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In this episode of Sound Design Live, I am joined by long-term festival patch monkey Beth O’Leary. We discuss audio riders and what separates the successful ones from those destined to create chaos at changeover.
- Advancing the Plot
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making who are new to creating stage plots?
- If you could wave a magic wand, what would the ideal stage plot look like?
- Tell us about the biggest or maybe most painful mistake you’ve made on the job and how you recovered.
- From Lou Kohley: What software is standard for stage plots?
- What’s in your work bag?
I don’t care what brand of bass amp you have. I don’t care who’s a vegan. Put channel numbers on the riser.Beth O’Leary
- All music in this episode by Alejandro Magaña Martinez.
- Workbag: DBbox2, Rat Sniffer, Sennheiser e 604, RF Explorer
- Books: The Ultimate Live Sound Operators Handbook
- Podcasts: Freakonomics, The Biscuit Sessions, SoundGirls Podcast
- April Tucker: How to get started in dialog editing
- Stage Plot Pro
- Most companies here don’t have an HR department. No one else is looking after your career progression so you really have to work on it yourself.
- I am the idiot test. If there’s anything that can be misunderstood about your stage plot, I’ll misunderstand it.
- The best thing you can do is put the channel numbers on the riser. I don’t care what brand of bass amp you have. You can’t presume that it’s obvious. Just put the numbers on the stage plot.
- If you have a clipboard to go with the paper you look a lot more official.
- It’s obvious to us that we’re working on the problem, but it’s not obvious to the client. Just taking a couple of minutes to make that clear makes all the difference.
- You need to have something that’s completely unrelated to shore you up.
This transcript was automatically generated. Please let me know if you discover any errors.
I’m Nathan Lively and today I’m joined by long term festival patch monkey from Village Fete to the main stage at Redding Festival, Beth has read and interpreted countless audio writers and knows what separates the successful ones from those destined to create chaos that change over. Beth O’Leary, welcome to Sound Design Live.
Thanks for having me.
OK, so you just explained this to me. But but let’s just get it on the recording again. For Americans, what is a fate?
Yeah, so a fete is like a local kind of affair, basically. So if you do a village fete, then it’s like it’s really small time, teeny tiny stages.
So, Beth, I definitely want to talk to you about, you know, some of the great stage plot mishaps that you’ve run across. But before I do that, after you get, you know, a sound system set up or if you’re working on the stage, maybe you’re sitting at the monitor system was maybe one of the first pieces of music that you’re going to play to get familiar with it.
Yeah, well, I don’t find myself in front of the system very often, but if I do, I usually quite like listening to stuff that has a lot going on in it. So maybe to step by Dave Matthews Band. Or tightrope by Janelle Monae. Some people talk about it like they know all about you when you get down about you feel you develop the things that they can diplomacy to, about, about or if it’s a it depends on the gig, I guess maybe some Rage Against the Machine Ghost of Tom Joad.
Something nice and big and heavy.
Yes. All right, so how do you get your first job in audio, like what was your first paying gig? Now, this is a bit confusing, so I got into audio. This is going to be this British translation again. So in the UK, universities have like students unions, which is kind of like a hub where everyone goes and there’s like restaurants and venues and stuff like that. So I started working there. They had a student committee that you could join in and they teach you everything you needed to know.
But you also work for free, like we worked for CD vouchers. That’s how old I am for any of the younger listeners. But if that was money, it would have been like fifty an hour. It was not really a paying job. But during that we had like an intense training week and the head of audio from a local company came in and was teaching us desks. And I kind of said, you know, I’m really interested in doing more of this.
And he he asked if I wanted to come and help on this festival that was on a boating lake. So front of house and the audience were on the the mainland. And then the stage was a pagoda in the middle of a boating lake.
And all that was your first gig. Awesome.
And all the gear and all the bands were transported back and forth by motorized swan. Sure.
I believe all of this, by the way, how would I make that up? So that was that was the start, I guess.
Wow. And so so just remind me again, how did you get that gig? Someone was training, doing some training, and you were there and he just said you. Yeah. OK, so I’d love to zoom in on another point in your career. I’m always kind of curious, like what was like the very starting point. And like, if you could pick out another point in your career where you made maybe a hard left turn or you just felt like I’m going to do something completely different or I’m going to stop doing this thing and only do this thing now.
