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In this episode of Sound Design Live, I talk with the founder of AV educate, Omar Colom. We discuss getting gigs, losing gigs, and networking.
- What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making who are new to event production?
- 10 Rules to be a Successful AV Technician
- “No one notices if you are 30m early, but just get there 10m late and you stand out as being late. Stand out for being a great technician, not for being late.”
- How can you stand out and be successful in a job where success is defined by basically being invisible. So if we only get noticed for mistakes, what is the motivation for high performance? Can I have a successful career if I’m a mediocre tech, but show up early and wear the right clothes?
- “The opposite of networking is not working.”
- What are some simple things I can do on a regular basis, either from home or on a show, that will help me build relationships without feeling gross?
- “No one notices if you are 30m early, but just get there 10m late and you stand out as being late. Stand out for being a great technician, not for being late.”
- Tell us about the biggest or maybe most painful mistake you’ve made on the job and how you recovered.
- From FB
- Lou Kohley: What does he see happening in the future? With everyone looking for work and a glut of experienced folks also competing for a limited number of jobs, how can you stand out in the crowd?
- What is a Cafezito and what did it try to kill me in Ft. Lauderdale?
Right now is the best time to build whatever it is you’re doing.Omar Colom
- All music in this episode by Steve Combs.
- AV Tech Talks
- Hardware: Atem Switcher, PCDI Box, DAC 70, Rode Podcaster, wrenches, screwdrivers, silver sharpie, SM58, espresso machine,
- Software: vMix
- Books: The Five Love Languages, The Backstage Handbook
- The first year I did nothing but pipe and drape and screens.
- Do not white glove anything. Do not let your ego get in the way.
- I’m a big guy on unknown unknowns. I’m smart enough to know I don’t know a lot of stuff.
- Don’t chase the money.
- Keep yourself relevant by using social media to promote your brand.
- I have a badass resume. No one’s going to read that.
- Usually what happens is that I book out my whole year before it even starts.
- Right now is the best time to build whatever it is you’re doing. If you have to get a job right now just to make ends meet, great, do that. Still dedicate 2-3 hours to building your brand.
This transcript was automatically generated. Please let me know if you discover any errors.
I’m Nathan Lively, and today I’m joined by the founder of AV Educate, Omar Colom.
Omar, welcome to Sound Design Live.
Nathan, thanks for having me here, man. I love it.
So, Omar, definitely want to talk to you about getting gigs, I don’t know, losing gigs, networking. But before we do that, I’d love to know after you get a system set up for the first time.
So I guess in your case would often be a video system playback system.
What’s one of the first pieces of music or some kind of audio you like to play to make sure that everything’s working and just functioning correctly?
Such a hard question for me. So fun fact. I am not huge on music. I do like Electric Swing, which is a weird category. I know, but that’s it’s something I like one of my more kind of go to things on shows. That is a swing box.
I feel like it’s a little bit above jazz and a little bit below swinging, the people kind of like, let me play it out and don’t complain about it too much. OK, sure. I don’t have a broad palette of music choices, to be honest. I’m very narrow and it’s good to get along with your colleagues. Yes.
So, Omar, how do you get your first job in live event production? Like what was your first paying gig?
First paying gig. Right. Was the media stage. So, you know, the untold story of myself is that my father owns a Navy company in South Florida. And I, I kind of grew up in the industry. My uncle is a lighting designer. My brother’s in cinematography. My dad owns a Navy company. So I was kind of going this route regardless. But in high school, I did theater and I did production. All right. I’m sorry.
Theater and broadcast all four years is like my always my electives with those those electives. And then I joined the military for a while when I got out and was like, hey, are you coming into the business? What’s going on? I was like, yeah, I’m coming back.
And you come into the business, but you got as far as far north as Miami. Yeah, pretty much. Pretty much. But yeah, it’s kind of like that’s my into the industry. And I would, I would say, yeah, my first paying gig was again, but I will say I started off so I did six years with them for of freelance and became like an engineer in person. I am now. I started off and this is my father’s doing mostly he’s he’s, he’s a you know, you’ve got to you’ve got to earn your your your, your stripes kind of got guy.
So it was the first about the first year almost. I did nothing but pipe and drape and screens. OK.
Oh wow. Oh wow. Everyone’s favorite. So I was in the warehouse all I mean I did show size. I was setting loading trucks, unloading trucks, building stuff out. I still to this day but he would not let me leave that apartment. I had to manage at all and I got really good at it. And then as I was doing that, I was being cross-trained because it’s where I want to go. I because in between video and helping out like run the warehouse.
So I learned a lot of audio, lot lighting. Some are very competent, a tool to be to. But my passion was video. And then after about that year marked OK, you’ve you’ve earned your right to now do more video stuff and kind of go to that department. So then I was for another year in charge of this Froufrou and Senik department, whatever, but also like assisting in the video. And then after a few years and I got to be, you know, just video and then they brought somebody else in to do that.
I was like, oh, thank God. But then it was so. So the irony to that is that then the other guys have taken over and I would get mad that he wasn’t doing these are the standards that I would do them at. So I was like I was still inserting myself that drive. Yeah, exactly. There’s a way fast way to do this. What are you doing, man? He’s like, not as how I do it.
No, no, it’s not it.
You know what? It’s not my department anymore, man. Do how you want, how you want.
So I’m curious, does your father still hire you when we’re not in quarantine? Are you one of his freelancers? Guess.
Is that too far away? I don’t know. I would say I at my dad maybe once or twice a year, my dad and me are great together as father and son. My father raised me, by the way, in the teenage years. My parents divorced when we were young and we get along but and work. I call him a slave driver. He’s OK. You know, it’s like he’s on me like this. A family. These are not it’s hard.
I mean, it’s like. Yeah, you know, I give them, you know, because of the military getting the respect. Yes, sir. No, sir. I call them Oscar and call my father in public. But when we were together, you can see the tension that people like you. Who is this kid? Oh, that’s so like we try to not work together too much, but yeah, when he can and he needs it, I’ll jump in there.
And there has been calls I like, hey, we need a guy like oh yeah, I’ll be there. Don’t worry. OK, cool.
So I’ma all the stuff has happened to you, all these different jobs and living different places and relationships and the military. I’m curious if you could take us to maybe one point in your life when you felt like there was a big turn. I find that with a lot of people that I talk to, sometimes there’s many points like this. But there’s usually one point in your life. You decide, OK, I’m going to make a change or something happens to you.
Maybe someone else makes the decision. So I’m curious, looking back on your career so far, what do you think is one of the best decisions you made to get more of the work that you really love?
I don’t know, man. It’s a tricky one. You know, there’s a lot of those points in my life where I was. You know, I have that rule, not a rule, I kind of a thing where if you hear the same thing with three different people who don’t know each other, there is factuality to that comment. Right. So, like, if someone says something to you, whether it’s not the exact same verbiage, but it’s the same, actually.
And most of it is the same verbiage where like, you know, people say something to you, but it’s like through separate circles that you run into to say the same thing about you. There’s probably some validity to it. And you should you should recognize it and kind of make some adjustments. So I had a bunch of those in my life. I would say the biggest one as far as the Abe side was changing the mentality of of knowledge.
Right. So like what to do they be educators that came out of the necessity where I couldn’t find. A centralized location for all of it and everybody’s kind of sporadically working in their own silos and doing their own things, but again, if you don’t know somebody that knows that person, you know, there’s no brand ambassador for the for the community. Right. No one’s saying like, hey, by the way, if you want to learn audio and you want to learn some cool stuff, go Nathan Lively.
You want to learn some guerilla stuff, go to Alex Amphoras last name. But it’s the. Yes. Yes. It’s a tough one. Yeah. I was like, I don’t want to try it, but yeah, it’s like there’s these options that are out there. Right. There’s also the one for churches. There’s also video for churches, the subcommunities. A conference goes on every year. Like there’s all these plethora of knowledge out there. Right.
But there’s no one sharing that to say who to go to where and you got to find it out stumbled out on your own. Obviously, if you’re an established author like you, are you still on a book? Hey. Oh, and now oh, by the way, there’s a Web page and there’s an outlet like, oh, there’s all this other stuff you can do. Right. So that’s it adds to the value of what that book is.
But again, you have to search for that stuff and hunted down. And I was doing that for years and then I was talking to people constantly but was talking to Stagehand’s. And I always loved I was loved because of my father, primarily the mentality of do not do not like love anything and do not let your ego get in the way stuff. So I still to this day do search and work at stage and rates with close acquaintance of mine.
Like I know, I know the owners above the mark and I know the guys who run. It’s like these are friends of mine and they’ll call me once in a while like, hey, can you do this favor for me? I got to know more about it. And it’s good. It’s also good to connect with the people that I grew up in the industry with. And I kept hearing constantly, I want to learn this. I want to learn that.
I want to move into this business. I move to another position and I would just tell them, oh, there’s all the stuff. And then it kind of dawned on me like, hey, how do we learn more? Because you always know where to go. I was like, well, because I’ve been I researched, Tony, like, it’s all I do. It’s my passion. It’s learning and evolving myself, you know, so well.
One day I was competing with somebody and we were trying to disseminate information and kind of learn from each other. And it didn’t work out very well. It was very one sided. I got upset about it and a friend of mine said, hey, why don’t you just do your own thing? And then I like and again, this is like within the same maybe a few weeks of it, I had I had left the blue as the operations manager there with the team I was with.
