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 sound 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 lights 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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Published by Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.
Copyright © 2007 Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
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