So the question is, looking back on your career so far, what’s one of the best decisions you made to get more of the work that you really love?
I’m trying to think of a diplomatic way of saying this. What do you mean by diplomatic but talk? So I think a big thing for me was really stepping up, expanding my client base, because I think I’ve seen it with other people as well, where you get in with a company or a couple of companies and you kind of go, OK, I’m starting at the bottom, but if I work hard.
Well, yeah, but you’re comfortable. You know, the people there. But you’re like, if I just you know, I’m getting the lower roles at the moment.
But if I just keep going and going, I’ll progress.
And then for me, I was doing that with a couple of companies, and especially where I live in Sheffield, in England, it’s it’s really central. But there’s not a huge audio presence here in a way. So you kind of have to push in like talk to people, like talk to companies from other cities. And I kind of found myself a little bit in a rut. And, you know, the companies, you know, when when people kind of treat you like you’re still the same person as they first met you.
And I was just kind of not really going anywhere. So pushing to get in with other companies to make new connections really helped open that up. And kind of a bit of a fresh start and a bit of a change of pace.
OK, and how did you know to do that? Did did someone else suggest that to you or you were just feeling like, OK, I’m feeling stuck, I need to branch out a bit of both.
I mean, it kind of got to the point where I was kind of like, oh, some some new people were kind of skipping me in the ranks kind of thing. And, you know, some people some people are new and they’re super talented and that’s fine. But it kind of got to the point where I was like, wait a minute, that guy is no better than me. Something’s going on here. So I was just kind of like, yeah, no, it’s not it’s not that there’s bad blood between me and those people or anything like that.
It’s just kind of got a bit stale, needed a bit of a change. And I still work for those companies as well. But now that it’s kind of a bit more spread out, I think that’s a bit better for all of us, really.
Would you agree that it’s it’s sort of difficult to to know what the path is or the things in in pro audio? It’s sort of difficult to know what you need to do to progress. Or do you feel like that’s pretty clear to you now, looking back?
I think it can be tough because we know we don’t have a very regimented industry at all. Like, you don’t have to have qualifications. You don’t have to have gone to a certain university. And most of us are freelancers. So you can’t kind of go, oh, well, I’m the assistant manager now. I want to be the manager. You’re kind of like, well, this week I’m doing this job and then next week I’m going to be doing that job.
So you don’t really know. It’s hard without hindsight to know exactly how your career is progressing. And I think as well, some people some people, you know, get going really quickly and that’s great. But some people it does take a bit longer and it’s hard to tell whether you should just keep at it or whether. You should try a different tack. I’m not sure if that actually answered the question. No, that’s really helpful. I mean, instead of generalizing you just like you have to keep trying things until you find the things that work for you that help you stand out.
Have you whatever it is that’s going to help you move forward? Probably no one is going to be able to tell you exactly what it is, especially for you and your conditions and your location and like all those things that add up to, you know, having a growing career and providing them.
And it’s hard as well, because, like most companies don’t have an H.R. department or anything like that, because I know on a few forums, especially forums with a lot of American women on it, maybe people who work in theaters or something about that, where it’s a bit more structured. If there’s a problem, people are like, oh, we’ll just talk to H.R. It’s like there is no H.R. in any in any companies I work for. So, you know, no one else is looking after your career progression.
You really have to work on it yourself because, you know, you’re not an employee. So they’re not really that bothered.
Yeah, good point. Yes. Well, let’s dove into talking about stage blood. So at the most recent Lifeson summit, you did this great presentation all about stage blood. It’s called advancing the plot. If people want to see it, it’s a live Sound Design Live 20 20 Sound Design Live Dotcom. But it was great. You showed us like a lot of things that you’ve seen people do wrong. People do right what you prefer to see. And you are in the best position to talk about this because you are the one that has to interpret these on a regular basis.
And I don’t know if I’m going to get it right. But one of my favorite quotes from your presentation is you saying I am the idiot test. If there’s anything that can be misunderstood about your stage, but I will misunderstand it. Is that right?
Yeah. Like how that’s what you took away, was it?
And now not that you’re an idiot, but that, you know, in the rush of like doing the job and doing things quickly, like I felt like what you were really highlighting is how important the clarity of these documents is, and that if you have anything on there that could be misunderstood, like something in the wrong place or spelled wrong or just the wrong, you know, you know, then it has to be all super clear, I guess.