I had left that position because of the whole buyout between seven. And I was I was doing training for the four of you at the time. I was fortunate enough that I I built enough reputation and skill set to say, hey, Omarosa stuff, let’s do a monthly newsletter and we’ll do the training part of it. So I was making these power points for the company, and when I left, I had two guys within it, literally like a two week period hit me up, say, hey, how come you have done any more PowerPoint?
And I’d only posted them on LinkedIn. Click I’m like that. Then these are super old. And I was like, man, I didn’t realize you guys even read it because it went on the newsletter, like whoever saw it, saw it or whatever. And then that was kind of like the like the last little straw. Like, you know what, I got to do something for that for my for my friends and family and everybody that I’ve been talking to, like just expand on it and then try to bring other people into it.
And I and I have been on the last almost three years now. I’ve been able to grow it and bring bring other industry insiders. I mean, Kevin ring from evolve that they post on any post there. And I’ve done a lot of their classes, you know, and I know projects a protected class. I know cameras. I still took a camera class. I know recording. I took like the fact that it’s there and I can learn something that, you know, I’m a big guy on unknown unknowns.
I don’t know what I don’t know yet. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know a lot of stuff and knows any class I’ve gone to. And I’ve met Eli talked me into Seijas. I did what he did. His classes, like I always learn something from him and like, honestly, like, yes, there’s a lot of things that I like. But there’s like that one tidbit I like and that one tidbit is the one I’m going to show it somewhere and shit hits the fan and it’s like, oh, I know it’s you.
I got you. And I do. My thing is because I learned it from that class, because you had that one little piece of information that I didn’t have before. Sure. You’re looking for an opportunity to be a problem solver, be the hero. Yes.
Yes, I like that verbiage. I’m wearing my shirts.
The hero here for the day. Tech hero tech your. Oh, that’s tech hero. That’s really cool, Omar. So so, Avi Educate kind of started out just as almost like an index or a library of where do I get these resources. And now it’s become a resource in itself. So how do you see it? You see it as a place where like people go to learn how to become AV technicians. Yeah.
So it’s a double edged sword for me because I run into a few problems with that model and I don’t know if what is a good term, but I’m still evolving it with the community. Right. I love when people contribute to the community. I love that because I’m also learning as well from it. And a lot of things that people post, I dive in there, I click on that link, I go down the rabbit hole for four thirty to forty minutes and I learn what I can from that little link.
Some of it sometimes ends up being just like a promo thing and that really educational. And I’m miss the person. Explain to me the value of this or I’ll take it down, because it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing, but for the most part, guys share content. Alex, there’s a lot of good stuff. You sure? Good stuff, Kevin. Good stuff. And I’ll dive in there for a little bit and look at it up to the point that I can obviously orders on my forte.
So I learn I learn what I can, but I will say something I’ve seen from you guys. I’ve been saying like, hey, I know how I get this conversation now.
You know, even when that one class, of course, I signed up for with you with this unknown sound vision or sound you’re doing, the accuser, I don’t remember which one it was.
It was one of the things it was it was like a year ago. But I in and you me talk for a bleep second. You’re like, oh shit. Almost here. And then you by the way, I’m teach in class, but I was in a car with somebody and they were diving into those subjects and I was like, oh, I know what you’re talking about. You know, like visually I knew what he was talking about, which is really cool.
But it’s the double edged sword. Sorry, is that on the one side? I, I think as an engineer, a lot of the top ones yourself, myself, anybody who’s doing classes, you always need to be learning to get better. The negative side to the way the average kid does it right now or that I feel is happening is that guys feel like they can go in there, read a couple of articles, systems, YouTube videos, and then like, let me just use my let’s say minus started write, for example.
I can go watch a ton of because of that and zoom, I can I can download the manual from maybe educate. I can I can do some pass and learn some things about you and hear from you guys and other guys but. My biggest thing always is like knowing what a leader does and when to use that fader, knowing what the EU does and when to use the EU properly. Those are two different things. So when you learn right, by going to school, by learning, by doing the online site, and when you gain from the experience and unfortunate for life, you need both you know, you need.
And school teaches you a lot of things, a lot of theory, a lot of theoretical. They give you some practice, which is good, because then you get a tactile feel to things, but it doesn’t teach you, you know, as a video engineer, when I’m switching cameras, knowing when to take that, when the one who’s speaking on what who’s doing what camera to take, like knowing those moments is from experience. That’s not because someone said, hey, make sure your cameras look.
No, but there’s multiple things going on. You know, I’m looking at here’s an example and I’ve done this. And if you guys watch the GoPro class, I’ve done right. I we did a walkthrough with Scott on the call with me. We did a walk through like in a life scenario. And I told you, OK, is what I’m looking for. I’m looking for the colors in the image. I’m looking for the I’m looking for the for camera example.
I’ll be looking for the focus, making sure my camera guys are in focus, make sure the image is clear, make sure the white balance is clear. And I’m constantly reevaluating my head, you know, looking at the shading of it. Is is it too dark? Is it too bright? Is a shirt washed out? Is the background blurred out on my crushing the blacks? These are things I’m actively thinking about while I’m taking that shot or before I take that shot.
So I got someone in the queue ready to go to the next shot. These are all things I think about before I hit the next next shot. And these are things that I’ve gained from experience because I know from experience, hey, that guy’s not really a camera to do Iraq, but was one I’m take your shot Carawan. He kelman’s live camera three X, Y, Z like it just builds on each other and you’re constantly checking these monitors.
And the more cameras you have, the more things you have. And hopefully the max I’ve done by myself, a six, but I had a good team with me. I had a severe guy shooting, thank God, because that would have been murder to my brain. But but again, that’s experience. Like, I can teach you how to shoot. I can shoot. You have a remote controller, doesn’t RSVP does. Right. Between the iris controls and the Crescenta of blacks and the colors and color balancing, I can teach you those things.
But knowing when to do that and what settings to do for what scenarios, because the thing with live is we constantly change the lighting, the background, the colors, the up lights, you know, am I doing energy lights in the back and I’m doing Fresno’s in the front. Like, that’s two different color temperatures now. So now how do we how do I get the lighting guy to make sure, hey, what are your what is your blue in the background?
What does that color temperature versus what you’re doing in the front, which it is finals. And then what are the projectors doing so that my image still is clear when I balanced the projectors or what about with the cameras. So I just a lot of variables you got to think, you think of and you don’t get that in a class. You can get the knowledge for those things in bits and pieces and then utilize them live. But again, knowing when to utilize that knowledge is, is the experience part that you need to get and unfortunately can offer that all the time.
We try to clone does a really cool one with projection, for example, where he brings you to a live set and you build on a live actual production and you built cameras, you set them up and you get arms. Are you able projectors, you set the projectors and you get to fine tune those things. I’ve done as class as well. So we became friends. We we talk still behind the scenes and everything, but those classes are great.
But they’re also limited because now you’ve learned this one way to do it for this scenario, but at least you’ve gained knowledge and experience in the real world. But you keep building that. And again, that’s the really big idea that you gain the knowledge you need to be ready for that moment when it comes essentially, but then gain the experience to know when to do those things is another key that I think in the life side is very, very important that you just can’t get anywhere else other than the way we do it, essentially.
Right? I mean.
Yeah, yeah. And I want to ask you more about this experience, but I also want to jump back to something you mentioned earlier, which is I’m realizing now that one way that our paths are the same is that it sounds like you and I both had a kind of a life changing event when the avy company that we were working for was bought out by PSV, which probably has happened to a lot of people. And then it sort of changed your life.
And for me, it meant I went back to working freelance and it sounded like it did the same thing for you.
Yeah. So maybe just goes around the world changing lives. Well, they’re doing it. They’re doing a big downsize right now.
Right. So who I was talking to. But he was saying that, yeah, they’re going to downsize big time. So like now there’s a market available, not a market, but now there’s an opportunity for some of these companies to come back, a boutique wave for these hotels now, which is cool. But then again, it’s like they’re going to let you kind of build your thing and then they’re going to buy you out.
Yeah. Yeah. But they’re globally now. I mean, and I don’t dislike the SUV, right. They they have a model that works and they’re massive and they’re growing it maybe be a monopoly. I’m just to throw it out there. But they’re growing it and they’re doing it the legal ways. But yeah, I mean, I’ve done some suffered because of you. I have friends and I have some very close friends that are higher ups and PSV who I talked to so frequently.
They do some cool stuff, man, and they have some good stuff that their show are actually pretty, pretty dope.
Yeah, I didn’t want to start like hating on them, I think. I’m sure they’re all fine too. I just thought it was interesting that that happened to you in the same way it happened to me that they. They bought the companies that we were working for and then that basically, however, it changed our lives. So you went into freelance? I went into freelance. I don’t know.
It’s so interesting. So a lot of people that I’ve met who I find to be really talented in the industry who are within PCV and they were savvy for a while. There was a company prior to this. Oh, my God. Given the name right now. A lot of people that I highly respected industry came from this one company, and they got bought out by PCV years ago, a long time ago, but that that owner got older and he decided, OK, I’m done with this industry, sold it out.
He offered tons of training in house, offered tons of opportunities for people to move up within the ladder. I think he did it very well. I can’t remember the name. Now, it’s going to bother me the rest of this time anyway. So it’ll come to you. Yeah, hopefully. But there was there’s a lot of people I’ve met who start out with these guys. And the same thing, they they they got bought out. They left their friends for a little bit, came back.
