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That "Oh Shit" Feeling
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TapeOpLarry
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

You know this feeling. You got to the studio early. Cleaned the place up, set up a few pieces of gear, cleaned the heads, powered everything up and all looks fine. The client shows up, you start to work and suddenly the computer crashes, the tape won't play or a seemingly simple signal path won't work.

When we're less experienced we lash out, blame someone else, panic, or just become a jerk. When we're "seasoned" we can hide this problem from the artist and know an instant workaround.

Stories about both situations? Young and stupid VS. older and wiser? Specific techniques to keep people from panicking and snazzy workarounds?
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RodC
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

I learned somewhere around '88 the "oh shit" will just make things worse. Calmer heads will prevail.

I used to be on call for a large Ref-Lab and 18 stat lab locations. Nothing like getting called in at 3am with an instrument down that is holding up 50+ employees trying to get results out for 12K + patients.

You also don't convey much confidence to the others around you if you cant keep your cool.
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MoreSpaceEcho
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

i've been pretty lucky. *knocks wood* only had a few non-fatal computer crashes and the occasional monitoring snafu, nothing to get worked up about. i remained calm and sorted it out. comped a bit of time for the clients.

i thought the "oh shit" feeling was gonna be about getting robbed. i remember walking into the basement studio at my old place and seeing the back door wide open. that was an oh shit moment for sure.
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Nick Sevilla
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:46 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

I just laugh it off, re boot and start over.

Usually the artist gets a better take because of these rare snafus. It makes them focus on getting ONE good take, God forbid it crashes again.

Cheers
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JGriffin_formerlyDWLB
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

I'm lucky I guess. Most of my "oh shit" moments happen when there's no client around, so I have a few minutes to get my stuff together before talking to them.
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joelpatterson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

It seems like it's in the nature of these momentary lapses that the talent has no idea anything is amiss, but you yourself are freaking out inside when you see the dial saying the wrong thing, or nothing, something unexpected anyway and devastating.

I guess I make an instantaneous calculation-- is this bluffable? "You know, that was great, how about we try it just once more, right now, and REALLY hit the chorus? That would be, like, the crowning glory-style thing." Vital to sound casual and sincere.

Or else, confess. To the music director: "You know, I somehow managed to miss the first four notes of the introduction when you did the Stephen Foster song. Any way you could get the piano player to hit just those four notes when we start up after the intermission?" And then the occasion of that happening is a strange and wondrous little moment all its own...
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keplar
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

I think "oh shit" moments are essential to growing as a professional. That said, it also helps being under the wing of a more seasoned pro to see how they handle those moments. Personally, I try to handle those moments in the same manner the "old guard" did when I worked in manufacturing - calm and methodical. I learned that if you let your emotions get out of control, chances are, you could change what may have been a simple fix into a catastrophic failure.
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

I read this TERRIFIC article by Phil Ramone years ago about how to be a good assistant engineer. He made a point of saying that the assistant should never badmouth the studio and I think that that same thing should kind of go for anybody working at a particular place. I know a couple of guys who will point out everything they don't like about a particular place right in front of the client. From the client's perspective, it's like, "Well, why did you suggest that we work in this place if it's so uncomfortable for you?" and from the host studio's perspective, it's like, "Oh, do you want me to point out what's fucked-up and time-consuming about your work flow to the clients, too?"

I have WAY more respect for someone who can work around a particular situation without drawing attention to it and then decide later whether or not it's worth mentioning to anyone.

I had a real weird experience at a studio many years ago and I never really talked about it until A LONG TIME after it happened. I posted about it on here, but I left the names out of it. In fact, I got several emails about it and when some of the email correspondence happened with the studio owner (while he was unaware the sitauation happened at his place), he was shocked to find out that the story took place at his studio, but he was grateful that I didn't make a scene about it at the time or that I wasn't telling everyone where it had happened. What that got me was a free day at the studio any time I wanted to go back.

And I've seen some awesome mother fuckers pull off some really great, great recoveries without batting an eye. No one knew they had done what they'd done to "save" the session. As gripey as I can be here at the "watercooler," those are the guys I want to be like.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
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TapeOpLarry
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

Unflappable. That's what ya wanna be.
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Derrick
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

From the other side of things... when my band was being recorded years ago, I faced the engineer's "Oh shit!" moment head on. He was really intent on dialing in a great mix and was getting frustrated. Kept turning around to us and saying "Hows that?" even though I could tell he knew the answer already. I happened to be the one to say (diplomatically I might add) that it still wasn't quite right (being very polite and patient). He asked two more times and I him the same answer when he jumped up, picked up his $550 chair and threw it across the warehouse space outside the control room door. It went far... knocking over an old Triumph motorcycle in storage and landing on a vintage pinball machine, smashing it into uselessness. He then stormed out of the studio and was gone. We looked at each other in shock and sat silent for about a minute or so. After mustering up the courage to speak again, we all had to ask if we each saw the same thing or were dreaming. After about 15 minutes of just sitting there alone, we left the studio and looked for the engineer. Ended up finding him walking down the block saying "OK, sorry bout that... let's get back to it. That was unprofessional of me". Um... ya think? We worked with him several times before and several times after that and never that kind of thing.
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TapeOpLarry
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

"Oh shit!" indeed
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vvv
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

Derrick wrote:
... he jumped up, picked up his $550 chair and threw it across the warehouse space outside the control room door. It went far... knocking over an old Triumph motorcycle in storage and landing on a vintage pinball machine, smashing it into uselessness.


Didja at least record that? Twisted Evil
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j89
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

In general, I make it a point to say "Son of a gun!" That way people won't think that you're that angry and you won't look like a maniac. That's my 2 cents.
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Beat Poet
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

Like has been said, it's best just to stay calm. I recorded a drum track the other day, struggled a bit but managed to nail it eventually, was completely happy and then I accidentally wiped the kick drum track. Logic started being an arse (as programs do) and wouldn't reimport it. I uttered a few four letter words and just did the track again. It was actually better than before, as sometimes a bit of pissed off-ness can give some extra edge to your playing Wink
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dontfeartheringo
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Re: That "Oh Shit" Feeling Reply with quote

My assistant turned out to be such a solid engineer in his own right that I have now started splitting the money evenly with him and introducing him to clients as "my partner."

He's a bit introverted, doesn't care much for interactions with the talent so much, but I have never seen someone solve problems more methodically. I can very nearly see him walking up the signal chain in his mind when something goes wrong.

In the time that we have worked together, we have only had two "oh, shit" moments and just as I was starting to panic, he reached over to the patch bay and fixed it.

I wish I could write his name on a piece of paper and stick it in an envelope and get $100,000 when he wins a Grammy. Kid's brilliant and I don't ever want to record without him ever again. He's a human swiss army knife.
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