Archives For productivity

Yin and Yang in Stone

courtesy ell brown


Shortly after the new year I made a list. It was my sound effects new year’s resolution list for 2012.

There were a dozen things on that list. Some were mundane tasks that I needed to finally complete. Some were exciting ideas like creating field recording apps and new websites. Others were events I wanted to record like races or festivals.

It’s now mid-May and that list keeps growing.

What about you? Is your ‘to record’ sound effects list outracing what you’re editing? Do you look back on your work week exhausted but have trouble naming exactly what you’ve done? Do you wish you could be doing more?

All this has made me think about the role of productivity in sound.

When people say they’re productive they mean they get things done. Sometimes it means doing things faster or better. It’s crossing off lists.

It’s no different with sound pros. It could be finishing designing the sound concept of a video game character. It could be capturing a 300 sound effects a year. Perhaps you need to deliver a completed TV episode by Friday.

I’ve been thinking lately how productivity applies to sound effects libraries, field recording and sound professionals. It’s actually a bit strange. I think sound pros face a unique challenge when trying to be productive.

In today’s article I’ll explain why. I’ll write why productivity works differently for sound effects field recordists and editors. I’ll share some ideas on how you can boost productivity and achieve goals.

In the following weeks I’ll offer specific tricks and tips for getting sound tasks done faster and better.

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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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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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