Yeah, I think I think something I didn’t really make clear in the presentation was, you know, especially for festivals, you might be like, oh, well, it’s only one small difference, you know, or that’s pretty clear. But but you don’t know who else have been interacting with on that day. And some people, their stuff is just an absolute mess. And, you know, they might be nice people, but they take up all my energy and all my mental ability to work with them.
And they’re, you know, people who bring half their own line system and then want to integrate it with yours. And it’s just like, oh, my God.
So so if you’re someone who’s seeing me eight hours into that shift, things might be misinterpreted unless you’re crystal clear. And I know and not to sound bigheaded, but I am one of the more experienced people doing this. If I misinterpret it, then if you’re going to a smaller festival or, you know, working with a newer person, they don’t stand a chance of understanding what you’re doing. So you know anything, it only takes a few seconds to clear it up.
But those are seconds that you could be spending, getting your sound right instead of messing about with this stuff. Totally.
So let’s talk about some of those things that you have misunderstood and that you’ve seen other people misunderstand. You know, what are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making who are creating their own stage plots?
I think just the main thing that audio people do, because I know when musicians make their own stage plots, it’s a whole different level of vagueness, which is not helpful.
But for audio people, it’s mainly people go crazy with, like getting the perfect to the MM.
Actual diagram of their exact set up, like, you know, painting different man’s actual face onto the you know, you’re absolutely perfect, but then absolutely crammed full of stuff and very little of it is actually the information that I need is like I don’t care what brand of amp you have, I don’t care whether you’re a bassist is a vegetarian, like the amount of stuff that people put on there. There is nothing to do with what I need.
But then they won’t have like the best thing you can do is put the channel numbers on each riser or like area of equipment.
So I know exactly where everything is. And so many people have these full on diagrams, but they don’t have any numbers on them. And it’s like, OK, your guitar is probably where that guitar channel is going to go. I get that. But like things like playback, a lot of the time it’s on the drum riser.
Not necessarily could be a monitor world. It could be anywhere or sounds are a big thing because obviously they’re usually in the pedal board, usually in a bass paddleboard, but not always. Sometimes they’re a. On the AMP, and it’s like you can’t just presume that it’s obvious and it’s not that this stage person is a dumb ass for not knowing, it’s because they’ve seen lots of different set ups and there’s not one way to do it. So just put the numbers on the on the picture.
We’ve ever seen anyone successfully include humor in their stage plot? Yeah, yeah, it was an example.
I’ve always wanted to do that. And then I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. It’ll be misunderstood. And then they’ll create confusion. So. So tell me something funny you’ve seen on a stage, but.
Well, I’ve seen a few where instead of people in the band, they have like little pictures of kittens and bunnies, which is. Which is nice. Yeah.
Um, or just big smiley faces like, you know, like emoji almost drawn on, you know, it’s humor more works for kind of supporting notes rather than the essential information. Like if you’re going to be like, oh, our front man is a is a lunatic. He, you know, runs through the crowd, he does X, Y, Z, and you can like you can be funny with it while getting the point across it. You know, you need to tape the hell out of the vocal mike or something like that.
But yeah, kind of joking around with who I want to be to fifty two of my overheads.
And it’s just like I can tell you’re joking, someone might not like OK, so we’ve talked about some things that can be misinterpreted and things that need to be clear. Is there a standard template like if you could wave a magic wand, is there an ideal stage plot?
It depends on your setup. So I really like those ones. That is just one page with the stage plot. And then you’ve got the channel list on the same page that you’re not flicking back and forth trying to go like, oh, channels eight to ten. What actually are they? It always helps to have a second page with more detail of like what mix you need, what stands and all that kind of stuff. But yeah, that’s they’re really nice.
There’s a software called Stage Plot Pro that does really nice, clear diagrams for you, which does all that one page stuff. But it really, you know, it really depends on your band. Like if you’ve got 100 channels and stuff going all over the place, don’t try to cram it all in onto one page. That’s fine. I think it’s a is much about white space as about getting the information across, I think because if there’s just too much stuff shoved in with, like, tiny, tiny writing, it’s like it’s not going to help anything at this point.
Are you do you have like a binder full of the stuff or are you just opening this up on your phone or an iPad?
