Dreams are an interesting phenomenon. They are available to everyone to dream them, but there are only a few who go chasing them and fulfill them. Why is that? Why doesn't everyone grasp their dream and be what they want to be or do what they really want to do? Well, in my case, this question came a little later in my life, (let's say I'm not in the first flush of youth), but what's more important for me is that I took my time and efforts to answer it and the answer for me personally was to get out from my comfort zone.
I was born in communist Bulgaria. In my childhood I was never taught to think about being successful, or great, or world-class. These terms were out of everybody's vocabulary, because it was a society of even and same ones. I liked classical music and I played the violin. It was a sort of a family trait - my mother was a musician, as was her mother and her grandfather too. I also liked playing in the orchestra. I think it helped me a lot to be the good team player that I am now. However, when I had to choose a high school, I chose the English one, not the music one. It was a decision that appeared to be very important for what I am doing now. For those of you, foreigners like me, who have poor English, DO NOT spare your time and resources to perfect it, because it is vital for your success in the entertainment industry. It is taken for granted by decision makers that everybody on a certain project speaks decent English. It is the zero level from which discussions start building.
Well, I have to admit that if you are someone renown in your country, like Ennio Morricone for instance, it might be a different story for you, but I'm speaking about people like me, who have made the decision to start something and make a difference in their lives. So, in 2014 I watched an interview with a Bulgarian musician from a band that I was a fan of. He went into the film music business and was talking about his projects. A light turned on in my head. What!? Why didn't I know about this? I immediately started researching and very soon I found myself studying harmony, orchestration, studio basics and much more, but when you have a day job and two children, the only time for studying appears to be at night. Then I had a choice: to complain about how complicated life was and how unfair it was for people in Bulgaria like me - or find my own way of making lemonade out of the lemons I had been given. So, for about ten months I started studying at about 10:30 PM and went to bed at about 3:00 AM.
I wrote my first tracks then and it was HARD. A piece of about two-three minutes took me about a month and a half to write. I found a web service where I could pitch my pieces to MIP's (music industry professionals). They rejected me one after the other, but some of them gave me very helpful feedback. Then I decided to send some tracks for critique. It was a wise decision, although very painful at the same time.
I took every single piece of advice personally and did my best to learn from my mistakes. Between December 2015 and April 2016, I took part in four film scoring competitions. One of them was the Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Contest. They sent me a very positive review of my music but didn't place me anywhere near the first places.
Then, one morning I woke up to the news of "Congratulations, your score has won second place in our scoring contest..." I absolutely did not expect anything like that, so I instinctively switched off my computer. I don't know why. Of course, I quickly decided that I had to read it again and I switched it on, opened my mailbox and there it was again. A letter from the Indie Gathering International Film Festival. Congratulations, you are second in our international film scoring competition... It was mind-blowing! Up to this moment I hadn't felt like I had been doing something real. Now, people from the industry were saying: "Hey, you're doing good, man. We like what you are doing. Keep doing it."
It didn't take me long to decide that I had to attend the festival in the United States. Networking and connecting with people from the industry is vital for anyone's career.
Although going to the other corner of the world was another way of going out of my comfort zone, I felt I was absolutely obligated to go there and connect. It appeared to be another right and very important decision. There I met filmmakers, directors, fellow composers, producers, actors. I became friends with not too many, but just enough for me. From this festival I got three projects that I started working on almost immediately after the festival. They brought me credits and I appeared on IMDb. One of the directors, Amy McCorkle, invited me to score her documentary, "Black Gold: The Trail to Standing Rock" and this year my music has won six festivals so far.
I realize that all that I have gone through and achieved is not anything like a great success to someone. Maybe there are a lot of people here who have gone through much more difficulties and achieved much greater things. Yeah, probably, but three years ago I personally wouldn't have imagined that I would be where I am. If there is even one person in a similar situation to my previous position, wondering if they can achieve their dream, if it could be for them, if dreams are only American dreams, if it is better to give up or not and myriads of other 'if's', then I think my story was worth telling. I haven't reached my dream yet, but I know I'm on the right track. Now, I know that I can go even further out of my comfort zone because that's where I find my strength and motivation to keep going.
About Valyo Gennoff
Valentin Genov is from Bulgaria. He is a BMI composer. His friends call him Valyo and he chose Valyo Gennoff as his artist nickname.
Valyo has been a musician since he was seven years old. He started his relationship with music playing the violin. In his teenage years he played in a chamber orchestra, touring throughout the country. At high school, he started a rock band with several boys from his class, where he played the bass and did some vocals. Both classical and rock music opened his mind and music became an even greater part of his life. They wrote a number of songs, but after finishing school, everyone went their own way and the band split up. Some years later he started playing the bass in a Church band.
2014 was Valyo's actual start in writing cinematic music. He wrote mainly orchestral pieces, written with visual media in mind.
In 2016 he won second place in the Indie Gathering International Film Scoring Competition among more than 150 composers from all over the world.
At the end of 2016, Valyo was offered by the EMI award winner Ray Szuch, to score his series Horror Hotel, starring Kristina Michelle and it was shown on Action Channel, Retro TV across the USA and worldwide on ROKU.
In January 2017 he wrote a song for Johnny K. Wu's musical 'Innerself'. At the same time he started writing the film score for the documentary 'Black Gold: The Trail to Standing Rock', which from February 2017 to June 2017 won six festival nominations - Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival and Writers' Celebration, Action on Film 13th Annual Film Festival and Writers' Celebration 2017, Paris Art and Movie Awards, PAMA, Docs Without Borders Film Festival, Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards Festival and American Tracks Music Awards. The film was directed by the multi award-winning film director Amy Leigh McCorkle.
In July 2017 Valyo started work on a trailer for a future action drama directed again by Amy McCorkle. In September-October 2017, he hopes to start scoring a feature drama.
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