RANT: "in your spare time.."

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trodden
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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by trodden » Thu May 06, 2021 2:00 pm

digitaldrummer wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:07 am
sometimes I wish I had an iso booth, or a separate control room, but I don't have either so I just make it work. :lol:
I make sure to have a booth to at least shove a couple amps in and just deal with having a drummer next to me. Fuck it! Make it work!

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by trodden » Thu May 06, 2021 2:00 pm

DrummerMan wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:28 am
trodden wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 8:31 am
I don't even post questions or ideas on the John Sayer's web board anymore
Posting on Sayers to me at this point is equivalent to deciding to read the comments on a FB post about Star Wars: an anxiety attack waiting to happen.
Totally. I'm so f'ing sick of FB hence why i'm trying to get my social fix here I guess.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by trodden » Thu May 06, 2021 2:01 pm

kslight wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:29 am
This was my experience with that board. Believe me, if I had that kind of money to build my home studio, I would hire a contractor/not strain myself with inane technical details, and not be here asking “dumb” amateur questions.
An engineer I look up to said something like "There's people who build recording studios and then there's people who use recording studios."

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by dave watkins » Thu May 06, 2021 2:32 pm

I'm definitely with everyone on the "get the money talk out of the way first" angle. Either by itemizing tasks like Larry or just being up front that everything is a hourly rate, and something that might only take 20minutes still equals a full hours pay. When I first started recording people other than myself, it was always friends, and it was always for a mega cheap "mates rate" and usually an agreed upon in advance flat rate.... Thought process being: I'm recording people I love and respect and I like their music too so it will be fun and we'll all respect each others time so it'll be worth while. Most of that was true but the decision to go with a flat rate was the biggest mistake. No matter how well intentioned everyone is, there's always variables you can't account for, and you end up donating your time big time.

Now I itemize things (not quite to the extent Larry has, but the sentiment is the same, cover your ass in any possible scenario) and as soon as someone hits me up being like "hey I've got this cool idea for a recording project" I immediately follow up and tell them "whoa sounds rad here's how much it's gonna cost" and lay out the dollar amounts that different tasks may incur. I've found that by getting that conversation done right away, people that think your gonna do shit for free get weeded out (99% of the time you wouldn't want to give them your time anyway because they don't value it) and the people that want to pay you for your time and the value that you bring to their music will more clearly understand all the elements that go into recording in general, take it more seriously, respect you more and actually try and do enough pre-production work on their music that they are going to come in prepared and professional because they don't want to get hit with the extraneous charges that might happen if they don't prep enough.

When I first started working this way I thought people (especially friends I worked with before) would balk at it because i had always tried to be all three points of the good/fast/cheap triangle for everyone, but I've found it's better for all involved because we don't have to have any awkward conversations during the project about something they want to do that's going to double the time that everyone expected the project would take. Less talking about money when the sessions are actually happening. More time focus on making great music. If you don't value your time no one else will, definitely learned that the hard way over the years, still working hard to fully accept that too lol.
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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by roscoenyc » Thu May 06, 2021 4:05 pm

DrummerMan wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:28 am
trodden wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 8:31 am
I don't even post questions or ideas on the John Sayer's web board anymore
Posting on Sayers to me at this point is equivalent to deciding to read the comments on a FB post about Star Wars: an anxiety attack waiting to happen.
If you don't format your question "just so" they go bananas.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by Snarl 12/8 » Thu May 06, 2021 5:27 pm

Do you think you need to be fairly established to be so blunt and upfront about it? When I was recording people for money ($10/hr in the 80's-90's) I think if I'd presented them with a list like Larry's they would have just gone to someone else.

I totally get it though, every item on Larry's list reminded me of a specific instance where having rules like that would have saved me something (time, money, aggravation). I just never felt like I could stick up for myself like that. Just curious what your advice to someone without a reputation like Larry's would be.
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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by dave watkins » Thu May 06, 2021 7:06 pm

I'm pretty much entirely unknown in the grand scheme of the music world. I don't have super high end gear or an amazing studio and record maybe 1-3 albums per year for others if even that, and maybe a few other one off projects. I make a living doing sound and video work for a ballet company and the hours there are insane, so music production is what happens "In my spare time". I think in a situation like mine where time is limited it's especially important to be clear about billing and the time that I have available to do production work so I'm not taken advantage of regardless of how well known/established I'm not.

And obviously if you are established and well known and make a living making records then it's so very important to have a system that protects you from getting screwed by last minute requests that go beyond the scope of the the project you thought you were doing.

