Bettering your craft–especially when you aren’t working.

Posted on November 20, 2012

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I hope I never reach a point where I feel I know everything there is to know about my craft.

As a freelancer, sometimes I find myself with more free time than I would like. Jobs start and end and sometimes there’s no telling when the next one is coming. Some people are uncomfortable with that, and so they’d prefer a steady job with set hours five days a week. I’ve never been comfortable with that latter option. Even if I’m between jobs and there’s nothing I’m doing that’s making money, I can find about a million things to do with my time that may allow me to make more money with a future job. I tend to spend a lot of that time reading about professional audio recording, and I’m always amazed to find there’s plenty of things I didn’t know before. And so I read more, and I look for more work, and then a job hits, and I’m doing things better than I did the last time and feeling more confident about asking for what I need to make the overall job run better. I guess you can call this dedication, and I don’t know anyone who successfully works freelance without it.

Lately I’m thumbing through the third edition of Jay Rose’s Producing Great Sound for Film & Video, a sort of text book that covers many basic areas of audio recording with emphasis in film production. I actually wish more filmmakers without a specialized interes

t in audio wouldread it. Its filled with helpful diagrams and explanations as to why sound works the way it does in conjunction with video, and its written in a friendly and easy to understand manner. It kind of feels like the words of an uncle I never had.

Aside from learning a few helpful technical things, reading books like this helps me better appreciate the value of what I do. If there’s anyone else reading this who spends their time combing through film production jobs on craigslist, you know the frustrations of only finding listings that offer low pay and a “just get it done” sort of vibe. I don’t care what you do on a film set; if you take your job seriously you want to do it to the best of your abilities. Film producers want this too, but their job is to make it happen at the lowest possible cost. But an educated crew member will always know how to strike that balance and set realistic expectations.

These are just a few thoughts I had reading a largely technical book–strange?

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