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The Meaning of "On the Hook"

So why is this called on the hook?

Well the obvious reason is that the phrase means "you're accountable" toward something. But, unfortunately most of us think that accountability is a negative.

Most people (especially artists) shy away from that kind of structure.

But if we’re going to get good a producing, we HAVE to have some responsibility. 

Last week I heard an interview with Seth Godin, a famous blogger and author. And he was talking about the importance of “being on the hook” for your craft. Whether you are a creative, artist, author, magician, scientist, etc. you always grow much faster when you are accountable to turn in your results.

You have to be able to hit SEND, and be okay with it not being very good.

Seth Godin talks about where the idiom of “on the hook” comes from. 

Most people think it has something to do with fishing, but it’s actually much more interesting than that.

In Turkey there is a tradition to purchase more than one loaf of bread, if you can afford it, when buying bread from a baker. Then placing the extra bread on a hook at the bakery, designed specifically for the poor and homeless to come and get if needed. This beautiful tradition is still practiced to this day. 

So, when you're “on the hook”… well, in a sense it means someone is counting on you. Someone who might not eat that night is looking to you to help them.

Crazy cool, huh? 

I don’t know about you, but when I’m given a lot of time to do something, I often take up the entire time.. or rush in the last minute to finish it. There’s actually a “law” about this human behavior called Parkinson’s Law

My best work, the songs I’ve produced that have garnered the most amount of traction were all done under a deadline. Sometimes only a couple days, nuts to soup!

The foundation of On the Hook is exactly this. Challenges and production tasks that have to be done FAST. The goal is not to put out something incredible (although you just might), but rather to hit send when the buzzer goes off and see how much you accomplished.

Not only will this invigorate you creatively, but you’ll be forced to really own your DAW, hardware, and plugins, like a wizard on steroids. This is where magic happens. 

One of the biggest difficulties I’ve found in producing music is trying to keep up my energy/momentum. When you’ve heard every inch of the song 1000 times, you start to lose interest and get bored. When you’re faced with having to produce many tracks for an artist or album, it can be daunting. 

On the Hook is the solution. By gamifying production, and getting together with your people weekly, you’ll be in the conversation, and find a renewed energy that will bleed into all your other projects as well.

You don’t need more plugins. You don’t need more gear. You don’t need another masterclass. 

You need to be On the Hook.

See what I did there? 😉

Zion

PS: You can read more about this subject:

HERE, HERE, and HERE.

To my music making colleagues,

What if we could “gamify” learning music production? 

For the last two months I’ve been building a passion project to do just this. It was first just for my Triple Threat students, but it's now open to everyone.

It’s called On the Hook.

And it’s free.

It’s all built around a community of people, like you, like me, that love learning their DAW, plugins, gear, and want to be in the FLOW of creativity on a regular basis.

It basically works like this:

  • After registering, you’ll be on our email list for when the next game is available. You’ll get an email reminder about when a new game is starting. 
  • When the new game starts, you’ll log in, find the new game posted along with a unique Zoom link. We’ll all get on Zoom at the start time, go over the game’s instructions, and answer any questions (about 15m).
  • Then everyone goes off to produce for the assignment, sometimes with stem files that I might provide. (about 45m). When you're done you'll upload your listen link to your portal.
  • Lastly, at the top of the hour, we get back on a Zoom call, and listen to each other’s work and talk about what we learned. 

You’re not competing against anyone, except the clock. The limitation of time requires you to think on your feet, find the bottlenecks in your computer software and process, and learn to share your work more. 

This keeps you on the hook to send what you have in the time allotted.

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