I, I like to have the paper. I know some people like to have iPads or tablets, but I am very clumsy and forgetful. So I like to have paper and at least one spare copy because the amount of times I have left my paperwork on a different browser when it’s gone on stage, including including shows that are televised. So yeah.
So hopefully they never noticed that. But yeah, I always end up losing, at least for at least part of the day. So on paper I can roll up. I usually have like cargo shorts armed with big pockets, so I just roll up the paper, shove it in my pocket. So I’ve always got it with me because I’m looking at it constantly. I’ve done some gigs where I haven’t been able to print stuff off. And, you know, I’ve been looking at stuff on my phone, but it’s a lot of the time, unfortunately, it tends to be corporate events that do that.
And then the client is watching me and they think I’m just like on my phone the whole time.
Oh, man, I’ve run into that problem, too. I won’t tell the whole story. But yes, this has happened to me and exactly on a corporate event where we were using our phones for communication.
And so I had the two looking at his phone often to get information from me and ended up being a huge problem later down the line. The client never said anything to us in the moment, but later on they’re like, hey, the audio guy was on his phone the whole time. And yeah, so that’s the end of my short story. But, you know, I learned my lesson, like, you have to make that stuff really clear and I don’t know how you would handle that otherwise except to say to the client, hey, we’re going to be using our phones for communication.
So if it ever looks like we’re ignoring you or if we’re playing games.
Yeah. So I’m not sure the best way to handle that. But is that similar to what happened to you?
Uh, yeah. I mean, hopefully they didn’t make an official complaint about it, but I think you can see their faces sometimes that they’re kind of like, why did you keep checking your phone? It’s like because I’m looking at your Facebook. And again, you know, if you need to make any changes or anything, it’s so much easier on paper to try. And if you’ve got a PDF on your phone that you’re trying to look at and then you’re like, oh, but that’s not actually that anymore.
And it’s just like I find it much easier. Just use paper and. Yeah, go old school.
You know, I want to say one more thing about this, because I was just remembering that also at Lifeson summit, Drew Bresler made a presentation and one tiny thing he mentioned that stuck with me was that he doesn’t use his phone. He uses pen and paper when he’s taking notes with people and then later puts it into his phone just because he’s found. That people have a different reaction with them when he’s using his phone, and I wonder if that’ll change in 10 years and everyone will, you know, it won’t be a confusion anymore.
But I’m just remembering he also talked about how people sort of misunderstand that.
So, yeah, I think it’s still especially if you’ve got a clipboard to go with the paper.
I think people think you’re a lot more organized and an official than if you’re just like tapping things into a notes up in your phone, which is just as effective. But yeah, it’s the appearance of it that’s unfortunately still a little bit of a problem.
Wow. I think you just saw this. All I need is a clipboard. I put my phone on that and then it looks official. Yeah. All right. We solved it. Thanks, Beth. Well, see you later. OK, bye. All right, Beth, I feel like you have a lot of good stories, so I’d like to hear another story.
And I’d like to hear about a time that you feel like you screwed up and maybe it was big, maybe it was painful and sort of what happened afterwards. Just one story.
Yeah. The one time you made a big mistake that one time, remember? Uh, no, I don’t think I did. Um, again, I guess talking about talking about I saw someone else made a big mistake.
Yes. My friend. My friend had a terrible gig. No, I mean, I’ve made loads of mistakes over the years and it’s hard not to dwell on them and to kind of beat yourself up about it. But you’ve just got to kind of accept that these things happen and move on and try and do better next time. But I think probably if we’re talking about client communication, one of my worst gigs, annoyingly, was the first gig I did for a company and was my last year.
So I was doing front of for a corporate gig.
So a whole bunch of love mikes in a really, really difficult room could not stop them ringing. It was awful. We had a rehearsal day and then we had the show day and I stayed late and I came in early and I talked to other engineers about what I could do to fix it because, you know, EKU was just not doing anything annoyingly. Looking back on it, I think because I had an in-house take with me and I kind of followed his lead a bit too much because I was like, well, he works in this room all the time.
He knows when actually he wasn’t an amazing tech, unfortunately, but so I worked really hard to try and fix it. But I never took that time to stop and say to the client, hey, I know this is a problem. I am working on it. I just presumed it was obvious that I was working on it. And I have a little bit of resting bitch face, especially when I’m focusing on now.
