Are you thinking about pursuing a career in audio production? If you have a passion for music recording you may think that a future in audio production is the way to go. It may be time to take a couple of steps back and really consider if this is the direction that you want to take. Here are some things to consider before you decide that you really want to make a career in audio production your goal.
Hobby or Profession?
Many people enjoy activities as a hobby, but when they start to pursue it as a full time career they discover that they wish they had just kept their passion as a side line. When you are considering which career to pursue, you should always do something that you love, but you have to consider the practical side of whether you really want to make your hobby a full time job. Will you lose your passion because it becomes part of the daily grind? How do I know about this? I’ve lived it! Many friends in the industry keep a day job and do this on the side. I have friends with “real” jobs at:
All of them make the bulk of their income Monday to Friday, then moonlight on the weekends. This is a great recipe for preventing burnout and having a flexible schedule.
The Competition is High
Jobs in audio production are scarce and there are a lot of people who are competing for those positions. There is a lot of luck involved in getting a job in audio production. It is difficult to get an unpaid internship, let alone get a full time job which is going to be enough to pay the bills.
There are many recording schools who are training a huge amount of audio recording specialists. There simply aren’t the jobs in the industry for all of these newly trained people, let alone all of those others out there who have experience in the industry. It can be very difficult to get even your first unpaid job. You have to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition. This is not easy and will test your resolve to pursue audio production as a career.
You Need to Be Innovative
As we have seen, it is difficult even to get an unpaid internship in audio production. If you want to get yourself noticed, you need to stand out from the crowd. You could have amazing skills, but you need something just that little bit extra to get yourself actually hired in the industry.
You have to have the personality to get yourself out there. To deal with rejection and still get back up and face another day looking for a job. Do you have the right personality to do this? Do you really want a career in this industry so much that you can take the rejection and carry on?
It is Hard Work
If you do find a job, paid or unpaid, you will be working long hours. Whilst you may have enjoyed audio production as a hobby, how will you feel when you are working minimum 12 hour days on a project that you are less than enthusiastic about? Until you get a lot of experience and can pick and choose your work (not many in the industry can do that) you will be working long hours on projects that you may not be enjoying.
The job has the potential to completely wreck your social life too! Many people think that it is a glamorous job, but it has long and very unsociable hours. Family and friends will have to understand that working into the early hours of the morning is a normal part of your working life. Staying until the early hours of the morning working on a project will become a daily work pattern. This can be very difficult for others to understand.
Not all Projects will be Enjoyable
When you are enjoying audio production as a hobby you are most likely enjoying it as a solitary pursuit. You have your studio set up and you are working on the projects that inspire you. When you are enjoying music production as a hobby you can work on the projects that you choose. You don’t have to work on projects that don’t interest you.
When you get a paid job in the music industry it is likely that, for at least some of the time, you will be working on projects that do not fit well into the type of music that you really enjoy. Even if you get a job in a recording studio which specializes in a type of music that you love, you may spend many hours working on projects which you simply don’t enjoy. You can love a style of music, but if a project is not something that you enjoy, you still have to make the best of it.
Can You Work with People Too?
What you must also remember is that in a paid job you will be dealing with people. You are making their artistic vision a reality. Your opinion may be valuable, but you are working with someone else to help create their vision. You can steer them in the direction that you want them to go, but if they do not like what you are doing, it is their call at the end of the day.
Consider how well you can work with different personalities. You can have amazing technical skills, but if you can’t work with the people who are employing you then a career in audio production is not for you. We are all aware that many people in the music industry can be highly opinionated. They have very strong views on how they want their final product to turn out. Can you deal with those strong personalities every day of the week? Read this for some pointers.
People skills really are one of the most overlooked aspects of the job but they should come very high on the list. It is essential that you can work with the artists. That may be a tall order as some of them will certainly be challenging to work with!
There are many skilled audio production engineers around, but the ones with great people skills are few and far between. If you have both talents, you have a huge advantage over the competition.
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