The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Tags: , ,

The Four Second Rule...
Old 24th April 2015
  #1
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Lightbulb The Four Second Rule...

There are a few things that I address with all our interns and the newbies that come through our place.
Here's one of the mindsets that I convey to the newcomers...

Consider spending (waiting) four seconds to think (about an approach,) contemplate (the right move or answer,) or address (your concerns and) the situation before you respond. It may seem like a longtime, but that four second pause will save you hours (or years) of regret, disappointment, or the lost opportunity to do it right the first time around!

What say you?
Old 24th April 2015
  #2
I always tell my assistants some valuable advice that I was given when I was starting out.
"Walk slow, think fast". Take your time and do things deliberately, so you have the time to think about what you need to do. You never want to look like you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
Ever notice that the people that are the best at what they do never seem to be rushing?
All the best,
-mark
Old 24th April 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
Steve, I had a fellow tell me that if I did not know what to do to not do anything. Taking a few seconds to think about the problem can solve the "not knowing" part most of the time. Haste is great if you are running for your life. Other times? Naaahh,
Old 25th April 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Wyllys's Avatar
 

I'll get back to you in a week or so...
Old 25th April 2015
  #5
If only interns would stop and think for a moment lots of potential major problems could be prevented. I never heard of the 4 second rule but I will adopt it. Biggest problem is to get assistants and interns to admit that they really do not know how to do something. They think they are "all knowing" and due to some self bravado have convinced themselves that they don't have to ask questions. The "oh I forgot not to put the phantom power on the ribbon microphone channels" does not go far to pay the repair bill. I keep reminding them that they are all learning and to ask questions is part of that education but somehow that reminder falls on deal ears.

One problem is that the "devil is in the smaller items" to paraphrase the "devil is in the details". One capsule for a microphone is small and expensive and can get lost easily if someone does not take the time to put it away where it belongs after a gig. I always lay out everything before a gig to make sure all the equipment and adapters are there and we are ready for the gig. I also charge the batteries and replenish the expendables like gaffer's tape and batteries for flashlights. Some of our gigs are a long way from home base and it would take some time for someone to have to go back to retrieve some small item that is missing. Breaking down from some of our gigs is more like a foot race. One venue we do there are multiple concerts in the hall about 2.0 hours apart so we have to get in and get out quickly. This seems to be the time that a lot of "things" go missing. I tell my interns to do a "dummy check" of their area before we clear out and that usually turns up some "lost" items that rolled under the seats or got put somewhere where they should not be. One sound company I worked for had everything color coded and an inventory sheet right inside each storage box so one could check to see if all the items were there. I haven't gone that route but thinking about it.

Last edited by Thomas W. Bethe; 25th April 2015 at 01:59 PM.. Reason: Added a paragraph
Old 25th April 2015
  #6
LX3
Lives for gear
 
LX3's Avatar
 

I totally agree that rushing to do things is when mistakes are made. As my mum always used to say, "More haste, less speed". I never really understood that at the time... more haste, less speed definition, meaning - what is more haste, less speed in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Connected to that, I always try to tell assistants that when we're breaking everything down, if they pick something up, they must endeavour not to put it down until it's 100% packed away. Concentrate on one thing and do not start fiddling with anything else until that one thing is properly packed and put in the correct flight case.

Things don't go missing after they've been set up (on the whole), and they don't go missing while they're in the van... They go missing in the transition between the two, and that's because people half de-rig something, then put it down somewhere stupid and forget about it.

A couple of months back, we were in a rush to get out of the venue (they had a club night starting 30 mins after the band were off stage. Don't you love it when they tell you that?) so the video folks helped me carry my cases out of the venue to the van. It was an easy 20 yard walk from backstage, down a small corridor, and out of the stage door. I said very clearly "This all goes straight out onto the street and into the van". Nope. Just before I drove off I found an innocent-looking 4U rack of mine sat in the lobby. It contained about £5000 of gear. Somehow, one of these helpers got distracted on the 30 second walk to the van and for some unfathomable reason put it down before they got outside. Nearly a very expensive show.

