors
  • $1000      Festival Fees + Promotion
  • $500        DVD Authoring and Duplication
  • $500        Audio Mixing and Mastering

STRETCH GOAL TWO : $10,000

  • $3500**   Travel Expenses (rental cars, flights, accommodation)
  • $1500     Motion Graphics and Effects Editors
  • $1000     Festival Fees + Promotion
  • $500       DVD Authoring and Duplication
  • $500       Audio Mixing and Mastering
  • $1000     Color Correction and Grading (I'm color blind..)
  • $2000     Distribution and Marketing

**Extra travel money would go towards what I've already spent in the past months gathering footage.

All equipment used in this film has been purchased by myself. I did not feel it right to ask for money for these items since I will continue to use them for other purposes once the film is complete.

Risks and challenges

Risks
What creative endeavors don't come with risks? For me, completing this film is somewhat of a test. For years I've pursued areas of filmmaking whilst working full-time in other fields, but this will be the first time where I put everything else down and make filmmaking my biggest priority. Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?

Challenges
One of my biggest challenges with creating this film is keeping the look and feel of the story as professional as possible. Films with a crew and expensive gear don't always tell a great story but they can certainly help. Doing most of this on my own can be incredibly stressful and daunting to say the least, but without real funding its hard to ask for free help.

Another challenge is that the topic of beta blockers can be a sensitive one for many musicians. Some believe that it is a form of cheating, while others believe that it simply enables performance, unlike steroids in sports which act to enhance an ability. Regardless of their stance, I've found that many musicians are hesitant to speak on camera about this topic. The reality of this dilemma is that if musicians won't speak to me about beta blockers then the film won't have the content it needs to tell a full story.

I am currently seeking more participants, so please contact me at johnbeder@me.com if you feel you'd like to take part in this film.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
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    Lunch with our filmmakers
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Funding period

- (27 days)