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The fat lady has sung...
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Unhappy The fat lady has sung...

Well, in the last 2 months I've lost every major client I have. Some because of financial issues, some because of political B.S. (documented in another thread ), some with no explanation given. All of the TV gigs are gone here, too, so I'm officially out of business. I have tried other cities, organizations, Universities, ensembles, but the reality is that I would have to replace the person that's already there and we all know how impossible that is. I have been trying to move for almost 2 years to no avail.

My wife lost her job 8 months ago and is only working part-time. We have no health insurance and can't afford it. Even if I tried to liquidate my gear right now it would never fetch what it's worth because of the economy. I am completely discouraged and don't know how I'm going to survive. I envy those of you that are still going. This town is a wasteland, culturally speaking, and I would love to get out. If any of you hear of anything, please pass it along, but I think my days as an engineer may be over. It's hard enough to change career paths in a good economy, but now...

My thanks to all of you that have supported and encouraged me over the last few years. I have appreciated the helpful comments and critiques. I hope this is not my last post on this forum, but things look bleak at the moment. Thanks for letting me tell my sad tale and I wish you all the best.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Man, that's a sad tale. But in life you can never predict what's round the corner - or what would have been round the corner. Eg you might have kept a great client, been on the way to a gig for them or whatever, and been involved in a serious accident. You lose the client and so you don't have that big accident. My point being, that when things seem bad, you are (naturally enough) comparing how things are with how you assumed they might have been - and you can't know that.

My advice is to try to find any way of making money for a while (legally!) so that you don't start grinding to a standstill inside, getting depressed and unemployable, etc. Keep the gear. Things may pick up on the recording front in a year or two and suddenly the gear may come out of storage. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool recording person, you'd probably sell your granny before your gear anyway!

Good luck - and be open to laterally thought opportunities.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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maestro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
1 door closes, another 1 opens.

i wish you the best.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro ➑️
1 door closes, another 1 opens.

i wish you the best.
Every door I've tried has closed. I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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maestro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
what type of work did you do?
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro ➑️
what type of work did you do?
Location recording (classical, jazz, big band, celtic), TV audio for large and small productions, custom install and repair work for churches, studios, etc., and some FOH for concerts and events.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
maestro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
That's a great skill base. Surely the work will pick up again in a few months? Isn't this time of the year normally quieter?

Are you able to update your website to look a little more modern?
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
If it makes you feel any better it is a hard year for many of us. Budgets are smaller, more people doing recordings for free, groups are buying their own recording equipment, more people deciding to not get things recorded, people wanting more and more services for the same or less money.

The economy where I live was really really bad before the recession and the average household income was $30,000. Now with a lot of the manufacturing plants closing down and their suppliers closing down I am not sure what will happen. There is a large mall just a couple of miles from us that will be closing down since all of their tenants are moving out. The county were I live is the poorest in the state and the two cities closest to me have been on the poorest cities in America list for a long long time.

Things hopefully will get better. I am impressed with the incoming administration and they have hit the ground running.

In the immortal words of Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, "when God closes a door he opens a window" only in your case it maybe in a different state.

Best of luck!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Lightbulb Don't give up!

Believe me, man ... I feel your pain.

Several years ago, I had to work a day gig. I had to stop playing live, buckle down and do tech support. It wasn't the best gig in the world, but it kept a roof over our heads. I was fortunate enough to be able to make a living in the music industry for so long, I thought that I couldn't do anything else.

You have skills that you could tap which the commercial industry would find very valuable. You have untapped potential. Sure, it could mean wearing a suit & tie to work, but you could still keep your business on the back burner for a while, save your gear, and still pay the bills.

Now is the time to take a look at what you have to offer. You have immense knowledge which "normal" people find almost cryptic. Your A/V knowledge alone would put most techs to shame. Chances are that you have pretty good working knowledge of PC's and networking. And, since you're a musician, there's always teaching.

Don't give up. It looks bad now, but remember ... you can handle anything that life throws at you and come up winning. I know that the last thing you want to hear is a pep talk. You want results yesterday. I know exactly how you feel. Believe it or not, since you have installation experience, that already places you in a very needed field ... satellite TV installation as an independent contractor. They make decent money ... about 40k a year, if you have your own truck and tools.

