This post will be a general wrap-up of the past 13 weeks, and also a brief reflection on the recording to tape session I attended last Thursday. As I attended the last of the recording sessions, we sadly didn’t get to actually record anything to tape, as this portion of the session was already complete, but I still had a great time and learnt a lot. Since it wasn’t quite enough to fill my 1000 word target though, I thought I’d also reflect on the period overall, as it was definitely a biggin’.
The best thing about Thursday for me was getting to see Soundpark Studios ("Soundpark Studios", n.d.). It is an incredible studio and has great spirit, character and energy. It was amazing to get my hands on some rare vintage microphones too, like the old Neumann’s and RCA’s they have, and although we didn’t necessarily get to use many of them during my time slot, just being around them was a buzz ("Neumann Berlin", n.d.). The other thing I appreciated was getting to watch Dave Turner work. He is a practitioner I greatly admire and it was awesome to get the opportunity to be a fly on the wall. I took in everything he did, from physical gear choices to artist communication. It was really valuable and I’m thankful for the opportunity. I was there until the very end, and the results Dave got before bouncing the tracks was unbelievable. Considering I watched him mix each track for only a couple of minutes each, the end result was fantastic. Even though I wasn’t there during the initial tracking to tape, Dave filled us in on how he managed the task, having the players perform without headphones or a click with all the amps in the room, just baffled and at low volume. It felt great to be in the room while such great product was being made. Dave was working with an artist called Red Spencer, who produces this really cool, laid-back, 60’s style rock music ("Redspencer", n.d.). It’s very summery, cool, and easy to listen to. I thought the songwriting and performances where sensational and really enjoyed watching the band work. It was nice to make some new contacts too, as I’d love to be able to collaborate further in the future in some aspect. For me personally, it has been a while since I’ve been in a real studio, with real artists, making real art. My job playing music corporately and on television means I sometimes loose track of why I wanted to do any of this in the first place, and being back in that environment, however briefly, really sparked my inner flame again. I’m really glad I went.
There’s so much to reflect on from the last 13 weeks. This, by far, has been the most work, learning and growing I have done during my time at SAE. I went above and beyond my own expectations and delivered work I’m really proud of. However, I don’t believe I necessarily got it done in the safest or most productive way. The level of stress I was under at certain times was down-right dangerous and I made myself pretty sick. I was extremely successful in most of the soft skills we are asked to look at; my time management, team work, flexibility, ability to learn from criticism, communication, problem solving and work ethic were all exemplary, and I feel I managed to become even more competent in these by the end. I do feel, however, that the other transferable skills suffered a bit of a set back ("Transferable Skills, 2018). My ability to maintain a positive attitude, self confidence and to work well under pressure all met their match with the work load this time. Particularly during the last few weeks, when I was working on my first freelance post-production project and finishing off all of my other projects, the level of stress I was under affected my ability to be masterful in these skills quite a bit ("What is Post Production?", 2012). In reflection, I see now that it was a sort of domino effect. I got busy, which meant my routine was out of phase, which meant I stopped eating and sleeping properly, which meant my ability to handle the busy-ness was lessened, which piled on the stress. At times I was extremely negative about myself and my work, and wanted to give up. During these moments my self confidence was at nil, and that meant the quality of my work suffered greatly. After submission, I revised all of the projects I completed, and all needed more work. I was able to instantly see and hear where things needed attention after a week or two away from it, and that was a great lesson in its self. I believe that had I handled the stress and not become overwhelmed, I would not have needed to fix most of the issues I missed the first time.
It will take a fair bit more reflection time for me to really figure out how everything went down for me, but there are some things that are clear right now. I think a lot of my problems stem from the fact that I don’t like having things looming over me. This means I want to get everything completed as soon as I can so its not just sitting there starring at me. This can be a great asset in terms of time management when there’s one or two things to get done, but when you have several major projects on the go, the ability to leave some things for later is crucial, because trying to do them all simultaneously will mean they all suffer in quality. Ironically, learning to not do things may be the thing that helps me get things done. I need to learn to breath and plan and execute slowly and precisely, rather than just holding my breathe and blindly jumping head first into everything, and then chastising myself when I’m unable to complete things perfectly. I am my own worst enemy, and although I can be sure the work and effort I put in this period was an incredible feat, I am also fully aware that I could learn to handle such scope in a more kind, safe and healthy manor. Especially considering what is coming up next.
Neumann Berlin. Retrieved from https://en-de.neumann.com
Redspencer. Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/redspencer
Soundpark Studios. Retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/soundparkstudios/
Transferable Skills. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.skillsyouneed.com/general/transferable-skills.html
What is Post Production?. (2012). Retrieved from https://www.rocketjump.com/channels/post-production-what-is-it