We all know that the music business is extremely competitive and there is only room for the very best. I’ve been experiencing that musicians, producers and audio engineers sometimes are divided into two camps – those who are without jobs and those who have more than they can handle.
Here in Sweden there are about two hundred audio engineers and producers graduating each year but there are not two hundred jobs available. Maybe only 5% will manage to get a job and make a living as an audio engineer here.
So What Do I have To Do To Be In That 5%?
Last spring I landed a massive project and I quickly realised that I was going to need help to get it finished. Although the job was going to take many hours it was repetitive but on the whole – a piece of cake. So I asked some people that I know, that that have recently completed their education in audio engineering, if they would like to help me with this project. At first everyone was interested so I emailed the details to about twelve people. I got five replies… After answering them I had two people left of which one wanted to switch work descriptions after the half the project so he was doing the mixing and I the editing. I mean come on?
One Out Of Twelve!
So then I was with one guy left who seemed to be happy about helping out but after a few hours proved to be lacking both interest and quality. So I had to let him go too. Ultimately it ended up with me and a close friend, who also had a lot of work at the time, working long hours late after our ordinary working days to get the job finished. I probably slept no more than 4 hours per night during this period.
In other words – twelve people just ignored a chance to get into the business. This project should have been a helping hand and a good experience when applying for other audio related work but they chose to let the opportunity pass, or even worse walk away part way through.
Tips To Get Started
So here are a few tips for anyone out there trying to get a foot in the business.
- Be humble: Of course you have to prove everyone that you are the one to hire, but don’t act like you own the world.
- Don’t sell out: If you try to enter the buinesness with low prices no one is going to take you seriously. I mean, are there any good engineers out there that iare really cheap to hire? If you do get work at a low rate then it is very difficult to put your rates up, people come to expect low rates from you.
- Be the best you can be: Practice, practice and practice some more. Watch tutorials each day and try to recreate what you just learned, Russ and the team here at Pro Tools Expert have really got some kick ass videos. If you not a member yet, then register now ;).
- Demo plug-ins: There is a lot of sweet sounding plugins from UAD, Softube, Fabfilter, etc that you can download and try out for free. Spend some time and try out a few and learn how they all react and how they sound if different situations.
- Stop being lazy: Nothing ever comes for free. Simple..
And if am already one of those 5%?
If you are one of those lucky 5% out there who is making a living on audio engineering – I only have one thing to say: take care of your self. I recently had some severe health issues. My heart was racing and the doctors thought that my heart valve was damaged. After many doctors appointments and tests it became clear that I was so stressed out that my heart started to beat out of rhythm which led to problems with breathing, sleeping and concentration.
I wasn’t allowed to have a beer in the summer sun, I couldn’t drink coffee or have my morning run. In other words – the worst summer ever. All because I was too excited doing projects that really I didn’t had time for but I didn’t want to give to someone else. Also I didn’t want to disappoint my clients that I had built up a good relationship with over the years.
I was making a lot of money so I didn’t have to care at all when I was out partying, shopping and so on. But money is nothing compared to your health. So for all of you out there: Take Care.