Thoughts Of A Budding Assistant
by, 08-27-2012 at 04:36 PM (600 Views)
Greetings folks! I'm sure some of you may have seen Brandon mentioning that he has an assistant that he has dubbed "Ruprect" in a few posts as of late, so I figured that I may as well start a blog to share my experiences of working under The Supreme Overlord Commander Brandon Drury. I've known Brandon for about 8 years now and I've worked on roughly 5 projects with him. The first thing I noticed when he put me on the payroll is how hard this guy works to keep this site going. This dude works while he sleeps, or so it would seem haha. Not only that, but he is constantly thinking of ways to improve and expand this place to make it a better learning tool for all of us to enjoy. He also expects the same from whoever works for him, this has been challenging but incredibly rewarding thus far. Here are some things for all of you guys or gals out there in home recording land who are wanting to take the next step and work for a full time engineer. Obviously I can only speak of my experience with Brandon, but the same type of expectations will apply for other busy as shit engineers.
1. Be prepared to do random tasks that have nothing to do with recording.
This is something that is more than likely going to happen. You have to EARN the trust of whomever you are working for before they're going to let you fly their incredibly expensive spaceship solo. I have a daily routine that involves sweeping, doing the dishes, cleaning, etc. before I even touch a fader. People who are booked solid don't have time for silly shit like doing the dishes. If you're dedicated and really want to do this, you better be prepared to do whatever the Hell your boss tells you to even if you don't like it.
2. You will be forced to work FAST!
One of my first sessions was recording the sax parts for "The Mike Renick Band", we were starting off a tune and he just wasn't nailing the intro. I'm used to sitting in my bedroom and taking my time to get it perfect, well that doesn't fly when you have 6 dudes in a room with a budget. Move on and come back to it later. You will not have the luxury of taking your time unless the client or your boss give you that luxury.
3. Keep your opinions to yourself.
During the same sax session I was trying to give advice for a solo and I said, " What would Kenny G do?" , the sax player went into a rant about how Kenny G is the shittiest person on Earth. It wasn't the end of the world in this particular case because I'm buddies with this guy. Had it been a stranger, it could have destroyed this guys trust in me as an engineer.
4. Be prepared to be overloaded with work.
My situation as an assistant might be different than most since my boss runs a website and records live bands, but even with just the live band side of things I'm pretty much swamped with editing. You will most likely be editing until your head spins.
5. Pay attention to the smallest of details.
I was editing some vocals a few weeks ago and after working all day my brain was getting mushy, I forgot to double check my work and I made this client sound like a wino who couldn't remember lyrics. BIG MISTAKE!!! I caught some serious Hell for that one and a valuable lesson was learned. ALWAYS double or even triple check your work! NO EXCUSES!
6. Don't be fooled by all of the pretty lights and knobs.
If you're like me and have very little gear to work with while at home, you will most likely get incredibly excited by seeing a room full of awesome gear. Well I'm here to tell you that there is no magic box that will automatically make you sound like a pro engineer. I've quickly discovered that there is no secret to this thing. Becoming better at this gig boils down to how much blood, sweat, and tears you put into it. While my skills have definitely increased since I started working with Brandon, it's not because of ANY of his gear.This became incredibly apparent to me when we did our shootout with his compressors on high gain guitars. The difference between the outboard gear, 3rd party plugs, and stock plugs, was so small that I could care less if I used ANY of them. My advice to anyone who is reading this is to go out there and find someone you can learn from. I'm convinced that trying to figure this thing out on your own is absolutely NOT the way to get where you want to be. If you're a lurker on this site and you don't get involved and ask questions for fear of seeming like a noob, quit being a pussy and start utilizing the resources that are available to you.
With all of that being said I can honestly say that I'm super pumped to be a part of this community. We have some awesome ULTRA TOP SECRET stuff that we are working on for the site that is going to take the whole learning process up a few notches. Get stoked!
Over and out,