Timmy Knowles

The home of the Australian recording artist, singer/songwriter and actor

The official website of Australian recording artist, singer/songwriter and actor, Timmy Knowles.

Find news, audio, and video along with tour dates and booking information.

 

AUS220 Week 12: Now, Mix It

We're close baby, so, so close. One more week left of this unbelievable trimester. My head hasn't stopped spinning for 12 weeks now, and I'm not sure what state I will be in once it's done, but I am incredibly proud of where I am at this point in time. I must say that my time management has been exceptional this trimester. I have attempted some very advantageous projects and freelance work over the weeks and at this week 12 mark, it's looking like I might actually get it all in. This week was a bit of mad one, once again. Our CIU interdisciplinary projects were due to be uploaded by midnight Friday, I had a SIXTEEN HOUR drum tracking session with a band, and of course, we mixed our Backstreet Boys inspired demo project with Wilko for our final intensive. 

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For all the work my beloved Group 6 has done throughout these many projects, I feel like we fell apart for the first time during this session. I could put it down to stress, distraction or just plain fatigue, but for whatever reason, we didn't quite live up to our usual standard while mixing this track. We were slow, disorganised, reluctant, divided, and sloppy. Maybe not hugely so, but by our usual high standards it was certainly noticeable. Having said that, we got the job done, and the result is pretty respectable. Others, including members of my group, have heard the track and given it high praise, but for my ears, and the quality level I like to aim for, I must say I wasn't totally proud. I saw the session falling apart while it was happening, and I just didn't feel it was down to me to save it. I'm constantly struggling with my team work and my awareness of my large, loud personality, so I thought I would sit back and see how it played out this time. Once again, I must put my friend and co-worker Elysha Halstead up on the highest of pedestals. This incredible young woman puts silence to anyone that doubts a female's place in the audio industry. She takes charge, is across every aspect, speaks her mind in a diplomatic but strong way, and gives a shit as if her life depends on every detail. She is my professional hero. I'm in ore of her work ethic, her bravery and her mind. I never thought I'd be learning managerial tactics from a girl 10 years my junior, but I bloody well do every day.

At the end of a very long day, in a very small room, with a very big group, we called it a day. We spent most of the day running the vocals through outboard gear and levelling. It was good to see how some of those elements work but to be honest we were so rushed I don't feel as though I had a chance to learn very much. I'll talk further about it in my final AUS220 blog next week, but I don't know that the self-management style of the intensives is very well suited to the demo project. But we got a product out of it, we learnt a lot about the Neve and the process of recording on it, and we followed our projection to a pretty high standard. As I said, if I was looking at the process and end product from someone else's point of view I would probably say it was very good, but for me, I would have liked a better outcome. It was the end of a long and stressful trimester, we were a group of 10 in a room built for 3, and I think the fatigue and stress just got the best of us. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zxw2b1cfSA&lc=z222cvhb2wnhfb3ol04t1aokgcnzq1vo1oa4ikscxrc0bk0h00410

So this my final CIU interdisciplinary project. It's a short, satirical film called Mediate This, looking at the ongoing debate about video game violence and its affects on society and those who consume them. I won't say too much about it here because I will be writing a lot more for my final reflection report, but I wanted to post it her because I am extremely proud of it. I know that the path here for me was rocky, leaving my initial group and going solo with only a couple of weeks to complete it, but I am really happy and astonished at the amount and quality of work I was able to get done. It was the first time I had tried something this scale, and I really didn't know whether it would even be possible. I uploaded this at 11:30pm on Friday, 20 minutes before the cut-off, and I felt so proud. It has been online for a few days now and has already started racking up views and comments, which is of course the whole point. 

 https://agileleanlife.com/push-yourself/

https://agileleanlife.com/push-yourself/

A great thing that has been happening this trimester is the constant opportunity to push our selves to the absolute limits of our ability and really find out what we are made of. After the first three trimesters, I must admit I was in danger of becoming complacent. I was getting consistently goods grades, and finding the work easier and easier. I was starting to take it all a bit for granted, but I can safely say that this trimester and especially the last few weeks has kicked that idea straight out of my head.

I am also really proud of the freelance work I have been getting done. The hard rock band I am producing at the moment that I mentioned last week came in for some drum tracking in the Neve on Friday. We arrived at 8:30am and I turned the lights off in the control room at 12:10am. That's over sixteen hours. I recording complete drum takes for five progressive, hard rock tracks. It was a heavy session for all involved, and I was running on about 2 hours sleep, but we got it all in the can. Again, working under those kinds of circumstances really pushed me out of my comfort zone, exposed any weak spots, and forced me to dig deep to get it done. That's how I want my professional life to be always. I'm far too arrogant to learn or grow in a calm, relaxed environment. I'm the kind of person that needs screaming, fire, heat, and pure evil barreling down on me to make me wake up and pay attention. This week has completely depleted my adrenaline, gained me some grey hairs, and run me completely out of clean underpants, by my god was it fun. 

AUS220 Week 11: C-I-You-Know-That's-Due-Next-Week-Right?

Okay, so I may have mentioned stress and obligations in earlier posts. Well I take it all back. This time right now, right here, is as stressful and hectic as it gets. With just two weeks left of the trimester, the heat is up full ball. We have to have our demo project ready for mixing by next Thursday, we have to absolutely be putting the finishing touches on our podcasts, and I just decided to leave my CIU group and fly solo, meaning I have about 12 days to conceive, write, plan, film, edit, and design my CIU Interdisciplinary project. Now that's a full plate.

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We spend our second to last intensive in the Neve this week tracking vocals for our track. We started by lining up a range of different microphone's and discussing different recording techniques and processes with Wilko. I have fortunately had a fair amount of experience with this in my career, but not so much from the production side of the glass. It was great to hear Wilko's process and learn a bit about listening to a performer's voice from various angles, assessing their unique timbre and tone. We started with Joel, who is a trained opera singer, and tried him out on all the mics. It was great to critically listen to each mic and how it responded to Joel's sound, although I do feel we maybe spent too long on this and it cost us later in the day. Then, myself and Aldi laid down some takes. As we are emulating the boyband sound of the 1990's, it was important that we had several different voices to play with.. It makes the track sound much fuller and more interesting. This is especially true when considering how vastly different our singing styles are. Joel with his opera, Aldi with his wonderful accent, and me as a pop/rock singer. We got some great results, but we did run out of time and I would have liked to spend more time on the performances and nailing certain parts, like harmonies for instance. But my confidence and speed on the Neve is really good now and I'm comfortable to say I know my way around it pretty well. I'm also still recording some freelance work on it so I'm getting plenty of hours of practice. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8sp3wfisLw&t=148s

Our podcast about the last 40 years of Melbourne's music scene is coming along really great. We've gone a little over the 20 minute mark but our research and content is so thorough that it really was hard to cut it back any more. We have worked great as a team and divided up different jobs and responsibilities well. As of week 11, we are completely tracked and edited and ready for mixing. We have a studio booked on Monday of week 12 for us all to sit around and mix the project together. I think Teebo will be wrapped with our end product. We really went to town on the research side of things, so our narrative is very strong. We have also been totally blessed with the amount of archive audio we have been able to source; really clear, authentic audio that suits our story perfectly. All the audio we have used throughout the podcast is authentic and really from the time and place that it sits with in the dialogue. We set out to make a radio documentary style podcast and we have totally nailed it. It sounds as though it wouldn't be out of place on BBC Radio 4 or ABC Radio. I'm very proud of it. I poured a lot of myself into this as I do with all my work and when it turns out just right it is very satisfying. There's of course things I would do differently next time, but I've learnt those lessons, and isn't that the point after all?

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This is a still shot of my friend and fellow actor Stavros Psoras from the film I am making for my CIU interdisciplinary project. The film is entiltled Mediate This, and looks at the numerous and ongoing debates surrounding the effects of violent video games on society. I had initially conceived and written a script and projection for a short film about mainstream culture, but I forfeited that project due to difficulties I had working with certain members of my group. This was a regrettable decision and not one I made lightly, but was certainly for the best for me, creatively and emotionally. However, it did mean requesting permission to do the project on my own, permission that came through a mere two weeks before the deadline. So, It meant I had to first think up another idea for this assessment. Once I had heard the lecture and dialectical inquiry on mediated violence, I thought this would be an interesting idea to explore. I then scripted, for the second time, a short, satirical film, this time surrounding this new topic. As time was tight, I immediately storyboarded the film, and enlisted the help of a photographer friend, and a couple actors who I knew would be free at short notice. Then I had to source the equipment. As audio students are unable to hire film equipment from SAE, I had to hire the lights etc. externally. This was quite costly but I take huge pride in my work and was not going to do this project half-assed just because of time or money. I still ran into plenty of problems, including rewriting the script the morning of the shoot due to an actor dropping out, but I got it in the can. I did all of the location audio recording myself, whilst simultaneously directing and acting in the piece too. It was a big learning curve and a stressful day but I got it done. I am yet to complete the post production aspect of editing and sound design, but the visuals look great. I was able to capture good performances, and due to the high level of planning, it was a fairly smooth and enjoyable experience. I will have to work very quickly in post production to have it done by next Friday, but I am confident I will get it done. It will be the most incredible achievement if I do, as I have never done anything on this scale before, let alone in under two weeks. For however dissapointed I am in how my first group attempt worked out, I will be very proud if I pull this off. 

