Production value

The music fades, the lights turn off, the set is torn down and the judges hop back onto their planes to head back to Nashville. The Next Big Thing 2012 and my last event as Director of BLUE is officially over. I breathe a sigh of bittersweet happiness as I give goodbye hugs to Criston & Caleb, the winners of the event. While this chapter of my life is over, a new one is just beginning, and it’s starting this summer.

My summer is full of firsts – first time living out on my own, first time interning at a professional photo studio, and my first time working at a restaurant (those of you not in Siloam this summer, hit up 28 Springs right when you get back! Best food Siloam has seen in a very long time!) It is also the first time that I am serving as the executive producer of an album.

Criston, Caleb and I have been hard at work choosing songs, polishing harmonies, developing marketing plans and seeking out talented musicians to help create an EP that will blow your mind. One of the main terms that I continually hear and use is “production value.” We’re analyzing every decision to determine if it’ll add or subtract from the overall goals we have set for the project. We want to add that extra ‘pop’ that will take the album from being good to being your go-to soundtrack of the fall. With all this talk of production value, I’ve been thinking about how it applies to life. What gives our lives so-called “production value?” The things that make us more than people who live in mediocrity. The things that push us through our daily activities as genuine friends, lovers, and Christ-followers with enthusiasm and passion.

Production value doesn’t consist of fake gimmicks or cheap tricks – it’s something that is inherent throughout a project. Something with high production value is quality through and through. Are we living out our lives with high expectations of quality or are we settling for something less?

Several days ago I was driving home from a trip to Chipotle and Ozark Natural Foods in Fayetteville. As I exited onto 412, I noticed a homeless man on the side of the road. Reaching into my pocket I realized I only had a dollar in cash and I suddenly felt ashamed – here I was enjoying an afternoon that was characterized by spending money and this man is passing his afternoon on the side of a road holding a cardboard sign. I pulled over and gave the man what I had, apologizing for the lack and wishing I could do more. And yet, the smile on the man’s face as I looked in my rearview mirror still has me thinking. With one incredibly insignificant action I helped put a genuine smile on another human being’s face.

Production value is about the little things. Every little decision ultimately defines the project. Every little decision ultimately defines our lives. At the start of the summer, I had no idea that the process of creating an album would teach me anything that would be useful outside of the studio. Yet, as the summer races to a close I’m realizing that there is so much more to production value than simply making good music. It’s a lifestyle – one that I’m learning to live.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Criston & Caleb’s EP releases October 23.