7 Fresh Tips for Dealing With Sound FX Gatekeepers


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A few months ago, I interviewed René Coronado. René is a field recordist, and host of the popular Tonebenders podcast.

In that article, René described his experiences capturing sound effects for his Echo | Collective: Fields Web shop while highlighting one vital field recording skill: working with gatekeepers.

Recently René shared more tips with me that he found in an unlikely source: the financial magazine, Forbes.

Gatekeepers and Sound Effects

If you recall from the earlier article, we saw that capturing rare and valuable sound effects isn’t as easy the common traffic, birds, waves, and wind sounds around us. In most cases, the more valuable a sound clip is, the harder it is to capture. Some of this has to do with the technical skill required to ensnare it. In many cases, though, the sound effect is protected as well. Cool sound clips like stadium crowds, military vehicles, and exotic animals are almost always tucked behind people known as gatekeepers.

Gatekeepers are important people that permit (or deny) access to sound effects. That post explained who gatekeepers are, why they are valuable, and how to work with them. René shared his tips for working with gatekeepers to capture hockey crowds, helicopter recordings, and ranch and rodeo sounds.

Gatekeepers and Forbes Magazine

What does this have to do with Forbes? That’s a business magazine. Well, the article doesn’t mention field recording directly. Instead, the tips are aimed toward sales. How can that help you capture sound effects?

Gatekeepers are not unique to field recording. They’re common to sales, too. Often you need to peel away layers of personnel to reach the right person to make a pitch, or close a sale.

In “The 7 Strategies For Getting Past Gatekeepers”, Forbes writer Cheryl Conner explores a new book called The Key to the Gate by EksAyn Anderson. That book shares seven tips for getting past gatekeepers. They are:

  1. Aim high.
  2. Treat gatekeepers like gold.
  3. Use a personal touch.
  4. Learn “jiujitsu email.”
  5. Integrity counts.
  6. Learn the art of getting your way.
  7. Learn to put it all together.

Naturally, those tips are tailored towards sales and pitches. As René noted when he shared the article with me, they’re helpful to field recording, too. After all, whether you’re trying to sell real estate or capture the sounds of a snow leopard, they both have one thing in common: you’re dealing with experienced, respected people who make the decision whether or not you succeed.

Look at the seven sales tips through the lens of field recording sound effects. Tips 1 – 5 are particularly golden. They’ll give you new ideas, and make you feel more comfortable dealing with gatekeepers to capture those elusive, precious sound fx.

Check out the Forbes article.

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