The the interesting thing from that is that there is a few people who I won’t mention because they I think they’re they’re hesitant of it, but that I’ve actually wanted to help many that are actually employees of PSV who won’t because of that fact. And I, I don’t understand the full. The full. I guess the reasoning behind that myself, because like you and me, it’s like, why hold yourself back over something that, you know, you’re like, you know what it was for me?
Honestly, it was that when that buyout happened, I didn’t feel so I knew the owner sub and you and your family, we communicated. I helped out a lot of stuff, the office and stuff. I had a relationship with him following the great guy. I just think he was know, tired of the constant, which I don’t blame coming from, you know, and my father and seeing what he sees in the back end of our company.
People are you know, people show that one face and then behind the curtains is another face and a lot of times when you’re the owner of something, you get to see the behind the behind the current face. And it’s not always the best. There are some very talented people in the industry who are super talented, super well-respected, but behind the curtains, they can be a little bit of an asshole.
OK, I’m just gonna throw that out there if you guys are running because everybody’s got their show face. Yeah, it was at the show face.
Right. Let’s go back to talking about some of these things that you learned through experience. So it’s interesting that you’ve kind of grown up doing avy you you know how things work behind the scenes because of your dad owning the TV company and now you’re running a TV educate as well as, like, you know, working on production still.
So I’m curious. I know there’s there’s lots in your presentation that Livestrong Summit was about this very topic, but I wondered if maybe you could just pick out like one or two some of the biggest mistakes you see people making who are new to event production. Oh, yeah.
So the money the biggest mistake is money. Don’t chase it. And I think that’s pretty big on that live event summit. I have a lot of people, so a lot of guys. What they are doing right is they they get in the street and they see this. I could be making X amount of dollars and they will they will cancel a show for another show because they’re going to pay them more for maybe the same time frame. I’m a big proponent of don’t do that, because in this industry we are small.
We are primarily word of mouth. You know, I haven’t paid for a single dollar for maybe educate over myself to promote who I am. Everything I’ve done is through word of mouth. I met you through word of mouth or actually I met you through ourselves. We connected, but it wasn’t like, hey, I know, right?
You know, we connected. So personal referral, person referral. So when you when you accept the gift from somebody, they’re trusting in your ability to do that. Right. When it comes to the labor, yes. You’re a cog in a big wheel. But that labor right. Is going to use you more if they can rely on you, if they call you to book you on to show this to the weeks in advance and you call them a week before, say, hey, I can’t do this once in a blue moon.
I understand it happens. Things things come up, my family comes up. Opportunities. It’s it’s not just the money, but it’s the show that going to be like, I’m gonna be on this Microsoft show. All right.
I’m surprised that you’ve seen this happen. Enough that it really stands out to you is one of the biggest problems, because I feel like I’ve only ever seen this happen once on a show that I was working on. And the projectionist quit a week before or two weeks before. And he basically became blacklisted. And we were all talking about it like, yeah, we’re not going to contract this guy with this guy anymore. That was still when I was working for an AV company and I was like, well, I’m never going to do that.
And that was the only time I’ve ever seen that. So apparently you’ve seen this happen a lot more than me.
Yeah, so on the more so, yeah. So I guess I’ll go in a little details about right. In your scenario. Yeah. I don’t see very often where guys are specialized in something. I don’t see them calling out or changing schedules because they, they’ve learned it. But the stagehand guys who I sometimes have to deal with, including when I was again with CBS, happened to lots of us. We would call guys ahead of time. We actually got we got superefficient what we were doing there, the company that’s kind of run our own our own property.
We had brought in a girl who did a great job for us just to do labor. And it was constantly like, hey, I call X, Y, Z person. They agree to this. And now yesterday they told me they can’t do it because they don’t have a better paying gig. When we do, I go, he disagreed.
So I put it at the bottom of list. That was like for instance, if it was someone I knew I worked with a lot and I was just like a one off thing, I’ll call and let him know, like, hey, man, you can be doing that. But but if you’re not. Yeah, I see a lot on my side, but mainly with stagehand and guys.
OK, so more for generalists and not get you are hired first.
OK, got to correct generalist the more specialized guys. Not so much. Usually one of your specialties, it’s for something in particular. So that’s a little bit different. But a lot of the journals I just stayed in level guys that I try to bring up that technician level side. A lot of those guys, I see it happening a lot and I feel like then I’m getting stuck in that repetitive cycle because they keep canceling and say, OK, well, and then those are the guys that are constant calling you for work because they can’t get work because like.
Yeah, but when I call you, you don’t always follow through, you know. So it’s a tough thing for me. Does that’s the biggest one. That’s the biggest mistake I see as a person of your word, I guess. Yeah, a lot of people listening now are like, hey, I’m a sound engineer. Why these guys keep talking about video? What the hell is going on? OK, well, we are going to not talk about audio today, but we are going to be talking more about kind of this idea of of building your career.
And in this can be maybe kind of a weird thing to talk about right now during a time when people are working. But it’s still so important. And when we do get back to working and being busy and, you know, there’s plenty of companies out there that are that are doing live streaming and broadcast stuff right now. So it’s not that people aren’t working, it’s just that things are really slow right now.
And so I still think this topic of how to be a successful AV technician and basically grow your career is really important because there’s no there’s no resource out there for this. Everyone just kind of has to figure it out on their own by making mistakes. And then eventually Omar calls you and he says, hey, man, you can’t be doing that anymore. So so your presentation, Live Sound Summit this year was called Ten Rules to be a successful AV Technician, or that was one of the subtitles.
And so I just wanted to dive into a couple of them that that sort of caught my eye. So at one point you said no one notices if you are 30 minutes early, but just get there 10 minutes late and you stand out as being late, stand out for being a great technician, not for being late. So I think this is a great quote to sort of jump into this topic of growth in our industry.
So at some point, everyone who works in this industry has this realization where, oh, it’s really hard to be remarkable and stand out in a job where basically success is defined by being invisible. Right. Because if I do a good job, then no one knows that there’s any problems with the sound and the sound just happens. And people think that it’s just magic sound and they go home and they don’t even know that there is such a thing as a sound engineer or a sound system.
So if we only get noticed for mistakes showing up like microphone feedback, audio dropouts, whatever, what is the motivation for me to become, you know, high performing and to grow and get better and to to work harder? How can I?
I guess what I’m wondering is, is it possible to have a successful career if I’m a mediocre tech, but I just, like, show up early and wear the right clothes? Yeah.
So, you know, I mean, yes, unfortunately, because here’s here’s another thing, too. I know some super talented, like genius level engineers that they charge a hefty amount and they get paid for here and there. Right. And it’s great, but they don’t always get cold because they’re not the best to hang around with. So like the other, do this again with their reputation building is that if you’re going to be on the road alive, you can be running with a crew or being called a lot.
You’ve also got to be a personable person. Like if you’re going to be the guy that’s always grumpy and talking shit and like the and this guy is always an asshole or he’s, you know, he’s cursing all day long or he’s he’s being rude to the clients or he’s always spewing paranoia stuff. You may not get as many calls, but if you’re the guy every time word comes out, we have a good time. He’s a hard worker, he’s hustling.
He always helps out. When he pitches in, he’s always there. You’re going to get more calls because you’re just good to hang around with. That’s the only thing in this industry that guys understand. We build these these niches. It’s clicks to the point where I have people that I call to say, hey, I can’t do this. I got you. Don’t worry. I’ll call one of my one of my company that I know will provide either my level of service or better than me and help that same client out because I’m not worried about the money side of this.
I’m not worried about any more about having that person out because they know, hey, I can’t do it. He’s got to give me the right person who’s going to super form to love I want or that I need. But if you just a you know, an asshole guy that shows up late and doesn’t do his job and you smell like crap and you you don’t look presentable when you’ve got to just say, well, I’m going to keep calling you, I need hands.
Yeah. When I need 80 hands, you’re on the list because I need hands. But when I need, like a small strike team or a small handful of guys, I’m going to call the guys that did I know we’re going to represent me well for recommending you because it’s still the thing about this whole industry. It’s still relationship based, like that whole nonsense about, you know, it’s just business that’s out the door now, at least not in this industry.
It’s about relationships. And if you are working for somebody, whether it’s a labor company, your friend or a company directly, if you don’t present yourself well in all aspects, not just in the technical side to their client, to the people that are around you, to the client’s client, to your own client, why am you calling you one and two, especially if I’m going on the road with you? I don’t want to hire someone who’s going to be boring or pain in my ass or going to cause problems on your side.
I don’t want to be seven days. I don’t be in a plane and I’ll tell and in the boardroom with you for seven days straight. If I got to be like, oh, I’m with this, OK, what do you know? I want to be like, yo, hey, man, good to see you. Let’s get some breakfast for a little bit. Let’s go. Let’s do some work. You know, I want to be able to have fun with you and back you up and any now we Mr.
Cute. But you didn’t give him the stuff on time. You just came up to him right now, not. Oh, he missed a cue off. I don’t know, man. That guy, I don’t know. But if we’re friends and we’re sociable, right. It’s like, well, hold on. Just there’s some backstory. And I didn’t just miss something. Something happened, you know, if I don’t like you. Yeah. I don’t know.