Everyone is going to do passion projects from time to time, and discount work for friends, and that's totally fine, for anyone just starting out in audio engineering, that's how you learn. It's going to be different for everyone but I think it's just about finding a threshold where you can set rates and set boundaries that will be respected, where you don't feel like you're killing yourself to get a project done for nothing, and the clients also feel like they are getting a great deal in the end considering the commitment, skills and creativity you bring to the table. As humans, we're our own worst critics, but I think if you can reflect on the work you've done over the years, be honest with yourself, and proclaim: "you know what? I've made a handful of great recordings" then you should definitely harness that confidence and use it to come up with fair rates and a workflow that will benefit both you and your clients. They'll respect you for it and if they don't they're probably not people you need to work for.
Last edited by dave watkins on Thu May 06, 2021 7:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by Scodiddly » Thu May 06, 2021 7:18 pm

Snarl 12/8 wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 5:27 pm
Do you think you need to be fairly established to be so blunt and upfront about it? When I was recording people for money ($10/hr in the 80's-90's) I think if I'd presented them with a list like Larry's they would have just gone to someone else.

I totally get it though, every item on Larry's list reminded me of a specific instance where having rules like that would have saved me something (time, money, aggravation). I just never felt like I could stick up for myself like that. Just curious what your advice to someone without a reputation like Larry's would be.
It's having prices on the menu. No, I don't like paying that much, but at least I appreciate that everybody pays that much.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri May 07, 2021 6:50 am

roscoenyc wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 4:05 pm
DrummerMan wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:28 am
trodden wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 8:31 am
I don't even post questions or ideas on the John Sayer's web board anymore
Posting on Sayers to me at this point is equivalent to deciding to read the comments on a FB post about Star Wars: an anxiety attack waiting to happen.
If you don't format your question "just so" they go bananas.
The worst. Last time I was there, the one guy who actually answered questions told me, with a presumably straight face, that I should quadruple my budget. Thanks boss, super helpful! Let me just go over here to my golden money box and pull out some hundreds, no problem.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by vernier » Fri May 07, 2021 7:16 pm

Rodgre wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 4:10 am
If I hear one more client ask for me to do something in my "spare time" I am going to throw an Alesis 3630 through a window.

I believe "in your spare time" is code for "also for free" as well.

The majority of my clients over the years have bee very respectful of the work I do and the time I put into doing it, but there are always those clients who don't take it seriously enough to think that it takes time and effort to do this. They look at things through their own eyes and they might have the luxury of things like nights off, time to do laundry and the ability to have a sick day. I am sort of at a moment of "perfect storm" with a bunch of balls in the air, as they say, right now and I have several projects concurrently going that all might need a minor mix revision or for me to add some guitar parts or whatever... stuff I can do without the client in attendance. Just because they're not physically there, some people think that it's no big deal for me to drive a half hour to the studio and do an hour or two of revisions for them because they picture me just getting to another client's session 15 minutes early and firing up their session and adjusting something then bouncing and uploading it to them, or maybe staying late 15 minutes after another session. Seems like no big deal, right?

How many of you folks want to stay an extra hour after a 10 hour session, after you've just spent 45 minutes wrapping cables and putting mics away and your significant other texts you that dinner is getting cold or worse, it's already 11pm and you just want to go home to bed? Fine. We all do this all the time. It's part of the business. We like to keep the clients happy and we like to do good work. I just want to express to my clients that I just do not have "spare time". It doesn't exist. No time is spare. I don't sit and watch the sunset thinking about the wonders of life. I wrap cables. I fix sloppy kick drum parts. I comp vocals. I intonate your guitar. I'm not complaining about that part. I love that stuff and I don't mind doing the mix revisions and whatnot, but I guess I've just heard "in your spare time" four or five too many times in the last week.

I'm among friend here, so I can vent and be a dick, unlike how I might treat my clients. I want to say "take a number!" but instead I say "sure! I'll let you know when it's done!"

Rant over. Thanks for listening.
Roger

PS I did not write this post in my spare time. I did it while bouncing mixes and booking 3 sessions on the phone. :)

3630 would bounce right back. I'd duck. :lol:

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by joninc » Sat May 08, 2021 11:33 am

this is a good thread - very relevant. I think it really comes down to flat rate vs time based billing.

If you do a flat rate for something then you need to be very clear what it includes and doesn't - if you bill for your time, you bill for ALL your time.

If I do produce and mix a full album for someone then I am not as nitpicky about doing a few extra bounces here and there - if I am mixing one song or just doing a smaller job then I bill for all my time and any extra stuff (smallest increment bring 20 minutes minimum) and generally I work for a day rate (9 hours) so if someone just wants a few hours, it's at a higher rate as I prioritize bigger jobs over the small stuff and encourage artists to put together enough stuff to constitute a full days work whenever possible.