AUS220 Week 10: Drums, Drums, Drums

Another jam packed week as SAE, and the heat is certainly turning up as we approach week 11. This week was about podcasting, freelancing and A LOT of recording sessions. Since this time last week, I have accumulated over 30 hours of studio time. Along with recording the voice over narration for our podcast, we tracked guitars and piano for our Advanced Studio project, and I also tracked a massive drum session in the Neve for a freelance job I'm doing currently on, recording a 5-track EP for a Melbourne based hard rock group. So it's safe to say I'm feeling pretty fit in the producer department, but there's still a long way to go. On Saturday I tracked drums for the freelance job, and then on Thursday we tracked drums for our Demo project. It's been a week of drums, drums, drums.

On Saturday, I had actually booked the band I am recording into the large Audient studio, purely because it was what I was most comfortable with at the time. I spent a lot of the lead up to that session researching drum miking techniques, EQ processing tips, and generally drum recording information to make sure I was as ready as possible for the day. I arrived well prepared for the session, but as always, I still had to be ready to think on my feet. My good mate and fellow student Sam thankfully agreed to assist me on day too, without which I would've been in big trouble. One thing I hadn't factored in to my planning was that the tech desk will only lend us certain mics for certain studios, and the mics I wanted where only allowed when using the Neve studio, specifically the U87, the Royer 121s, and the KM184s. I wanted those mics badly, so although at that stage we had only had one lesson on it, Sam and I decided to jump in the deep end and try our luck on the Neve. I'm really glad we did. We of course hit a few speed bumps during the day, but we managed fairly seamlessly to navigate the desk and the studio and we got through it in pretty good shape. It was a huge help for us, because even though the sessions with Wilko are great and informative, there's so much to learn that you really need to just get in there and feel your way round first hand. I'm feeling very confident on the Neve console now that I've done that session. We ended up using 16 mics on the kit, and got a full, even sound. I'm not super happy with results, but that is more to do with the kit itself and some of the performance. I was so preoccupied managing the desk and studio that I dropped the ball on managing the artist. Normally I would spend a lot more time concentrating on the player and performance but I had a full plate that day. In reflection, I learnt a lot during this session and going forward I'm feeling much more sturdy and strong. 

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This drum tracking session was perfect practice for our Thursday intensive with Wilko. Our newest member, Cody, was kind enough to rope in his younger brother Lochie, who is an amazing drummer with an amazing kit to lay down some bangs on our Max Martin inspired Demo project. The day was really successful, but again, as always, there were some hiccups and bumps in the road. Working in the Neve studio with such a big group can get really stressful and hot. There's so many of us all trying to divvy up the work in such a small space that it takes a lot of effort to remain focused and calm. We managed to get a really impressive session done, and the end result from our drummer was really nice. We did struggle with certain drum sounds and miking techniques early on though. We were getting a lot trouble from the floor tom and high hats especially, but after some microphone replacing and mic placement changes we got there in the end. It was nice to see people like the amazing Elysha, who sometimes keeps quiet when everyone is talking at each other, take a stand and make some really strong, confident, and successful decisions. Sometimes the stress makes people shine and I saw that Lysh works really well under pressure, much better than myself. Speaking of my hero Elysha, her and I along with electric guitar legend Pat spent a massive day on Monday in the Neve working on the composition and guitar tracks for the same song. 

Elysha and I arrived early Monday morning and setup the Neve console and Pro Tools for the session. We then got stuck straight into finishing off the composition for our track. We kept it really simple and generic in terms of chord progression and key to match the style of our reference tracks. Once we were happy with our composition, I laid down the whole track with midi pianos so that Pat would have something solid to play along to. Once Patty arrived, we got started on setting up his rig.  He bought in his beautiful Japanese Fender Stratocaster and an awesome old tube amp. Along with his pedal board and creativity, the sound he came up with was so fantastic. We miked up his amp with an M88 in front, and a 57 stuck actually inside the amp from the back. The sound was GREAT! Then the real magic happened. After laying down some padding and familiarising himself with the song structure, Patty laid down an awesome lead guitar line and solo. There was only one thing wrong with what we got down, and that was that the song was starting to sound too good. That is to say, too cool. It was loosing the cheese-y boyband feel we were planning on. But once Pat was done and I recorded some acoustic guitar parts, we started getting our sound back. It was so nice to have gotten so much done on that Monday session, and to be able to play it all back to the rest of the group once we came together on Thursday. Everyone loved what we had done, and it gave us a super clear direction to go in with the drum tracking that day. It really is starting to sound fantastic! I cannot wait to hear the finished product once it's done. I think it will be something really special. 

 

AUS220 Week 9: Music Demo Intensive

This week we started our Music Demo Intensive. We are being tutored by the amazing David Wilko, who gave us a jam packed info session today and got us up and running with our song. My head is still spinning from the amount of information we were exposed to, but it was so great to finally be getting our hands on the Neve console; something we have been really wanting to get onto for a while now. It was great to get started and I really enjoyed Wilko's teaching style, the rundown we received and the whole project is all really great and exciting. We're stoked to be doing this assignment and I think, once again, we well deliver a great product. In true Group 6 style, we have shot for the stars and are attempting to achieve something that goes above and beyond the expectations of the rubric, but I reckon we may have this one in the bag.

 http://mcsmrampage.com/2015/03/opinion-being-an-overachiever/

http://mcsmrampage.com/2015/03/opinion-being-an-overachiever/

We arrived today with our song choice, a list of references a mile long, and plenty of ideas for production. The brief is for us to answer the following: How can we take a demo of a song and turn it into a complete product? Imagining we are a pro team who have received a rough song from an artist saying; “I'm a songwriter new to the industry and I need a production team to be able to produce and develop my song from this rough raw demo into a finished product releasable product". We decided on the song Distant Friend, half because no one else from our year had tried it yet, and also because the pop, cheese-y type lyrics were well suited to our plan for production, a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Max Martin boyband era of the 1990's. So, amongst the piles of references we had, this was the one we finally looked to.

This is no doubt an unusual choice in terms of an SAE assessment, and that's kind of why we wanted to do it. We noticed lots of other students were aiming to make 'cool' music that they themselves would listen to, whereas we wanted to do something fun, that would feel like a real-world, money making job. Students are ignorant and doomed to poverty when they deny the fact that eventually they will have to make things that don't appeal to them personally. We thought this would be fun, silly, difficult, and give us a great chance to sharpen our production skills. We also looked at other Max Martin artists like Brittany Spears and N'Sync, and also some late 80's magic like Phil Colin's No Jacket Required and Foreigner. We eventually decided on something more of a ballad to suit our track, with layered vocal harmonies, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, and a mix of drums and midi beats. It's only the first day of this intensive and we already have our arrangement done and a start on recording the piano. We also have booked some more hours in the Neve on our own time to further practise the desk and to get some more recording done before our next proper session. It's looking like it's going to be a great experience, and I can't wait to get back to it. But having said all that, today wasn't just about laying the foundations for the track, today was also about meeting our newest group member: The Neve Genesys.

 https://www.gearslutz.com/board/product-alerts-older-than-2-months/148907-ams-neve-genesys-3.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/product-alerts-older-than-2-months/148907-ams-neve-genesys-3.html

 https://www.proaudiodesign.com/products/ams-neve-genesys-g64

https://www.proaudiodesign.com/products/ams-neve-genesys-g64

I personally have been waiting since day one to get my hands on this bad boy. I've heard so much about Neve and their consoles since studying audio and I really hated that I hadn't got my chance to play on one yet. Wilko did a great job of giving us the rundown on the desk today, but it was bloody overwhelming. It's such a complicated desk compared to what we've worked on in the past. There's so many layers, like on a digital console, but without the kind of user friendly work flow. So many buttons, settings, variations, and signal flow directions to follow and it certainly doesn't help that most of the important buttons have had their labels worn off with age. I did my best to take notes and keep up, but it's clearly going to take a lot more practice to master this machine. It was a lot to take in. We started by looking over the console and it's many buttons and paths, then we hired a whole bunch of microphones and worked on signal flow and getting levels to meter. It was great because we hadn't used most of the microphones we hired out, and Wilko spent time asking us questions and telling us about them and their characteristics and possible uses. Its the first time we've done a lot of that since Trimester 1 and 2, so it was great to dust the cobwebs off and test our memories. Once we had signal coming in, we went through getting it into Pro Tools, back to the monitors, and all of the onboard processing. We even had time to send the signal to some of the outboard processing gear, the LA2A and the 1176, which was awesome because I haven't gotten to work with them too much yet. It was nice to have a recap and Wilko gave us some cool insight into how they worked and when to use them. After lunch, we got on to arranging our song and starting to lay down the piano. It's early days but I'm super excited about what we have planned. By now, I know our team and I have no doubt we will squeeze the most out of this opportunity. Look out for the cheesiest, funnest, most 90's version of this song you'll ever hear. 

 http://www.cheesycharlies.com/CharliesMenu.html

http://www.cheesycharlies.com/CharliesMenu.html

AUS220 Week 8: Intensive Two, Through

To begin, I must apologise for the delay in uploading this week's post. The reason for my lateness is that I have needed time to gather my thoughts and feelings on the events of week 8. It was a very stressful and tiring week, and I gave a lot emotionally, physically and mentally, and have been swinging between thoughts and opinions on how I feel about it all. I did not want to write anything until I had some clarity on my own thoughts, and although I am still hazy, I feel ready now. I didn't want any fatigue or emotions to cause things to come out in this that would be considered unfair or unprofessional. Please excuse my tardiness.

