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For the grand finale of the Composer Quest podcast, Charlie will embark on the ultimate quest for composing wisdom and enlightenment.
For the grand finale of the Composer Quest podcast, Charlie will embark on the ultimate quest for composing wisdom and enlightenment.
110 backers pledged $5,563 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Woohoo! We did it! Thank you all for your generosity! I can't wait to share this podcast adventure with you in the fall. The final hours of this campaign are now a chance for you to get in on some more rewards and stretch goals. See below for details.

Minneapolis-based composer Charlie McCarron founded his podcast Composer Quest on the idealistic belief that pursuing a creative life is worth the risk. Over the past four years, Composer Quest has become a staple podcast for the composer community, with nearly 150 in-depth, nerdy, and inspiring interviews. In the adventurous spirit of the show, Charlie plans to create the greatest final season in podcast history: a multi-month podcasting adventure around the US, Australia, and Taiwan. These 12 episodes will chronicle his journey and the composing wisdom gained by spending time with composers around the globe.

Thanks for considering a pledge to make this seventh, final season of Composer Quest a reality!

Past interviewees include video game composers Grant Kirkhope (Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie) and Disasterpeace (FEZ), music psychologists Daniel Levitin and Diana Deutsch, Minnesota songwriters Dessa and Chris Koza, TV composers Mac Quayle (Mr. Robot, American Horror Story) and Jeff Russo (Fargo), music theorist Dmitri Tymoczko, Song Exploder's Hrishikesh Hirway, royalty-free master Kevin MacLeod, commercial composer Silas Hite (Mac vs. PC ads), surrealist animator Cyriak, two synesthetes, a polka expert, a drumming robot inventor, a Tanzanian monk, a blind film composer, a Grammy-winning deaf percussionist, and a bunch more at composerquest.com.

A few projects from past Composer Quest guests
A few projects from past Composer Quest guests

 

After many interviews with famous and not-as-famous music makers, Charlie has learned that some of the best insights and most entertaining episodes come from guests who haven't been in the spotlight before. That's why he takes a "This American Life" approach to the show, searching out the most unique and sometimes unknown composers who have a great story to tell.

Charlie's final podcast season will feature composers from around the world who've been listening to the show and have a similar questing spirit. He will be going on musical adventures with them and getting to know their composing process by collaborating on songs with them. There will be plenty of surprises along the way, but here are a few episodes in the works:

  • Chicago, IL - School of Rock with Thor Bremer
  • Westerville, OH - First Month as a Music Major with Spencer Stern
  • Providence, RI - Giant Hurdy Gurdy with Jacob Haller
  • Salem, NH - Live on Public Access with Tom Giarrosso
  • Sierra Mountains, CA - Songwriting in the Sierras with Fire-eater Darrell St. Blaine
  • Los Angeles, CA - Film Scoring Extravaganza with Candy Bilyk, Jon Brantingham
  • Melbourne, Australia - Aboriginal and Modern Melbourne Music
  • Taipei, Taiwan - Taiwanese Punk with Xharkie Chen
  • Taipei, Taiwan - Temple Hopping in Taiwan with Josh Wilson
  • Minneapolis, MN - The Final Episode
A few of the tour stops
A few of the tour stops

 

Want Charlie to visit you on the tour? There's still time! Just fill out this form, and he may be able to meet up with you in person, especially if you live along the tour route.

Listeners who've offered Charlie a place to stay - thank you all!
Listeners who've offered Charlie a place to stay - thank you all!

 

Stretch Goal 1: Album Appendix

Charlie says:

"As I was thinking of other goodies to pack into the Composer Quest Golden USB Drive reward, I dreamed of an 'album appendix,' containing one free digital album from each guest. It would be kind of like a listening guide to accompany the podcast, and it would hopefully enrich the experience of re-listening to these episodes.

So here's the plan: for every $50 raised beyond the $5,000 goal, we'll add one new album to the collection on the USB drive. It'll start with Episode 1 (All The Happy People! by Spencer McGillicutty) and keep going until we run out of episodes/albums to share."

 

Stretch Goal 2: Sound Scavenger Hunt

 

See the right sidebar for details. Free to contact Charlie if you have any questions about these rewards: charlie@composerquest.com.

