Archives For Productivity

Dawn

I have a friend who wants to draw. She’d love to be an animator, or create graphic novels. The problem is she hasn’t drawn anything yet.

She’s aware of this. She’s exasperated. She has the desire. She is talented. She has great ideas. She just can’t seem to get anything done.

The other night we talked about it. Motivational funk is actually quite common. Every craft feels it, even sound pros.

Have you been in this situation? Would you like to record more sound effects, but can’t find the time? Do you want to start building a sound library but just can’t seem to get going? Or perhaps your sound blog’s publishing schedule is trickling away.

I’ve been there. I’ve stalled. I’ve bailed. I’ve lost focus.

The good news is that there are nine quick fixes to beat motivational funk. They’re simple. They’re easy.

So, in today’s post I’ll share why motivational funk happens, and nine ideas that help you get out there recording more sound effects.

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courtesy Jeremy Brooks


In the last month I’ve been writing about productivity and sound effects pros. Why?

Well, I’ve been getting more done lately. I’ve been working differently. It’s been a surprising revelation. It made me wonder: what if we all had more time to record sound fx instead of sitting behind desks wading through admin?

There’d likely be more field recording blogs created and more meaningful sound effects gathered and shared.

So, here’s the idea: productivity is tough for sound pros. As creative people, we’re often caught between the practical side of getting things done and expressing creativity.

I believe getting work done for sound pros is a mix of focus and action. These ideas aren’t new, but the way sound pros resolve them is unique.

Last week I mentioned six tricks to use focus to avoid distractions. This week I’ll share some tricks I use to help with action.

They actually help me get more done than I should be entitled.

Like I mentioned last week, these tips work for me. Use them to generate your own ideas so you can create and share more inspiring sound fx.

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courtesy Rob Ellis'

Years ago when I started freelancing I drifted from gig to gig, week to week. Months slipped by. I couldn’t remember exactly what work I’d done a month earlier, or even a week before.

I was scattered.

Does this sound familiar?

Finished a work week and can’t recall exactly what you’ve done? Field recording plans keep getting pushed back? Thinking about selling sound effects but the clips remain in a dusty corner of your hard drive?

I know the feeling. I had tasks lists that lasted for years. I’d complete one task then two more would appear. It seemed to take forever to get tasks done.

In fact, the Steam Train Collection I released yesterday on Airborne Sound was an idea I had for years but… just never got around to it until this month.

Then it changed. To my surprise I found my checklists were completing more quickly.

How?
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Selling sound effects downloads is a rewarding experience.

It allows you to share your creations with the world. With any luck, a sound clip you’ve crafted will appear as part of someone else’s vision in a film, video game or viral YouTube video.

Of course, supporting yourself with something you’ve created is satisfying too.

Those are tantalizing ideas.

However, sharing sound fx takes time and effort. Launching a sound clip website can take months of work. I know one Web shop owner who is still building a store after two years.

The problem? It’s easy to lose perspective during this time. You’ll be struggling with HTML, CSS, databases and payment gateways. What does this have to do with field recording cool sound effects? Nothing.

Creating a downloadable sound effects Web shop means that a large portion of your attention is diverted. Often for months. Sometimes for years. It’s even worse when it leeches unnoticeable slivers of time every day.

Do you ever feel that running a Web shop is stopping you from creating more great sounds? It’s often the case even if you’ve hired someone else to build or run your store. Are you tied up responding to email and Tweets when you would rather be recording race car sound effects? Are you hesitant to create a downloadable sound effects store because of this?

How do you keep creating sound effects when you have other responsibilities?

Maybe for you it’s more general. Perhaps you’re stuck in your edit suite deciphering a deal memo when you’d rather be cutting.

The idea can be applied to any task that takes you away from creating what you love.

This week I’ll share one reason why this happens and what you can do about it. I’ll have suggestions for Web shop owners but the concept can be applied generally too.

I’ve also included one trick I’m using that helps me get away from my desk and into the streets field recording more sound effects.

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11 Tips for Field Recordists to Keep Busy Off-Season

Winter in Canada isn’t as frigid as the stereotype would lead you to believe. Just the same field recording sound effects during winter just isn’t practical.

Fumbling around with recording equipment in gloves and boots is a hassle. Field recording often requires prolonged sessions outside. This just isn’t possible when the weather is terrible.

I imagine it’s the same for northern Europe and America. Although those of you in the south don’t have cold to contend with, you can substitute the words downtime, heat wave or rainy season for winter.

Every freelancer knows the cycle of feast and famine: sometimes you’re too busy to bathe, other times there’s nothing going on. This is something I’m currently experiencing in the post-Christmas slow period.

So, what do you do as a field recordist in the off-season? How do you remain creative, active and grow when you can’t get out there and record sound fx?

Here are some ideas.

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In my last post I wrote about a few useful apps that help me get work done and return to field recording quickly. I covered sound converters, writing apps and administrative apps.

This post we’ll look at more apps that can help you work better, organize your sound effects library and get back recording faster. I’ll highlight utilities, internet, website coding apps and social media apps.

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I’ve spent almost 15 years recording sound effects for Airborne Sound. On any given day I’d rather be out in the world field recording but the necessity of digital audio means field recordists need to work in dark rooms with computers.

I’ve made a list of outstanding apps that help me work better and return to field recording quickly. This list doesn’t specifically apply to sound editing. If you’re working with a sound effects library on a computer you’ll likely need these kind of apps at some point.

I chose these programs based on:

  • productivity – does they save me time?
  • usefulness – do they fill a need?
  • aesthetic – is the app designed with the user in mind? Is it easy on the eyes, making for a more smoother, pleasant experience? I’m a sucker for the ‘Mac look’ and interface.

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