You could also set up your own business, troubleshooting A/V installations in people's homes. PC networking, upgrades & repair. Keep in mind that although the economy is a mess, people still have money, and they still want to spend it. You just have to do some unconventional things to steer more of it your way.

You can do it! You can take the hit right now, get some different clients, and parlay your skills into a different field. You can make some decent cash, still work for yourself, and keep things afloat till you can come back stronger than ever. I have faith that things will turn around. That's the most important part. You have to have faith, and never give up.

You are in my prayers man. I'm looking forward to hearing of your tale of triumph to blank out this speed bump. That's all it really is, in the big picture of things.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #10
Lives for gear
 
d_fu's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Oh boy... Sorry to hear this. Your website always suggested a solid business with a good customer base and nothing much to worry about. I know it's hard to lose customers, I've had a few leave after a few jobs with no real explanation. In other cases, you see choir members with two cheap chinese mics "take over" the next time after you've delivered a good recording with choice gear...

I've never had to financially rely on recording entirely, nor would I have been able to. I had a CD import/distribution going for a few years to pay the rent, but now I'm actually happy to have a regular paid job, with the recordings adding a bit of income here and there.

I'd suggest you try to find some sort of job to keep going, whatever it is, hang on to your gear, and try to get back your old customer base or find new ones... Or is finding a job very difficult where you are? Guess gsblues said it much better, I can only add a "what he said"...

Being a fierce atheist (or "non-believer", as Obama said...), I'm afraid I can't help you with prayers, but I still wish you all the best and that you may find some decent financial base, even if it's below your qualifications, just to pay what needs to be paid every day, until better times come round again.

Daniel
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Michael,
If you own publishing rights of material you recorded try to save the legacy by selling it online. We are looking into setting up a label with GSs and though it is technically very possible to sell online high quality recordings we have to practise patience for many GS are not too much involved in selling music.

Secondly, as Daniel said (D-Fu.) Try to hang in by doing another job so you do not need to sell your kit.

Third; (shoot me if I insult you) your recording seems to be better then the performances you are recording. Why not aim higher?

Whatever happens, you are not going to loose your craftmanship.

Classical music in general is in peril.
However it will survive, try to stay operational as a mobile studio and know that maybe that very great singers and orchestras are having setbacks too.
There are opportunities there. Travel more in exchange for expenses and publishing rights (shared ownership).
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
In regards to banking and economy.
I think it is completely ridiculous to let a company file for bankrupcy due to bad weather. The bank will gain more if the bank will keep capable people and organizations afloat. Yes they will have to practise patience. But in the longer run that will bring the extra dough too. Talk to your bank and work out some kind of agreement that will buy you more time. In general I think this is what banks should do worldwide in order NOT to destroy built up capital.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hanuman ➑️
Michael,
If you own publishing rights of material you recorded try to save the legacy by selling it online. We are looking into setting up a label with GSs and though it is technically very possible to sell online high quality recordings we have to practise patience for many GS are not too much involved in selling music.

Secondly, as Daniel said (D-Fu.) Try to hang in by doing another job so you do not need to sell your kit.

Third; (shoot me if I insult you) your recording seems to be better then the performances you are recording. Why not aim higher?

Whatever happens, you are not going to loose your craftmanship.

Classical music in general is in peril.
However it will survive, try to stay operational as a mobile studio and know that maybe that very great singers and orchestras are having setbacks too.
There are opportunities there. Travel more in exchange for expenses and publishing rights (shared ownership).
I'm not sure about any rights, as the music was obtained by the ensembles. You are correct about the musicianship of some of my clients, especially the orchestra. I would love to record for a better group in a different city, but how do you go about replacing the engineer they already have? They almost have to die before that happens.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenor39 ➑️
...They almost have to die before that happens.
Eh.... not always. But you do need to demonstrate you can offer a big improvement over what someone's getting now.

