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This had me thinking..


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I ran across this article..

 

http://thefederalist.com/2014/01/17/the-death-of-expertise/

 

.. and it got me thinking about a the new world in which we live in.

 

In 1993, I had a conversation with a guy by the name of Tim Styker.  Before the days of the Internet, there was something called the BBS.. But this guy knew this was the beginning of global communications explosion. He ended up writing a book about the coming 'Super Democratic Revolution'.  For the most part this was spot on.. People being empowered by sharing knowledge.. basically..  But what we didn't know at the time, was the down side of this.  The loss of the expertise.  Because now, hell, everyone is an expert..

 

Unfortunately, this has caused a massive loss in the real value that one brings to a position in a job.  Employers and consumers have trivialized every field, and not just in the Hollywood business either.  Many employers just seem to want a 'button pusher' now.  In the past if you were a Doctor, Policeman, or Fireman, you were an expert.. Today, people don't consider any of those experts, but just the person in that position.

 

Every time I find myself in a job interview for the sound mixer position, it seems like a producer should be asking me the question of what I bring to the table as far as my expertise.. But, more and more of what I get is more like.. what kind of free shit can we get from you!

 

A very interesting read about the devaluing of labor in this country, though.

 

-Richard

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In 1993 the Internet was already a massive wealth of knowledge. RAMPS may have already existed. The email list or usenet group that became the IMDB existed (launched in 1990). I was learning tons on Usenet groups for vintage motorcycles or getting the latest band news in Alt.Punk and Alt.Music.Hardcore. As connections grew, FTP sites allowed file sharing. The heyday of the BBS was really the 80s.

I first got Internet access when I started college in 1992 and was blow away at how much there already was, and I had been using BBSs for a number of years. The thing is, back then *most* people online were affiliated with a university. Home users were in a private commercial network like AOL or others (who's names escape me now). It's kind of crazy the content of those other services disappeared with them, but people have stumbled in posts by my 18 year old self from 1992 in a usenet archive while doing research. My school, Drexel U, didn't let you hide your real name when accessing the usenet or sending emails. That was possible back then.

Maybe the lack of google, or Netscape for that matter, made searching for info a little harder. *Netscape was still called Mosiac, and that launched on 23 January 1993.

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Every time I find myself in a job interview for the sound mixer position, it seams like a producer should be asking me the question of what I bring to the table as far as my expertise.. But, more and more of what I get is more like.. what kind of free shit can we get from you!

 

 

Haha! So true... Unfortunately, they always seem to make cuts on the sound department. For example, sometimes i struggle to make them understand we must be 2 soundies for a job. And when I get it, i'm satisfied I already have that and reduce expenses on mic rentals and such, understanding this is a low budget production... until I arrive on set to notice 2 cameras with 2 assistants for each (that makes 6 people for the cameras!).

 

 

When I am "interviewing" for a job, I always feel like they are just making sure I'm not an asshole. I don't always get the job.

 

When I am interviewing for a job, I always have the impression they have no idea what they're talking about and they don't know their job (which is to know sufficiently my job to know what they should ask me).

One of my favourite questions is "will you use wireless mics for this shooting?". Haha! 

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Every time I find myself in a job interview for the sound mixer position, it seams like a producer should be asking me the question of what I bring to the table as far as my expertise.. But, more and more of what I get is more like.. what kind of free shit can we get from you!

 

 

 

...and they are continually throughout the interview selling themselves, telling you their long story (yawn) about the project (yawn yawn) and how important it is to find 'right mixer for the job' (zzzzzzzzzzXXXzzzzzzzzzz i'd rather be dreaming about xxx right now than listening to this).

 

when people with no street cred call and ask to interview, ask them 'why?'  uhm, yeah eeeh aaah oooh ahhhh we are just checking out to see who's available (don't know how to book a job?? is that it? i think so).

 

low flat rate??

 

No thank you.

 

Don't do interviews. If it can't be worked out in a phone call they are time wasters.

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Too true. What I find just as interesting is the willingness people have to give away knowledge that will devalue their own job for a quick buck. I first saw this back in audio engineering school, which was inexpensive, gave us extensive and valuable knowledge, and was churning out graduates with engineering certificates and certifications by the thousands. With the recent "sound guy boot camp" that was shared on some of the Facebook groups makes me wonder how many people in the sound community really are button pushers, with a general lack of knowledge regarding audio engineering. I see a lot of audio 101 questions being asked by people who claim to be great sound mixers, and simple things like polar patters being misused when referring to specific and easily searchable microphones. It just makes me wonder where indeed we are headed. All the information is available, however fewer and fewer seem to have the ability or enitiative to seek it out, while they dive head first into the job market.

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They will be interviewing (low balling) dozens of other people as well. When those people get a better deal, or become disinterested the shoot will crash and get postponed, postponed again, then cancelled and then they disappear.