This week was the final Thursday of our live sound intensive and the culminating live gig. We were, above all else, asked to produce an event that, as Teebo put it; looks like a gig, sounds like a gig, and smells like a gig! Well, there is no doubt in my mind that we delivered that and then some. I will start with the positives, and then discuss some things I feel were not worthy of the talent and work that went into the planning and execution of the night. Firstly, the place looked great! We pulled out all the stops. We had professional lighting, smoke machines, fairy lights, props, staging, multi level seating, and the sweetest addition of all, a room full of punters. We brought the stage out towards the centre of the soundstage, both to aid the sound of the poorly designed room, and also to decrease the size of it, helping it seem fuller than it may have been. It worked on both counts. We borrowed furniture from all over the campus; couches, bean-bags, tables and chairs. We did this because we knew from research that we had done at the other gigs that people were leaving after having to stand for too long. We positioned the bar and food tables to the far, back side of the room to keep it from causing distraction from the stage, and also to encourage people to fully enter the room. This was also to keep the doorway clear so that Jack, our designated doorman, was able to check and greet people as they entered and left the room. I am incredibly happy with how it looked. We all chipped in and it was by far the best I've seen it look so far. I feel like we set a great vibe, a nice feel, and made our attendees very comfortable and relaxed. Secondly, we executed the service side of the night expertly. We had the assistance of the wonderful Susan, who looking gorgeous as ever, volunteered her time, experience, and RSA to serve alcohol to our guests all night long. Not only that, she monitored people's level of intoxication, ID'd younger looking people, and controlled the levels of product at all times. We all owe her a huge dept, and I am forever grateful for what she did for us. We had over $250 worth of ice cold beer for our guests, and over $20 of chips and snacks, all of which lasted the entirety of our 3-act show. People were wrapped to be able to sip beer, eat snacks, and comfortably lounge in our space listening to our great performers. There was a really nice feeling in the room all night. Towards the end of the second act's set, Susan warned me, as asked, that the beer levels were at a certain point, and we decided to close the bar until the final performance. This was to stop anyone leaving before the main act, which had happened on other nights once the alcohol dried up. It worked a treat. Susan politely informed the punters that the bar had temporarily closed in order to leave enough for later, and everybody was understanding and cooperative. It was a great idea and worked perfectly, costing us no audience members at all. Finally, the main objective for me starting out was to make sure we filled the room, and kept it filled all night. That objective was met. We planned with great care how we would promote the night, delivering on our marketing promises, and maintain the crowd size throughout, and we got there. By doors opening at 5:30pm, we already had a cue outside the soundstage of audience members keen to get inside. Basically no-one left before the final song of the final set. What was great to see, especially in terms of having the gig 'peer-reviewed', was that most of the attendees were not SAE students or staff at all. In fact, I'd say our audience was approximately 85-90% non-SAE affiliated. In order to get a perfect mark this trimester, we are required to have our work reviewed by our peers, and considering we had an audience made up of nearly 60% music industry practitioners from outside of SAE, I'd say we ticked that box. So, if I were to say that at the beginning of this all, I set out to make the best looking gig I could, that attracted a full crowd that came and stayed all night, then I accomplished my goal ten fold. But there was something else that took a back seat to my concerns of crowd size and aesthetics. Something fairly important in the process of putting on a live gig; the sound. 

 http://www.barfblog.com/2016/03/from-the-duh-files-dont-hide-produce-on-your-yacht-when-visiting-nz/duh-2/

http://www.barfblog.com/2016/03/from-the-duh-files-dont-hide-produce-on-your-yacht-when-visiting-nz/duh-2/

We were told quite clearly at the beginning of this intensive that we were able to, and would be wise to, nominate more than one person to learn the FOH console, so we have no one to blame but ourselves for the fact that we put one of our team members in the most stressful, deep-ended of situations, without anyone else there with the proper know-how to help him in his time of need. Aldi did a fantastic job running the FOH system that night. Even with English being his second language, the fact that he had had only three lessons on the console, and the high stress of a time-poor, late-running sound check, he did a great job! He kept his calm, took the punches and still delivered. But there were times where the stress levels were very high. Confusion kicked in, frustration and nerves were abound. I felt very helpless. I wanted so badly to be able to assist Aldi on the desk, to be able to solve certain issues or guide certain changes, and I simply couldn't. I had stepped aside in the beginning to let others do their thing, as I thought was the point of the group work we are doing, and I concentrated my energy on other aspects, as mentioned above. I know now that I still should've at least had a handle on that side of things, so it wasn't all left to one member of the group if things went wrong. That isn't to say that the sound wasn't great, it was! Aldi got the mix sounding fantastic, without even getting a chance to soundcheck two of the three acts at all! I still don't quite understand how we ran out of time. We were so far ahead all day, and then all of a sudden we were rushing. There is really very little I can reflect on this point, as I seriously do not know what went wrong. I went out to get our liquor, and when I got back we were in trouble. I don't think it was the only fault, but perhaps I, as someone in the group with a lot of years of live music experience, should've not left and been there for the entirety of the soundcheck, but I can't be sure. As I've said, this didn't effect what our audience heard, as Aldi did a smashing job of mixing live on the fly, but what did suffer was the monitor mix that the acts were hearing. We should've had a lot more time to spend getting the monitor mix right,  but we didn't. All of the acts were affected by this, and its something I have had a really hard time coming to terms with. As a working musician, I know exactly how difficult, stressful, uncomfortable and uninspiring it is to try to perform your craft in front of a live audience when you cannot hear yourself properly or are feeling like your sound is off. I feel really bad that acts that we asked to come and play did not enjoy the experience as much as they could've, and I feel like I could've and should've done more to be able to fix it. But, once the snowball of lateness had started rolling, there was nothing I could do. It is hugely regretful to me that the monitor mix was not to a high standard, and it upsets me a lot. I am a firm believer that the most important mix in the room is the one the artist hears, and the fact that a show I was a part of did not deliver on this makes me feel sick. I have a learnt a big lesson from this, and only wish I could turn back time to do it all again. 

 https://toledofirstbaptist.com/sermons/moving-forward-2/

https://toledofirstbaptist.com/sermons/moving-forward-2/

All in all, I am very happy with the event we put on, and I am completely blown away by the amount of effort and hard work that my group and I put into this. We poured our blood, sweat, time and money into this gig and am so proud of us for it. It was very stressful, maybe too stressful, and I can't say I enjoyed the whole process, but the moments during the show that I got to stand back and take it in, in the space we had set, filled with happy audience members, I was elated with what we had accomplished. If I accept that the point of this was to learn, then I cannot possibly walk away from it disappointed at all. 

AUS220 Week 7: Study Week (Yeah right!)

Week seven was our designated study week, and as always, there was very little time to study. But that's okay, my plan this trimester was to spend enough time planning everything so that when it came to the pointy end of the it, like now, that the actioning of all of my projects would be seamless and easy. I find my self right now at the tipping point, where the preparation meets the action, and I won't lie, it's a scary place. Have I prepped everything enough? Am I ready? Are the plans good enough? Will I fail? Well, I suspect I won't fail in my grading, (*knocks wood*) but the doesn't mean I won't fail by my own standards. I'm not sure which one I like less. This week consisted of our KPI meetings with Tim, our final full live sound intensive before next week's gig, and also a lot of work for me outside of uni. As is the nature of working in the creative industries, work comes and goes out of the blue and follows no schedule or rules whatsoever. This was definitely the case for me this week. A week that started with one gig on Saturday playing at a wedding in St Kilda, and by 5pm Monday I had booked two more music gigs, two acting gigs, and some modelling work. I proudly managed to make this work with my uni hours almost seamlessly, and then on Thursday morning I received news that one of the acting jobs had moved last minute to that afternoon, meaning I would miss the second half of my last live music intensive with Tim. Fortunately the group was able to take notes and fill me in somewhat, but I was still disappointed to miss out on being there and getting to complete the full band mix we had started. Sadly, this is the nature of the industry and sometimes sacrifices need to be made in order to pay rent. Rent, the ultimate artist's nemesis. 

