AUS220 Week 13: Critical Reflection
I can scarcely believe it. After 13 weeks of unbelievable effort, I am here at the finishing line, completely empty, used up, dried out, and bloody proud as punch. I have pushed myself to the absolute limit this trimester. I have poured my blood, sweat and tears into every detail. I could not have possibly given more of myself. I have improved parts of myself that I felt needed lifting, and I was consistent with the parts I felt were already strong. It wasn't easy, and certainly wasn't pretty. I lost sleep, diet, health and hygiene, but I did it all for the sake of being proud right now writing this final reflection, and I am. This is not to say that mistakes weren't made, or lessons learnt. As I said, it was not a neat or pretty process. This trimester was a scrap, a hustle, a blue, and (for you Teebo) a case of smoke and mirrors, but I include these moments as part of the success of the whole. There wasn't one mistake I made that I didn't learn from. There wasn't one process I didn't evaluate in real time and in hindsight to try to find the holes or weak spots. my confidence in my ability now is due as much to the negative moments of the trimester than to the amazingly positive ones. I am a better practitioner now than I was thirteen weeks ago without doubt, and I couldn't hope for more then that. The fact that I have some incredible products to show for it is just the icing on the cake. Let's have a look at how that all went down.
Firstly, we had our post production intensive with Tristan. This was our introduction to each other as a group, and the first time some of us had worked together at all. I learnt so much during this intensive. It was really my first exposure to the process of post production so everything was an opportunity to learn. Physically, we learnt to use the D-command console, the stunning Sennheiser MKH 416 P48 microphone (a new personal favourite), and the foley studio. Theoretically we learnt so much about the job in a real world context, the industry, and the process from first receiving the film, to sending the final mix back to the producer. I wouldn't change much about my approach during this time. I was fresh, keen, and I executed exactly how I would have liked. I found a nice balance between team work and being authoritative, something I struggle with a lot. I'm proud of the finished product and the manner in which it came about. We set the bar high for the following groups, and I have since worked closely with Tristan on other projects and feel that he has confidence in my ability. So impactful was this intensive that I actually am planning to change my degree to a post production one. This was a success in every way and I wouldn't change a thing should I do it all again.
Yes, this video was shown to my peers at SAE and is up on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and several other video sharing platforms. It has been viewed, commented on, and shared numerous times by members of the Australian film and television indusrty and continues to be so. Also, this work has been included in this blog and shared publicly.
Now, this was a tricky one. What a whirl wind process. This one I was a little less confident with. I feel like our planning was exquisite, but once again I lost the battle between control and letting go. There were certain jobs I stayed away from during this, thinking that I would let other people shine and take charge, and sadly it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. I realise that this is university and a chance for everyone to grow and make mistakes, but if we are expected to involve outside artists and audience members, then it takes the whole 'safe space' aspect out of it. Tim did a great job showing us the ropes. I felt confident with everything right up until go time. I let go of the reigns and certain things fell apart. Now, that's not to say that other people weren't able or willing, but I think the approach I took was problematic. What I mean is, I tried a tactic this time of kind of half taking charge and half not, and I think what happened was that because I had created the atmosphere of me being up the front, that when I stepped back there was a vacuum created and no-one really knew how to or who should fill it. I was trying to be fair to everyone but in the end I think I went about it in an unhelpful way. This was a huge learning curve and I really took it onboard. I still don't know what the perfect balanced recipe is for me and group work, but at least if I learn every time it goes slightly poorly, I'm getting closer and closer to finding it. I am still very proud of the event we put on, and many people were blown away by what we achieved. It was a steep learning experience, but I am all the better for it.
Yes, we attracted the largest audience of all the groups, and the vast majority of our audience were from outside of SAE. There were many audience members who are expert practitioners in the Melbourne music scene and many attendees filmed and photographed the show and posted about it online. Also, the recording and filming that we did will all be available to view online shortly.
ADVANCED STUDIO PRODUCTION
This was a tough one too. Not only because it came at the end of a very tiring trimester and an extremely busy time, but I also think there were some fundemental issues with the intensive itself. I will say that I am proud of what we achieved under the circumstances. We were all very tired and run down, stressed and pushed for time during this project, but some of the issues I feel we faced were out of our control though. For starters, we had the biggest group of all the class, with 9 members during this time. This meant that with Wilko included, there was ten of us squeezed into a room built for three or four. This was hard enough, even before including the broken air conditioner and extreme heat being thrown off the console and outboard gear. It was a pretty bad environment to be stuck in all day, and made concentrating, or even being able to see what was going on nearly impossible. Although I learnt to use the Neve console fairly competently, I do feel that the 'do it yourself' nature of these intensives was slightly out of place in this project. This is because we had to spend such a long time researching things for ourself when we were already under extreme time constraints, but also because I only really feel I did things I already knew how to do. I did learn a lot from Wilko, but I feel the intensive itself is a bit unrealistic. Perhaps my outlook is blurred by the particularly difficult circumstances of my experience, but I felt it was necessary to discuss. I did find that I learnt a lot about my approach to group work during this intensive too, but I was so stressed and rushed throughout that I wouldn't say that said lessons were all constructive.
