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Entering the industry
Old 28th February 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Entering the industry

Hello, I'm new to this forum as a member (but not as a peruser)
so please excuse any otherwise unneccessary expository information in this post. I'd like to pick your brains about entry into the remote recording industry most notably whether or not I should seek apprenticeship under an experienced recordist or must I get started on my own? I understand that the answer is not either/or, but I guess I'm really asking about the state of the industry and how other members of this forum found their start.

I'll offer you a little background for myself:

I live in Brooklyn, NY (so there is certainly not a lack of recordists or artists)

I attend college as a Math major though I studied music (Cello, Guitar, Bass, Percussion) seriously up until college and intended to study recording, but this was 2009 and finances made me consider a more "practical" path.

Aside from my musical background, I work in theater and live events as an electrician, carpenter, and sound engineer so I've had a good amount experience in load-in/load-out, rigging, operating consoles, etc. with pro equipment for real wages (around 10 years)

Any more and this would be a resume so I'll leave it at that unless I'm asked for anymore.
Thank you for reading this and for being apart of this forum which is inspiring for someone looking to join this community of professionals.
- Andrew
Old 28th February 2014
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
While the "industry" is greatly diminished now, the answer is always look to be an apprentice to an experienced location recording person.

The reason is that you will be able to observe where they set up the mics and what kind of mics are used. Ask them why they choose those mics.

You will see how to behave at new halls and will observe the rule to mostly watch. At first, never talk to the client.

You can observe how the mix is done and the variety of recorders and formats used to make the recording. You can be the tape op.

This apprenticeship should cut off 10 years of flopping around on your own.

The main thing to learn is how to place the mic, what type of mic, how to pan, how to create a mix on the spot and how to use psychological common sense to calm and quiet the client.

You may be surrounded by so-called artists in Brooklyn, but I assure you that you are not surrounded by qualified recordists. Be the one who learns and listens from someone real. Offer benefit to that person.

Choose the genre of music you want to work in and listen to 3000 hours of recordings of that type of music. If you don't do that, you cannot know how THAT kind of recorded music should be sounding on the recording.
Old 1st March 2014
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Thank you for responding.
Your answer is what I was hoping to hear as it is what my intuition would lead me to believe.
I was just unsure as the trend seems to be university programs that (at least in my time researching
and based on the experiences of my friends who are in or have finished such programs) are basically
training technicians who know some engineering rather than engineers who are also technicians.
Not that this is true of all programs, just many I have encountered.
Old 1st March 2014
  #4
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I always suggest going to college and studying in a well rounded liberal arts program.
You will be happy that you have a degree to present to potential employers.

I'm not a big fan of the recording programs at most colleges.

McGill University in Montreal, Indiana University, Univ. of Surrey in the UK. These are great programs. Most of the other ones give ok training but you would still start out in recording as an apprentice after these college programs. (as I describe in my first post).

There are lots of places that one can work being involved in audio. The most hot one now is sports programming on tv. The problem comes when the person wants to be in audio recording music. These jobs are disappearing and I don't bet that they are coming back.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #5
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NorseHorse's Avatar
The key to entering the industry is pursuing all possible avenues. These include studying, listening, shadowing, assisting, experimenting, recording, listening -- none of which are as easy as they sound. You will find many experienced engineers are afraid to share anything about recording. Seek all paths, but be prepared to blaze your own.

I record remote full-time.
Old 1st March 2014 | Show parent
  #6
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boojum's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➑️
I always suggest going to college and studying in a well rounded liberal arts program.
You will be happy that you have a degree to present to potential employers.

I'm not a big fan of the recording programs at most colleges.

McGill University in Montreal, Indiana University, Univ. of Surrey in the UK. These are great programs. Most of the other ones give ok training but you would still start out in recording as an apprentice after these college programs. (as I describe in my first post).

There are lots of places that one can work being involved in audio. The most hot one now is sports programming on tv. The problem comes when the person wants to be in audio recording music. These jobs are disappearing and I don't bet that they are coming back.
All of the above is great advice. McGill is a very good school and inexpensive. I believe that the annual tuition is now between 3 and 4 thousand dollars a year. This is for an education in a world-class University in a vibrant city. You will come away very well credentialed and very well educated. In grad school they treat you like a rented mule. You are expected to work and to work very hard. I cannot speak to IU or Surrey but I am sure they, too, are very good. Take the extra time for the education if you can.

NB I believe that we have at least one McGill tonmeister grad on the board.

