Published Thursday November 22, 2007
Big ABC music deal sounds great to Omaha duo
BY STEFANIE MONGE WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERIt's not uncommon for ambitious musicians to come to the ABC studios in New York with big dreams of composing music for the network, said Alan Ives, executive producer and creative director for ABC News. It is, however, uncommon that they succeed.
The DreamArtists Studios team of 20-something musicians and marketers that approached ABC with new music was an exception to the norm, Ives said.
DreamArtists Studios is a New York City-based music production company that was founded by graduates and faculty of the famed Juilliard School. The group produces musical compositions for advertising campaigns, television and film.
The Omaha-based marketing team of David Jarvis, 25, and Matthew Leaper, 27, helped the New York musicians initiate contact with ABC that eventually would lead to DreamArtists composing a new theme for "Good Morning America."
Ives compared the musicians he regularly sees in his office to aspiring professional athletes."
Most often it's . . . like the group of kids that thinks they're going to make it to the NBA," he said. "Only one or two actually will."
When Matthew Kajcienski, composer and president of DreamArtists, approached Jarvis in September 2006 with a business proposition to help market new music for "ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson," Jarvis said, "it seemed like too big of an opportunity to turn down."
Jarvis, a marketing major, was in his final year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He jumped at the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
Kajcienski said Jarvis is a family friend, and it was less expensive to hire someone in Nebraska than a New York marketing firm.
Jarvis asked Leaper, a recent UNO graduate with extensive sales experience, to help him pitch the music to ABC.
The two researched TV news programs and their target audiences, branding efforts, rankings and trends in the news industry before creating a presentation for ABC News.
The Omahans eventually landed a meeting with executives from "World News Tonight," and they were told that the program was not looking to change its music. However, the executives did tell Jarvis and Leaper that there might be an opportunity to compose music for another project.
"We were kind of expecting it to be a small-time consolation prize," Jarvis said. "You know, 'Here's a commercial. Thanks for your submission.'"
But to the DreamArtists team's surprise, they were asked to produce a demonstration tape for ABC's morning news program, Jarvis said.
ABC executives were "cautioning us that it's not going to be as rich as you think it is. You're not going to be able to retire," Leaper said.
But, Leaper said, it wasn't about the money; it was about the experience. Jarvis and Leaper said their contract prevents them from disclosing how much money they received.
Leaper said approaching ABC was a "long shot" for him and Jarvis. They weren't a sales team from New York or Los Angeles or some major media center, he said, they were from Omaha, Neb."
Our role was to make sure that every meeting led to another meeting, to make sure that we communicated the key points and that Matthew (Kajcienski) was able to showcase his talent," Leaper said.
The team had to be patient and measure success in small steps, Leaper said. He said he told Kajcienski: "Look, if we're not getting thrown out, we're still in the game."Said Jarvis: "We kind of took a scenic route to 'Good Morning America.'"
How did the team pull off the deal?
"Timing is everything," Ives said.
The DreamArtists team was referred to Ives at the same time he was in the market for new theme music for "Good Morning America."
The early-morning program did not previously have a comprehensive music package, Ives said.
ABC and DreamArtists spent four months revising the theme music before ultimately gaining everyone's approval, from executives down to the anchors, Ives said.
After months of almost daily working in the studio, Kajcienski had composed a 90-second full orchestral theme.
The new theme, which aired for the first time Oct. 22, is "more upscale (and is) traditional with an edge," Kajcienski said.
ABC had not changed its news music in a while, and DreamArtists saw an opportunity to help, Kajcienski said. "We saw a need and went after it."
Kajcienski and his writing partner, John Kaefer, continue to co-compose variations of the core theme for the program, he said. ABC isn't required to use the theme for any specified amount of time, Leaper said."
They could pull it (the theme) six months out or even tomorrow."
For now, though, Jarvis, Leaper and the rest of the DreamArtists team are enjoying their success.
"It was incredible" that the DreamArtists team was able to close the deal, Jarvis said, because most of the people involved in the project were in their 20s and were "first-timers."
~Dedicated to "Thanks" and "Giving"