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Failings. How have you dealt with them?
Old 16th July 2019
  #1
Failings. How have you dealt with them?

Anyone who has spent time in this industry has become deeply (and unfortunately) acquainted with everything that can possibly go wrong. From seemingly small issues, like your favorite compressor malfunctioning in an important and timely session, all the way to project management and business mishaps: in your own story, how have you handled the failures, losses of reputation, mistakes and learned and grown from them?
Old 16th July 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
First, I try very hard to anticipate failures, to not be overconfident or put on those rose colored glasses before or during a session. One of the things that makes me angry or disappointed with myself in failure situations is thinking that I could or should have anticipated the failure and had a plan to deal with the obvious negative possibilities. If I don’t have an adequate backup plan or whatever extra stuff I need, that’s usually on me.

I just wrote and erased a sentence about how I’ve gotten better over decades in dealing with failure. I haven’t. I still react with a lot of expletives and borderline panic.
I find that with my personality, it’s better to be a pessimist. If my expectation is that everything is likely to turn to sh**, it makes me both more vigilant in looking for problems, and makes it easier to deal with lesser problems. Lesser problems are no big deal when you fully expect the worst.
I do have to remember to disguise my pessimism during the event or session.
Old 16th July 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
First, I try very hard to anticipate failures, to not be overconfident or put on those rose colored glasses before or during a session. One of the things that makes me angry or disappointed with myself in failure situations is thinking that I could or should have anticipated the failure and had a plan to deal with the obvious negative possibilities. If I don’t have an adequate backup plan or whatever extra stuff I need, that’s usually on me.

I just wrote and erased a sentence about how I’ve gotten better over decades in dealing with failure. I haven’t. I still react with a lot of expletives and borderline panic.
I find that with my personality, it’s better to be a pessimist. If my expectation is that everything is likely to turn to sh**, it makes me both more vigilant in looking for problems, and makes it easier to deal with lesser problems. Lesser problems are no big deal when you fully expect the worst.
I do have to remember to disguise my pessimism during the event or session.
Appreciate the words of wisdom coming from such an experienced industry stalwart as yourself!
Old 22nd July 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bushman View Post
First, I try very hard to anticipate failures, to not be overconfident or put on those rose colored glasses before or during a session. One of the things that makes me angry or disappointed with myself in failure situations is thinking that I could or should have anticipated the failure and had a plan to deal with the obvious negative possibilities. If I don’t have an adequate backup plan or whatever extra stuff I need, that’s usually on me.

I just wrote and erased a sentence about how I’ve gotten better over decades in dealing with failure. I haven’t. I still react with a lot of expletives and borderline panic.
I find that with my personality, it’s better to be a pessimist. If my expectation is that everything is likely to turn to sh**, it makes me both more vigilant in looking for problems, and makes it easier to deal with lesser problems. Lesser problems are no big deal when you fully expect the worst.
I do have to remember to disguise my pessimism during the event or session.
You are such a wise man.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
I think there's nothing wrong with failure, everybody fails eventually. You just have to adapt the mindset that failures will happen and the only thing you can do is to learn from those failures so that they won't happen again. Better backup plans, more time, more practice, what ever it is.

I'm rather new in the business but I've made big mistakes, and hopefully learned from then. The first major mistake of mine was my first time playing a live dj-set at a internet radio show. I had used Traktor, laptop and some basic controller for all sets before this one but the radio show had very expensive decks from Pioneer so I decided not to take my Traktor setup with my and play using the Pioneers' on-board Recordbox thingy. Well, I practiced to use Recordbox home and made some cue-points etc. ready for the gig, copied everything to my USB-stick, head do studio and was ready to roll. Only to find out that the expensive Pioneer-decks don't support flac-format (I had everything in flac) and that the cue-points and all in Recordbox don't copy similarly to Traktor and I had nothing saved. VERY LUCKILY, I came an hour early to the studio to get familiar with the decks so I had just enough time to convert enough songs to play a set. In the end all went good even though I had to improvise the set and forget to convert some songs I wanted to play. I learned that I should always have flacs and waws on my USB-stick and that extra setup time is really necessary.

