February 12, 2007
Sound Mixers in Love
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and a frigid winter keeping many of
us idle, naturally our thoughts turn away from multi-tracking, wireless
microphones, and the ultimate sound cart to love and romance. In this article we
will offer advice for sound mixers to attract that certain special someone and,
not to be left out, we will also be offering advice for those of you who are
“aurally challenged” to attract that desired sound person.
For the sound mixer looking for that special someone:
First things first: To attract that special someone you must stake your claim,
be your own person, and that means establishing your own space. In other words,
having your own
cart is a must. It shows stability, power, and most of all establishes a
meeting place, a location that you will always be able to be found.
Next, make sure your equipment is an expression of who you are. Your recorder
should reflect who you are as a person, whether you are a small, fun, bright
Sound Devices 744T person; a quick thinking and flexible
Zaxcom Deva; a flashy and sophisticated
Aaton Cantar-X; or an all around solid
Fostex PD-6 /
DV824 person, having a recorder that reflects who you are will not only make
your day more pleasant, but will have that special someone know more about who
you are before you even meet.
Make sure you accessorize yourself and your cart with items that will make you
more noticeable. A large
zeppelin complete with long
shotgun microphone mounted in on a
boom pole and ready to go shows that you are ready for anything at a moments
notice and that you have the tools for any job. Your own personal chair is
always a nice touch, though if you are working with a small crew it may become
cumbersome and lead to embarrassment. Also avoid gaudy, personalized chair
backs; a little bit of flash is nice, but too much screams insecurity.
In the animal kingdom bright colors are often used to attract mates and humans
are no different. Make sure that you’ve got the right accessories that say
you’re the one.
Colored Headphone Softies go nicely over your headphones and not only look
good, but take good care of your ears. Colored windscreens or windscreen tips
for your microphones also add a nice touch to the end of any boom pole.
Taking a lesson from hunters, food is often used to lure out one’s prey. Try
keeping some food around your cart and see who wanders into your midst. Whether
it’s chocolate or chips, you are sure to increase your popularity level several
times. I highly recommend keeping a tin of mints around as well; not only will
it attract people who walk by your cart, it will also be very effective in
keeping your breath smelling great just in case.
Lastly, always keep a
Comtek in reserve. You don’t want to disappoint that person by not having
what they need when they come over to you. They may not even need it; they may
just be trying to make conversation and a “No” from you at this crucial time
could kill what might have been. So make them feel special and have a Comtek
complete with a great pair of headphones ready to go at all times.
For those looking for that special sound someone:
One thing to know about sound people is that they are about sound quality NOT
sound quantity. In other words, make what you say count and don’t speak too
loudly. Our ears are very sensitive and someone with a loud grating voice will
send us heading for the hills and our earplugs. Rather speak in calm soothing
tones and consider taking diction classes.
In addition to being connoisseurs of the oral arts, sound mixers also appreciate
aesthetics as much as the next person. Make sure to dress in a pleasing and
functional manner. If its one thing we hate on set is a beautiful lighting setup
that it is impossible to get a boom into because of shadows, so we absolutely
hate someone who is dressed so beautifully they can’t be taken anywhere. We have
that “ready for anything” mentality and so should you.
Compliment your sound mixer on their talents, particularly for their booming
skills and at hiding wireless lavaliers. These are two of the most difficult
things in the business and acknowledging them for that will get you a long way.
You may even offer to be a model for them to practice their wiring techniques
on, giving you lots of time to get acquainted.
Lastly, make sound important to you! Wear comfortable headphones with large
drivers that cover your ears and produce great sound. Wear them proudly. Their
size shows that you care about sound enough to use headphones that might be a
little clunkier than the traditional ear buds of lesser sonic quality.
Perhaps the best way to truly make sound important to you is to do a little
light reading. Reading the Gotham Gazette on a monthly basis will keep you up on
the latest technology trends and give you good banter when standing around the
old sound cart. Sprinkle that special sound someone with a little bit of hip
knowledge and see what happens.
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