 Poster design by Patrick Fielding

Poster design by Patrick Fielding

So, its seems that we are as ready as we can be at this point for our live show on Thursday. There's still a few administrative things we need to accomplish over the next two days, but the bands are booked, the event is advertised, and we are (fingers crossed) prepared academically to run the night with out any issues. Having said that, if there's one thing I've learnt, it's to not be so presumptuous as to assume there will be no issues, but rather to face them calmly and strategically, and to go through the steps we have been taught to identify and correct any problems. I do feel as a group we will be fine, but under the stress, noise and low light of the live performance environment, anything is possible. Our production plan has us bumping in at 10AM on the day, so we will have time on our side, but I don't want us to loose our concentration. It will be what Tim calls an LSD, a long slow day, one where we can be precise and deliberate. As we have learnt, any live show, however calm and smooth it may unfold, does so due to many hours of preplanning, hard work and effort on behalf of all the crew, from the managers to the roadies. My biggest concern still is knowing how to EQ an empty room for a performance in a full one. This is something that will take time and experience to master I know, but is something that weighs on my mind. What I have enjoyed most is noticing how improved my ability to control my own sound when I gig has become. In three weeks I have improved ten fold! I was already fairly good before, mainly thanks to many years of trial and error, whereas now I'm thinking critically about the space I'm in, the music I'm playing, and the equipment I'm using. It's nice to be able to implement my lessons so quickly and to see results straight away.

 https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/live/live-sound-showcase-the-weeknd

https://www.prosoundnetwork.com/live/live-sound-showcase-the-weeknd

Aside from our live sound assessment, work is also in full steam for the podcast and also the freelance work I am doing, including the special projects group I am a part of at SAE. The podcast script has been written and it looks great. The narrative flows nicely and is concise and sensical. I think the story we are telling is interesting and engaging. I wrote the script, which was relatively easy due to the great research my team mates and I did before hand. We split up the task, each covering our own area of research, and I think that worked out really well. We are getting a few interviews done this week and then we are straight into the edit and mix stages. I look forward to hearing it completed. If it's even close to as good as I hear it in my head, we will be very proud I'm sure. I'm having a little more trouble on the CIU front. I'm finding it very difficult and frustrating working with people in other disciplines, as communication seems to be a lot more of an issue. I am trying very hard to ignore my instincts to just take control and get it done because I know that the whole point of group work is to sort these sorts of issues out, but it's difficult when I feel like the product is being threatened by people who don't care or who aren't up for it. Anyway, this is something I know I must navigate and I will, I'm just not quite as beaming with confidence with this one as I am with others at this stage. 

 https://www.musiccitiesconvention.com

https://www.musiccitiesconvention.com

On Tuesday of week 8, Tim has organised for Bonnie Dalton from the Music Cities Convention to come and talk to us about the event, and Tim mentioned she may even be looking for some interns. I'm aiming for one of these spots, as I was going to buy tickets anyway, and what better way than to attend than as a worker! I'll be able to network, talk shop, and soak in the event in its entirety so much more efficiently if I'm a part of it. I've got some questions for her already, but I'm really looking forward to hearing what she has to say. I was already interested in the convention, but since researching and writing our podcast, I now have a whole new level of appreciation for what it means, and what it took, for the convention to come to Melbourne. This is the first city outside of the US and Europe to win the bid to host, and that is something I really want to be a part of. I can feel something special happening with this city musically, moreso than ever before, and it's bloody exciting!

AUS220 Week 6: Live Music Intensive

So, we have commenced our Live Music Intensive, and although it's been a crazy whirlwind so far, it's so great to finally have the chance to soak in the wisdom of the big Teebo. It's overwhelming to know we have only four weeks to organise this gig, especially considering we are all very results driven, and really want this show to push the boundaries and impress. In true Group 6 style, we have bitten off way more than we can chew and are aiming for more than expected, but why else bother, right? That's our method, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing better than ever before. 

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Our first intensive started with Teebo breaking down the process for us through the eyes of the live engineer. We looked at and discussed a wide variety of live music situations, paying special attention to the PA and stage rigging side of things. It was amazing to realise that for all of my years playing and watching live music, I've really never paid enough attention to the amount of work that goes into making it all come together. In fact, in my teens I was a nightshift cleaner at Rod Laver arena, and was present for many, many setup and pack-downs of major acts and performances. It's funny to think all these years later I'm now learning just how impressive all that was and is! Tim gave us some really great insight into the process, and I was able to put my new knowledge to the test relatively soon afterwards.

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On Monday, I was fortunate enough to be offered a ticket to see Ed Sheeran playing the last of the Melbourne shows for his current world tour at Etihad Stadium. Although I am not a huge fan of his latest album, Divide, it is still one of those shows that is worth going to see and to be a part of. The Australia and New Zealand leg of his tour has smashed ticket sales records, and I read that 1 in every 23 people will see him during this tour. How could I not be a part of that! After getting settled in the general admission area of the stadium, just as the amazing Missy Higgins was starting up, I found myself being very distracted by the setup, the stage, and the PA. I was ticking items of the list; a motor there, speaker there, crowd fill there! It was amazing. After one session with Tim, I was already able to pick out how everything was being rigged up. It was great. It especially felt good when I was able to announce to my cousin and her friends that if we moved 3-4 meters to our right, the sound would improve, and when it did, I looked very clever indeed. Now, I must say, overall the sound was bloody awful. A mixture of an inappropriate venue, a loop pedal, and tens of thousands of screaming, young girls. I know from first hand experience that getting the EQ, Delay, and levels right with a loop pedal can be a nightmare, and clearly the bigger the event, the more it is so. Never the less, it was great to see a major show in a major venue so soon after learning all about it. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36UYDZE5kYM

Above is a live video of Chester Brix, the headline act for our upcoming gig. We're really happy to have the guys on board and are looking forward to what should be a great show. We have so far to go in terms of planning, but we are all invested and taking our roles very seriously. We have now had two intensives with Teebo on the soundstage. There's a hell of a lot to take in, but I feel like I am getting it. I have the advantage of working with live sound for many years, but this is obviously a much bigger scale, not to mention the fact that I'm normally the one performing, which leaves me at a disadvantage. But I also think my experience will come in very handy, not just with the technical side of things, but will likely make my relationship with the artists more easy and calming. I've been on the performer side of bad sound and bad engineering and it is not a happy time. Artist's want to feel as though they are in the best hands possible, and I will remember this on the night. I think that we will have a great show, however daunting the task may feel right now. I have complete faith in my group's ability and drive and have no doubt we will pull it out the bag. As much as I say it has been scary and a lot to take in, it's been so great to learn the new equipment and processes. There's so much about live sound that is different and even contrary to the studio environment. Some of the things we have learnt to do as instinct over the last year and a half have to be rethought or even ignored in the live environment. EQ, compression, mic placing and so many other things must be treated differently. It's incredible to learn a whole new subsection of our discipline. Already, after two classes with Tim, I know more about speakers, amplifiers and staging than I have known in a lifetime of live performances. This, as I've mentioned before, is information I've been chomping at the bit to get my head around since starting at SAE, not only because it directly affects what I do for a living, but also because it is such an important part of the industry as a whole. Aside from the fact that he is reading this, I feel very honoured to be learning from someone who has the years and experience in the industry that Tim Dalton has. We are wise in our concentration of his teachings. 

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So, between my CIU assignment, my podcast, my freelance work, and my position in the SAE special projects group, I just hope my over worked brain is soaking in all that I am learning in my new intensive, because it's bloody usable stuff!

AUS220 Week 5: The Steve James Plea

I'm here to write about legendary British producer/engineer Steve James, in the hope that I will be selected as one of the ten students from Tim Dalton's AUS220 class to visit Steve during his upcoming drum tracking session at Melbourne's soon to be lost Sing Sing Studios. Well, with fingers crossed, here is why I need to be there. 

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So, why do I need the opportunity to see the one and only Steve James commanding the desk? To share the studio with an industry icon? To witness a legend at work? Well, that's actually pretty easy. The answer is this...

The opening drum role and mellow, warm guitar line that follows, was the soundtrack to my early days studying music. I studied every song on this album with the most precise attention. Every note, sound, flavour. I took it all in, over and over again. It seeped into my soul and moulded my playing, writing and preferences permanently. This whole album, produced and engineered by Steve in 1991-92, was constantly on play in my childhood home, and to this day I use it as a source of inspiration for its instrumentation, songwriting, and of course, production. The decisions made by Steve and the band on this album are simply perfection. Smooth, punchy, moving. I think for all the work that Steve James has done since being in Australia, the products he produced with boys from The Screaming Jets are up there as the most stunning. But, if being responsible for one of my favourite bands of all time, soundtracking songs of my childhood, and gaining legendary industry status isn't enough of a reason for me to beg for a shot at this opportunity, then perhaps the fact that the man has recorded, on several occasions, the band responsible for my favourite song of all time. The one and only Forever Now by Cold Chisel. My favourite rock song ever, EVER!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhnp3td-UHU

Steve worked with Cold Chisel on live recordings in 2005 for Warner Music on Ringside, and also in 2001 on In the Round. In 1998, he worked on some of their album tracks for Mushroom Records' Last Wave of Summer. Now, add this to the fact that he has also leant his ear to Mental As Anything (1989), Paul Young (1995), Skunkhour (1999), The Superjesus (2000-03), You Am I (2002), and many, many others, and you have yourself a man responsible for some of the greatest Australian music ever released. Since moving down under in the mid-to-late 80's, Steve James has become synonymous with Australian rock royalty. There is no doubt that he has earned his spot amongst the finest this country has to offer, but in 2000 he took home the ARIA award for Producer of the Year, just incase there was any doubt at all. For Australia, he has been a practitioner of high demand and quality for over three decades now, but it's not only Australian history that Steve has left his musical mark on. Not by a long shot. In fact, you could say that before leaving his motherland, England, he managed to play his part in the production of one of the most recognisable and celebrated pieces of music to ever come out of the UK, and a part of comedy history that has truly stood the test of time.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep9Vzb6R_58

Now, I could bang on for another ten blogs about Steve's accomplishments and credentials, but this is all well known. The question here is why I need this opportunity, and there is a deeper reason than him simply producing some of the greatest music of all time, and me feeling like I've earned it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I am struggling a lot this trimester with the direction I feel I should take my career in. I've had the opportunity over the last four weeks to sink my teeth into the world of post-production and I have fallen in love it, but I haven't fallen out of love with my first mistress, music. I know all the facts and figures about the decline of the recording studio, the rise of DIY producing, and album sales plummeting, but the spark has not gone out. I still have that burning desire to make incredible music, and to be behind some big hits. But it is fading. The older I get the more I feel like I need stability, surety, and, to be honest, a job! I have done fairly well as a music practitioner so far, but it's all been a gamble, and I constantly question myself and my decisions. Should I have married that girl/stayed in that country/taken that job? All the chances at normality that I've had, and ignored, over the years hang over me permanently. Although this may seem like hyperbole, it is true, and also truly why I feel like this opportunity is important for me to be a part of. I'm not suggesting an afternoon watching Steve James work will be some magical answer for all of my life's questions, but it may help clear up the one about my career. At the very least, it will level the playing field with all of my recent exposure to post-production. I feel like I'm forgetting why I ever wanted to do this, and I think that seeing a true legend of the craft doing his thing may just dust off my passion, or perhaps not, but either way I will have some further clarity in my life-direction conundrum. 