You just missed it. But but that guy, you know, it changes the conversation, change the way you work with people. So I think having that cohesiveness of team a team player, team hard worker and just being a person, it’s good to be around. And the people talk about in a good way builds that reputation you have and helps you move forward in your career. The other thing, too, is, again, like what you’re doing, what I’m doing, like learn what you can so that when those problems arise or yeah, rise, you have the you have the knowledge to fix it and then you become the go to guy.
Hey, I need to go on, on my show such unity because every time I have a problem in these breakouts, that guy real quick saw my problems and the client always gives me go and do that guy you had on here who saved us on so many occasions not. Oh yeah, you gave me this one guy in the break out. We had so many problems in them. He didn’t even help us. Like, he just my job is is the console.
I don’t I don’t know what’s going on with that. That’s not my problem. If you’re that guy, I don’t want to your story as you’re talking, I’m realizing like a part of this, is that a lot of people, including the client, don’t really understand the technical side of what we do. But it’s really clear to them the personal or relationship side of what we do, which is a big part of our job. And so that’s really the part that that stands out.
And so you can’t really be a successful tech and be a dick.
And here’s the thing for the point, and I’m glad you said it that way, too, because unfortunately, fortunately so. But here’s the crazy part. You’re right. And this is coming from from Nathan Lively. Right? You said it in a beautiful way. You strong us work together. Great as an audio engineer and you tell me if I’m wrong. You guys are always front a house right next to the client. Yeah. So even more pressure for you to be the go to guy for me because you’re going to be sitting with my client.
The entire event video. Guys, we’re in the back. We can be a little bit grumpy because no one’s really hanging out with us. Right. But audio, you’re right. It’s like it’s like they call right on the client. You’re the engineer. I got to talk to you. Twenty seven. If you’re an asshole, I’m going to definitely let my. Hey, that guy you hired. No, he was great, but I don’t like him.
He was an asshole to me the entire time. Like, you have the extra pressure of you are in the client literally next to them, the almost entire show and maybe not directly. You might be like two rows down, but you’re still closer. They know who you are. They know your face. They know your voice. Right. You’re that guy. And if I hire you and you go out there and you don’t perform well and the client gives me some bad report, I can’t I can’t bring you back.
And not because you’re not talented. You could be the best in the world. You can be literally an award winning audio engineer. The client isn’t like you. The guys like you, unfortunately. And like you’re saying, they don’t care about the skill sets. They don’t have any that they want to have some of that. It doesn’t cost feedback and they gets their cues done at the right time. That’s it. And they want to have someone to talk to you.
And it’s nice to socialize with them. And it’s, you know, it’s a copasetic environment. That’s it.
So tomorrow, another one of the quotes that really stood out for me from your presentation is this one The opposite of networking is not working.
So what are some simple things that I can do on a regular basis, either from home or on a show that will help me build relationships without feeling gross? And I’m especially asking this question for myself 10 years ago or myself 15 or 20 years ago when I was starting out in initially thinking that networking meant send my resume to a few people and then at that didn’t work out, then obviously the world was against me and I was a victim. So I know there’s some things that you talked about in your presentation, so I was wondering if you could share some of those with us.
So, you know, the one thing I have said repeatedly here is be it be the hard worker and be the go to guy. You don’t have to exactly send out that resume. There are ways to do that proactively. Right, to just help you continue to stay in people’s minds, to be active, right at the viability reports, the invoicing, sending a proper invoice and your probability reports that your clients know when you’re available, when you’re not.
That does, too. Theater helps you stay relevant in their minds and also in your schedule. But.
Well, can we get into that for a second? I know you want to go on from there, but that was one of the things I was hoping you would get into and a little bit more detail, because the way that you a lot of people don’t know about this and be the way that you do it is really nice and easy for people to understand.
So talk about how you do your availability, how you format it, how often you send it, what is it, that kind of stuff.
Yeah. So I don’t have an exact formula. Right. This is kind of my my technique I guess. Right. So I have an Excel sheet that I created. It has a whole year listed on there. And in that whole year every cell is like the month and it’s all blank at the top and then all the days right below it. And that that space gives you gives you that kind of the eyes to separate between just a bunch of numbers on top each other.
Right. So it’s like space numbers, space numbers every month as a term of days. Right. Thirty one days of twenty, twenty eight days. And then I just used to call those red means I’m booked agreements pending. And then at the end within five days, in the month I send it out to an email chain I have individually. Right. I have a notes page that has all the emails from my client, my main clients to hire me and I’ll send them that out.
And then the first five days of the month, or give or take five days of the month. I will. I will. Just to follow up just fine. When you I send the report to you every day to me, if it’s someone who’s pending right now, that’s hey, are those spending days confirmed or not? If someone has they say these are confirmed, I’ll say, hey, by the way, I have somebody else who has confirmed these dates.
If that is not confirmed yet, you know, should I take those dates or not? And most clients would tell me, hey, you got something for anybody, go and take it. So that works out, too, because then it eliminates that I’m trying to take other work. It’s not that to say, hey, they have confirmed yet you’re trying to manage your calendar.
And then the other thing, too, is I will mark days and there for myself, like, oh, those days. But it’s personal days, you know, Hallmark doesn’t say I can’t work that day. So then and then it becomes, you know, a way to not be intrusive about it and not be on them about it because and if they don’t respond, they don’t respond. It’s not a big deal. You know, we’ll talk later about it.
They make comes. They have. By the way, do you still have these dates? I remembered about it. You know, you’re just on their minds, but you’re not you know, you’re planting that seed to grow, but you’re not you’re not calling them last minute for something like I’ve heard from you all in half a year now you’re calling me like, who are you? At least that way? Right. It’s not passive, but it’s also not aggressively doing this.
But you’re but you’re being active on your end to secure yourself work. And the other two is clients start to see that, oh, I’m just getting booked more and more and more, and it’s going to look more and more. Let me get in and some dates because obviously he’s a sought after engineer. You must be good at what he does, you know?
Well, one of the things that we talked about I’m remembering now during last UN summit is that what you don’t understand, at least what I didn’t I should just speak personally. What I didn’t understand for probably the first five years of work is that the way personal referral works and the way hiring gets done is not like every time there’s a show, the production manager or the PTD or whatever, they don’t just look through their entire Rolodex of all people and say, like, who’s going to be the best position for this?
And then, like, narrow it. They don’t they don’t do that. They they think of, like, the last person that they talk to, it pops into their head, oh, I just talked to Omar. I’ll give him a call. And like, that’s how that works. And so just with so many people, it’s not a meritocracy, you know? And once you realize that and sort of accept it, then you kind of can can start looking to do these little things like you’re doing to try to tilt the scales a little bit in your favor, or as I’ve heard other people say, grow your luck surface area.
So that so. So I’m sorry. Go ahead. I just wanted to point that out that that is a lot of what’s happening is that you’re sort of reminding people you are alive and available and still work, correct?
Yeah, I know. And it’s interesting just to jump on that as well, you know, and again, again, I’m going to toot my own horn here. I think I have a bad ass resume, right. I have six years of military service, a combat veteran. I’m a father. I have. Two degrees, I have numerous awards, I literally get a vacation at least once a year for the industry, said numerous award to dozens of cases for their side.
I have a dozen other certifications for other things. While I was in the military, I earned a bunch certifications, have a plethora of awards. I’ve been in GQ magazine. I’ve been in numerous articles right now for like tons of things I can add to that resume that make me look and stand out nose and look at that. You know, I have what’s called a Lifebook, and I wish I would have I would have had it here if we had time.
Maybe some of the time I’ll pull it out. But it’s a Lifebook.
So Life book is all your achievements and accomplishments in a book that I just think I just really think, OK, all my certifications, my degrees, my certificate, all of it, my my Social Security, my birth certificate, my whole life is in there. It’s on paper.
So if I want to do identity theft of you, I got to go get that. Yeah, pretty much that. That’s how I know you could. It’s why that’s why I say if you want to string out, it’s in a safe. It’s all right. So each page in front of the camera go ahead.
But the book, it’s literally this thick and I and I read the job interviews to say, hey, do you have any questions about my resume? I can back it up with, like, physical stuff. Never, never in my entire career I’m thirty years old, has been like, yeah, let me go through it. Nope. Yeah.
So the books really for me to be like, oh my ego stroke man, no one cares. But now you’re saying I get referred by a highly skilled engineer or I get referred by you or I get for by anybody like you know what, he must be good because he was recommended by this guy who I know is already good, you know. And and then the other thing, too, is and this is the hard part of this, too, because, again, it’s a double edged sword.
You are literally, literally just on the last show you did. So if you did the last show, that was great. In that context. Mine is oh, actually, that was great. And the next was great. You do that one bad show, if it’s one out of like, I don’t know, twenty four, you might be good. If it’s one I like three. You might want to give a discount on your own invoice, but you fucked up a little brother and if it wasn’t your fault at one hundred percent the client was on your side then you’re good.
But again that’s how they judge you. Oh I never had a problem. I think I have one client who had me look at my month because I was just clients, always loved and always got good feedback. I always did my job. I’m such a well-rounded video engineer. I could go to any position. I may not be the best at that position, but hey, this guy is not Tantlinger. He’s not con ed. I’m a throw you in there.
No worries. I got you.