The second bigger mistake was during my first bigger dj-set at a club. All the sudden my audio files somehow broke and in middle of a playback started to make only this loud buzzing white noise sound. I was in panic as it happened randomly and I had no way of knowing when or what even is happening. Is it all songs? How am I to mix? Should I just stop? There I am, alone, in front of the biggest crowd I ever had panicking without the slightest idea what to do. Luckily, this time a fellow experienced dj who played before me came to help and was very calm about everything. He was like "Crowd loves your set man but you need to deal with that corrupted USB-stick now. Just pause the music, take the stick off and stick it back in". I was like ok and did what he said and everything was ok afterwards. Simple thing as that. After the set I was all broken down by the incident because I felt the first 30-45 mins of failure had messed up the vibe of the whole set. But talking to few members of the crowd I quickly realized that they barely had any memories of my failures and one even though I made the white noise sounds on purpose. The memories of this set are still haunting me but after playing some successful sets its getting better. Nowadays, I carry 3 USB-sticks with me and if a song is corrupted I will take that stick off right away.

So how to deal with failure? Try to do your best not repeating them and don't be too harsh on yourself.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Failings. How have you dealt with them?


Keep working.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterashermusic View Post
From seemingly small issues, like your favorite compressor malfunctioning in an important and timely session, all the way to project management and business mishaps: in your own story, how have you handled the failures, losses of reputation, mistakes and learned and grown from them?
I've tried to be honest about them both to myself and my client. I can recall one issue with one client (yeeears ago) where I managed to render a mix of a TV show with music in mono. I think we had issues at some point where after the mix left me the video editor had screwed things up but this time it was me. I re-exported the mix correctly, called up the video editor who had gotten crap from the owner of the production company and apologized directly, and then I got the owner on the line apologized to him personally. I've since never made that mistake again of course, but more importantly we didn't lose the business. I think if I had simply tried to not take responsibility eventually it'd have been known that not only was it my fault but I knew it and said nothing, and that would have been worse. Plus, it was the right thing to do.

I also had another situation years ago where a client insisted on a low budget. I was left with little time to do it and with insufficient (audio) resources. The client was aware of this. I did my best. It wasn't good enough. I then got the audio I needed but not enough time. It wasn't good enough. Rather than argue I simply said that if that's the budget and that's the time I have and you still don't like it then maybe I'm not the one for you, and they took the job elsewhere. In retrospect what I learned from this was that there's a value in being super-clear with clients about what we can and can't do, what we will and won't do, and sometime it's maybe better to walk away from a job that's virtually impossible to execute rather than say you can do it to some degree that then turns out to be unacceptable. It saves you and the client grief ultimately.

So I guess what I've learned so far is that there's an argument to be made for being up front about mistakes a lot of times, and then of course learn from them. In the first case above I revisited my workflow and now I have a couple of checks to make sure the same doesn't happen again (and I've caught issues that weren't my fault this way), so that's definitely something I do; re-evaluate my workflow and tools. And in the second case I learned to be a bit more assertive and selective, and also not beat myself up over things that are out of my control.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 

PS: In my second example the producer brought in a different mix-engineer to listen to the first episode during a special review. I was told that he was a mix engineer. He was somewhat diplomatic after playback but obviously after they left the verdict was that I wasn't capable of doing the job. I brought this up because I think that was a pretty crappy thing to do. It would have been more 'socially acceptable', arguably, to just take the mix and do that review elsewhere, rather than having that guy judge my work behind my back. I later learned that a similar thing happened with video editors with the company going through several. I actually think I may have ended up dodging a bullet there, and I can recall at least a couple more instances where I declined the job before starting it because I got a bad vibe from the prospective clients.

So I guess I just wanted to add that sometimes declining a job because of the client is possibly the right thing to do.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattiasnyc View Post
PS: In my second example the producer brought in a different mix-engineer to listen to the first episode during a special review. I was told that he was a mix engineer. He was somewhat diplomatic after playback but obviously after they left the verdict was that I wasn't capable of doing the job. I brought this up because I think that was a pretty crappy thing to do. It would have been more 'socially acceptable', arguably, to just take the mix and do that review elsewhere, rather than having that guy judge my work behind my back. I later learned that a similar thing happened with video editors with the company going through several. I actually think I may have ended up dodging a bullet there, and I can recall at least a couple more instances where I declined the job before starting it because I got a bad vibe from the prospective clients.

So I guess I just wanted to add that sometimes declining a job because of the client is possibly the right thing to do.

That's a good word. I'm continuously learning (sometimes the hard way) that learning when to say "no" is as important as when to say "yes" in this industry. Artistry is a wonderful thing, but when left in incapable production/less than business savvy hands, can be utterly disastrous.
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