What Would You Do and Why Did Toronto?

Dear Bobby Wiseman

I’m a big fan of your music and your blog, but I’m writing for another reason today. My buddy wants me to be the composer for his film but wants me for free. Just so you know he has a decent budget for everything else. He said he doesn’t have any money though for music. What would you do?

Serge M. in Halifax

p.s. why did Torontonians elect Rob Ford?

Dear Serge M.

I understand this problem. It depends on my friendship and what I think of the project and what I think about the future of this person. I have done things for free and later the same person returned with a  real budget and called me back and offered me something fantastic no doubt because I was there when they didn’t have any money or just because they liked my work. Maybe both.

I’ve also done things for free and the person in charge was a tad insane. When that happens I try to play back what happened in my mind in slow motion and ask myself how I could have better realized I would be working with a crazy person because as you know – assholes ruin the fun. I want to have fun especially if I agreed to do it free.

I think you don’t want to feel unfairly exploited, yes? I guess if you agree to do it for free you risk some regret or if you agree to a price you don’t believe in you risk some regret. And if other people were paid but you aren’t that’s weird I agree and it might really piss you off if the film get’s good press etc. and you were not paid and other people were. But it’s hard to know.

If people were paid then there was a budget and if there was a budget there must have been money set aside for music. But I don’t know the ins and outs of your situation besides how you described it.

Maybe despite having had a budget to pay certain people they have real reasons for not having anything now, maybe unforeseen expenses used up everything(?)  …. I go with my gut and try to trouble shoot in advance. I want to know the person is a good artist/ fun to work with, especially if I’m doing it free.

It might be worth stipulating in your agreement that they can only have a 2 or 3 changes, then you have an out if they are unfair in their expectations of what you do.

Rob Ford – We didn’t vote for him Serge.


The real story is the forced amalgamations Mike Harris made in the 90s. A gift from a crazy person who slipped into a position of power they didn’t have the brains to use. But that’s another story Serge, the short story is Rob Ford was elected by the burbs surrounding Toronto. People of Toronto knew he was a crazy person and didn’t expect anyone to vote for a crazy person.




  1. hey bob – I’ve been playing your latest CD on the radio here (ckut) – this week was the one about skye gilbert – and was wondering when you’re going to write the Rob Ford song I know you’ve got in you. Maybe a Rob Ford album – box set – epic …

    Keep on keeping on. Saw your show at Casa a few years back with the screen, singing along with yourself etc. it was wonderful.

    – Vince


    1. Hi Vince. Writing the Rob Ford song doesn’t interest me but I wrote some Stephen Harper songs on the record you mention playing on the radio and thanks for that. I’ll leave writing the Rob Ford song to his fellow conservative pals. Bring me back to Montreal if you would. bob


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