 

if you can secure a deposit, non refundable, at a decent rate for the days they are inquiring about, then maybe...they do not know how to book a job and do not understand cancellation fees or anything else that is boilerplate.

 

big clue to the time waster syndrome. watch what happens when you ask for a deposit, by phone, if you've skillfully avoided the time wasting (yawn yawn) interview at this point. "uhhhhh, i'll gotta go ask the producers, i'll get back to you."

 

they may at this point, revert back to email to ask questions about specific scenes, staging, how to, etc. so don't respond unless you tell them: 'we'll work it out when i get the deposit for the firm booking.'

 

and you'll never hear from them again.

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I feel like I disagree with many of the conclusions and assumptions made in the original linked article. 

 

While its certainly true that mob rule in the comments section sucks, and that it does have a real effect on the conversation of things - my general impression in life is that actual expertise produces actual results

 

As such those people that really are experts still tend to get all the benefits that true experts have always enjoyed (references by non-experts, professional compensation, etc) - its just that those benefits tend to come more from the things that one has done than from the title or degree that one holds.  IMO this is as  it should be.

 

The other thing that happens with instant public critique is that BS gets sniffed out and discredited much more quickly.  anyone with 30 seconds and a google machine can find all kinds of info to tell them the real effect that spending $200 on a monster USB cable will have on their sound.

 

This can get annoying for experts who hold certain misconceptions in their minds that won't survive the scrutiny of the mob, but as an aspiring expert I personally view this as a needed reality check to keep my views grounded in what I can observe, what I can execute, and in what I can explain to the layperson.

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If anyone here is a skeptic about the loss of 'experts' in this country.. try this little experiment.

 

If you know anyone in your family that is a doctor, or the next time you see your doctor.. ask him this.. "Has the Internet helped you with your job?"   I'll bet you immediately get an eye roll from him, followed by a shaking of his head... and if he's in a talkative mood, he'll tell you a few stories of everything that wrong in our society here now.

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Jon: " I see a lot of audio 101 questions being asked by people who claim to be great sound mixers, and simple things like polar patters being misused when referring to specific and easily searchable microphones....the information is available, however fewer and fewer seem to have the ability or initiative to seek it out, while they dive head first into the job market. " you have just noticed ?

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When I am "interviewing" for a job, I always feel like they are just making sure I'm not an asshole. I don't always get the job.

 

Ah, I interviewed with the same people a couple of weeks ago.

 

 

If you know anyone in your family that is a doctor, or the next time you see your doctor.. ask him this.. "Has the Internet helped you with your job?"   I'll bet you immediately get an eye roll from him, followed by a shaking of his head... and if he's in a talkative mood, he'll tell you a few stories of everything that wrong in our society here now.

 

I once came in complaining to my doctor about a couple of symptoms, assuming the worst, and he laughed and told me, "naaaaa, you're just a victim of Wikimania."  He told me that self-diagnosis via Wikipedia is the bane of his existence, and that people wrongly (or rightly) look up a couple of symptoms and completely get the diagnosis wrong.

 

It's kind of like assuming a great microphone can overcome a horrible location...   :unsure:

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ask him this.. "Has the Internet helped you with your job?"

 

- I don't know, but internet helped me to watch and hear this speech from a doctor.

 

(enable the subtitles)

 

:)

 

Best

V

 

Quite good and some interesting observations.  Basically he is saying is that we have become so self-absorbed that we no longer know how to be truly happy.  Meaningful happiness can only be found in stable relationships and contributing to society.  It can not be found in money, platonic sex, drugs or selfish desires.  Greece is a good example of this downward spiral.  However, this current turmoil (in Greece) is good in that it gets the brain thinking and thus it will try to right it's self.

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Let's face it.

 

Internet does not stole the 'expertise'. 'Expertise' was lost it because the amount of available workers to available positions was increased dramatically. More available workers, less or same positions as it was back in 80's. In this situation; to get a job require not only good skills or expertise, but something different from technical skills. The skills of networking, diplomacy and business. In this age we are living now (not only in US, but worldwide) the way you 'close' a job has changed. The employer (aka producer) is not pay you to do only the job, but asked to you the simple question (behind the spoken words): Why you? The answer because I have the best equipment and I'm experienced; doesn't count. If you can't provide your expertise in these days then the problem is not the internet, but somewhere to you. You need to inspire.

 

The industries have built to fit needs for the old days. What I mean. 1 worker for 2 jobs. Now we are 10 workers for 2 jobs. Is one the reason why today the word 'expertise' is getting lost and not the reason of 'internet'.

 

Best

V

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To me, there's a difference between knowing and knowledge. 

 

To know something, like knowing the answer to a math problem or what year Columbus discovered America, isn't really knowledge. Knowledge is more like the understanding of the times when Columbus discovered America. What was going on in the rest of the world and what emotions and knowledge of Columbus led him to try to sail the seas to find foreign lands.. That's knowledge! And be able to make new conclusions based on what you know. 