The challenge for me is squeezing in little small things (mix revisions, stems, etc) when my schedule gets busy - and I'm pretty firm on having specific days off and keeping to a 9 hour day. So I'm trying to build a bit more buffer into my month so there's a little margin for this extra stuff and it makes me a little less stressed if something goes over time a bit.
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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by Rodgre » Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 am

joninc wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 11:33 am
The challenge for me is squeezing in little small things (mix revisions, stems, etc) when my schedule gets busy - and I'm pretty firm on having specific days off and keeping to a 9 hour day. So I'm trying to build a bit more buffer into my month so there's a little margin for this extra stuff and it makes me a little less stressed if something goes over time a bit.
This is where I'm at as well. Typically, my calendar gets booked solid, as in pretty much every hour accounted for, about a month in advance. That includes several arbitrary days that I have put "DO NOT BOOK" into the calendar just so I can make sure I have a life outside of the studio. When it's this busy, I always have projects that need "just a couple more hours" or "just a quick tweak" and my clients often assume that I have all this extra time, say if I get to the studio early or stay late for another session. When I tell them that I can't get to their tweaks for 3 weeks or more, they get upset and because my parents raised me to be a people-pleaser, I feel guilty and guess what... those "DO NOT BOOK" days are the first to go. On one hand, it's good that I have those days just in case, but it does nothing for my "self-care" other than give me a chance to make a client happy and make me feel less anxious.

I need to value MY time as much as I value my client's time (and probably three-times as much as m clients value my time! Ha!)

Thanks for all the input everyone! Thank you to Larry for posting his menu for extra charges as well. That was super helpful!

Roger

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by drumsound » Mon May 10, 2021 10:22 am

Rodgre wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 am
joninc wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 11:33 am
The challenge for me is squeezing in little small things (mix revisions, stems, etc) when my schedule gets busy - and I'm pretty firm on having specific days off and keeping to a 9 hour day. So I'm trying to build a bit more buffer into my month so there's a little margin for this extra stuff and it makes me a little less stressed if something goes over time a bit.
This is where I'm at as well. Typically, my calendar gets booked solid, as in pretty much every hour accounted for, about a month in advance. That includes several arbitrary days that I have put "DO NOT BOOK" into the calendar just so I can make sure I have a life outside of the studio. When it's this busy, I always have projects that need "just a couple more hours" or "just a quick tweak" and my clients often assume that I have all this extra time, say if I get to the studio early or stay late for another session. When I tell them that I can't get to their tweaks for 3 weeks or more, they get upset and because my parents raised me to be a people-pleaser, I feel guilty and guess what... those "DO NOT BOOK" days are the first to go. On one hand, it's good that I have those days just in case, but it does nothing for my "self-care" other than give me a chance to make a client happy and make me feel less anxious.

I need to value MY time as much as I value my client's time (and probably three-times as much as m clients value my time! Ha!)

Thanks for all the input everyone! Thank you to Larry for posting his menu for extra charges as well. That was super helpful!

Roger
Be careful about those self-care days. That's something we aren't really taught but they are so very important. I'm doing something outside of music that emphasizes self-care for the people involved on both sides and it really makes a difference. You're actually not just serving yourself, but also your clients when you do that. Though I've quoted Roger, this is something EVERYONE should think about. Simple things, or more complex, self-care is paramount for being a complete person.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by cgarges » Mon May 10, 2021 8:57 pm

I agree and I've been writing "DO NOT BOOK" in my schedule for years. When I moved the studio and got busier, I learned that I had to start giving myself two or three consecutive days off every few weeks. Part of that was EXACTLY so I could use one of them to get caught up with extra stuff like this.

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Re: RANT: "in your spare time.."

Post by trodden » Wed May 12, 2021 8:29 am

drumsound wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 10:22 am
Rodgre wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 am
joninc wrote:
Sat May 08, 2021 11:33 am
The challenge for me is squeezing in little small things (mix revisions, stems, etc) when my schedule gets busy - and I'm pretty firm on having specific days off and keeping to a 9 hour day. So I'm trying to build a bit more buffer into my month so there's a little margin for this extra stuff and it makes me a little less stressed if something goes over time a bit.
This is where I'm at as well. Typically, my calendar gets booked solid, as in pretty much every hour accounted for, about a month in advance. That includes several arbitrary days that I have put "DO NOT BOOK" into the calendar just so I can make sure I have a life outside of the studio. When it's this busy, I always have projects that need "just a couple more hours" or "just a quick tweak" and my clients often assume that I have all this extra time, say if I get to the studio early or stay late for another session. When I tell them that I can't get to their tweaks for 3 weeks or more, they get upset and because my parents raised me to be a people-pleaser, I feel guilty and guess what... those "DO NOT BOOK" days are the first to go. On one hand, it's good that I have those days just in case, but it does nothing for my "self-care" other than give me a chance to make a client happy and make me feel less anxious.

I need to value MY time as much as I value my client's time (and probably three-times as much as m clients value my time! Ha!)

Thanks for all the input everyone! Thank you to Larry for posting his menu for extra charges as well. That was super helpful!

Roger
Be careful about those self-care days. That's something we aren't really taught but they are so very important. I'm doing something outside of music that emphasizes self-care for the people involved on both sides and it really makes a difference. You're actually not just serving yourself, but also your clients when you do that. Though I've quoted Roger, this is something EVERYONE should think about. Simple things, or more complex, self-care is paramount for being a complete person.
Totally. I'm like Roger, and would see my self-care days disappear for those "one last tweaks". Or I'd waste it away at a fucking bar. Now, older and wiser, and after finally getting some mental health help over the last 5 years, I know how important that time is.

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