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If all of the above hasn't convinced you that I am desperate to get on the list, then maybe I should mention that I also hope to ask Steve if he'd be interested in allowing me to interview him over the phone for the podcast I am currently writing on the Melbourne music industry. So, it's not only a matter of childhood admiration and adulthood angst, but also academic determination, and who could resist getting behind that? 

AUS220 Week 4: Intensive One, Done

This week, out of all so far, has definitely been the silliest. So much to do, so much to see, so much to break. I honestly don't know where to start. I have learnt a lot of lessons this week, and have started to realise just how truly 'in the deep-end' I am with all of this. But somehow, it is with a smile I look back at week four. The most negative aspect of the week, was the loss of my computer, AKA my universe. Due to my incredibly full schedule, I have been out of the house for close to 15 hours everyday, which means I have to be prepared for all sorts of events and tasks, which means my liquid lunch and computer share the same bag. This ended in disaster on Wednesday when my top of the line MacBook Pro met my entire chocolate-milk protein shake. My beloved computer is in binary heaven now, and it could not be a worse time, both finically and in terms of workload, but I am an adaptable person, and I will survive this most tragic of times. That's the bad news, now for the good! 

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The fourth week was one of beginnings and endings. I started some freelance producer/engineer projects I have picked up, I ended my post-production intensive project, I had the first meeting for the Special Projects group I have been assigned to, and I saw my first gigs in the sound stage at SAE. In fact, I saw a lot of gigs this week, taking on Captain Dalton's words of wisdom regarding 'lovers of music' who do not see any live shows. On Wednesday, after an eight hour recording session tracking guitars in the large Audient, and attending the first of the two live production intensive gigs (more on this in a moment), I headed to The Corner Hotel to see a new young artist from Norway called Sigrid. She has not had a lot, if any, radio exposure here in Australia, compared to the extensive exposure in Europe and the UK. Nevertheless, she sold out her Melbourne and Brisbane shows in no time, and most of the audience knew all of her material and lyrics. Needless to say, she will be huge here once the cat is out of the bag. Sigrid's very familiar, but extremely well executed Scandinavian electro-pop sound is addictive and fun, and her voice is something else altogether. Unbelievable range, grit, sweetness, soul. To top it off, she has the cutest, girl-next-door attitude, bouncing around the stage with her long pony tail flicking back and forth. This was a fun show, but all the fun and joy didn't hide the precision executed by Sigrid and her crew. Seriously good musicians, seriously good songs. I was there both as a fan, but also, as always, as an industry professional on a reconnaissance mission, and I was blown away. If I ever need to organise a perfectly orchestrated electro-pop party, I know exactly where I'll get my inspiration from. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIriwVhRPVA

The other notable gigs I saw this week were Wednesday and Thursday nights in the sound stage at SAE, where my fellow classmates completed their live sound intensive by putting on a live show. I was really proud of both groups. I thought they executed the evenings really well, chose great acts, created a cool, comfortable environment, and of course, supplied free beers. Both nights, and all the acts were great. But as always, although I was there to see some live music and support my mates, it was also a good opportunity to do some more reconnaissance, knowing full well that my group is up next to complete the same task. It was great to see what the others decided to do, and to see the nights unfold. I was able to get a taste for what I thought worked and maybe could've worked better, to become familiar with the space, and to start to plan out with my group what we might like to do when it is our turn. We have had a few rough discussions, but I'm really looking forward to sinking our teeth into it next week. Live sound is such a huge part of my life and career. I deal with it on a weekly basis in all sorts of situations, so I'm really looking forward to getting to work with Teebo, who has more than enough wisdom and experience on the subject to share. I can't wait! It is long overdue for me. 

But for all the spender these shows bought me, it was the ending of another intensive that really had an impact on me. After many hours under the watch of Tristan, and many, many hours of time out side of class, my group and I finally pressed FINISH on our post-production project. It was a lot of work, and we definitely bit off more than we should've been able to chew, but we learnt a lot about the process and each other, and got, as I suspected, a fantastic result. Our version has it's own identity and energy, but certainly stands up to the original. I am very proud of what we achieved. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it. We had to employ all of the skills and techniques I've mentioned in previous posts, and a lot of it we did blindly, by trial and error, and by thinking out side of the box. Tristan expressed his approval to us, and that meant a lot coming from him. He was aware of how hard we worked, and how much we wanted it to come up good. I also feel like I made some good tracks with my ability to work in a group, even though my group is incredibly talented and easy to get on with, I just felt a shift in myself and my own place within the group. It was a good thing, because I have often struggled internally in the past with this, so it was nice to feel an improvement. As for whether or not I want to pursue a career in post production or not, the answer is most definitely a yes, but that doesn't mean I'm sure I only want to do that. I'm actually feeling a lot of stress about narrowing down on one area of the discipline. I love music production, I love post, I love management, I love engineering. I'm having trouble deciding where to direct my attention most. I'm probably too old for questions like that to bother me, but I guess I've always had a jack-all-trades mindset, and now that I feel I should knuckle down on one, I'm nervous about which to dedicate my time to. I guess I don't trust my own decision making, and I'm worried I'll stuff it all up to be honest. Something I will have to work on.

Anyway, all that aside, here it is! The group six sound design version of Powered Toastman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voO-Ui6YkIU&feature=youtu.be

And for comparison, here's the original again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32cvFb7Fqok&feature=youtu.be

So, a tiring and trying week for sure, but that's the game, and I'm playing it. I am going to take on everything I have learnt this week, and make sure that I implement all of the new information going forward. So, a big thank you to Tristan for his guidance and caring, a big well done to the live sound guys for their efforts, and a big, massive, sloppy, work-appropriate kiss for my team mates for their support, talent, and hard work. One down, two to go!

AUS220 Week 3: The Green Light

A couple of weeks ago I answered the question addressing how I felt about the amount of work we are expected to manage this trimester, and I said overwhelmed. Well, that certainly got put to the test this week, and overwhelming is a dramatic understatement. However, love is in the labour and having achieved the things I did this week, even with the amount of work it took, I am feeling very satisfied and fulfilled. Tuesday saw two presentations made, one being the dialectical inquiry and the other being the pitch for my Music Victoria podcast. Both took a vast amount of time, effort, coordination, teamwork, concentration, sacrifice and little sleep, but I am proud of what I and my groups achieved. I don't mind working hard, so long as I feel it has been to some end. The feedback from my educational captain this trimester (Hi Teebo!) was very positive and made me feel as though we had hit the mark, which is a good feeling after putting in the hours. Of course, this week has been full of many other jobs too, including group discussions about the upcoming interdisciplinary creative project, organising freelance work I am planning, and also further out-of-class recording sessions with my post-production teammates! But certainly, if I am to reflect on anything this week, I must do so by talking about my presentations.

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I've spent a lot of time with Mr Darwin over the last couple of weeks. Trent, Elisha and I signed up to research, discuss and critically reflect on the idea of Aesthetics. It was the first week of the dialectical inquiries, which added a little more pressure, not only because we were setting the bar, but also just because there was generally a lot happening at the time. But I'm glad we did it. I personally put my hand up for Aesthetics because I felt like I had either a general idea or a fully formed opinion on all the other topics, yet Aesthetics, I had no idea what so ever. I had, of course, heard the term before, even using it numerous times myself, and yet when I saw the topic was an option I realised I had no real idea about it as a theory of philosophy, science or culture. So, I thought it was a perfect topic to get my head around, and now, it's safe to say I'm truly obsessed, not to mention the fact that I am annoying the hell out of anyone in earshot with all of my facts and theories on the matter. Once the three of us had read the online lecture, we realised just how big a topic we had taken on. We also noticed that there were many conflicting ideas on the matter, from some very smart people. This led us to the idea of presenting a lecture, where we all discussed and dissected a different angle to the argument. We were careful to discuss theories without bias. We wanted it to be factual and educational, not just us shouting about our opinions. We did make a critical argument as required, but we were careful to not muddy the concepts discussed throughout with it. We decided that the best (and most interesting) three angles for us to come at it with were the Darwinist/Humanist theory, the mathematical and naturist theory, and then finally, to show how it relates to us as audio professionals. I, to my glee, got to take on the Humanist/Darwinist theory.