Last edited by boojum; 2nd March 2014 at 02:45 AM.. Reason: later thought
Old 2nd March 2014
  #7
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
My advice love what you are doing, learn from others and keep on plugging. (and of course keep reading GS)
Old 2nd March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
YES--reading GS slavishly is the most important part of your edu-tainment, er, education.
Old 2nd March 2014
  #9
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
....work as a tape operator!?

is there still such a thing?

different formats?....did i miss anything?

sounds like you're in the business already for ten years......because that's where it's at....

this business has changed so much, it's hard to find the left overs....

big bucks are pretty much only left in the live event sector....

and yeah....first you got to do everthing....be everything...recording artist on your own....produce others....helping others to produce others....

and then comes the heavy part....you need to specialize yourself....find some corner where you can become one of the best available....
no matter how small that corner is....the more exclusive, the better....

if you got a long breath, real passion and some serious and obvious skills, you still can make a living from it....

stayin in school won't get you there....only working at the frontend leads you to that point...
and to be a gear slut is a must, of course....
Old 2nd March 2014 | Show parent
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by reeloy ➑️
....work as a tape operator!?

is there still such a thing?

different formats?....did i miss anything?

sounds like you're in the business already for ten years......because that's where it's at....

this business has changed so much, it's hard to find the left overs....

big bucks are pretty much only left in the live event sector....

and yeah....first you got to do everthing....be everything...recording artist on your own....produce others....helping others to produce others....

and then comes the heavy part....you need to specialize yourself....find some corner where you can become one of the best available....
no matter how small that corner is....the more exclusive, the better....

if you got a long breath, real passion and some serious and obvious skills, you still can make a living from it....

stayin in school won't get you there....only working at the frontend leads you to that point...
and to be a gear slut is a must, of course....

First things first--of course there is still such a job as a tape op. That is the person who presses "RECORD."

There are many different formats to record on to. What are you talking about? Some are 2" 16 trk, 1/2" 2 track, computer, HD24, dsd recorders, Canadian multi-track digital recorders, Nagras, etc.

When you mention that staying in school won't get you there, you're probably right about audio engineering.

However, if you don't study and get an advanced degree (college) you aren't going anywhere in the 21st. century. Become fully aware of the world around you and about all the types of people you'll be thrown in with when you pursue a college degree.

If you're going to aspire to be a mechanic or an oil field red neck, just attend a trade school. This can be a very valuable education.

For aiming higher, it is in fact an advanced education and technical knowledge that is required.

Have something to fall back on if audio recording does not pan out for you. (or if you can't stand some of the idiots and pretenders who are "in the business.")
Old 2nd March 2014
  #11
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
...you're right....by now even in the creative free lancer mekkas you need degrees....

but problem with staying in school is not the school but staying.....too many wait and start AFTER their degrees...
you must be some kind of nuts and full of passion to choose this still as a serious job...that better happen long before you think about degrees....a degree makes no experience...

of course advanced technical knowledge is required....but especially here you'll better never stop learning and you grow with it....always.

and sure there is still a tape op job...
i only put it this way because once there was a time.....you know...out of the business....
Old 3rd March 2014
  #12
Gear Addict
 
OzGizmo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Step one..... Learn how to solder.
Certainly enough to make XLR and other patch / adaptor cables....
Old 4th March 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Then learn how to listen
10,000 hrs ish.
Old 4th March 2014
  #14
Deleted User
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Porter five forces analysis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Porter's Five Forces
Amazon.com: Michael E. Porter: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

I would like to draw to your attention the work of Harvard Professor Michael E Porter in helping you decide whether it is a good idea to enter the audio engineering industry. It's serious stuff and it applies to any industry.

Michael Porter developed an analytical framework to make it easier to understand competitive strategy -- particularly with deciding to enter an industry, and concerning various ways that market participants differentiate themselves -- by providing a low cost service, or my providing added value, or higher quality products.

In many ways the market for music is topsy turvy -- there is so much free content on YouTube -- so that musicians make money when you go to their concerts, but they might not make money out of their recordings -- whereas in the past musicians played live shows to promote their records.

While there are loads of substitute things you could do with your time -- it's best you make your own decisions.

I would imagine that doing all of your live-sound work keeps your ears to the ground, so you probably know a lot more about what is going on than a middle-aged bloke who is sitting on the fence, deciding whether to enter the industry. As long as you keep a fluid idea of what industry you're in, you'll do well, even if you don't make high-quality classical recordings rivalling Deutsche Grammophone in your first year. I would think that in New York City -- there are loads of studios that could provide inspiration and may be willing to share a few tips and techniques. I was impressed with SearSound -- and if you read every one of his philosophy and recording techniques essays -- you'll see that he seems to favour high end two-track recordings even though his studio is equipped to do all sorts of multi-tracking (>2 channel). For me, it validates the fact that the Remote Possibilities group, is again -- a swell and posh place to hang out.

http://www.searsound.com/philosophy.html

This one is amazing ...
http://www.searsound.com/pdf/recordedsoundsucks.pdf
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