So this, you know, the client, all she saw was me just like looking angry. And I guess because I wasn’t running around and like, I was at the desk the whole time, which is, you know, how you fix it. But if you’re not technical, you don’t know that. And so I didn’t communicate properly. So she didn’t say anything at the time. It wasn’t as bad for the actual show, but they were still ringing.
There were still problems. And then all smiles and said thanks and said bye and then sent an email to the office complaining not just about my competence, but my attitude. And yeah.
So that was the last show I ever did for them, which I was like, yeah, I was devastated because it’s like, OK, I don’t know everything in the world. I’m not perfect. But like I like to think that I have the right attitude and I would never be rude to someone or anything like that. But, you know, with hindsight, I could see that I should have been clearer about what I was doing, because it’s not it’s obvious to us that we’re working on the problem, but it’s not obvious to the client.
So just taking a couple of minutes to make that clear is it makes all the difference, I think.
Wow, what a tough lesson to learn. Yeah, it’s funny. It’s this weird combination of often working alone, right.
Where you’re sort of like in charge of managing various people and their expectations and communications and you’re trying to do this technical job and it’s maybe in a place you’ve never been to before and maybe there’s some gear thrown into the mix. And ultimately, I think this is what makes the job continually sort of interesting for us. Right. We’re not going to the same office every day. We’re not always using the same tools every day. And so variety is important.
But then, you know, I don’t know I don’t know how to wrap this up except to say that it’s it’s challenging. And even sometimes when we feel like we’re doing our best to handle it, that’s not what’s visible. Mhm. Right. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I don’t know what there’s nothing else that you could have done differently except as you mentioned, tried to communicate to them, hey, here’s what’s going on.
So I just don’t think that, you know, I’m angry, but I think, you know, it’s a shame that I lost that client. But it was a good lesson to learn. Of like and it was quite a long time ago now, so it was a good lesson to learn early on that just just a couple of sentences. You don’t need to go into the technical details of what’s going on. But just a couple of sentences to to let them know, you know, there’s a problem.
You’re working on it. You are you know, they are your priority and then they don’t need to worry about it. Is it makes all the difference, I think.
OK, so luckly similar question to ask you is that what software is the standard for use? Now you mentioned stage Platero, but do you consider that the standard or is there something that is the standard?
I think that’s the standard. That’s the the the style the template I see most coming through. I mean, it’s you don’t have to have it at all. Like it’s a paid for thing. You can get a free trial. So if you’re confident that your band’s not going to change anything, you can you can do it in the free trial and counsel. But it’s totally not necessarily like you don’t need like I would much rather have a handwritten as long as your handwriting is clear, a handwritten plot with the information I need in it, then all bells and whistles, fancy slick looking picture, a picture of a gig with nothing on it, which I’ve seen quite a few times.
Sure. So, yeah, I know everyone loves to have the software and sometimes it can be, you know, if you’re doing a whole bunch of plots for a whole bunch of different people, that it really speeds up the process. But, you know, MAPP paint and an Excel spreadsheet is just fine.
You know, Beth, what’s in your work bag like?
Are there a couple of interesting or unique items that you think you could share with us?
I would say the most useful thing I own is a dB box, too, which is like it’s a signal generator and headphone amp in one. So and it’s got a little speaker on it. So basically any line system issues, you can chase it and it does analog, a midi, whole bunch of stuff and it’s all just one box. So it’s really useful is really got me out of a hole quite a few times. Apart from that, what do I have.
I’ve got when I’m doing patch stuff. I’ve got a little easier so far with the clip broken off. I didn’t break it off. It was broken. That’s why I’m using it with Jack to Axler on a carabiner. So I have it on my belt all the time. And that’s for line checking. You know, if something’s wrong, if something’s wrong with a channel, the first thing you should do is just put a mike on the line and check that the line is clean.
And, you know, so you can say to the back line text that this is your problem and then Jack Weeks so you can get it into a dB so that, again, that’s super useful. Use it a lot. What else do I have? I got given a Rutzen it for the last two hours zone. That was nice. Thanks Buzz.
And for people who don’t know rats never is. Yeah, explain that. It’s a little bit like a phantom power checker.
It’s, it’s a little tube, an extra tube that comes apart into pieces and it’s got little LEDs on it. And so when you plug one end in to one end of your signal chain and the other end into the other, you can see whether you’re actually forming a signal chain. And if a leg is down or the phantom power is not coming through, the different patterns on the LED will tell you what the problem is as super useful. And what I’ve got, I’ve got no RF Explorer, which again is hand-held portable RF scanner I’ve got.