 

Internet teaches us to know, but it won't teach us true knowledge. Interaction and practice teaches us knowledge.

 

Sure you can read and study to learn something, to know stuff. But to really be knowledgeable you need to be working it. Touching it with your hands or body or whatever. I could read in books and manuals how a piece of equipment works but I could never be able to just do it only having read something. 

 

And this inflation in "knowledge" has made people forget about knowledge's true worth and meaning..

 

And you already said all of this so you already know ;P

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I still completely disagree with the conclusions asserted in this thread. 

 

There ARE still experts in the world.  There ARE still people who have legitimate insight and true knowledge into the various arts and sciences that make up the world we build around us. 

 

The presence of fakes does not negate the existence of the genuine article.  All it does is force the rest of us to tune our antennae a little more finely.  It has the side effect of forcing the experts to sometimes show their work more than the might have in the past.  This is not a bad thing.

 

honestly, what's the REAL complaint here?  From my point of view posers claiming to be experts do not detract from the knowledge and insight that true experts posses. 

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Too true. What I find just as interesting is the willingness people have to give away knowledge that will devalue their own job for a quick buck.

I have people coming in to sit in on mixes all the time. I have no problem giving them advice and answering their questions.

I'll even give them my mix template.

Because it's not the plugins that do the job. It's years of experience.

Very scene, every line of audio presents itself with different problems and issues.

And knowing what to do with an eq or other plugin, is way more important than what plugin is being used.

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To me, there's a difference between knowing and knowledge. 

 

To know something, like knowing the answer to a math problem or what year Columbus discovered America, isn't really knowledge. Knowledge is more like the understanding of the times when Columbus discovered America. What was going on in the rest of the world and what emotions and knowledge of Columbus led him to try to sail the seas to find foreign lands.. That's knowledge! And be able to make new conclusions based on what you know. 

 

Internet teaches us to know, but it won't teach us true knowledge. Interaction and practice teaches us knowledge.

 

Sure you can read and study to learn something, to know stuff. But to really be knowledgeable you need to be working it. Touching it with your hands or body or whatever. I could read in books and manuals how a piece of equipment works but I could never be able to just do it only having read something. 

 

And this inflation in "knowledge" has made people forget about knowledge's true worth and meaning..

 

And you already said all of this so you already know ;P

Yes. This is true in my experience.

CrewC

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To me, there's a difference between knowing and knowledge. 

 

To know something, like knowing the answer to a math problem or what year Columbus discovered America, isn't really knowledge. Knowledge is more like the understanding of the times when Columbus discovered America. What was going on in the rest of the world and what emotions and knowledge of Columbus led him to try to sail the seas to find foreign lands.. That's knowledge! And be able to make new conclusions based on what you know. 

 

Internet teaches us to know, but it won't teach us true knowledge. Interaction and practice teaches us knowledge.

 

Sure you can read and study to learn something, to know stuff. But to really be knowledgeable you need to be working it. Touching it with your hands or body or whatever. I could read in books and manuals how a piece of equipment works but I could never be able to just do it only having read something. 

 

And this inflation in "knowledge" has made people forget about knowledge's true worth and meaning..

 

And you already said all of this so you already know ;P

 

I believe that by dictionary definitions, to know something is to have (a certain) knowledge of something. I think that what you are describing is the difference between knowledge and wisdom: knowledge is attained by learning; wisdom is attained by doing.

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@rcoronado,  I have no doubt there are many experts in every field.. The problem is our entire society discounting them.  Everyone is a god dam expert.. or they think they are.

 

@Henchman, True true words..  I don't know when this happened.. but somewhere along the line, experience got substituted for a 'template'.. or an 'app'.. or a 'plugin'.  or in our case.. somehow producers think if they can just 'buy' the right audio gear, it will somehow solve all the problems of hiring an expert in audio. In that, somehow that gear would just magically set itself up, and record it all at the push of a button.

 

-Richard

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I believe that by dictionary definitions, to know something is to have (a certain) knowledge of something. I think that what you are describing is the difference between knowledge and wisdom: knowledge is attained by learning; wisdom is attained by doing.

You're right. I'm pulling the "English isn't my native language" card on this :)

In my language, knowledge and wisdom are very different, so really i wanted to say there's a difference between knowledge and knowledge but it didn't translate too well :P

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@rcoronado,  I have no doubt there are many experts in every field.. The problem is our entire society discounting them.  Everyone is a god dam expert.. or they think they are.

 

@Henchman, .. somehow producers think if they can just 'buy' the right audio gear, it will somehow solve all the problems of hiring an expert in audio. In that, somehow that gear would just magically set itself up, and record it all at the push of a button.

 

-Richard

 

Producer that don't hire experts suck at producing and will not build a reputable credit list until they figure that out or leave the industry.  I see no problem there.

 

Maybe the issue you're trying to get at is that its more difficult to get paid for expertise?  In my experience credits and experience are still the driving factors as to whether someone gets a gig or not.  Gear is very low on the list.

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