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michaelhrtmn4

Potential Gig | Advice for a Green Sound Fella

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Hey everyone!

 

First off let me just say, reading all of your posts and comments to different people, wether just giving advice or answering questions, is super encouraging to someone who is new(ish) like I am.

 

I just graduated from my university where I specialized in sound, post and production getting the opportunity to be the mixer on a small but professional feature, as well as now working on multiple short films.

 

Post is where my passion is, but I love doing production sound whenever I can. I have some gear of my own, like my Mix-Pre 6, one super-cardioid mic from Audix, a boom pole, and some minor accessories, but I constantly feel like I can’t compare to some of you all who are just slinging huge bags and super cool toys. Obviously I will get there in time, but that is where my main question for this post stems from.

 

I got a call from someone who is looking for a Sound Mixer for his production and it seems pretty legitimate. I’m just curious and asking for any advice you all have for someone who is just starting out but already has “some” relative experience. I sometimes just feel like if I had “x, y, z” then my confidence in doing the job I know how to do will increase. But considering I don’t know the in’s and out’s of renting gear, explaining what I have, renting kit from vendors and letting that be a kit- I just haven’t a clue how to proceed forward and which direction to move in.

 

I feel stuck: how do I break into an industry or field without the gear that seems required to do so?

 

Thank you to anyone who responds to this post. Appreciate it, everyone!  

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Hmmm...

 

You're in Lynchburg, I see. It's a nice place but far from the centers of production. Would a road trip be possible?

 

The established equipment rental shops, Location Sound, Trew Audio, Professional Sound, The Audio Dept., etc., are all located in the major production centers. If you could make your way to one of those shops, they all work hard to accommodate new clients and set them up with appropriate gear and some guidance on how to use it.

 

Probably the closest professional supplier to you would be Trew Audio in Nashville. A bit of a drive, I know, but once you've been there, met the sales and rental people and opened an account, you could conduct future business by phone and have rental gear shipped in.

 

David 

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What I did when I was working out of a small market with next to no local rentals was what was suggested above: I went to a big rental house in a major production center, and spent all day (on several occasions) there checking gear out that I'd only ever seen in pictures, asking questions, getting to know the staff and having them know me, setting up an account and so on.  Made a big diff.  I now had people I could call for advice who weren't total strangers, and seeing the gear in a situation where I could actually interact and listen to it was great (and WAY better than trying to do this on the exhibit floor of a tradeshow!). 

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One thing that will help you and everyone else in your local sound community is if you reach out to other local mixers and talk rates. Don’t undercut others or you will drive down rates and make enemies. Charge what others charge, and if those numbers aren’t being offered by those that are calling you, learn to negotiate to get them there. 

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2 hours ago, michaelhrtmn4 said:

if I had “x, y, z” then my confidence in doing the job I know how to do will increase.

 

I think this is a wrong assumption. It may very well be the reverse when you suddenly have have top notch gear, but haven’t taken the time to learn it, or in the heat of the moment you forget how to operate it. 

To put it bluntly, after one movie, I don’t think you really know how to do the job - and that’s fine, it’s not unusual and you grow from your experiences. But when the heat of the moment arrives you don’t want to be fumbling around with your gear. To start with, keep it simple and know the gear inside out. And understand what it can do and what it can’t do

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6 hours ago, David Waelder said:

You're in Lynchburg, I see. It's a nice place but far from the centers of production. Would a road trip be possible?

 

Hey David,

 

Forgot to mention and update in my bio that I relocated to Washington DC, so I’m currently living there.

 

Appreciate all the advice on the rental houses! That’s a great idea to get involved and become known to them, even if I’m a “nobody”.

4 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

I think this is a wrong assumption. It may very well be the reverse when you suddenly have have top notch gear, but haven’t taken the time to learn it, or in the heat of the moment you forget how to operate it. 

To put it bluntly, after one movie, I don’t think you really know how to do the job - and that’s fine, it’s not unusual and you grow from your experiences. But when the heat of the moment arrives you don’t want to be fumbling around with your gear. To start with, keep it simple and know the gear inside out. And understand what it can do and what it can’t do

 

Thats totally fair and you make some excellent points. I have boomed for a couple of really cool mixers from DC, GA, and TX on a couple different shows, so while I lack experience, I still have just a little. Good to apply to what you’re saying though.

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To an audio dealer or a rental house you are not "nobody" once you intro yourself (esp in person) and set up accounts.  Your dollars are as green as anyone's, and helping you is good for their business.

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