I actually plug that into a little omni antenna rather than using the antenna that comes with it. Just because an RFQ I know said that is really helps with its efficacy. So that’s again quite handy to try and because you can walk around with it, you know, it’s great to do a scan with a unit, but if you’ve got issues, if you’ve got interference, you can walk around with the RF scanner and then find what it is that’s doing it.
Have you have you found anything like someone that’s broadcasting that’s not supposed to be or something that’s on that’s not supposed to be?
Yeah. There’s been a couple of times where it turns out we were quite near like a small local TV station in the middle of London. Like where does this come from?
Or usually it’s cheap video. Well, that’s causing horrible, horrible issues.
But what about books? What’s one book that you feel like has been really helpful to you? I’m going to say let’s go and look at my bookshelf to find you’re not going to see it with my good. OK, it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s the ultimate Lives and Operators handbook, but oh, Bill Gibson call. Which is cool. It’s nice. It’s a you know, it’s all kind of it was aimed at it’s a big textbook but it’s aimed at beginners and it’s, you know, clear language and an accompanying DVD that got scratched up within about two days of owning it.
But, you know, it’s a nice idea to be able to actually hear what those. Talking about but I’m actually quite bad, like I don’t read many audiobooks is not the right word because no one reads audiobooks books about audio. Sure. You know, I’m all for book learning. I love reading books. But there’s just something about a lot of audio books that is just sucks the joy out of everything. I just don’t I just can’t stick with it.
So, I mean, I really I watch webinars. I did courses. So I even read manuals. I’ve read entire desk manuals. Yeah, but but books about audio. I don’t have that many.
I feel like there’s a difference in the urgency of the information. You know, like if there’s a desk that you’re going to use tomorrow and you’re reading the manual for it, like it all feels super important and interesting. You know, if it’s something that’s like just in case you might need some day sometime, like, it’s hard to get excited about that.
Yeah. It’s also kind of like especially if you’re reading about mixing, it’s quite difficult for me to retain that information or to to understand exactly what they mean without having a desk in front of me. And usually if I have a desk in front of me, I’m working in a busy so I don’t have time for reading books. It’s a bit of a catch 22.
Beth, tell me about your experience during quarantine. Are you sort of like stuck at home or are you doing education or are you, like, getting a few gigs? What what’s the what’s it been like for you?
I, um, at home I am mainly learning to code because I think it’s interesting and I’ve got some projects. Well, I mean, I’m just kind of chugging along with it. Learned a bit of python, little bit of see I’ve got some projects that I would like to be able to do in the long term. So I’m kind of just working towards that.
Can you tell us, are these secret, secret, secret.
But once you start thinking about it like us and I was kind of thinking maybe in my downtime, even like a couple of years ago before all this happened, I was like, oh, be cool to be able to, like, be a freelance programmer and fill in the gaps, which I’ve now found doesn’t really work in the programing world. It’s not really like us. But anyway. But you need to have your portfolio is like a GitHub page where you you host programs that any potential employer can like, play around with and look at your code and all that kind of stuff.
So I was I was like, oh God, I’ve got to think of like projects to make. I can’t think of anything. But once you start learning and once you start thinking, like so many times now I’ve been like, oh, I’d really like to be able to do that. Oh, maybe I can program it. So I’ve got and I think there are so many things to do with audio that could benefit from programing. And I know I’m not the only person learning to program, but there are a lot of people are getting on it.
So hopefully, after all, this is over. Silver lining is there’s going to be a million and one apps and ways to make our lives better.
So, yeah, fingers crossed. Yeah.
Well, keep us updated. I’d love to see what you’re working on eventually. Yeah. No secrets. It’s OK. Do you listen to any podcasts. Yeah. No audio.
No, that’s good. I just want to know like what are the one or two that you have to listen to every time they come out.
I love Freakonomics. I think that’s it’s really well put together and it’s super interesting. No matter what they’re talking about, they’ve, they make it really clear and fun. But also, like you do learn a lot about economics, which is not something I thought would be that important or interesting. But once you get into it, it’s it’s not just about economics. It’s about kind of how people think and behave and how a lot of the time it’s actually not intuitive and the results can surprise you.