Only once have I ever lost any kit (a small radio receiver) thru my own stupidity. Everything I have lost has gone awol because a person unconnected with my crew handled it. So, new policy...
Old 25th April 2015
  #7
Lives for gear
We took pride in de rigs,I would write recording reports as the takes happened,and pack rushes for despatch with the film,always a race
My assistants would pack the vehicle for travel, mistakes rarely happened, DAT tapes being tiny,sometimes were mislaid,we put them in tape boxes to make them more obvious
Sometimes rushes got left on top of a camera vehicle ,prepped for despatched, and survived a journey!
Our biggest delay was Motorolas, 20 or more handsets, many lost by production, a real pain in the arse
No 4 second rule with production runners!
Old 25th April 2015
  #8
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Yes, if interns would only stop and think for a moment. And the main reason why I came up with the "Four Second Rule."

It's true, some interns have a problem admitting they don't know what we have been perfecting for decades. This "all knowing" mindset creates even another problem for me; they never let you finish your sentence. It's about coming up with what they think you're about to say. If they just let the person finish their thought perhaps the right answer, or the possibility of thoughtful solution could be achieved. This self bravado does create bigger problems down the line when they are not checked at the door. This is the main reason why I never have a newbie or intern on any pro gig. They must work at the field shop, and get their act together by learning how to test, setup and prep a gig first. And only then do they get a chance to work as an "Audio Utility."

For most folks, understand the dynamic of what we do is not something you just pick up overnight. You're right, they (we) are all still learning and must ask the right questions not just question they have while they were daydreaming when you were addressing an important matter.

I always lay out everything before a gig and create what I call a "Location Production File" with everything spelled out and itemized with all sorts of details and information about the gig, the equipment, the musicians, the location and such.

And, yes we also do a "idiot check." We make sure all the idiots (dummies) are in the vehicle when we leave the location. ;-)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
If only interns would stop and think for a moment lots of potential major problems could be prevented. I never heard of the 4 second rule but I will adopt it. Biggest problem is to get assistants and interns to admit that they really do not know how to do something. They think they are "all knowing" and due to some self bravado have convinced themselves that they don't have to ask questions. The "oh I forgot not to put the phantom power on the ribbon microphone channels" does not go far to pay the repair bill. I keep reminding them that they are all learning and to ask questions is part of that education but somehow that reminder falls on deal ears.

One problem is that the "devil is in the smaller items" to paraphrase the "devil is in the details". One capsule for a microphone is small and expensive and can get lost easily if someone does not take the time to put it away where it belongs after a gig. I always lay out everything before a gig to make sure all the equipment and adapters are there and we are ready for the gig. I also charge the batteries and replenish the expendables like gaffer's tape and batteries for flashlights. Some of our gigs are a long way from home base and it would take some time for someone to have to go back to retrieve some small item that is missing. Breaking down from some of our gigs is more like a foot race. One venue we do there are multiple concerts in the hall about 2.0 hours apart so we have to get in and get out quickly. This seems to be the time that a lot of "things" go missing. I tell my interns to do a "dummy check" of their area before we clear out and that usually turns up some "lost" items that rolled under the seats or got put somewhere where they should not be. One sound company I worked for had everything color coded and an inventory sheet right inside each storage box so one could check to see if all the items were there. I haven't gone that route but thinking about it.
Old 26th April 2015
  #9
Lives for gear
 

I think I need longer than 4 seconds….

p
Old 26th April 2015
  #10
Sounds like interns get treated like children.
Old 26th April 2015
  #11
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
FYI, interns that act like children never get a chance at an internship with Aura-Sonic, Ltd.

And, the ones that pulled off acting like adults at interview, but end up far from that during their time with us don't last more than a couple of days. The ones that show promise are tolerated for a short while in the hopes that they see the light before they see the door.

IMHO, an immature or irresponsible person does not belong in our industry until they learn to listen and take direction.

That being said, I have learned things from interns (and others not in our industry,) so believe you me, listening to what someone has to say, especially when their timing is right is always acknowledged.

There's another statement I say a lot which is, "I'd rather go with the better idea than my idea any day."

Last summer we had some of the best interns we ever had at Aura-Sonic! We had two girls and a guy that were outstanding in so many ways! They listened, they learned, and they improved the operation and dynamic of my shop. They even made it to a few pro gigs, because they proved to me that they were ready to make the move to the next level.


