I was recently the recipient of what I found to be “quite unprofessional and discourteous behavior” by one of my industry colleagues. It minded me to put pen to paper to make the point, and pass on some sage like advice from this grumpy old fart to any of the newer entrants to our creative industry!
I recently have been recording a narration for high profile American client with a famous English actor – which would become part of the World international full mix, as well as the American Full Mix. We had a UK re-versioning producer attending at my studio, and were also given direction from NY by the American Director via Source-Connect Now (which incidentally is most excellent – you really should try it!).
Before recording commenced we had agreed a workflow where I would complete a composite best take track (by dropping in to the track to make any corrections). If there were any script alts or different versions required, we would provide these on an “alts track”. All recordings from the session (mis-reads, tech errors, or artistic declines) would of course be passed on in the clip list for “parts and spares”.
After recording had finished, I cleaned up the best take track and removed breaths, clicks and silence etc and then fine placed the take to picture and/or performance rhythm.
I then deleted all non essential tracks, video and guide audio from the session, leaving the two tracks; 1) Main VO Best Takes, & 2) VO ALT takes. I removed any plug-ins from the two tracks. Next I made sure the two tracks were routed to the main output (so they could be heard when the session was re-opened). Then, after “save session copying the session” I saved the session as “sent to client”. I closed the session and then opened the “Save Session Copied As..” session to make sure it opened ok and that all 140 recordings were in the session clip list, before zipping it up and sending to the client via my ftp site. The client gets a nice clean uncluttered session with all required audio exactly as discussed and I have opened and proved the session. Remember, one part of professional courtesy is:
Aiton’s First Law of Post Production - “Don’t Pass Sh##t On”
Next I sent the clients (including the American post house mixers and international re-versioning mixers the download link. I included a polite note detailing my record chain, mic used, compressor, eq and plugs etc and asked if everyone was happy with the record and could I do anything for the next one to improve anything further to anyone’s taste etc. I was polite, informative and ruthlessly efficient (imho). The VO session should have been a breeze to import and to mix.
Imagine my surprise, when having finished recording and editing the third hour of voiceover, almost a whole week later, I get a very short snarky email very late at night from the US International Re-Versioning Mixer, cc’ing all the production team (UK and US) asking, “where are all the alternate VO reads for the second episode and can you send them to me NOW”.
Oh my goodness, what have I done wrong and how can I help? I immediately emailed back suggesting they should be in the region list and that I would check my end. I dropped what I was doing and opened the “sent to client” session whilst I downloaded the session that had been put on my ftp site. Both were the same and all tracks were correct and all the recorded takes were in the clip list. I tried calling the mixer, but no answer.
All will be revealed, as to what happened next, in part 2 of Professional Courtesy – A Cautionary Tale.