Nashville Songwriting Community Spotlighted in New Web Series

'The Songwriter {Nashville}' captures the process of winning people over in a three-minute tune

Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka
Photo Courtesy of Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka
Series creators Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka
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For those who really know Nashville, the city's rep is as much the songwriting capital of the world as it is the country music capital. A new web series called, aptly, the songwriter {Nashville}, launches July 24 with a sold-out (albeit free) premiere at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre, and with a rollout of the first two webisodes on YouTube the same day.

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The series of eight shorts (about six minutes each) aims to show what it's like to be in that sacred, creative space called "the writers' room."

"It is really appealing to have someone there, as discretely as possible, to capture that process and see how those lightening moments between two writers come together," explains Heather Morgan, a country songwriter who is featured in the series.

The songwriter {Nashville} was created by Movie Time Picture Company founders Esteban Pedraza and Aaron Pryka (pictured above). Inspired by a 2012 conversation with Mike Kopp of HouseKopp Management (who became a co-producer) about the songwriting process, they came back and forth over the course of two years to film songwriters: from the rookies to the Grammy-winners, they say.

"It was great to see how they all start with the same blank slate and then end up with the final product," Pedraza says. "As artists ourselves, we are inspired by watching other artists; watching them hone their craft."

While screenwriters collaborate in a similar way to the Nashville songwriters' co-write; they don't look as cool doing it, the duo jokes. The team also earned an admiration for the task songwriters must achieve.

"In an hour-and-a-half, you have so many chances to win people over," Pryka says of a screenwriter's job. "In a song, you have 3 minutes. I admire the courage it takes."

Pedraza grew up in Nashville and while he and Pryka are now based in New York, making Music City the subject for what they hope is the first in an ongoing series about songwriting was an obvious choice.

"I am glad they chose to be in Nashville," Morgan says, "and show the vast variety of people of the landscape."

The team has not yet chosen the next city to document, but say it could be an international destination.

But the series will continue to be Internet based, despite the big-screen premiere at the Belcourt (an art house movie theater and live music venue that was once home to the Grand Ole Opry). The premiere will feature a one-time screening of the entire 45-minute series.

"The web was always what we were going to do, because the web is the way to reach the most people," Pryka says. "It is the perfect medium for very short pieces. And if you want to be entertained, it seemed like the perfect place."

After the first two episodes drop on Thursday, subsequent installments will be added to YouTube every Tuesday and Thursday. The trailer is also available online.