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Anyone in the recording industry able to answer questions?

Hello, I am 17 years old and I am currently working on a final grade and also for some personal inquiry I am wondering about there being any recording studios or anyone that is able to able to acquire the time to be able to personally answer a few questions and also answer the few questions below.
1. Is it true that you have to play the social game? Or do you have to over time just experiment, test, and do whatever that is necessary to gain contacts over time? I know this is prevalent for any jobs, but it is quite concerning that when you look up on how to acquire a job in becoming a recording engineer. Many say to just play the "social game".
2. How stressful is it? Another one of my questions mostly belonging to how stressful it truly is being a recording engineer, many online story's state that many in the digital audio industry are constantly placed in a state of stress. I would like to know, how stressful is it?
#technology #audio-engineering #audio #audio-production #audio-editing #music

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Preciosa’s Answer


I am 21, but I am about to get my BS in Digital Audio Technology. I saw this question posted and just thought that I would give you some of my insight.

Networking is key, many professionals that have presented at my college have revealed that they actually started small jobs (Retail, non-profits, volunteering, etc.,) and made valuable connections that way. And those connections actually resulted in their favor because when a company needed Sound Designers, these people who were aware that their friend does Sound Design gave them the first opportunity on a big gig that later resulted in a permanent position.

My personal experience is when I participated in an online game jam, It was me and one other person. On the last day of the game jam I felt so accomplished and began to ask about my teammates personal life, and turns out he works at Netflix and was a Q/A lead for many companies in his previous years. I was nervous to ask personal questions during the work flow, but once we were done collaborating I felt their was a team bond that was created in just one weekend. We agreed to keep in touch in case we want to make more games, or even to brush up the one we made that weekend.

In some cases it can be very nerve wracking to speak to professionals because you are aware of their accomplishments and you compare yourself to someone who has been doing this for a long time. Once you begin to network don't doubt yourself, professionals didn't get that way overnight. Express your desire to learn more in the field and I'm sure you will get their info in no time.

Two tips:
1)Always ask for a business card! (And make your own in case they can contact you)
2)Make a professional Email account

Hope this Helps!

-Preciosa Roberts

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Paul’s Answer

Hi Ramon! You've already gotten some good answers, but let me give you some perspective from an audio engineer who's been in the industry a decade or more.

1. The music business is ALWAYS a social creature. There is no doubt this is a "who you know" business. That's both awful and great, and here's why:
- It's AWFUL because many untalented people have created decent careers not due to talent, but because of who they are. Some are legitimately talented (Clint Howard), others are not (Tori Spelling). Both of these people have careers because of their family connections. It can also be awful if somebody decides they don't like you for some reason, and starts trashing your work among their contacts. A damaged reputation, deserved or not, can be the kiss of death to a promising career.
- It's GREAT because once people get to know you, work with you, and see that you're capable, responsible, and a high-quality person to be around, they will want to work with you again and again. So sometimes, that one chance meeting with someone (on or off the job) becomes a long line of work. To put it simply, people want to work with people they know they can work with, and can get the job done.

You want to be known among people in the industry that you are talented, capable, and easy to work with. So getting known is the biggest challenge - that's gonna require networking. Absolutely get business cards, get a professional email address - that is the first thing to do. Get on LinkedIn, join other online communities in your field, join the IATSE stagehands union (it's more than doing stages). Get known!

2. Is it stressful? ABSOLUTELY! In a recording studio, there is often "creative conflicts" between band members, artist and producer, studio manager, etc. I've had a direct box thrown at my head. I've seen windows smashed. I've heard of artists showing up with crossbows and shooting arrows into the ceiling when they weren't happy. On live events, when some piece of gear malfunctions five minutes before show, it's ABSOLUTELY stressful!

I would even go so far as to put it this way: if you're not good under pressure, pick another field. I am not kidding. There is literally no part of this industry where you will be under immense pressure to perform. It's true of most jobs of course, but most jobs don't have 3 million people waiting to see you on TV, and the audio console just lost power! Or 20,000 screaming fans waiting for the band to go on, and half the lighting rig just shut down - and everybody's looking at YOU.

In any field, you need to evaluate your passions, your skills, and your tolerance for the downsides of the business. Learn as much as you can about your interests, then learn as much as you can about yourself, and what you can do, and go from t here.

Hope that helps!

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Candace’s Answer

Hi Ramon,

I love that you're looking into this field! It is an exciting one to be a part of!

In regard to your first question about playing the "social game" in order to make contacts, I'll be honest. Any job in the music industry is going to involve some level of networking in order to connect to the people who may be able to help you get to the next level. That being said, don't get too stressed about this. I struggle with social anxiety and over the years I have figured out a way to make this more sustainable. Instead of thinking of it as "having to impress people" or being fake, I like to think of it as simply presenting yourself to opportunities and if they don't happen, they don't happen. But you have to be present to win. Try to just find authentic connections with people whom you respect and nurture those relationships.

And to answer your second question, everyone's stress level is different depending on who they are working with, how many projects they have going on at once, and how well you work under pressure. If you have the skills to work well under pressure, you will be just fine! If not, that is something that you can learn how to do by simply trying over and over again. I went to school for Recording Industry Studies and I never thought that I would be able to handle audio-engineering and production classes, but I decided to be brave and give it a shot. My first few projects were HORRIBLE and I will never show them anyone, but after I failed a couple times, something clicked and I suddenly just understood how to make it work (especially on a time crunch). It's a very satisfying feeling!

So to answer overall, yes it can be stressful and yes networking is involved but if you feel passionate about this and can't see yourself doing anything else, I say go for it! If you decide it isn't for you, no harm done. But you might just surprise yourself with what you are capable of.

Best of luck to you!