Quote:
Originally Posted by teknatronik View Post
Sounds like interns get treated like children.
Old 26th April 2015
  #12
I have a strange habit of thinking loudly for long periods of time, not out loud, but the process itself seems to be noticeable by everyone else. Sometimes I will just stop what I am doing and stare at something for 15 seconds or so (or longer, I don't think quite a quickly as I used to), long enough for the person next to me to look a bit worried and confused, wondering if something is wrong. Sometimes people tell me they can see the gears working up there. I am usually just trying to run through the setup scenario, contemplate all possible consequences of a decision. The result is usually a smooth running show for everyone, not just a good recording on my end.

There are two easy ways not to get hired for any future gigs, one is to do a bad job on the recording of course, the other is to be a nuisance to the performers, either with your attitude, or your equipment getting in the way of the performers.
Old 26th April 2015
  #13
Lives for gear
 
edva's Avatar
One bit of advice I give them is, don't tell, ask.
Old 26th April 2015
  #14
Registered User
1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ....

I thought this was going to be about how long is acceptable to pick up and eat any food you may have dropped on the floor ...
Old 26th April 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
There are a few things that I address with all our interns and the newbies that come through our place.
Here's one of the mindsets that I convey to the newcomers...

Consider spending (waiting) four seconds to think (about an approach,) contemplate (the right move or answer,) or address (your concerns and) the situation before you respond. It may seem like a longtime, but that four second pause will save you hours (or years) of regret, disappointment, or the lost opportunity to do it right the first time around!

What say you?
Your "Four Second Rule" sounds like wisdom born out of experience which is often times the best advice to follow. However, I needed to read through thread to get a sense of why you shared it with us. I'll "skip a few cars on my train of thought" and get to the point: your "Four Second Rule" immediately made me think of Introversion and Extroversion in the Field of Audio Recording. (Academic journal article title right there!)

To simplify the two temperaments: introverts think, extroverts act. Neither is better than the other and no single person is 100% introverted or 100% extroverted, nor is anyone 50/50. I'm curious if this topic has ever come up in discussion, on GS or real life.

Unfortunately, internships with in the music industry is a topic I avoid. In other words, I'm using your "4 Second Rule."
Old 26th April 2015
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by teknatronik View Post
Sounds like interns get treated like children.
Ummm.... They are.
Old 26th April 2015
  #17
Today a lot of young people have what I call, "internet expertise", which means they think that because they can look things up on their cell phones, they know more than they really do. They seem very smart but take away their cell phones and access to a computer and see how smart they really are. When I was growing up I did not have access to the internet or to a cell phone so I had to learn everything by watching and doing it myself. If I had a question I had to go to the library or ask someone who knew more than I. It was a gradual learning process but what I learned stayed with me.

Interns that I hire have some amazing abilities and ask some very probing questions which make me think. Having young people around keeps me young.I just wish once in a while some of them would stop pontificating long enough to really learn something. Reading something on the WWW is not the same as having to do that task and learning hands on.

I guess I am too old school...
Old 26th April 2015
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Kind of related - "Always turn up an hour earlier than you need to. That way you will live longer."

I got that advice from a world famous accompanist. But I have to say he wasn't a good example of following his own advice. However, a quick google indicates that he's still alive.

When it comes to the placing of microphones, (and when in an unfamiliar location, choosing where to set up the rest of the gear), four minutes contemplation is often a minimum. Stand and look. Ponder the alternatives. Think about direct vs indirect sound. Think of spill from sources you want to avoid. Think through the practicalities of the cable runs. Think about sight lines (for the audience and the players). Think about whether you've brought enough chocolate with you to last the distance. (Hey, concentrate!!) If you can puzzle through that lot in 4 minutes, let alone 4 seconds, you're probably rushing.
Old 30th April 2015
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
If only interns would stop and think for a moment lots of potential major problems could be prevented. I never heard of the 4 second rule but I will adopt it. Biggest problem is to get assistants and interns to admit that they really do not know how to do something. They think they are "all knowing" and due to some self bravado have convinced themselves that they don't have to ask questions. The "oh I forgot not to put the phantom power on the ribbon microphone channels" does not go far to pay the repair bill. I keep reminding them that they are all learning and to ask questions is part of that education but somehow that reminder falls on deal ears.
My problem is I ask too many questions! I'm always so afraid I'll screw something up, but asking too many questions bothers people and takes time away from their work. I have had people tell me "no, it wasn't supposed to be done this way! why didn't you ask?", and I have had people tell me to "figure it out myself" when I asked how they wanted it to be done. And sometimes both of those phrases came from the same person!