Funnily enough, once I started my research, I realised that I'd already spent some time with Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex in the past. In trimester one, I wrote an essay on the evolutionary purposes of musicality, where I addressed the idea of music being innate, and things like our predisposition for rhythm being a result of our mother's heartbeat. So I knew I'd enjoy sinking my teeth back into this text. For this assessment, I was researching the evolutionary explanation for beauty. From animals like the peacock, that evolved to attract a female with their giant, bright coloured plumage, even though it drastically went against the idea of survival and natural selection, to the earliest homo-sapiens making artistic arrowhead tools, purely to impress the opposite sex. I learnt far too much to go into it all here, but needless to say, I am hooked on the theory and cannot stop talking and thinking about. A man who spent much of his career pondering this idea was Denis Dutton. His 2010 Ted Talk, which he made just months before he passed away, was truly informative, intriguing and controversial. Being that the question of aesthetics falls into that sticky, grey place between philosophy and science, there are a lot of people with very persuasive, contradictory and passionate arguments on the matter. I must admit though, as a scientifically minded person, I see a lot of sense in the idea of beauty being innate. When it comes to art, I haven't made my mind up one hundred percent yet, but not knowing is nice too. It means I have to continue thinking about, and how it relates to the work I create. Anyway, I could really talk about it all day, but I did the talking it was meant for on Tuesday, and I feel that all the hard work and preparation that myself, Trent and Elysha put in was well worth it. We learnt a lot, enjoyed our planning sessions, and sweated up until the very last minute. It wasn't an easy task, but we got it done and to a standard that we are all proud of. Tim Dalton's comments back to us were very positive and constructive, and that was definitely the icing on a sleepless, stressful, mind-bending cake.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjdKarDXSpg

Then, that same afternoon, myself and my podcast team, consisting of Trent and Elysha again, and also Susan and Tabatha, presented our pitch for our Music Victoria podcast, We Didn't Start The Fire. With our group name, The Pod Squad, and a thoroughly planned out pitch, we hit the floor to present. Somewhere in amongst the endless, sleepless nights of aesthetics and Darwin and birds and apes and homo sapiens, I managed to put together an audio/visual trailer for our idea. This was not only as a way to leave an impression, as any good pitch should, but also to give a flavour of the style and production quality we would be aiming for with our show. As we received a glowing green light, it was clearly worth the time. I'm really proud and excited about our idea, taking a look at the last forty years of the music industry in Melbourne, asking who and what shaped the current international music city I am proud to be a part of. I wasn't too interested in doing something overly contemporary, as I felt like everyone else would probably attack the project from that angle, so when this idea came to mind I was really hyped. I think it's genuinely a great idea for a podcast, and we have all already agreed to take on this job with the goal of making a professional product at the end, one that goes beyond the bounds of a university assessment, and one that can be put out as a real, concrete show that people will listen to. We are not considering this a university assignment at all, but a proper, real-world gig. I think we will have an incredible product at the end of this, and can't wait to see how the process unfolds. We have a great team, a great narrative, and all the knowledge we need to make this thing good enough to compete with the big names. I can't wait to get it done!

Although we aren't quite finished yet, our post-production project is starting to take its final shape. We have done a really great job. We still have to mix it all and record some more little bits of Foley, but it's well on its way. Compared to the original I think it holds up. We have honoured the style of the time and genre of the original, but we have made our own creative decisions on plenty of things also. If there were any changes we could make, I would say maybe we could spend more time creating bigger, bolder sound effects, but given the time and venue restrictions, that's not something I am overly concernced about, as we have manged to get everything we needed regardless.


How are the skills that you are learning in your specific intensive transferable into other areas of audio/music production?

Out of all the skills I am learning in my post-production intensive, the one that is by far the most transferable to other areas of audio is the pre-planning and careful consideration needed to make the job not only quicker, but much easier, and with much better results. I'm always aware that planning ahead is important, but looking back I think there have been many times that I've gone into projects with an 'arty' and 'creative' outlook that I'll 'let it all happen naturally and organically'. Now, due to the immense amount of preparation required to complete a post-production job, I see that it not only makes everything smoother and more precise, but it makes the job easier, more relaxed and therefore more enjoyable and freeing. I will certainly be implementing this more in the future. 

AUS220 Week 2: Sound Recording Masterclass

This week started with an intensive within an intensive as we were joined by Nick, a working sound recordist, who took us through a day on set through the eyes of the sound department. We got hands-on experience with all of the film department sound recording equipment, with Nick taking us through the setup, use, and pack down of each piece. It was invaluable information, and equipment and know-how we have not yet been exposed to. Not only did Nick give us technical advice, he took the time to give us in-depth tips and tools to making it in the industry. 

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For me personally, and I'm sure the others too, I was so eager to pick Nick's brain on this topic. It was great to finally see how it all happens on the set. First, we set up all the equipment. We had shotgun mics with boom poles, radio lapel mics, a film camera and of course the field recording units. We got to unpack it all, insert batteries and memory cards, check settings, sync everything up and get it all levelling. It was a lot of fun and we were all grateful for the information. Once we had everything set up, Nick took us through the intricacies of the field recorder, the unit that all microphone signals are sent to be recorded via XLR ports. We hooked up the boom mics directly and then learned how to sync up the transmitters and receivers for the radio mics. We went through all the possible settings and parameters on the recording unit, including the EQ, phase inverters, phantom power settings and level monitoring. Nick also gave us really helpful fact sheets on the equipment so we could further study in our own time. Then, we went through operating the booms. This involved a lot more than one might expect, so it was a real eye-opener. We then mock recorded a few takes as if we were really on set. We took turns at the different roles like camera operator, sound recorders, director and slate holder. It was a great way to fully immerse our selves and see the process truly. I think the one thing that really hit home for me was how much responsibility is on the shoulders of the sound person, pun not intended. The importance of concentration, preparation and professionalism were made really clear to me. The thought of making a mistake and missing a great performance or moment that can't be recreated is scary, but also speaks volumes to the respect that must be paid to the craft. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO3N_PRIgX0

After lunch, it was back into the studio to start on Foley. Arguably the most fun part of the process, we were really looking forward to this, but at the same time nervous about just how we were going to make the sounds accurately come to life. We split up and hit the halls of SAE to acquire anything and everything we could. The only requirement was that it made a sound. Our first effort was recreating the sound of old-timey typewriter keys. We tried an old phone, both the dials and the hangup receiver, which didn't quite hit the mark for us. We then tried several other random objects until Tristan suggested trying a pair of tongs we had found. Jack was in the booth, trying multiple hand positions, ring positions and velocities until we all agreed we had found 'the sound'. It was interesting to see how crucial out-of-the-box thinking is to recording Foley. Sure, there is the skill needed to perform, edit and mix the sound in time with the picture, but the real skill lies in being able to think laterally about objects and noises and to see a potential for similarities between completely separate things. Tristan gave us some great guidance with this, especially reminding us to think of the sounds in terms of qualities, not so much literally. Does it sound hard, heavy or fast? Is it sharp, thin or fluid? These questions start your mind on the right track to come up with the solutions needed. It was nice to see us a group being able to come up with some truly accurate sounds with the limited amount of objects we had. We made a good start during this session, but we have a long way to go.

sound-desk-1200x900-.jpg

During the session, Elysha, Sam and I left the others in the Tascam studio and set up the D-Command console to clean up the vocal takes we had from our previous meeting. We top and tailed all the clips, sorted out any clip gain issues, and perfectly lined up all the clips to fit the frames of the film. This was fiddly and intricate work, but important and good to know it is done. We also did some effects editing to create some high pitched phone gargle necessary for one of the scenes. It was great to get some more time on the D-Command. It's a brand new toy for us, so getting our head around it took some time, but Tristan was there to point us in the right direction. 

I think the phrase sound is bigger than music is never truer than it is in relation to film. It is amazing how little the general public knows about the work that goes into creating sounds for film, but you can guarantee everyone would notice the minute it was taken away. The aid of sound to the story is undeniable. The information relayed through sound is so important, sometimes even more than the images themselves. Think about what you can know from hearing different types of footsteps (heavy, slow, loud), or even wind and waves. We, as people, can make very accurate assumptions about the immediate future from what we hear, and any storyteller in any discipline would be a fool not to exploit it fully.


How do you feel about all of the different projects that you have to manage between now and the end of the trimester?

In a word, overwhelmed. But excited too. There's not a single project that I'm not looking forward to sinking my teeth into, and although it is a lot of work and will take a lot of my time and effort, I know that at the end I'll be a better practitioner for it. So sure, it's a big workload, and is definitely intensive, but I'm certainly not complaining. 

AUS220 Week 1: Post-production

To say I was over the moon to find out my group and I would be studying post-production for our first intensive would be a massive understatement. It would also so be seriously amiss if I didn't take a moment to say how lucky I am to have landed in a group with the students I have. Elysha, Joel, Sam, Christelle, Jack, and Pat are all artists I admire, respect and look up to. I am honoured to be sharing this part of the journey together. But back to the point in...

I've always been fascinated with the art of creating audio for film. As someone who is happily obsessed with sound and sound quality, I've always been amazed at just how much effort, attention and skill goes into creating the worlds in these moving pictures. Not only the undeniable importance of the score, without which almost all character and story arch would be completely lost on most audience members, but also the intricate details of footsteps, clothes rustling and pencil writing, etc. For me, even just the process of concentrating my attention on these elements is like meditation. I adore the precision. I adore the specificity. I adore it all. But for all my adoration, I, until very recently, was practically fully unaware of how any of it comes to be. As you can see in the blog posts below, I got my first taste of the process during the AUD210 Jingles assessment, which was where my true love for post-production started to blossom. Using Foley and sound effects sourced from various sites online and music that I composed and performed myself, I recreated the sound for a film trailer and two television advertising shorts. To see this work, click here. I really enjoyed creating this work, but it was simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of my interest. So, as I said, I was wrapped to find out I would be getting another shot at it straight off the bat this year. To top it off, not only did I land a great topic to study with an awesome group of artists, I then met the man who would be leading us through this intensive, and in a phrase, what a bloody legend!