You know, I had a student tell me once that the best way to build your career is to basically do a lot of learning and make a lot of mistakes and one city and then move and build your career like a blank slate. And I was like, oh, that kind of makes sense because, yeah, it’s true. Like, if you kind of make a mistake or you leave a negative reputation in one place, like you might not get called and it might be hard for you to ever get called at that place again, no matter how good you get in other places.
And, you know, we’ve all had that experience where we get called to work for a company for the first time and we make some small mistake. But because that was the first time and they don’t know who we are or anything about, it’s like we don’t get called in because they have other people they can call that that that hasn’t happened with them with. So it’s just good to remember that there’s always more opportunities. And I’m not saying that that everyone should do that and move on basically, just like using that story to highlight this, to basically prove what you’re saying, you know, that that like, it doesn’t always work out and that’s how people are judging you is like the thing that you did last.
Yeah, well, so let’s finish up this, um, your details of how you do the availability reports. You’ve got this Excel sheet you’re sending out to people. You’re doing a quick follow up and any other details about how you execute on that. And I’m also curious, like, you know, what results you’re seeing from that. Do you see it working? Well, yeah.
So, I mean, obviously not right now, but usually what has happened is I got my whole year and I broke up my whole year before the year even started. That’s that’s how that works out. So what I ended up doing and this I started this four years ago, I started doing it and about three years ago. And I really like heavily focused on it. And it’s been the number one thing in my career that it’s helped me. To be honest.
I did a little stint with a buddy of mine. I was kind of like dancing with him. And I did like three months where they can put out the rest of three months to all my clients. And then I like the beginning of the year. I raised my rates and said, oh, by the way, I’m raising my rates. Here’s a new rate sheet. You guys agree to this Senate report and then like them forward. I just I’ve always had my whole year booked out and usually ends up happening is, you know, key events in my life because I have I have a daughter.
Obviously, you saw key events in my life. I’ll book out. So it also looks like I’m busy already because I always have like her birthday on her birthday when I was married, my anniversary, I had like four days booked out just for those scenarios that I could be home with them. So I really look like, oh, shit, he’s got dates for next year. Like, let me get him in there before someone else takes up those dates and then times you.
You also get paid like I have a pending show, possible pencil dinner for me. So then those pencil thin ones look really good to kiss and say, OK, he’s got these pending stuff, people are talking about you. And then I guess the multiplier to that is now you send that out to the same client, negotiate a settlement for these days. Cool. You still available for me until you had a conversation saying, hey, I got another one that might be happening.
You confirmed or not. So it also multiplies every year after that because then they start seeing more and more biz’s get more, shut it out and then uses it, because then you can give yourself a base idea of what you be making for the year. Right. Like if I do X-Men Days this year at this rate, but I don’t actually make an X amount this month, you kind of schedule your stuff around that helps in planning. How are you planning on your end to a little bit?
Yeah, it’s so it’s great. The I guess the downside, which is again, you worked on your contracts for that, is when you do have that kind of scheduled lifestyle, I guess you could say having a fallback for when something canceled on you last minute and being able to recover something from that. And most clients still get a percentage of that pain if they cancel on me. And then I just take a medication, stay home or I make some phone calls and I do some labor stuff.
But, you know, the availability part, I’m not sure. I don’t know if I created that idea. And I’ve got it. I got it for somebody else actually on Facebook. But he didn’t you know, he didn’t show me the Excel sheet, so I created my own version of it, dB million things. I’m not sure how you it directly, but it was something I found online. And a guy said, yeah, he kind of gave like a synopsis of what he does with it.
And then I just did my own twist to it with my own version. My version has like a logo in it for myself and my contact information at the bottom just in case anything. And I will tell you what ends up happening is between those ten day period that you’re sending in and following up, you will get calls for dates once you start doing it, give it a good six months. Focus on for six months. Right. Just to get it out there.
If and here’s here’s the other thing, too. I see right now, honestly, is the best time to build whatever it is you’re doing, whether you want to, say Navy or not, if you’ve got to get a job part time or full time right now just to make ends meet. Great. Do that still dedicate two or three hours to building your brand as a person so that when we do get busy and send out your stuff, not to your clients anyways, pugilists, think of who you’re talking to.
Think of who your clients are, whose contacts you have to give your friends that are close by. Maybe you’ll get your work to send those out and get feedback on it when other times are a little bit of messing up between how that works out. Figure out a system that works for you, get yourself organized. I will drive. That’s massive. I myself, because of maybe educate and the solution that I own, maybe educate, but I help manage the coalition.
I have a agile CRM now our CRM, but I use agile but is a CRM and I’m using that to manage my business more effectively because I was doing everything Google Drive, which is great. And then I learned a better way. And now I’m doing that and I have the time to focus on it and do it correctly. And not just kind of like when I get to it, I get to it and I’m like now starting to build two different platforms up.
You know, I took a time to learn a little bit more about cookbook’s I use from my building stuff. I learned a lot more interesting things that I can utilize now moving forward, including not just my invoicing side in my building side or my bookkeeping and the invoicing, but also on the proposal side for stuff. So I’ve learned a lot of little tricks now that I can utilize for when we get busy. Again, I’m not here, like, how do I do this?
And we figure this out real quick. No, because I’ve taken the time now to do it. If you’re going to start a business and you have some some cash flow, you know, if you’re getting unemployment and I don’t know about your state, but like my state in Florida, an LLC costs like one hundred and fifty bucks online boom EIC go to the IRS dot com. I’m sorry. Get your estienne go to the IRS. It’s free.
Look at the banks. Look at what banks want to do. Business with Boonen. I have a business now. You have a steady source of income. So learning about how to do that business stuff, it’s not very hard. This is the time to do it where you’re not going to be doubled down between having to work full time, having to get gigs, having to get money into our stuff and kind of dedicate your time to learning this process to your to what you need for your situation and what you think you’re going to have an interest comes back for me.
I’ve been using this as a great opportunity to build. You know, I’ve I want to double, but I’ve grown up to get a lot and I’ve been doing a lot more stuff with it and collaborating a lot more people and just talk and just start calling people. You know, it’s not hard to make the phone call your friends who used to work with just check up on them to have conversations. The other doing. You’d be surprised. Some people I’ve talked to you like, oh, I, I started talking with Zazie.
Obviously now we’re starting a business and we’re going to do our work together. There’s people that need people to to work with them. And I think this is the time to do it. We’re we’re all in the same we’re all kind of in the same boat right now. Right. Unless you already had tons of money, we’re on the same boat. We’re all struggling together and people are collaborating together and forming relationships and they’re building on. And when we get back, those are going to grow into something more and they’re going to be beneficial.
So, you know, a lot of audio guys, I don’t know if you just anybody a lot of the guys in the audio, they have partnerships with other guys. So they share in the expenses and the profits of things and they’ve all been set up. You might want to do that for you and maybe some of the labor companies now with the whole California law and stuff coming out, they’re changing the way they do things. Right. They’re making you want to you don’t have to do insurance, get insurance.
You just get twenty nine, get ten, and you get more money. You make less because they’re covered you in insurance. Maybe you want to partner with somebody so that your insurance is lower, so that you’re splitting the cost of that insurance. So you both have to you both to make money and you both are working together and now you’re. Are cut in half. What you got for your buddies that you trust, they’re going to work together, you guys, to build together, and then as you guys buy gear together, you can kind of outsource together.
Like this is the time to do that with your friends and figure out who you can trust, who can rely on these partnerships with or not. But if you’re not if you’re just sitting there doing nothing, I mean, you’re not benefiting yourself. You’re not going to improve when you get back. The point is, is that you can take the time now to get ready for when we do come back into it. And yeah, listen, I’m I I’m hustling.
I’m working literally 10 to 10, which I’m sure Nathan’s crazy schedule as well, to just continue to give back to community and grow that community. But I can I make pennies for anything I do in the abstract that pennies the podcast makes the podcast make sure nothing right now because. No, it’s podcasting, but I make pennies off of those things. But those pennies, I didn’t take out money for the longest time. And now our last month, I cast them all out and it wasn’t a huge chunk, but it was enough to get me to the next month.
And I’ve been taking subjects here and they’re doing other things to make ends meet all the time. So I’m still hustling to do things I am lucky or lucky and unlucky. I am lucky that at this point in the scenario, I have lost everything. I’m living in my father’s other house. The only I have left this ability is my phone in my car, everything else. The house, the house that I had it, it’s all gone. So I’m unlucky that I have that happen to me, but I’m also lucky that I am at the bottom now.
So my bills are very little. So it doesn’t take much for me to to to survive. And what I’m paying here is that utilities, which is not a lot, it’s not cheap, but I need to I need to hustle to make ends meet here. So I’m very fortunate with that. Again, lucky, unlucky at the same time. Right.
And I don’t think a lot of people are just sitting at home doing nothing, but I definitely feel like a lot of us are trying to figure out what we can be doing, like we want to be in action. And so I love that you’re just like sharing some ideas of what you’ve been doing and what you’ve been seeing other people do. That’s really helpful. Yeah.
I mean, so we’ve been get guys motivated to start even getting guys motivated with the tech stocks, which I started out of a collaboration between Chris and Ed. We started doing what’s called a B tech stocks and guys are sharing information with the community. They’re literally sharing. We’ve shared jobs. We share the meetings we’ve shared. So I think what we should do. So we have things coming up right. Like balloons coming up right now. We have a networking one on one coming up right now.
