Professional Sound - June 2022 - Page 39

POMANN SOUND ’ S BOB POMANN THE WAREHOUSE STUDIO ’ S DAVID BACKUS JOHN DIEMER
I help with ? I ’ ve done my work early — can I help with the music editing ?’ Those types of attitudes are the people that are having the most success with us .”
That person who was hired temporarily for that incredibly tedious task of re-linking the missing audio files , well , Diemer says he liked her work and attitude so much that “ I don ’ t want to lose her and let her go , so I ’ m going to try to find opportunities .”
That leads to another of his key points , which is that the smartest interns or young contract employees will have an eye out for where help is needed in the company and not simply wait for a job posting .
“ There ’ s not always going to be this job posting for a full-time sound designer position . It ’ s not always going to be that and the ability to read between the lines is something that ’ s very important ,” he adds . “ Like , seeing a year or two years ahead and reading between the lines and just doing a good job , period , because you might be making an impression on somebody that could give you a different opportunity that you didn ’ t think was available . All the best opportunities that I had when I was starting came from other people who saw how hard I was working or saw my work ethic and I got opportunities that I didn ’ t know were there .”
So yes , Diemer says , you can simply do the bare minimum that you ’ re hired to do and that ’ s fine ; you ’ ll get your paycheque and not be fired .
“ But the people that are really going to shine are the people that you can tell really want to be there . Ultimately , we ’ re all doing a job that we ’ re very lucky and happy to be doing . It should be very apparent that this is your passion . My hardest thing is staying away from work , right ? And I want to be there all the time and I want to learn more and just play with audio . We ’ re doing this because we all have a passion for audio . So , you kind of want to see that initiative and willingness from the students we hire .”
Ultimately , Diemer says , especially for students coming from an audio school where he trusts they ’ re equipped with a certain base level of technical knowledge , he seeks “ attitude
over skill set — 100 %.”
But just as important as a good attitude is entering a job with the right expectations , and the two very much go hand in hand .
“ I mean , we ’ re an 11-month program and we have entry-level positions [ available for students ] starting around $ 60,0000 and they ’ re walking away from them because it didn ’ t meet their expectations . And we ’ re looking at each other shaking our heads saying , ‘ Where are these expectations coming from ?’ Because it ’ s not from the school ,” While says with disbelief .
“ I ’ ve got phone calls from employers that say , ‘ Your student came to us and said we need to pay them more because they want a bachelor condo in downtown Toronto , benefits , and they want to afford a vehicle .’ Like , that wasn ’ t even in my head when I was going into an entry-level position !” adds Vogelsang .
Entry-level positions are just that , entry-level positions , and it is illogical to expect it to afford you the lifestyle of a 20-year veteran of the industry . The essential thing is to understand and be grateful for the fact that a quality entry-level positions puts you on the track to your goals , but it is not your end goal .
“ People give me a hard time about this , but literally every successful candidate will have a good answer to , ‘ What is your five-year plan ?’” says David Backus , the studio director at Vancouver ’ s famed The Warehouse Studio , speaking about his hiring of new runners . He notes that every engineer in the studio began as a runner and it ’ s a seven- to 10-year process to go from runner to assistant engineer to engineer . The current booking manager also began as a runner .
“ The biggest thing in the beginning is your perception of what [ this job ] is . I mean , I went through audio school , and they told us what it was like , and then I went out there after and tried to get jobs and it was even more brutal than they said or than I was expecting . So , it ’ s not easy out there ,” adds Backus . “ I think people have this perception of what it ’ s going to be , and when it turns out to be a lot more time rolling around heavy gobos and engineering
each session , doing all that work , including having to clean up and put all this stuff away . I think a lot of them kind of get to a point where they ’ re just not able to keep a positive attitude , and then that ’ s usually the problem . And it ’ s not necessarily that they don ’ t want to do it , but it ’ s everyone around them starts to feel that they don ’ t want to do it . Then usually there ’ s quite a pushback against that because I think we kind of have to maintain a real team mentality .”
Thinking of the last two people he ’ s hired to work at The Warehouse Studio , Backus says it ’ s a great example of how there ’ s no one right path into the industry , and it ’ s all about finding people with the right attitude and perspective . One was a guy in his 20s with a four-year degree , who wants to be a composer while also understanding all aspects of the industry . He also works on the side as a social media marketer for record labels . “ He had some things that showed structure and drive and a direction and we fit into that direction ,” Backus says .
His other recent hire was a 17-year-old girl from Alberta who had recently graduated high school early , and was interested in the music industry , but who knew hardly anything about audio or the music business . “ She just had a tremendous personality but she knew nothing . So , we ’ ve been working extra hard with her and all the staff love her because she has a great attitude . She just wants to learn ,” he says . “ So , sometimes you just have to take a gamble on having a good connection with somebody . And like I said , it ’ s easy to get down about this job . Sometimes you ’ re standing around , sometimes you ’ re sweating , and there ’ s no in between , right ? So , I think attitude is usually more important to you than proficiency or experience .”
Ultimately , Pascual says , reflecting on her own experience as a mature student who is now thriving in her young career , success in a job is “ definitely a two-way street , but I really think that if you ’ re given an opportunity , it ’ s about what you do with that opportunity .”
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Professional Sound .
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