 Warning: Shameless (and slightly creepy) attempt at teacher flattery 

Warning: Shameless (and slightly creepy) attempt at teacher flattery 

Tristan quickly drew us all in with his passion and energy, and got us all on board with his clear love and respect for the work he does, and does well. Like other lectures at SAE, it makes a big difference to be taught by someone who has hands-on experience in the field, and as a working post-production artist, it's a box that he definitely ticks.

After a while of getting to know each other and talking about the craft, we quickly dived into selected our footage for the intensive. We were asked to choose a short clip or trailer from a film or television show and to recreate all audio for it. Unlike my previous assessment, this time we have to create all the sound from scratch, as opposed to sourcing pre-recorded materials online. This is a really great thing for us because it exposes us to the maximum amount of angles of the job. We get to experience first hand the process of creating sound for film, from the early spotting sessions to the dialogue replacement (or ADR) and Foley and effects creation to mixing and editing the final project. But first, we had to choose the visuals, and we picked an absolute winner. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32cvFb7Fqok&feature=youtu.be

This clip is so perfect as far as I'm concerned for many reasons, first of which is that it is one of my childhood favourites. I used to love this show, and especially this character, so I was secretly hoping as we scrolled through the options that the group would land on this one. Aside from that though, it is also incredibly diverse in terms of what is needed sound wise. Being an animation, the bounds of reality can, and certainly have been stretched, meaning this clip contains a massive amount of random and varied actions. There is, amongst many other things, a flying man, a plane crash, a TNT explosion, a car accident, and of course, a toaster. It means that over the next few weeks we will most definitely have our work cut out for us, but what a great way to get the most out of the opportunity, and to make this intensive truly... intensive. 

BLOG-1Possible-image-1-a.gif

Once we had a clip, it was time for a spotting session. We got to use the D-Command for this, which was great because none of us had ever used it before. We didn't get to wrap our heads around too much yet, but it was good to get a start. We all sat around studying our clip, noting down everything we heard. I recorded down all the dialogue, while the others looked after music and everything else. Once we had all of that marked down, we jumped straight into recording the dialogue. I've actually done quite a bit of work as a voice artist through my career as an actor, but it was great to see the process from the other side. Not to mention the fact that, although I jumped in to record the voice of Powdered Toastman, it was awesome and fun to see the other guys getting in the booth to do some characters too. We had a lot of laughs doing the voice-over work, and we managed to get some great results. What we didn't get done on day one, we all met up for an out of class recording session in the Tascam studio a couple of days later to finish off the vocals. This was so we could make sure that we hit the ground running in our next class with Tristan. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing what we create together, and I have no doubt it will be high-quality work that we are all very proud of. Watch this space!


What genres or styles of music are most unfamiliar to me, and what production techniques could be learned from investigating these styles?

Like post-production, I also got my first taste of electronic music last trimester with Nick Wilson's class. This is by far the genre I most unfamiliar with, and it is one that I am now really keen to get my head around. The production techniques I'm thinking will be the biggest help will be Ableton Live and synthesis. These are both things I am fairly unfamiliar with so far, but I have bought the DAW and am actively trying to learn as much as I can about the history and current statis of the world of sythesis, so here's hoping.

AUD210 Week 12: Final Report

This, sadly, is my final blog post for Trimester 3 and my first year at SAE. I will be reflecting on my final project, the creation of sound-design for two adverts and one movie trailer, and the processes I employed to create them. As mentioned in my previous blog about the planning of my jingles assessment, I chose to recreate the audio for the latest John Lewis Christmas advert, Moz The Monster, and the trailer to the 1998 film by Darren Aronofsky, Pi, with my group, Anthony Petrou and Pharisee Son. I had originally planned to also recreate the sound for a PG Tips advert, but due to some timing restrictions, and also an intention to explore EMP further, I decided instead to work with the advert for the latest iPhone from Apple. Anthony, Pharisee and myself using our initials, created a company called APT Media. Below is a link to our company website where you can find both my solo projects and the trailer we created together. That’s where we will start.

 

The process for creating this trailer was simple, effective, fast and thoroughly enjoyable. I went into this project fully aware that my enthusiasm for group work needed attention, so I was very intentionally prepared to be positive, collaborative and to try to relax and have some fun, and fun I had. My teammates and I set a date quite early on for us to meet at Anthony’s house in Niddrie. We were all intending to make an electronic score for this project, and Anthony’s array of analogue synthesisers, samplers and other analogue equipment was a natural choice. It was a great day. The three of us stood side by side for hours, discussing and then creating the perfect sound for our purpose. We took inspiration from the original audio for sure, but we also explored and played freely to find our own feel. I thoroughly enjoyed working with boys, as their knowledge and love of EDM was very educational, and they didn’t mind taking the time to make sure I understood each step. I learnt a lot that day, and am really proud of the track we created. Once the score was done, the finishing touch was for me, with my experience of acting and voice-over work, to recreate the spoken words that are borrowed from the film and placed on top of the music in the original. I recorded the voiceover, in my questionable American accent, in my flat and then processed it to match the timbre and quality of the original. This was a fun process, and my critical listening skills really showed up to help me out with this. Due to the original film being quite low quality, the audio was certainly not the clean, polished sound you might expect to hear. So, through heavy compression and precise EQ, I was able to match my voice to the voices in the original fairly accurately, and I think I did pretty well. Once all that was done, I matched the video and audio in Pro Tools, mixed and (semi) mastered the final stems, and we were done. I am very proud of this, mostly because we had a clear vision right from the beginning, and I feel as though we have produced exactly what we aimed for.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uzYEghfOW0

 

The sound design for my first advert was probably the biggest job I’ve done to date.  I spent a lot of time on this and am incredibly proud of the finished product. I began the process for this one with Foley and sound effects, leaving the music until last. I first made a list of all the sounds I wanted to include, and then set about finding the closest samples I could online. I sourced all of the sound effects from freesound.org and included a huge array of them. Some I had to process to get them right for my purpose, others were ready to go. Fortunately, most of the samples I used were covered by a Creative Commons Attribution license, meaning I could use them freely, without restrictions other than appropriately crediting the author. There is a handful that are under an Attribution Non-commercial License, meaning I can’t profit from or sell the work, and two that were Attribution-Non-commercial-Share Alike, meaning I would need to make my work available under the same conditions as the work I have exploited. Putting all of these sounds in the correct place, finding alternatives to sounds I couldn’t find (a good example of this would be using the sound of chairs and pots dragging on the floor to create the sound of toys dragging on the floor) was extremely tedious and time consuming, but I enjoyed it so much. I, like with the EMP work, have found a new aspect of audio that I am completely in love with. I found it a meditative experience.  Once I had the Foley and effects in place and cleaned up, I started thinking about the score. I wanted to use a known song, because these types of cinematic, large-production adverts usually use a reimagined hit song, as a way of capturing their audience’s attention. I used Forever Now by Cold Chisel, and created an orchestral cover, with a music box playing the vocal melody line. I used this sound because I wanted something childlike and sweet to complement the storyline. I chose Forever Now because I wanted something that had a minor chord progression leading into a major one, to suit the emotional arch of the advert’s protagonist. I was able to find a BPM that allowed this to fit perfectly with the visuals, so all chord changes and melody lines worked in conjunction with the shots. Some of this was luck, but it was certainly the feel I had set out to achieve. A problem I did face with this came at the time of mixing. I had trouble knowing where my levels should have been, between the music and Foley, but also the Foley in itself. It was hard to gauge how loud a door closing should be compared to a light switch etc. Also, the high-frequency content in my music was sometimes hard to navigate in terms of levels, and it showed me an area that I would like to improve on in the future. However, after hours and hours of work, I am pleased with the outcome and feel I have something I can be proud of.   

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTSFX6Vywgc

 

Finally, I recreated the audio for the new Apple iPhone X. This was fun! I was able to further explore some electronic music composition, and feel like I created something that really works well with visuals. Again, I gathered all of the Foley and sound effects from freesound.org, this time only using content covered by the Attribution License mentioned earlier. Although there was less to this advert, it was still intricate and time-consuming to get right. The vocals in this were once again recorded by me, and then processed to achieve a similar result to the original, which was the vocal line to a song called Best Friend Ft. NERVO by Sofi Tukker. I was really happy with what I was able to do, using pitch shifting, EQ and compression, and feel the end result is pretty close. Again, I was unhappy with the length of time I spent mixing, and found it quite difficult to be happy with the levels, but I got there in the end. This is another piece of work I incredibly proud of, especially when I consider how deliberate and considered all of my decisions were.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZtY9N0S2A8

In terms of freelance work, I technically have done a lot of it this throughout the trimester. Sadly, I don’t have anything I can physically supply as work, but it has happened all the same. I have done countless hours of live sound engineering, both at my own gigs on a weekly basis, and for other artists at their shows. My knowledge of acoustics and EQ has come into play, and my skills in this area are really getting quite sharp. I have also been working in the studio with the artists Brentwood, who my group and I recorded in Trimester 2. We have been recording guitars and rewriting some of their songs at my home studio, and we will be laying down vocals and further production over the break. I was hoping to have this to submit for my freelance option, but unfortunately, the artists’ busy schedule has not made this possible. I have also just started managing a young singer/songwriter, and have been spending countless hours producing, and directing her in the lead up to her recording her first EP, something I will be heavily involved with. Once again, I’m saddened I have not been able to submit a physical project for consideration, as I have most definitely been doing freelance work outside of my studies, but I do not. There is one thing I could potentially include. I was hired to play a wedding a few weeks ago, and the bride asked me to learn, rework and record a favourite song of hers. I did this, and have included a small sample of this below. Most of the correspondence surrounding this was done via telephone, and as such, I cannot include anything physically showing our interactions. 