A couple of things coming up that are down the road. Watch out wrestling class. We’re trying to get a V mixed class right now, but these are actually guys, a community that are essentially promoting themselves. Right, because I’m giving them a platform and say, hey, if your skill set and we just did the last one we just did was to lapse with Orrie. We did a very cool interview, labs. So if you’re not a guy used to labs as a whole to our segment on that, we open Jigme for Q&A.
Those are those guys are networking, right? They’re showing the community, hey, uncompetitiveness, if you know somebody hit me up or if one of my clients now my clients but one of the you there’s a lot of PMS on. There is a lot of clients on there. Maybe they saw evidence say, oh, you know what I mean. Good guy, always information down, let me hit him up, because when I get some work, I’m going to call that guy because he knows how to use that program.
And I use that. I get calls for a lot of that stuff. And now he’s got this plethora of things. So he’s he’s keeping his skill sets sharp. He’s keeping his his name out there, essentially, and he’s grown himself. And anybody can do this. Use use use the platform to promote yourselves if you want to. I’m all about it.
So, OK, so if you’re listening right now and you want to hear the rest of the ten rules for being successful AV technician and you want to see Omar go into detail about how he uses this availability report and you want to get it, actually his copy is template of that. You can do that over it live Sound Design Live. Twenty twenty dB Sound Design Live Dotcom. That’s where all of the replays are from the Live Sound Summit. So Omar, I know you have this Lifebook of all these amazing things that you’ve done and it’s super thick, but just like everyone else, I’m sure there are times when things have not gone so well.
So I wondered if you would share one of those with us. So what’s one of the biggest or maybe most painful mistakes you’ve made on the job? And how did you recover?
Oh, man. So in November, I recently yeah. Recently I lost my family and I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it, but my partner was separated because I was I was working so much. I was the daughter of a company in Orlando. I was living in Miami. I had the house, I had the cars. I had tons of money in the bank. I provided everything except for myself. She, I guess, was fed up with it and was trying to communicate in a way that she thought would resonate with me.
And I misinterpreted that because I wasn’t around enough to receive that. After the separation, we had to kind of get deep talk about everything, like what was going on, you know, a lot of a lot. It was my fault. So I don’t blame her for anything. I don’t blame what’s going on. She raised my daughter a lot by herself, so she felt like a single mother a lot. I wasn’t around. I was around 100.
So financially, I gave her everything. Even a separation, I gave her everything in the separation but my time and even when I was home again, it’s why I is a passion. When I was home, I was working on an education. So it’s like you are here, but you weren’t really here because you’re a focus. And I was like, right. Which which she admitted. It’s something I love about you. You have a drive that I don’t see anybody because you’re constantly moving forward.
You’re constantly working on something. You’re constantly reading a book as learning how like a routine. On the morning I read, I get like five, six in the morning every day with a book deal, work out and I get to work and I can do this all day. This is my this is honestly is my comfort zone. But I wasn’t present as a father. I wasn’t present as a partner. And I lost it. And it was a big lesson for me in life because I was told that a lot with a lot of engineers and other people’s minds is good, like mine gets it.
She knows I’m hustling for us like I she’s covered no matter what. And she was, you know, I mean, anything you think about that you need in a family, I was paying for it, you know, whatever you needed. Here’s the car I gave her, like Gharty to do whatever you want. I’ll cover all of it. And she was working. She was a teacher, so she had her own money. But I wasn’t there.
And it took a toll. And it was we were together for six years, took a toll on her. She just couldn’t do any more. She she just didn’t see me slowing down. She tried to be more supportive of it. She tried to be more understanding of everything and is like the more she she felt, the more she’s appointment of an enemy, the more I worked harder, which is true. I did. I felt like her way of communicating with me, saying, hey, I, I, I support you.
What are you doing? I keep doing it. So I worked harder. I traveled more, I made more money. But she was trying to say like, I’m supporting you so that you come home more to us and spend time with us. And it was kind of organisation. She, she, she left me and she’s with somebody else who gives you that time. You know, he works nine to five, gets off work, you know, spend the day with her, which is fantastic is what she wants, but she loves her.
If you guys ever read the book or the five love languages, I highly recommend it. I read a long time ago, and I didn’t I didn’t apply I didn’t apply correctly myself because I didn’t I missed her because I wasn’t there. I just I wasn’t there to get it correctly. This time is great with my daughter. Talk with her was great. Calling is great. First time is great. But it wasn’t enough because you’re not physically there presently.
And it’s one of the things that I’ve I’m I’m working on now with the girl that I’m with now. She is. Similar to me, she’s a workaholic, you could say, but she also understands spending time with my daughter, spend time with her, so I have a cut off like at eight o’clock, like what’s going on at eight o’clock at it and she’ll come in and harass me. So I have my one day on Mondays when I do the talks that she lets me stay on a little bit longer.
But at nine o’clock she’s like, I’m going to get in a camera and be nice about it, but that you’re going to get off.
And it works is like the girls are here. I got to go, guys. I’m really, really sorry, but has been working now. You know, after a few months, I’ve gotten more used to it. And I, I kind of like a like I get off and do dinner and spend time. I could watch a movie, sit with her and enjoy the time that I have with her because, you know, for five years I just I was around, I wasn’t around.
And it was definitely a hard thing in my life to to accept, especially because I think the the nail to the coffin was my when my dad was like I told you and I was like, what?
Like, No, man, I thought I was doing it better, you know, like, oh, I’m second, I’m not saying I’m third generation right now. I thought I was doing better. And he’s like, you made the same mistakes I made with your mother.
And I was like, and they’re like, OK, I had to just accept it, right? Like, yes, you’re right. I did. You’re right. I got it. Like, still like I’m your father. I’m still I still know, you know, I was like, oh, fine. You’re right. You’re right. OK, you got it. That’s hard. You know, it was hard, but it’s also like, you know.
All right. So now moving forward, I need to manage that better. And I try to manage my time as best I can, you know, which is again, why did the agile thing now the CRM to help, like, schedule myself? Because I was doing other notes and calendars and it works out pretty well. The way you do it is awesome. By the way, with the emailing and all that stuff, I should totally up my game, but I’m I’m a long way away from that.
But yeah, the I guess that’s my biggest thing. And yeah, that’s a huge wake up call, just like all this thing, all the stuff that you thought you were doing it for and then it got all taken away and you’re like, oh wow. So and it’s all my own thing, right.
Like, you know how women hear this, but it’s a total men mentality. Like I felt like I had to be the provider because I was the man. And really we were both providing and and again, I was never like, oh, I’m going to pay for everything. No, I just did it like I just I didn’t even say anything. I’m I’m Latin. I just did it because I was that’s the mentality. I got to give it to my family.
I can provide for them. I got to work to make this money because they need it. And it was like, no, man. I had a partner. She was working. We both had income. I didn’t have to work so hard. That’s why she was working. And it’s funny. It’s funny because in hindsight, right, when we first had my daughter, I told her not to work. I don’t know more about it to stop working.
I’ll pay for it. That’s like everything she went back to because she wanted to work. And I said, great, go back to work. Yeah, we can totally use the extra money. Right. We’ll use your money for savings and for playtime. Well, just for whatever you guys want to do. And then it was like, man, she she went back to work. She said making money. We we put in savings. We used it to cover some bills when we were short for any reason.
We had a guest house that we were managing that we were making money off of like it was it was a sweet deal. But again, I wasn’t around. And when things came up with that house, it was like, oh, we’ll just throw money at it and I’ll have someone go out there instead of me. And instead of being like, I’ll try to get you to come home and like, take time to work on the guest house so that you could be here and I’ll take them.
Yeah, I didn’t see it that way, so.
Wow. All right, man, such a good story. Thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s let’s move into talking a little bit more about the future. Lou Sinton, this question luckly from Seattle, he kind of wants you to look into a crystal ball. So I don’t know if you I don’t know if you have anything to say about this, but you’ve been talking to a lot of people. You probably have a better kind of sense of where things are going than some of us.
So he says what is happening in the future with everyone looking for work and a glut of experienced folks also competing for a limited number of jobs, how can you stand out in the crowd?
Yeah, so I’ll look into the crystal ball and you’re not like the answers. So if you weren’t getting hired a lot before, I mean, it’s the truth if you’re going to have a lot before you have work right now, if you were a station, it wasn’t even called all the time. You’re trying to get those right now. The companies that either furloughed or let their employees go, they’re going to call those people first back first they’re going to give to their people first.
So if you’re a full time with the company, you might be getting those calls already to do stuff to come back in. If you were not full time and you were a freelancer like the rest of us and you weren’t a go to person, you’re going to be on right now. So hustle, hustle, hustle and find some work, but keep yourself relevant and use social media to your advantage to say, hey, I’m still doing stuff. I have got I’ve been doing volunteer training classes.
I’ve been doing. If you guys watch anything with OPV at Orlando or anything with I heart radio, I did a whole almost three months of streaming content of concerts. Every band that they were doing to TV channel we did behind the scenes twitch channel of like actual, which is really cool man. So we did. And I’m sorry I got you for a second. We did a really cool thing where I got CALM’s, I got approval from the company to do push comes into a live feed party line of everybody, including the most of your.
The camera’s view and you able to go to the Twitter feed and and get as we were live playing live to Facebook and YouTube, you can go to Twitter and see behind the scenes and what we were doing.
And that’s so cool. Yeah. And an all volunteer to watch this. Yeah. I had to send you the links after this, but yeah. But I just want to let people know that I’ll put links in the show notes for this podcast.