So that’s quite cool.
Now’s a perfect time to start it. Just comment on that. That was a perfect time to be diving into that. Right, because we are stuck in this world where it feels like if the economy is in recession and people don’t behave in a certain way, like, for example, going to shows, then we don’t work anymore. And so I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that a little bit as well. Like, is there a way for us to sound engineers to diversify so that we can, like, balance out a little bit so that when the economy does this, we can do this other thing and when people aren’t going to shows and we have the next quarantine pandemic, then we can do this other thing like it is.
Have you been thinking about that a little bit? Is that kind of where your interest in like, let me learn some python came from? Yeah. So I mean, I’ve been thinking about this for years, partly because I was lucky enough to be on well, a couple of times over the last few years. So interesting. Not yeah. Not enough to actually fully stop me from working, but I had to work a lot less. And, you know, basically both times I couldn’t lift anything.
So there were lots of gigs I had to say no to. So that kind of it made me realize that, you know, work is not always going to keep coming and you’ve got to have a backup plan and preferably a backup plan that you can do that’s not physical and is in location independent would be perfect. So I think programing is one of those things. And yeah, I think I’ve been saying for a long time, you should have a backup plan, but not actually working on my own.
I’ve been meaning to do this, but I know a lot of people’s backup plans would be like, oh, well, you know, I tore rock and roll. If that dries up, I’ll go and do corporate work or I’ll go and do theater or I am in theater and I’m going to do in-house stuff. And it’s like it was all kind of just different parts of audio, which unfortunately the whole thing went away in one go.
And it’s really kind of driven home for me. I think that you need to have something that’s completely unrelated to shore you up and preferably, as I say, location independent. So for me, I’m not great with the winters, which is I know sounds really stupid, but like is that because winters are hard in Sheffield?
I mean, you’re in Minneapolis, so I’m not going to say this until the winter, is there? No, they’re like pretty mild, but it’s there’s just something about like not having enough hours of daylight makes me almost hibernate. So you’d like to go to the Southern Hemisphere.
Yeah. Or, you know, so in January I went to the Canaries for a couple of weeks, which is like as far South as Africa belongs to Spain, but it’s off the coast of Africa. And that made a big difference. You know, just I was happier. I was more active. I was more productive.
So it’s not authorized. Magali, isn’t that where he is? No, I don’t know.
OK, he’s the started void acoustics. Oh, right. OK, cool. Well, I’m probably going to go back if we can travel. I’m going to go back this winter so I’ll look it up. But yeah. So it’s not, it’s not the end of the world if I have to stay here for winter. But it’s kind of, you know, I’m not as productive and it’s just a bit meh. So if I can I was thinking, you know, if I love traveling as well.
So it’s like if I can travel and work at the same time, that’s fantastic. And programing is the way to go for something like that. But there’s a lot of audio stuff you can do as well. Like, I don’t know if you know April Tucker, she’s really active in sound girls. She does a lot of film and studio work. And so she put together like a little free course on how to get started in dialog editing, which is actually really interesting.
I watched it and read it and it was and she was like, well, that’s one of the kind of entry level jobs for the film side of things. And it can be done remotely. Is is almost always done remotely. Really. So that’s another avenue that I was looking at which be cool.
OK, so I interrupted you use, uh, Freakonomics and then you were going to say another one.
Yeah, I’ve started listening to the biscuit sessions from Anku Live, which is so the live is a couple of guys from the industry over here have put together a radio station that’s kind of, you know, music and chat, but it’s also talking about mental health in the industry.
And so the biscuit sessions is just two of those guys chatting and they have me on last week as well. So I kind of listened up. And it’s quite interesting. There’s not so many of them out yet, but it’s kind of it’s it’s like being back in the bus and just hearing other people chat about the industry and talking shop all day.
Cool. Oh, and the Sound Girls podcast have a bit of a plug for that back that’s got all kinds of people on it and talking about audio and and lots of other stuff. And it’s it’s a fun one. All right, Beth.
Well, where is the best place for people to follow your work sound girls?
I guess I blog for some girls. Not really about my work, just about general principles of audio and life. I don’t really have much else of an online presence. I mean, I’m on LinkedIn, but no, that’s great.
We’ll link to your your author or your contributor page on SoundGirls. Well, Beth, thank you so much for joining me on Sound Design Live.