I guess it's all about finding a balance.
Old 30th April 2015
  #20
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Perhaps, it's more about the timing of the questions you ask than what questions you're asking.

IMHO, there are no bad questions, just bad answers, but what, when and where you ask those questions is an important part of it all.

Taking the time to think it out on your own and then ask if you cannot figure it out is a good way to handle it. Being afraid that you'll screw something up is (in my book) the bigger problem than asking too many questions, especially when you have spent the time to think it out.

If it takes time away from their work then perhaps you are asking at the wrong time. If people tell you "it wasn't supposed to be done that way!' and then show you how it's done, now you know the right way to do it. I tell my interns, "you can make a thousand mistakes, just don't make the same ones twice." And, if you follow that mindset, by the time your internship is over you will be perceived as a "genius" because you have made every mistake possible and learned from it.

In my experience, when someone says "figure it out yourself" it usually isn't a mission critical situation, and figuring it out on your own is the best way to handle it. That's how I like to handle the obvious stuff. You must ask yourself, "Do you want the answers to the test or learn how to pass the test?"

But, you have said it best, "...it's all about finding a balance."

The power is in you hands to make the difference!


Quote:
Originally Posted by laurenbanjo View Post
My problem is I ask too many questions! I'm always so afraid I'll screw something up, but asking too many questions bothers people and takes time away from their work. I have had people tell me "no, it wasn't supposed to be done this way! why didn't you ask?", and I have had people tell me to "figure it out myself" when I asked how they wanted it to be done. And sometimes both of those phrases came from the same person!

I guess it's all about finding a balance.
Old 30th April 2015
  #21
I use it when I drop food on the ground. The rest is communication and that's a two way street.
Old 1st May 2015
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
t_chance's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LX3 View Post
I totally agree that rushing to do things is when mistakes are made. As my mum always used to say, "More haste, less speed". I never really understood that at the time...
The way I always said it was "the hurryer you go the behinder you get."

And thanks Steve for all the tips.
Old 2nd May 2015
  #23
Lives for gear
 
pkautzsch's Avatar
 

It doesn't only apply to interns.
Old 2nd May 2015
  #24
LX3
Lives for gear
 
LX3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by t_chance View Post
The way I always said it was "the hurryer you go the behinder you get."
I like that a lot
Old 2nd May 2015
  #25
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
True story!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
It doesn't only apply to interns.
Old 2nd May 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
 
boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkautzsch View Post
It doesn't only apply to interns.
Did you have to bring that up?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
The 'Four Second Rule' has been discussed more times these days than ever before. And, it's incredibly frustrating to say the least.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
There are a few things that I address with all our interns and the newbies that come through our place.
Here's one of the mindsets that I convey to the newcomers...

Consider spending (waiting) four seconds to think (about an approach,) contemplate (the right move or answer,) or address (your concerns and) the situation before you respond. It may seem like a longtime, but that four second pause will save you hours (or years) of regret, disappointment, or the lost opportunity to do it right the first time around!

What say you?
Yes. Encourage people to think for themselves ('always questioning authority' is optional...especially here on Gearslutz); a lot can happen in 4 seconds (given that the brain operates at the speed of light or faster).

The Remote sub-forum has been a source of great advice and politely given. Thanks to you Steve and all the other mods and contributors. Much appreciated
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Tommy-boy's Avatar
 

I try to spend hours upfront planning how every mic will be placed and how the rig will be connected. Saves me having to figure this out while in the field. Not everything can be planned in advance, but this helps me a lot. I am usually pinched for time in setup and tear down.

Tom
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Guru
 
jwh1192's Avatar
ah man, i thought this was going to be about dropping that Slice of Pizza on the floor and how long you wait before picking it up !!! and eating it !!!

part of the Intern need to know about things you might need to deal with ... lets say an Artist is having a snack before a show and they drop some food, do you watch them and count out loud 1,2,3,4 ahhh, too late ...

no, you are quiet and count to yourself and when you hit 11 and the Artist picks up the food, looks around to see if anyone saw them, then eats it !! then you giggle like anderson cooper !!!
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump