Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. -Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States
It’s more important than any technical training or piece of gear, and it is one of the most important topics I work on with my clients.
[Originally published in Behind The Mixer on February 12, 2015.]
It’s always a little bit of a letdown to ask a successful sound engineer how they got to where they are today. They usually guess at some combination of passion, hard work, luck, and pixie dust, but nobody ever says they got there by design. It’s easy to look back from a successful point in your career and say, simply, “follow your passion”; it’s a lot harder to give that advice from the most painful and challenging points of your career. That’s why I’m so fascinated with people like Dave Swallow and Ken “Pooch” Van Druten, who were able to push through those obstacles and follow their passion even when things were hard. There is a quality of attitude and a level of skill that they posses, whether they know it or not, that have made them successful.
One of the most important qualities you need to be successful in pro audio is to be unstoppable.
What does that mean, exactly? Should we be rude, pushy, and inappropriate to get what we want? Or should be be committed, but unattached?
Don’t accept no answer for an answer. –George Kao
The secret is to move like a river. When mountains are in your way, learn to flow around them. –Daniel Scott
Building a career in audio is challenging because it’s not a centuries-old trade with a proven career path. It requires daily, creative action to achieve your goals.
Stoppable: I applied for a job. They didn’t call me so I gave up.
UNSTOPPABLE: I applied for a job. They didn’t call me so I applied for another job, connected with two people at the company, sent my resume and show reel to two colleagues for feedback, and made a date with a friend who has had the same job before to ask them how they landed it.