In A Challenge
The only preparation I had for this challenge had nothing to do with music or lyrics. Please note that none of the below mentioned entities or individuals are at fault or are being blamed. I was fortunate to even hear from them on my request to collaborate in the first place. It is natural to be wary, it is not unnatural not to get on board a ship that will sail alone (although every ship appears to be sailing alone but in fact, no ship does, the ocean is so vast and full of them ships!). The challenge in my challenge is that I feel on my own - I will have liked to work with resources and experts on a couple of aspects which I will now have to learn and do on my own. Everything else was for a holistic objective, but none are vital to the work involved.
1. Application with a world records organization – This was the first thing that I set out to do. About three months after I filed my application in a category where I found no other records, I was informed that the record did not fit into their system. Whether it was because it was not measurable or capable of being monitored for as long a time; or whether the integrity of the challenge poised questions; the conclusion remained, that it did not qualify. However, there are a couple of other world record organizations. I'm going to be at it.
2. Soliciting sponsors or goodwill collaborators – I mailed out a well drafted "Concept Note" to prospective sponsors and goodwill collaborators. Not one responded in the affirmative. Not one. There were two components of cost, the production and three hours from my work day’s time through the tenure of the challenge. This still did not bring me to squish the challenge. I decided I would also learn production and absorb that cost (will be explained in more detail), as for my job… Well, God will provide and even though I may not be in control of any of these things, He knows what’s going on.
3. Partnership with a charity organization – This was the next thing I tried, wanting to apply the challenge to a noble cause besides my own. The charity organization I connected with wanted to know how much the project was capable of raising and could join hands with me only if I got my sponsorships and partnerships in place. Explaining that I was taking all that burden on myself did not convince them to accept the offer of being helped. The point remains that while me on my own may not perhaps seem attractive, me with them will surely rope in some CSR funds adding to what the charity organization will already be raising on its own.
4. Another world records organization – Of course I wouldn’t give up. I found another of these and got to know that a pre-qualification required that I have the reference mentioned on my website (for which I revamped my website, again, on my own, it did not mean just adding or deleting some information, it meant changing the look and feel and spread, and adding several new sections – how I enjoyed doing something that was so not-in-my-league to begin with!). They needed three press releases and an application; which brings me to the next.
5. Connecting with media – What came so easily when I was doing so much less before, was almost impossible this time around. One entity that got back to me asked me what the story was if I was not able to tie in the charity organization nor the world records organization. That the challenge in its own right did not come through as a story baffled me – because quite frankly, this is no small feat! Being on the edge of a cliff for 1000 days trusting your creative reservoir will not run dry, trusting you will keep the discipline, and knowing that your life will have to move around this... I know the story, I wish that they could see it too. There went my press releases, but I will keep trying.... Some weeks later - On 21st November, 2016, Independent UAE published a most beautiful piece on this challenge - http://independent.ae/3903/dubai-expat-attempts-new-world-record-writing-1000-songs-1000-days/ and on 25th November, 2016, The National published another - http://www.thenational.ae/uae/tourism/singer-in-dubai-plans-a-musical-marathon-in-run-up-to-expo-2020.
I later realized that the application needed only one press release, while it was the final submission that needed three. So far, so good... (PS: Both the articles don't seem to be alive anymore).
6. Joint venture with a record label – I was blessed to have a discussion with one of the big ones. But like the others, they were waiting for the others to come through. I’m hoping at some point they will get on. This is a new world record attempt, this is also a world record attempt in music. So, just as well...
7. Recording audio – I’m just a singer-songwriter and do not get into production, per se. I suggest the style, make a demo going by that style, sing, occasionally contribute here and there with the piano, and sit through the mixing, but do not get into sequencing or recording. I am now forced to get into something else out of my comfort zone. Recording. Therefore have started exploring which DAW (digital audio workstation) will have the easiest interface and with the most styles akin to mine. Status change two months before the challenge - I'm learning Pro Tools :-). I can't even start to explain how uncomfortable I am with the unfamiliar, in setting out to do something groundbreaking!
8. Recording video – Ditto like the audio paradox. Sorted now - will use one of those dated video recording devices. Into the challenge, here's what I'm actually using - a date clock in the frame, both in the 'live' making of the song. and when recording the mime video.
9. Metrology authority – The challenge will need to be vetted by a legal authority (and rightly so), and I'm now searching for one, not to mention the concern I carry about the potential cost involved that is not in my vicinity as of now. And I can make my application for the record only once this has been finalized... Three weeks later... Even this has been resolved. Actually, two birds with one stone. Another world records organization accepted this new record attempt and agreed that they themselves would assess, verify and certify the challenge through Facebook Live. I now need an Assessment Sponsor, for this is way beyond anything that I am personally capable of covering (USD 14995 to be precise). But seeing how this project has been evolving, progressing and growing, I just know that all of this will fall in place at the right time. I need only be still, trust and keep working on the pre-requisites, like walking on water. Two days before commencing the challenge, I discovered some interesting information jeopardizing what I was about to attempt and tried much to clarify the same and establish fairground for my aspiration by personally raising the bar. However, during the 22nd day of the challenge, I was informed by the world records organization that had accepted my bonafide application and pre-approved it, that the new world record attempt was being cancelled on account of an alleged breach of agreement in not registering the other personal challenge with them (and which of course was not registered with any other) and paying the whole amount again of course! This was unfair, and worse, that they made the process even more unreasonable to claim the assessment charges for the remaining 978 days not as yet done (in short, I was asked to stop the ongoing challenge) - https://www.facebook.com/events/1813816928876487/. In deciding to keep the challenge going, I lost the money paid. What credibility is left in the system - a sheer violation of and disrespect for human ambition and effort! One is better off without such endorsement. There are surely other credible world record organizations. But at this point, I'm so caught in what I'm doing in the challenge, that such matters seem not only lofty but bizarre.
10. Assessment sponsor and other sponsors (for there were pretty large ancillary expenses) – I know you're somewhere there, I'm just waiting for us to shake hands :-). On the one hand I need to recover what was sunk from my pocket into this initiative (which in all fairness should be my tab being a personal achievement. What's in it for anyone? I'll explain this in a bit.). I set up a Support gateway both through PayPal and Patreon on the respective page on this website - http://www.swapnaabraham.com/1000-songs-in-1000-days, and the official website - https://www.1000songsin1000days.com. That's when this thunderbolt of an event company - HSI Events - joined forces. And with this collaboration, I have not only found an apt space where I will be doing this challenge (instead of the enclosures of my humble home!), I have also found an extraordinary team that hems me in on all sides. This is so cool! But the idea of sponsors transitioned to being actual collaborators for mutual good. Here's a marketing opportunity with regional and international coverage that will carry your brand for 1000+ days with zero effort and "x" spend on your part. It's not a hoarding that's here for a month and gone after that, this will stay around for 33 months/ 143 weeks, visible, audible, dynamic and full of surprise, and will go down the annals of history once accomplished. The only next best thing is your brand doing something similar!
This is the point where I’m wondering both of these in equal measure, “God, You should really be behind all this…”/ “God, You’re not really behind all this…”. We’ll know soon enough. For I will not take another step if God will not go with me... - A few days later - No sooner did I write this, than the one and probably only pre-requisite for this challenge fell in place. Not only is God with me, but a few thousand people :-). This is exciting now. I can't wait for 8th April, 2017! Life, bring it on!