I came up with a little cryptic motto: "It's a dog eat dog world. You just gotta learn to like the taste of dog."
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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heyman's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Mike, what about going to work for another remote Audio company or studio until you can recover and get your business back up?
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Windshore's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
LA has been hit super hard too. Among other things I also did work with a couple of the cruise lines down in your area- FL. I went from about $80k in business 2 years ago - just from one Cruise Line to $0 last year. I won't mention the line, but they went from creating or re-packaging an average of 6 shows a year to nothing last year. They laid off a lot of people and have a moratorium on new work.

The only thing that has worked for me is to admit that a large part of my skill set is useless at the moment for making money. By admitting that it's gone, I've quickly turned around to "gorilla-mode." It's like admitting that the world has come to an end and you are the last survivor.... now what?

I've been blessed because being in gorilla-mode has kept me looking forward. I'm surviving and even though it's at a different level than before, it's OK. I've hobbled together enough to get by- for now.

I hope you will really let go as much as you can and take some of the suggestions here. You have an impressive skill set and though a lot of entertainment companies are cutting back, at the same time manufacturers and some sectors are taking advantage of tough times to stockpile good talent like yourself. You need to get on the phone every day and reach out to everyone you know, and every company whose product you've used etc.

In times like these, it really is OK to "only" survive. It's a worthy endeavor and no one will think less of you because you reach out to them in these times....

be persistent.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
KFMG's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Stick in there brother, God is good and is always on time.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Yes, This is a sad reality. I was downsized from NPR in thier round of cuts last month. I just learned that the famous JR Dodge poetry festival in New Jersey will be cancelled next year. It is painfully obvious, no matter what the news, politicians and punits tell us, that this economy will affect us all.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyman ➑️
Mike, what about going to work for another remote Audio company or studio until you can recover and get your business back up?
Been trying that route and have found nothing. I would LOVE to go to Nashville or Atlanta, but both of their symphonies have guys involved (I think Sound Mirror does Nashville) and that's not likely to change.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
Windshore's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
... another thing to consider is that in general, community colleges seem to be doing pretty well.... enrollments are up as everyone tries to re-tool for a new job environment. You don't necessarily need huge academic credentials if you have specialized skills to teach a continuing education class....
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
heyman's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
What about working for a local Radio Station or News station that needs an Audio/video guy?
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I feel your pain... I've been hit really hard here in LA. My largest client went under this fall with them still owing me a big chunk of change for work that I had done. Many of my other clients have cut back their recording schedules. I'm still afloat, but it is really rough. I'm going back to taking more "staff" work at various venues doing PA work just to make sure bills are paid.

Good luck with everything.

--Ben
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
krs
Lives for gear
 
krs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Why worry about old clients when you can develop new ones?

I would hit up EVERY school with a music program in FL (there are lots). Flyers, go to concerts, meet the teachers etc

Find an angle with your marketing (this includes your web presence) that offers something unique that they can't get from their buddies with a 002. Honestly people don't care if you use Forsell and DPA. You have to sell this stuff as part of vision 'the idea' of what they get from you when they hire you.

Be easy to work with. To quote DP, 'give them the best haircut they ever had'. Word will spread.

Good luck -
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
NorseHorse's Avatar
Flexibility

Hey Mike,

Sorry to hear about this. I have the opposite advice of Hanuman:

Don't forget about the smaller market. Auditions. Recitals. Community concerts. Community colleges.

It's nice to have clients that give you big bucks every show, but working consistently is even better.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Guru
 
charles maynes's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tenor39 ➑️
Been trying that route and have found nothing. I would LOVE to go to Nashville or Atlanta, but both of their symphonies have guys involved (I think Sound Mirror does Nashville) and that's not likely to change.
Have you considered working for a ProAudio dealer?.... Anybody who has real experience (and good people skills) has a leg up there over newcomers.

Otherwise, offer to do jobs on spec for places you might wish to work for- the best way to prove yourself to people sometimes is for them to directly see you in action- If it costs them nothing, it might 1. give an indication of how motivated you are, which is never a bad thing, and 2. Show that you can deliver a better end product. If you own your tools, you have some serious assets, and it is better to exercise your skills than not.

A lot of videographers are doing that for schools, for the return of being able to exclusively sell the concerts and performance to the members and families of the performing groups- high school show choirs can generate a lot of this sort of income- check some of them out on YouTube... it is a pretty big deal. On average most of the concert DVD sell for $15 to $30 dollars a DVD, and there is a pretty solid demand for it. Hooking up with someone doing that might be a possible revenue stream as well....


good luck....
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
krs
Lives for gear
 
krs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorseHorse ➑️
Hey Mike,

Sorry to hear about this. I have the opposite advice of Hanuman:

Don't forget about the smaller market. Auditions. Recitals. Community concerts. Community colleges.

It's nice to have clients that give you big bucks every show, but working consistently is even better.
exactly what I was thinking
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
videoteque's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Don't worry, for better or worse things change. If you are in a low now, you can only go up!

As most everyone else is saying, I would recomend a "day job" to pay the bills and food. You shouldn't need to work 12 hours a day with your skills to compliment your wife's wage. Then try to change your life in your free time!!!
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Jim vanBergen's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Mike, I'm sorry to hear this.

To share in your pain-

I sold my remote truck after the effects of 9/11 destroyed my client base. If we had held on for two years, it probably would have grown back. In the meantime, I am still recording & mixing, but not the same stufff.

I am about to start liquidating my audio gear. I sold off vintage mics already, but there is a LOT more to go. Sad, huh?

I guess I am not a strong enough businessman to hold on in the wake of despair, instead I try to keep things moving, and cash flow sucks. The studio is ready for major renovation, I think it's going to become VERY small.
No one's paying for studio space, so I might as well mix projects elsewhere in nicer surroundings. Im going to keep a few dozen mics, enough for a rock band & medium orchestra ...obviously my Schoeps...some preamps...not a whole lot else.

What are your plans? Do you have to liquidate, move to another locale, or ???

Good luck, brother,
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes ➑️
Have you considered working for a ProAudio dealer?.... Anybody who has real experience (and good people skills) has a leg up there over newcomers.



A lot of videographers are doing that for schools, for the return of being able to exclusively sell the concerts and performance to the members and families of the performing groups- high school show choirs can generate a lot of this sort of income- check some of them out on YouTube... it is a pretty big deal. On average most of the concert DVD sell for $15 to $30 dollars a DVD, and there is a pretty solid demand for it. Hooking up with someone doing that might be a possible revenue stream as well....


good luck....
We provide HD video taping of local not for profit concerts at a very reasonable rate. The problem is that there are too many people today who have video cameras and fancy themselves videographers. We do a very good job with the video production and the on location audio and all of our clients are pleased with our work.

We keep running into a local "grandfather" who wants to do the videos for FREE and it is hard for us to compete with "FREE" UNTIL you see and hear his work. He is coming to this from working in TV in a local utility's video studio and his "experience" is with U-matics and large studio cameras. He currently has a ZOOM field recorder for the audio and a small HD camera which he hand holds (talk about seasickness) He has approached all of our clients with the same offer and so far they have all said NO!

He tried to get himself included on a tour with one of the groups we do when they toured Australia and his asking price was he that he would do all the video in exchange for having his transportation, his meals and lodging paid for by the group. Talk about an expense paid vacation...They said NO! and he got upset.

He comes to all the concerts and tries to talk to the conductors and in a couple of instance he has taped the concert and tried to use the tape to get more work. I wish he would just retire and leave the work to the pros.

We also use to do a group here that eventually went with someone else. He undercut our prices by $25.00 but did a terrible job and went out of business soon afterward taking all the video and audio footage with him so they have to record of the concert. We got the job back and we supply them with all the backup they need.

It is literally not a very nice place out there in the remote recording land.

Best of luck to all who are having problems
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
tenor39's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by videoteque ➑️
Don't worry, for better or worse things change. If you are in a low now, you can only go up!

As most everyone else is saying, I would recomend a "day job" to pay the bills and food. You shouldn't need to work 12 hours a day with your skills to compliment your wife's wage. Then try to change your life in your free time!!!
That's the problem out there, folks. There are no "day jobs" to be had. My wife went to a job fair today in Orlando and she couldn't even get near the place because there were already 10,000(!)people in line around the building! Skills don't matter. There just isn't any work, at least not where I'm at. Unemployment is running above 10% here.
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