So as we were going live with the bands, we were also going live on Twitter to show that behind the scenes of what we were doing and how we were switching cameras and how we were calling queues and lighting and audio and all these different things, and it was very cool. And it’s all volunteer. And it’s how I got guys to get hands on cameras, hands on with the Switzers, hands on with some of the audio gear. Hands on with the hard hands on the lightning, hands on with streaming.
We had a streaming room that we can show guys some things that James Van Zandt and Christopher Brown do. It was a very cool experience. We did it. We just wrapped it up. Fourth of July actually was like the last kind of big show we did. And now that is still going on in Orlando between me, Jason Scott and a couple other guys with the team. And we’re bringing bands up there and guys getting paid now, not a huge amount, but they’re going to do something because they volunteer their time.
So there are things you could be doing within your communities to to continue to get back and can you do stuff and also to work. So so that’s so that’s that’s one side of things, right. I think you should keep yourself relevant on social media by doing stuff to get back to the community so that you become a name, you know, like, for example, I’ll give a prime example right now. Ryan Wade, super talented lighting guy lighting guys are having the hardest time right now because everything is going virtual.
He went back to his old career flooring and he’s killing it on florins, killing it. Oh, OK. Yeah, it’s killing it. And here’s the thing. He’s getting these flowing jobs. He’s doing installations. He’s contacting openly on social media for free. That doesn’t know him. OK, if you need work, hit me up. I need bodies. And these are guys that are pretty talented engineers maybe who knows what he’s paying them, but they’re getting something out of it.
And he went out of his realm to do something from his past to do flowing again, which he does an awesome job on the floor, made beautiful, by the way. But he’s a light engineer and he’s a super talented engineer. I mean, he’s one of the best in Atlanta, has a great reputation. He’s giving back by being an educator when he can. He’s giving back by providing work because he’s like, hey, I have these jobs and I’m securing come work for me.
There’s other guys doing similar stuff in New York. There’s a guy in New York who is a video engineer, was doing very well, was also doing installation work right now by himself. He’s giving back to community by offering, hey, I have a gig. Who wants to come on it with me? I got on a gig through a collaboration for an extension in North Carolina for seven days, made a nice chunk of change there. The guy paid me quickly as well because it’s like I know you guys are hurting.
You are quicker than thirty days. I was I wasn’t expecting it, but thank you. I appreciate it. And I have I’m living off that little chance for now. I have a couple of the ones I’m working on right now. But again, I’m calling people and making those phone calls. And if you’re not doing that, I just did a post today, yesterday about a vertical concerts. Yes, it is full of our comments. As of this morning, I reached out to promoters, bands, hotels, people that I sort of know are in that realm.
Say, hey, is there anything we can do to make it happen? And I got a bunch of like, yeah, we do X, Y, Z. OK, here’s my message for this year. And I think we have a couple of hotels that might be interested in it other than the insurance side, which is another way to figure out. And I have guys who are commenting on that feed right now saying I literally said if you were on the show, what would you do or something along those lines?
And they’re saying, I would do these positions like, OK, if I get the show them, I put you in that position. I mean, those of it. So, like, I’m I’m also trying to get back, you know, you’re doing your thing to get better community. Everybody’s, I think, needs to be just sort of connecting again. And that’s why I’m saying that this building. Right. Just connect with your your friends and your family.
See what’s going on. My my parents were separated. My mother’s husband now his name is Johnny. He does not associate he’s like a contractor for for a building and he does repairs an area. I’m not sure what the right verbiage of that is, but he repairs buildings. He’s called me for a couple times. A handy national guide for today. Tell me some piping. Yeah, I’m there. Whatever you need, man, because I need the money.
Right. I’m going to say no to it at all. Sure. I don’t do that. Like, no, he he knows my he knows I’m I’m not competent in it, but he’s like I just need extra hand to pay, don’t worry about it, make a day’s pay and you know, it’s, it’s a little bit of money to go towards something. And again, that’s because I told my mom, yeah, this is what’s going on.
You know, I’m struggling. Don’t worry, Johnny McPherson out and help me out. This my dad as well, who owns a company, they had some Jimmy stuff come up there. They saw that I’d be doing like streaming. They had me come in and talk to him. Sit down. We don’t talk about it. Then a couple possibles come in. They pay me for my consulting fee, which they didn’t have to write, but they did.
And I had some money from that. And again, but this is me calling and contacting, reaching out and doing stuff. So if you’re out there trying to find out what to do, just call your call your phone call and call your phone.
Yeah, yeah. Look at your phone right now. I just got and here’s the thing to like, I’ve also been doing this by contacting people. Those people haven’t talked in a long time that I’ve reconnected with. And one of those connections, a buddy of mine who used to do a B doesn’t do an. More he actually is doing that, he’s in a medical building and they had to do a project and he mentioned, hey, I do a V, I have a buddy, so does it.
We can I can help you figure out some crazy stuff. And we’re actually working on a quote right now to do an installation for his building for ITVS. That’s not hurt at all. Now my wheelhouse. But I also know I’m not incompetent to it. So that’s just make a phone call reconnecting with the guy. He said, oh, by the way, I have this. It just popped up. I understand. I was like, yeah, let’s make it work.
And that was literally like a phone call that I just had to check in and see what’s going on. And then the other the other talking to that side, too, is this when I contacted they aren’t doing anything or that I had really no no commonality with anymore. And I we spoke for a little bit and it was kind of it and I just moved it from my phone, you know, if they call me back or whatever I say and I changed my phone out or whatever the case may be, if you hear this.
Sorry, I do.
But I’ve been taking numbers on my phone because I have a lot of numbers and some of them and there’s some numbers that I hit up and they’re like, I don’t remember you. And it’s like, why were you there? Sorry about that.
I’ve that’s a lot of conversations. But this is awesome. So you’re actually going through your entire desk?
Yes. And I plan to do my emails, too. I’ve been deleting emails, getting rid of junk. I’m going to contacts and see and and you’ll be surprised. I’ve been sending out emails now say crazy, but pretty frequently I get a lot of invalid or no longer active stuff anymore. And I just take that out of my inbox and take that out of my my contact list. Just. Yeah, yeah. I just got down to this.
All right, Omar, what is it cafecito and why do they try to kill me in Fort Lauderdale. So cafecito or auricular is like, oh, I think so. I cracked it and stayed. Downton’s didn’t stay down here for so long.
You had it already. It is coffee. It comes in a little it looks like a Styrofoam shot glass and it comes like this. And what it is, is it’s sugar and black coffee. But I’m talking about like so, you know, so the way you make it here is an espresso machine. You put the sugar in the body, but the coffee on top of that, I mean, you pack it, you forcefully pack it in there.
Sugar, coffee, sugar coffee, pack my backpack, make a super, super tight and you shove that in the espresso machine and it pours out. It struggles come out of there and it’s just a super concentrated sugar and black coffee mixture. So it’s not like just bitter sweet, but it’s hard core and it’s a little short. And what’s funny, too, is that it comes in a shot glass and then they give you other, smaller, smaller cups to pour it into, to give to like with people.
But if you live down here, you just drink the whole thing because you’re not affected anymore. But then what happens is like Nathan notices it. When you don’t have that, you get a regular cup of coffee and you’re like, this isn’t enough money. I need the capacity and I need I need a real coffee. Omar, what’s in your work bag like, I know a lot of things, but is there like one or two unique pieces that you could tell us about?
So I looked out all right. Again, you can see both ways I looked at didn’t look out. I own the first versions of the items, so I have an hard time switching my work box. I have a streamer, the original one with the face plate, which cost me about a thousand three hundred or a thousand four hundred. Now you can buy the whole package on a little controller like this being from out there in a box. That’s one of my favorite toys that are in there and anything right now I have a oh, so we call them dB boxes.
I just come about right. I’ve heard them call it. I don’t there’s probably a lot of people who are listening who don’t know what that is. So what is that?
So I have FM radio, a USB to Xolair box for the computers. So in Miami or in South Florida, we call them Picardie boxes, which may not be there tomorrow. But what we call them and what it does all is instead of going out of the the headphone jack to the little box to control the volume, this is an actual amplifier that gives you a cleaner signal with more channels to use it. If you’re doing that, obviously, if you are dontae person or don’t it guy, you can do all that you’ve got to do.
Networking is better quality, but when you’re not, that’s what I have. I have, I have two of those, I have two dosimeters in there. I plan to buy two, DACC, 70s as like my ultimate podium go to seventy. So that’s seven is a box that does HDMI and SDI and it is an updown cross-company. So I can go either direction. And the decimeter doesn’t do that. The decimeter does HDMI and doesn’t do Vijayan.
So it doesn’t say anything to me is the difference is, is that the deck 70s they come these very robust like, like little aluminum cases and it’s dB switch. And what it does is it allows you so that doesn’t really kind of do the same thing.
You have to procrastinator’s like plastic. Right? That’s why you’re saying, oh, well, it’s it’s metal on the outside. It’s they’re similar. It’s similar. The veejays, the key the key ones are incorporating a lot of the medical stuff we do is very still it’s the one missing link. But if I was doing the box and you can really go analog to digital very well, this one does a box very well. What it does do has this little switch.