All in all, this trimester has been intense, busy, and really great. I have fallen in love with new parts of my craft, areas I have never even considered visiting in the past, and feel that my skills and ability are getting stronger and stronger by the day. Although I have a long way to go, I’m starting to be able to clearly see the areas I need to work on most and am therefore able to spend the necessary time to work on them. I look forward to next year and more studio work. This has been my favourite trimester by far, and I appreciate so much the guidance, lessons, and mentorship I have received from Nick Wilson and Michael Clarke throughout. I can’t wait to sink my teeth back in next year. 

Until then, it’s back to practice. 

AUD210 Week 11: Copyright

Today I will be discussing the real world ramifications of the work I have completed this trimester with my cover of The Black Keys’ Tighten Up for the Sound-A-Like project, my remix of Mackenzie Walker’s Focus, and the jingles I have reworked in regards to copyright. I will have more on the jingles project in my next blog post.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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  https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-copyright-1991437

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-copyright-1991437

In Australia, the Copyright Act, a legal document that governs the protection of intellectual property (IP), makes special exceptions for use of copyrighted material used for educational purposes. I will be ignoring this for now, and looking at the legal ramifications of the work as if I had created them outside of SAE, and intended to sell, perform or play them in public. 

I’ll start with the Sound-A-Like project, where my group and I attempted to make an exact copy of the song Tighten Up by The Black Keys. Obviously, outside of an educational system, it would be highly unlikely, and fairly immoral, to produce an exact replica of someone else’s intellectual property. However, it is highly common for people to produce covers of copyrighted material. That is what this is, legally speaking. So, the question is, are we allowed to do this? The answer is yes, but with some conditions. Firstly, a common misconception is that permission is required in order to cover a previously recorded song. This is untrue, as anyone has the right to record or perform a cover, as long as credit, in its many forms, is paid to the owners of the copyright. That credit, in this case, would be owed to the owners of the intellectual property being used. This is generally, and certainly in the case of our project, the writers of the music and lyrics. These are two different types of IP that make up what is called the ‘bundle of rights’ relating to copyright in music. The music, or more specifically the melody in the music, fall under a composition license. It doesn’t include general structural points like chords and progressions. The lyrical content obviously falls under a lyrical license. For a long time, a third license has existed in the bundle, which are the rights to the sound recording itself. The owner of these rights is traditionally whoever paid for the recording costs of the track, usually the record label. In 2005, thanks to Australia entering a free–trade agreement with America, meaning our Copyright Act was amended to line up much more with the American copyright laws, a fourth license was added to the bundle, that of the performer on the sound recording. Because we recorded a cover, however, we have not breached any laws against the owners of the sound recording. So, in the real world, how would we pay credit to the owners of the music and lyrics of this IP, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney? Well, fortunately, Australia and New Zealand have agencies that handle the collection of royalties on behalf of composers, lyricists and music publishers here and abroad. For us to be able to sell our cover to the public, we would need to obtain an audio manufacture license from AMCOS.  The Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) grants licenses for artists to produce cover songs for use in a retail sale, sale at performances, submission of recordings to music publishers, record companies, artists, radio stations and booking agents, and for background music, at a performance, for instance. To calculate the fee for this license, we would need to consider our intended sale price, divide it by the number of songs on the album, in this case, one, and times it by 6.6%, which is the standard royalty rate. Then we would need to times that by the number of protected songs, again, one, and times that by the intended quantity of manufactured copies. Nowadays, due to the progression of digital material, non-physical downloads and streams are also considered to be mechanical under the law, and so, the same process would need to be followed for any online sales or streams. In terms of playing the song live, the Australasian Performing Right Association, or APRA, would need to be informed, as they are the agency that collects royalties for composers, lyricists and music publishers. This means that whenever our cover song is played or performed in public, APRA will collect royalties for the appropriate parties. There are many other things to consider in this case, like the fact that copyright owners are protected by what is called moral rights. These state that the owner has the right to be accredited, and that the copy or use of material does not defame or discredit them in any way. At the end of the day, if the copyright owners of Tighten Up were unhappy with our cover for some reason, they would be well within their rights to take legal action against us. 

   
  
   
  
    
  
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    http://apraamcos.com.au/news/2017/july/apra-amcos-leads-music-industry-toward-gender-parity-aims-to-double-new-female-members-within-three-years/

http://apraamcos.com.au/news/2017/july/apra-amcos-leads-music-industry-toward-gender-parity-aims-to-double-new-female-members-within-three-years/

Similarly to The Black Keys, Mackenzie Walker, who wrote and performed the song Focus that I remixed, is entitled to protection by the Copyright Act. In this case, the sound recording was used as well, which means the owners of those rights are entitled also. Permission needs to be granted from the owners of the sound recording, in this case the producers, and it is at their discretion to say how much or what they wish to be reimbursed for granting use. There is no set cost for use of sound recordings, and so, it is largely down to how much bargaining power each party has as to what the cost will be. Also, because the original material is being reworked and reimagined quite drastically, meaning it is not a straight-up cover, but a new work in its own right, permission needs to granted by the owner of the music and lyrics. In a lot of cases this will be a publishing company, perhaps even the record label again, but usually the writer. Even once permission has been granted, the first owner of a copyright is still protected by their moral rights, and depending on what sort agreements have officially been made, will retain creative control and ownership of the new work.

   
  
   
  
    
  
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    https://husaria-marketing.com/commercial-use-media-and-creative-commons-licenses/

https://husaria-marketing.com/commercial-use-media-and-creative-commons-licenses/

Obviously, there are some serious infringements in terms of the visual content in my jingle projects, but for now, I will just look at the laws surrounding audio. An organisation called Creative Commons is the one mainly concerned with the legal ramifications of the jingle work I have completed this trimester. Creative Commons was born in response to the ever expanding, or depleting, boundaries relating to IP use thanks to the Internet and digital formatting. CC has created copyright licenses, free to the public that allow content creators to determine which rights they reserve, and which rights they do not for the benefit of recipients or other creators. I have used a lot of CC protected material in my jingles, in the form of sound effects and Foley gathered from free audio sites like freesound.org. There are several different kinds of licences under the umbrella of Creative Commons, some ask that the original author be attributed in exchange for unlimited and unrestricted use, others are stricter, asking for that use is non-commercial, or that the work created using the protected material is then shared on under the same conditions. I used such a large array of samples that it would be pointless to list all the licenses I have entered into for my jingles, but I can say the majority were Attribution Licences, that state I can use the audio without any restrictions or conditions, other than contributing credit to the original creator. This credit applies to all Creative Commons licences. In the jingle I created for the John Lewis advert (more in the following blog), I composed an orchestral, instrumental version of the song Forever Now by Cold Chisel. In the real world, this would need to be handled in much the same way as the cover I have mentioned above, although, because it is being used for advertisement this time, the royalties may be much higher, and usually covered by the company commissioning the creation the work. 

I have found researching copyright incredibly interesting and important, and have only just brushed the tip of the iceberg. I have a lot more to learn and I will continue to study the many complex and intricate parts of this machine. The only problem is, it seems the laws and conditions change just as fast as I learn them, but that’s the industry we’re in I suppose. 

AUD 210 Week 10: Jingles Project Timeline

This is my timeline for the AUD210 jingles assessment. This is a very rough outline as it is difficult at this stage to be able to map out my time exactly due to the large amount of work due in before the end of the trimester, my sporadic work schedule, and the fact that this is partially a group assignment, which makes setting dates far in advance very difficult. 

My group and I have already spent time together discussing numerous options for the trailer portion of the assessment. We have done this both in class, and via email, phone, and our Trello page (link below). After much discussion, we have decided to redesign the sound for the trailer to Darren Aronofsky’s 1998 psychological thriller, Pi. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo18VIoR2xU

We have so far organised to meet at Anthony’s house in Niddre at 1 pm on Monday, December 4th to start on composition and recording of the music for the trailer, along with, time permitting, sound effects and some dialogue. We have chosen to do this at Anthony’s because he has a large amount of synthesiser equipment; necessary to create the type of soundscape we are aiming for. Once we have a first session done, we will be in a better position to plan further ahead. Any work still to be completed after Monday will be discussed and divided between us for completion before the end of the week. We are confident we will be able to get the large majority of our trailer complete during our first session, with the right amount if planning, of course. I will likely use my acting and voiceover experience as my main contribution to the group work, along with my knowledge of music theory and performance. As the trailer has a running time of 1:36, I will be completing two advertisement jingles outside of the group to make up the four required minutes. The first advert I will be recreating sound for is the 2017 John Lewis Christmas ad, entitled Moz The Monster.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1Y-zhQURU&t=6s