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{Tutorial} Making a Fanmix/FST: Part 1

Back in June I made a support post on teamsidekick regarding the fanmix challenge for scifiland. Turns out I really enjoyed talking about the process and since I've got a fanmix challenge upcoming on caseland, I knew I wanted to do a little updating. Besides, I'm in the midst of making a Mentalist FST right now so this is great timing!

Where do you start? Personally I tend to have at least a general idea of what I'm aiming to make. So I'm going to start from a theme. I have two approaches to this, though.

ONE: Starting with detail The following screencap is from a mix that is very slow-going. It's for Sully's character from Harper's Island. As you can see, there are only four tracks. This is a very rare thing for me but I decided to add songs as I heard them on my playlist - and immediately check the lyrics to see that they really fit.

Skipping to such detail right away, though? Not usually my style.

TWO: Starting with a broad idea, then narrowing down the options. This is my far more common process. I go crazy by making a new playlist in iTunes and then start tossing songs I think might work into it. (Click on the cap below to see full size)

This is the playlist I'm working on right now. I've become hooked on the slash pairing of Kimball Cho & Patrick Jane from The Mentalist recently and have wanted some music while writing fic. Well, there was a fanmix already out there (yay!) but that covered only a handful of songs. Well, that fanmix did get added to my playlist for inspiration but I've already decided I don't want to copy any of those songs for my own.

So I know my theme though I haven't decided on a "tone" yet or if I'll make a "story" from the tracks.

After adding the already made fanmix to my playlist, I did a search on iTunes for "red," then "crimson," and then "blood." Why? Because The Mentalist's mythos follows the ongoing crimes of Red John, the criminal who murdered Jane's family pre-series. RJ is key in shaping who Jane is today and it's something you can't get around unless you go AU. So, I figure, why not see if any of these red/crimson/blood songs work into my theme? Worth a shot, as least.

Next I started to browse through my genres and artists. I didn't want to use super popular or often-used fanmix songs for this, so that helped me skip over some things. Even so, that list you see up there with 12+hours of music? Barely denting my whole collection.

Other things in my mind:
+ I have to narrow this down eventually. One "disk" to me is about 8-15 songs. In this particular case, I only want my mix to be one disk.
+ Which of these songs are protected because I bought them from iTunes? Those can't be in the final mix (or I'll have to track down new *.mp3 copies).

After I have my playlist put together, it's time to turn it on shuffle and listen. I've listened to this playlist for about a week, rating songs that I hadn't before and deleting a fair number of songs that I realize won't work (or I find plain annoying). When I hear something that I really like I start a text file and write down the song/artist.

Next up - choosing the fanmix songs.
See Part 2