So you can you can change that. You can embed audio into the skyline, you can do better audio, which the decimals will allow you to pass it through and see eyeline or HDMI alone. The Dec. seven will also do it, but it will steam better. And it also does and also does it between analog to digital, the difference. So it’ll take an analog to digital or vice versa. And everything it does with a switching side of it is that it’ll decimate as well.
It’ll all force you so as an edit. Right. So I can go, what’s up with B.J.? But it’ll take whatever the signal is in and it’ll set me up whatever I want. And what’s cool is it it sends out a it sends out and not a blast signal, but it sends out a signal constantly like a dosimeters. So so here’s here’s the trick, right. If you have a decimeter deck 70 and you have a podium going to a projector or to a monitor, you set this guy up at the podium, decimeter dark, seventy, whatever you want with a decimeter, you have to program it to take either or input HDMI or start right with a dash 70.
I tell it to do Vijay. And each time I leave those calls out there, then the presenter plugs into that. Or actually you can do the missing link as well. Plugs into that requires it and it sends it out the line. The difference, though, is with those boxes like audio, right. They give you the box or PC converter box, whatever. That’s that line is always active.
Once you plug in is active as all the channels open and video, but ends up happening is like projectors and monitors. They have to save power. They all turn off. That’ll send a signal to the monitor, to the projector. So now you can leave all that stuff on. It’ll show a black screen unless you program it. It doesn’t mean you can program like a logo thing on it, I think. Let me. That’s it. But the mission that you could program a logo on the missing link and you can send a source to that, but it’ll send out a signal the entire time.
So now what happens is that when it comes in, they plug into it every season. Ed takes it in and sends it back out to your on your monitor and then boom the signals up there. You didn’t do anything. You just left it in the room on Ready to Go, which allows you to not not have the projector turn on off. So that’s what the assistant dexterity is like. That extra we have to go analog to digital and just that extra little tool to have in your box, just like with audio.
Right. You always have like an analog version and a digital version of something. I also have multiple laptops. I have to so I now have three I have three MacBook pros too. Yeah. So I have two fifteen inch MAPP opposed to fifteen and one MacBook Pro twenty I guess twenty nineteen now. But the newer ones with the, with the taskbar which is what I’m on right now, and then I have one PC that I use for like E to Spider Vision and NovaStar is on the side and I’m going to actually buy another PC or trying to because of all this, trying to buy another PC to do VMAX on which I had the program.
And then I found that out of fact because I’m doing due diligence. It was only PCP. So I was like, OK, I’m going let this program sit here for a little bit. I also ironically, I bought disguise as well. Which is what’s that so disguises is a of a program which comes in an annoying tiny little that cute little thing.
Yeah. So I need the key for this, but disguised as a media server and you can buy the software and you can program everything and then put on a computer and send it out, or you can buy the hardware side, which is way more expensive, but it’s PC. So I got to I got to get that piece in. And I have two programs that there were programs that are affordable, that now it’s like I need the. Wow.
You have all the toys. I know. I try to be I try to raise my value. Right. So that’s that’s the other thing I’ll add if you you know, and money’s tight right now, but there’s there’s other ways to raise your value. But having a a backpack, for starters, would just generic tools, you know, see ranched suppliers, some Alan Keyes fire extinguisher, I don’t know.
Well, maybe, I guess you’d say anything. Could be a smoke machine. Right, right. Yeah.
Just having, like, a backpack with tools in general, if your station is something you should you should have with you all types, right. Oh, Sharpies. You should have charges up the wazoo. You should also have I just did a video on this. You should also have a gray Sharpie and a black Sharpie in your back, the gray so you have before. So. Oh, thank you for asking. You know, typically we have black, right.
Because what we want to do is want to leave our cables and we want to leave our our consoles. Right. So we we do the white tape and write our notes on it. But Belge, you know, whatever we’re doing. However, if the client didn’t provide white tape and you don’t have white tape, but you always have black tape, you take that black tape, you rip it in half and it’s the same length. And now you write with a gray Sharpie on the black tape and you can still see what you wrote and still get the same effect except the obstacles.
Nice. So do the same thing. But with silver. Yeah. So this is sort of way you said Greg. I’m sorry. Well Silver. Great. I mean they’re close enough so. Great, great. Gray and black or silver or whatever. Yeah. So silver by silver is by at least like a handful of those for yourself and then by the black. Just have a bunch of black ones. It’s usually, usually white. So you can label the cables, you can play with your console, you can label whatever you connected to your texture, power a bunch of shit.
You want to leave everything so that you know, so you know what’s going on. Have a bunch of those in my backpack and then I have some generic tools. I bought some specific like lighting stuff because I had like I had that little multitool lighting thing for the C clamps. I have one of those which is super hard to get. I found out after I bought it. I think that’s oh I have a Rovi podcast there, which is what I’m using right now over here, but I have a bunch of myself that I have like three thousand fifty eights as like those are workhorses.
You’d be surprised sometimes that comes in handy for like random Ryoji stuff. Like I kind of like, you know, but just having I think little things that then you talk about multiple have tons of adapters for Macs, tons of adapters remarks. Just having those little extra little knick knacks in your, in your person I think raises your value as an engineer, as a technician because the client also remembers you for that like, oh man, this guy is always ready to go.
I have a guy who used to stay AMA in Miami who used to own a jewelry company, and he is a surgeon. He comes in with a with a full three tier Workbox. Nice full a tool like literally the guy’s got tools himself and people and he checks all his stuff. Is there anything, you know, like the court on it so that, yeah, they’re definitely mine, you know, but that guy gets on shows and I see him a lot because he has those tools.
I also see camera guys, right. If you’re a camera guy out there, I don’t know if I see camera guys believe or not. And these are guys that I know that I call almost any names, but I call them more because they come in express espresso machine and then I they’re back in case doesn’t have any tools.
It just has an espresso machine in it. And it’s like they bring that to all the job sites. Right. But I don’t you guys come with like your own and at the downplay you guys come with like you see like if you really agent you guys to your carpets, you’re like lava lamps or salt lamps. You’re a little like little thing tables to like put all your stuff on the lamp for yourself, like you guys make your home at every site.
So. Oh, I don’t know. I’m not exaggerating. One of my good friends, Zach Larson, has a carpet, has it. He has a coffin. Actually, he he brings with him. He’s he shifts it and it’s got a carpet, a chair. They put together a salt lamp, a light and something else. I know this is something that he oh. And then I suppose machine but a hot plate with a little like the Spanish coffee, you know, you put them together and the pressure comes up and over my nose.
And I’m sure people listen to right now like, oh yeah, I know, I know.
I have a friend that does it. Yeah. If you’re a one I think you have to. Right. You want to be comfortable. You want to be in your zone. Sure.
I remember just a couple of questions to wrap up, so I know you know all of these resources, but I want to ask you to pick one. So what is one book that has been immensely helpful to you? So the one book man and the one book, I think that was the most helpful. For me, was the the the backstage and I got to with this, I don’t get the name wrong. So it was it’s a book and it’s super old.
It’s called. Yeah. So the the backstage handbook. You guys ever heard of this book? So the backstage handbook is, I don’t know, is massive, but what it is and which is called the illustrative guide, is that it is a booklet that literally just it’s like a sketch or a visualization of all the tools that you use in corporate and theater. And it gives a description of those tools. So it’s like this is a stretch, but it looks like this is a a monkey wrench.
If it looks like this is a flathead. This is a screwdriver. This is a a C clamp. And then like multiple versions of C clamps and what they’re actually called is a power section. So at six thirty twenty six I’m sorry. Six oh six thirty. Twenty six twenty. I need that. So it has, it has all these little visual illustrations and I’ll definitely send you a photo of it because it’s little my favorite book ever. I probably use that book for a good few years to learn about the industry because I kept seeing these tools.
I was like, oh, what is that. What does that one what is this hammer like? David Hammers had different purposes and it gives you different formulas for different like Donaire. So like Ohm’s Law and some of the funds for that, you know, keep your stuff for hammers in different regions using and then like it also. I mean, it breaks it down to say, hey, if you use the rubber mallet, right. It’s used for this.
If you use the hammer, it’s used for this. It’s like specifically tells you what these tools are used for and gives you a visual of it. So that the book is I hate to say this, say it’s a kids book on steroids for adults because it’s really all images with a description underneath it and what it’s for. And it is within those chapters, there’s breakdowns of like, OK, oh, for the State Department, right. For example, there’s, you know, like like Muslim.
Right. That that material, it breaks down the materials and what it’s used for. Then you have drape. Right, which is a type of fabric, what that fabric is used for. So there’s a whole section on fabrics and different materials and like what you use them for, like so the skin fabric, there’s a muzzle fabric. There’s a bunch of things that I look at. But the one I know the most because it’s what I use projection.
And then there is also some screens in there and how to build strength, not because I had to build them, but screen materials. So there’s all these little knickknacks in that book that I think is super, super helpful. You don’t get anywhere else. And I and I just I wanted a plethora of books. Yeah. And it’s it’s highly recommended. It’s been around for years. I’m looking at right now on Amazon, just one for twenty dollars right now.
Definitely worth the buy.
Where is the best place for people to follow your work?
AV educate honestly. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. But not so much on Twitter too as an overload. Instagram, Facebook. Right now, the biggest kind of platforms I’m on. You can contact me on there easily. I am the guy who messages you back.
Well, Omar, thank you so much for joining me on Sound Design Live.
Thank you so much for having me and I appreciate it. This is awesome.