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Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby deedums » Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:02 pm

1. what is your typical day like?
2. of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?
3. what 3 or 2 skills help most in your job?
4. who did you learn these skills?
5. what kind of eduaction did you need for this job?
6. what kind of courses should i take in high school to peprare me for this job?
what kind of education will i need after high school?
7. what do you like most about this career?
8. whats the hardest part of your job?
9. what do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?
10. what kind of salary can i expect?
11. if you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?
12. what motivates you with your job?
13. what kind of personality does well in a career like this?
14. is there a question you think i should of asked to understand this career?
15. any other advice you would like to give me?
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby Dave Rowles » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:18 pm

1. What is your typical day like?

Depends on the gig. Can vary from hectic to relaxing. Normally that's dependant on the band members, not on the size of band. You can have a difficult small band that can take more time to set up than an easy going large band. On a bigger gig:

12pm Load in
2pm Run system up
4pm soundcheck
5pm Break
7-8pm show
10.30-11pm show down - pack up
12am leave venue.

2. Of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?

Practice.

3. What 2 or 3 skills help most in your job?

Diplomacy, fault tracing, Microphone/Speaker placement.

4. How did you learn these skills?

Practice

5. What kind of eduaction did you need for this job?

Need? None unless you count on the job training. I've done a university degree in sound, but now having worked in the Live industry I learnt more from the first few jobs than I did in 3 years of Uni.

6. What kind of courses should I take in high school to peprare me for this job? What kind of education will I need after high school?

See above, although electronics can be a great help.

7. What do you like most about this career?

It's fun, and can be very creative.

8. What's the hardest part of your job?

Coping with difficult artists. Long hours. Being away from home if you have people there you want to be with.

9. What do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?

Varied. There are a lot more people trying to get in at the lower end these days. You'll have to work hard to improve your skills and work effort to make money.

10. What kind of salary can I expect?

It depends. You'll start off earning peanuts or nothing at all. I know engineers who make £300 a day and work most of the year. I know engineers who make £70 a day and work 1 or 2 days a week. Generally there's a reason for the difference.

11. If you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?

While I had great fun in Uni, I probably wouldn't have gone knowing what I do now.

12. What motivates you with your job?

The public or the artists coming up at the end of the gig and saying how great the sound was.

13. What kind of personality does well in a career like this?

Problem solver, hard worker, thick skin.

You'll have to take criticism, and sometimes keep your mouth shut even when you believe that you're right. And as you start out you'll probably get shouted at a lot. Try never to make the same mistake twice.

14. Is there a question you think I should of asked to understand this career?
15. Any other advice you would like to give me?

You really have to love doing this job, it's really hard work. You have to care about getting it right all the time. Always do your best on every single gig, because you never know who might be in the audience.
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby The Red Bladder » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:17 pm

Well let's have some fun with this one and possibly be instructive at the same time! I've been in this game for a long time, about 45 years, and I now own a studio that does OK, but (despite costing about $1m US) ain't gonna make me rich, well, richer. Any money I've made, never came from this game, but from all the other businesses I've had that spun off the music game. The first thing you learn about music, is that all the money lies just to the left and right of making music. Rights, residuals, equipment sales, magazines, security, finance, you name it and there's money in it. Just none in making the music itself! (Except for a very select few, anyway.)

Right now, I work as a business consultant and economist, as well as running a studio. We have a small roster of freelance guys that do the fader-pushing. I also do some fader-pushing when required.

1. what is your typical day like?

Up at 8am, feed dogs and horses, make coffee, start at 8am in the office. Finish about 12 hours later, sometimes longer.

2. of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?

Did 2 years of electrical engineering and studied economics.

3. what 3 or 2 skills help most in your job?

Being 6'2", built like a brick sh1thouse and can box.

4. who did you learn these skills?

School and the army.

5. what kind of eduaction did you need for this job?

Able to read and write music, understand electronics and (most importantly!!!) have a good head for business. If you don't know how many beans makes five, you'll never get five beans!

6. what kind of courses should i take in high school to peprare me for this job?

Maths, physics, a foreign language.

what kind of education will i need after high school?

School of hard knocks.

7. what do you like most about this career?

The people.

8. whats the hardest part of your job?

In music - dealing with fools who have no money. In business - still dealing with fools, but at least they can pay their bills.

9. what do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?

I asked my Great Dane 'Samuel Augustus Vincent van Dog the Third' about the future of the career of audio engineer and he said 'Ruff!' Then he farted. I think that covers it really!

10. what kind of salary can i expect?

None whatsoever as a sound engineer, as an economist or a real engineer, well, add an engineering degree and get a good MBA and learn a foreign language and you will earn seven figures.

11. if you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?

Skip that first marriage! Go straight to wife number two!

12. what motivates you with your job?

Music - not much. Business - at least that side is interesting and you can change people's lives.

13. what kind of personality does well in a career like this?

Music - A snivelling crawler. Business - an intelligent realist.

14. is there a question you think i should of asked to understand this career?

Na, I think we've just about covered all the bases.

15. any other advice you would like to give me?

Yup. Combine a proper subject (physics, maths, engineering, chemistry, stuff like that) with a couple of foreign languages, esp. Mandarin and maybe an good MBA and enter the crazy world of business.

Oh yes - and use a spelling checker!
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby Guy Johnson » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:41 pm

And grammar ...

/coat
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:04 pm

I think we can cut some slack on the grammar front for a French Canadian, and while it is often a good idea to use a spell checker the forum doesn't have one!

Come on guys, don't spoil the helpful answers to a newbie with snarky and irrelevant comments, even if they are intended to be humourous!

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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby Dave Rowles » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:37 pm

As an addendum to my answers, I'd have to add that you'll probably be the muscle for a while before you get let loose on a desk. Take every opportunity to learn and have a go, and watch other engineers and ask questions if they seem friendly. Pints usually help with friendliness :)
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby Dave Gate » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:20 pm

1. what is your typical day like?

Wake up around 6am. Breakfast by 7am. Research, reading, writing until about 7pm (with breaks for coffee, food, internet). Wind down. bed.

2. of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?

Stopping working as a sound/lighting technician and becoming a full-time Masters student.

3. what 3 or 2 skills help most in your job?

In my technical days: ability to learn fast, diplomacy, having a good eye and ear

4. who did you learn these skills?

Mainly on the job and by watching other people work.

5. what kind of eduaction did you need for this job?

School of hard knocks.

6. what kind of courses should i take in high school to peprare me for this job?

Not sure about high school, but I would definitely learn to drive as soon as you can, and if you need any additional license to drive a van where you live take that as soon as you can.

what kind of education will i need after high school?

Get out there and do it while you are young and mobile.

7. what do you like most about this career?

I used to enjoy working with loads of different people in different situations.

8. whats the hardest part of your job?

Long hours for poor money.

9. what do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?

Hard. Unless the industry moves out of its current doldrums. Corporate work still looks like it's doing OK, though (I still do some truck and minibus driving to earn a living and did a lot of corporate late last year)

10. what kind of salary can i expect?

Salary? Try occasional wages unless you're lucky enough to be venue based or working full-time for a production company; where you'll often find that you work longer hours for less per-hour than the freelancers, but at least you get paid every week/month!

11. if you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?

I'd do it a lot earlier, while I was younger.

12. what motivates you with your job?

Paying the mortgage and feeding the cats.

13. what kind of personality does well in a career like this?

A calm one who can think on their feet.

14. is there a question you think i should of asked to understand this career?

What area do you really want to work in?

15. any other advice you would like to give me?

Don't bother with university courses. Do try various aspects of technical work while you're still young enough to live on fresh air and promises. Keep an open mind, you might find that something other than sound is your niche. Learn skills. If you need a specific qualification to use that skill (like cherry-picker operation) then take that qualification. Work hard, don't answer back until you're confident you can stand your ground.
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby p.dakin » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:27 pm

deedums wrote:1. what is your typical day like?
2. of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?
3. what 3 or 2 skills help most in your job?
4. who did you learn these skills?
5. what kind of eduaction did you need for this job?
6. what kind of courses should i take in high school to peprare me for this job?
what kind of education will i need after high school?
7. what do you like most about this career?
8. whats the hardest part of your job?
9. what do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?
10. what kind of salary can i expect?
11. if you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?
12. what motivates you with your job?
13. what kind of personality does well in a career like this?
14. is there a question you think i should of asked to understand this career?
15. any other advice you would like to give me?

1. Long
2. meeting the right person, that was willing to give me a go and let me lose pushing boxes and coiling cables.
3. my ears and my personality. Key to success is to get on with people!
4. lots of listening and playing with eq's. Always been nice! :)
5. A electrical engineering diploma of some sort would be biggest asset to me now, however I did a music tech degree which didn't help at all. Just enabled me to meet the right person.
6.
7. The job itself. I love being at gigs and getting paid to be there.
8. Hours and the pay.. also long periods away from home when touring.
9. Positive. The industry is growing and concerts seem more popular than ever.
10. I started at £40 a night working in a small venue doing the acoustic sunday session. I know earn between £100-£200 a day depending on the show.
Average cable coil-er? £50-75
11. Not going to uni and going straight into a large PA company doing whatever the hell they'd let my do.
12. enjoyment, job satisfaction, determination, anal retentiveness (must have neat cables).
13. Friendly one. Need to keep calm and pleasant under pressure
14.
15. Be prepared to work long hours for little pay, but always remember to way that against the fact that its a dream job. You have to love the job to keep at it.
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby StevePhillips » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:18 pm

I wasn't planning on getting involved in this part of the forum but your questions got me thinking..... which takes a lot these days!

I haven't been on the road for 15 years but as far as I can remember......

1. It depends. If you're on tour then life is quite regimented once all the prep has been done.

load in @ 8am
Breakfast (10ish)
sound-check by 1pm
Lunch
Make good in the afternoon
Dinner
Curtain up @ 7pm (ish)
Lights down at 11pm (ish)
Strike the show and out by 1am (ish)
on bus and sleep through to next venue

It varies from gig to gig. The above is for larger tours, smaller ones you can miss out most of the food breaks! Festivals are harder work but more fun and one off shows concentrate more on the prep beforehand.

2.Learning to get on with and manage people. For all the technical involvement people make a show work (or not).

3.Basic understanding of electronics and room acoustics and probably computers and networking these days. Also you can never begin to learn to use your ears soon enough. Most people can hear - not everyone can listen properly.

4.School, Hobbies, Mentors and reading.

5.The basics are all you need but if I had to recommend a subject then maths or physics.

6.Again the basics but if you really want to make this your career then get involved as soon as possible even if it means missing out on higher education, although you can combine the two.

7.The people, The buzz, The travelling.

8.The long hours in cold venues - Did I mention the long hours?? - In cold venues??

9.Bright if you are good at it and aim for the top

10. Don't EXPECT anything. See how good you are and sell yourself at that level. You will have to fight like a cat and dog to get started then your portfolio of past achievements will dictate your worth. It's up to you but to start with be prepared to struggle.

11. I'd have aimed higher quicker. Done less grotty London gigs before getting in to the big festivals and Tours. It's all to do with confidence.

12. The love of it and the thrill of the show buzz used to do it for me.

13. You have to understand people and you have to be a problem solver not a problem creator. Tour mangers and promoters want you to fix problems not cause them because you have fallen out with the lighting op. You are only as good as your last gig and if that was a bad one despite the sound being great then you will get tarnished with the same brush.

14.Well you are way ahead of 95% of the other sound technicians and designers already as you are actually thinking about this as a career. Most of them (us) fell in to this job so we didn't do half the prep you are.

15. Aim high. Don't stay with small companies doing small shows for long. Get to know the big fish quickly, even if they have no work or time for you stay in touch, meet them. Go to the industry shows and get to know the hire companies and the manufacturers. Get out and do some gigs for free. This industry is as much about the people you know as it is about your engineering skills. Get to know about the other sides of the industry too. Studio work, lighting, Broadcast everything, the more you know the better you will be able to talk to these people to integrate and solve problems with them.

But most of all...... Enjoy it!!!
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Re: Anyone willing to help me? questions for sound technicians..!

Postby ian_gibbs » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:55 pm

1. what is your typical day like?

I don't have one, I'm freelance so anything from 40hr days on site to a day at the desk doing paperwork (tax, accounts, job spec) to a day in a warehouse prepping a job.

2. of all things you did to peprare for this job, what helped you most?

Not being prepared and jumping in at the deep end.


3. what 3 or 2 skills help most in your job?

Being able to work with others, ability to work by yourself, soldering.

4. who did you learn these skills?

Who? or where? If the latter then on the job. And then research/asking others afterwards.

5. what kind of eduaction did you need for this job?

I didn't.

6. what kind of courses should i take in high school to peprare me for this job?
what kind of education will i need after high school?

Physics and computing probably isn't a bad start, oh and maths.

7. what do you like most about this career?

It's a job I enjoy and I'm my own boss, oh and (some) of the people you meet.

8. whats the hardest part of your job?

Getting invoices paid

9. what do you think the future looks like for this kind of job?

Digital

10. what kind of salary can i expect?

Anything form nothing to lots, depends if you're freelance or employed, and how many days a year you work. For the first couple of years I'd expect the lower end of the scale.

11. if you had the chance to do things over again, what would you change?

Nothing

12. what motivates you with your job?

I enjoy it

13. what kind of personality does well in a career like this?

Focused, flexible, authorative, take your pick, depends on the time of day and the situation.


14. is there a question you think i should of asked to understand this career?

15. any other advice you would like to give me?

Always, always expect the unexpected.

Hope that helps,

Ian
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