Yes, we played the track for our AUS220 class, many of whom have since given me direct feedback and comments on the piece, also the track has been uploaded to Soundcloud and is being shared and streamed as I type. I have several expert practitioners following me on Soundcloud and Facebook and so this will inevitable be expert reviewed.
This one I can gladly hang my hat on. This entire experience was positive and I am extremely proud of the finished product. My team and I executed this project with precision and care and I think it shows. We did an incredible amount of research and poured many hours into the preplanning and execution. We shared the load fairly evenly which made the process very smooth and seamless. I am very happy with the script I wrote and feel that the selection of archive material we collected is perfect, authentic and cemented all the elements together perfectly. I really can't critique my approach and process on this too much at all. We started early, made decisions quickly and I'm really glad with what we have come up with. This was a hugely advantageous effort, and it would not have been hard to fail, but we took the challenge on head first and smashed it out off the park as far as I'm concerned.
Yes, it has been uploaded to Soundcloud and shared on Facebook, Instagram and other online sharing platforms. I will also be uploading it to Youtube and emailing to certain expert members of the Melbourne music community. Also, hopefully it will be accepted by Music Victoria and considered for the NGV Melbourne Music Expo.
I have done a ton of freelance work this trimester. In terms of music production, I have been working mainly with two artists. Firstly, I'm recording a 6-track EP for a progressive hard rock band called Seratonin. They are a three-piece act from Melbourne and I am both producing and engineering this project. We started with a listening party at my flat, were I critically listened to their demos and helped them compile which tracks to select for the EP. Then, I created quantised midi versions of all of the tracks so they could record along to them (they are not experienced with playing to a click), and also to make sure I was totally prepped structure wise. We have so far tracked all the drums for all the tracks and have booked in studio time to lay down the bass.
The second artist is a young singer songwriter called Sienna Rose, who I am actually managing too. We are in the process of recording her first demo, a track called My Lady, so I, as her manager, have a proper product to shop her around with. We have so completed several guitar tracking sessions and are now ready for vocal tracking.
I have also of course been playing live and running my own sound at least twice a week for my job. This may sound like a cheap shot, but it really is a great chance for me to action my lessons in a real world environment.
Finally, this is a documentary that I did sound design and scoring for. It is a short film about a singer/songwriter called Scott Darlow. Scott is a light skinned, blonde haired Aboriginal man, and the film looks at his music and his experiences as a light skin indigenous man in Australia. I did all the post production sound design, including cleaning up the audio, structuring the parts, and also adding atmosphere and SFX, then music composition and addition, and finally mixing and handing over the final piece in time for the film's deadline. I have just today been given the green light from the film makers who are very happy with the result, my professionalism, and are happy to hire me again in the future.
This is never a fun or attractive part of the trimester, but here is where I have to consider what grade I think I have earned with my work and processes. I have thought long and hard about this and I believe I have earned a HD. This is based firstly on the fact that I have received these in the past and feel that this time I went even further above and beyond than ever before. I have not had a perfect run, but I learnt from my mistakes, remedied wrongs, and monitored my progress the whole time. I have had exceptional time management, professionalism and attitude throughout. My work has received independent, expert peer recognition for its quality. I feel it has all been completed to an exceptional quality, and I was able to complete several other projects on top of the curriculum at the same time. I have used my own skill set to enhance the learning experience of my fellow students, and supported them in them extensively. I have constantly maintained an online presence with my website and social networking sites. I have certainly been self directing with my work and have taken high pride in my blogging and reflective reporting. All of my work has shown a high level of quality and has been viewed and reviewed by external sources. I can't imagine how I could possibly have done or given more, so if I am not worthy of an HD, I will have to gracefully accept that that is truly the best I could do.
Thank you to Tim 'Teebo' Dalton for his guidance and support throughout the Trimester. His honour and attention to us has been very helpful and he has always created a fun, relaxed and professional environment for us to learn and grow in. Cheers mate!