Learn about Composing, Producing, Podcasting, etc.
Learn about Composing, Producing, Podcasting, etc.

 

 

Where did the $5,000 goal come from? It's the number that allows Charlie to break even on all his expenses (excluding his time). This factors in his estimated Patreon earnings for the podcast season. So you know he did his homework, here's a spreadsheet:

A scenario where Charlie nets $1
A scenario where Charlie nets $1

Special Thanks

I want to thank a few people who made this campaign possible. Thanks to Will Tice at unTied Games for making the awesome header images, based on Matt Schubbe's original Composer Quest art. Thanks to all of you who helped by giving me feedback and tips on Kickstarter stuff. And finally, thanks to all of you generous backers! You make my dreams come true.

-Charlie

Risks and challenges

With any project of this scope that involves travel, there are bound to be a few obstacles. But Charlie is experienced as a traveling media producer, independently shooting videos throughout the US as his "day job." Since he does all the Composer Quest production tasks himself, he's able to be flexible and efficient on the road, and produce episodes of the high caliber his listeners expect.

Charlie is incredibly excited to bring you this podcast finale to end all podcast finales. Thanks for considering helping out and joining in this journey.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    World Tour Album Download

    This digital album will be a collection of jingle-quality songs Charlie writes with his interviewees during the tour.

    NOTE: A donation at any level will give you access to all project updates, including some Kickstarter-exclusive videos from the trip.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Mystery Postcard

    Charlie will send a handwritten thank-you postcard from somewhere on his journey. He'll aim for the most ridiculous and/or special one he can find for you.

    Includes world tour album reward.

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    Charlie's Polyalbum

    You'll get an artifact from Charlie's musical history: a signed copy of his one and only physical album, The Mystery of Grey Matters. It's a 3-disc story album, where disc 1 and 2 are COMBINED on disc 3.

    Includes postcard and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The Composer Quest Golden USB Drive

    You've unlocked a treasure! This flash drive will contain all Composer Quest episodes (plus a Kickstarter-exclusive BONUS EPISODE!), Charlie's Music Production Lessons, Composer Quest jingles, Composer Quest-themed ringtones, and a large chunk of Charlie's own music.

    Includes polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Sponsor an Episode

    You'll get a special "on location" thank you in the episode you sponsor, and you'll also have the opportunity to challenge Charlie with a songwriting prompt. You may choose a location on the tour route, and he'll complete your challenge there, along with that week's guest if possible.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Song Spotlight

    You get a 30-second "commercial" for your music. Send Charlie your best 30 seconds of a song, and it'll be immortalized forever in a Composer Quest episode, along with a mention of your website.

    Note: since the show is kid-friendly, Charlie reserves the right to ask for a different recording if yours is extremely offensive.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Charlie's Notebook

    For the ultimate collector: the small notebook that launched the podcast. It features Charlie's scribbled notes for each in-person interview from Seasons 1 - 5, plus a few pages of brainstorming that led to the inception of Composer Quest.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Lessons with Charlie

    You get three one-hour, one-on-one sessions with Charlie (in person or online) to learn about topics of your choice: composition, music theory, music production, podcasting, video production, web marketing, etc.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Solo or Small Ensemble Commission
    (4-6 minutes, 1-5 performers)

    Charlie will compose a new piece of music for you or your ensemble, and work with you in person if it fits in the tour schedule.

    If you're not a performer, Charlie will write this piece of music in your honor, for a special occasion or as a gift for your musician friend(s) (1-5 performers).

    See youtube.com/charliemccarron for examples of Charlie's composing.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Large Ensemble Commission
    (4-6 minutes, over 5 performers)

    Charlie will compose a new piece of music for your ensemble, and work with you in person if it fits in the tour schedule.

    If you're not a performer, Charlie will write this piece of music in your honor, for a special occasion or as a gift for your musician friends (over 5 performers).

    See youtube.com/charliemccarron for examples of Charlie's composing.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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    Executive Producer

    For the philanthropist who wants the full behind-the-scenes experience: Charlie will mention you as Executive Producer in each episode, and you'll get once-per-week check-ins with him, hearing stories from the road, production secrets, and drafts of the episodes before they're posted.

    Includes USB drive, polyalbum, postcard, and world tour album rewards.

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Funding period

- (30 days)