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Los Angeles: Boon or Bane?
Old 18th July 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

Los Angeles: Boon or Bane?

Ok slutz, I need your help with a life changing decision. Here's the deal. I'm 24 years old and live in Baltimore. I consider myself one of the best engineers in the area, but I don't know if that's saying much considiring Baltimore doesn't have a world-class facility serving national clients. I am a pro tools ninja (not just LE either, I actually owned a commercial TDM studio from 19-23), I am a trained and certified mac technician, I really know my producing **** (I think) because I have suprised myself on what I have been able to get on tape from some really terrible bands, but still realize I have a lot left to learn. I am well versed in music theory and play several instruments. I have made around 500 beats for hip-hop clients in the area. I have used a SSL on several albums, and feel as long as PT is the "tape" then I can handle a session from start to finish with no outside help. I have a really great rapport with all of the artisits I work with. I do no advertising and I stay as busy as I can handle just by word of mouth. Almost every single person I have ever worked with has come back to do a second project. Several of my acts hire me to run their sound live on important gigs so i think for this town I know what I'm doing enough not to be an embarrasment to myself.
Having said all of that, I feel like my career is stagnating. I really think I could do some great things and make a name for myself with some bands that actually have a budget/talent/work ethic. Basically, I want to be the next reincarnation of Rick Rubin. I won't be happy until I am. So what I am asking (finally), is LA the place to see and be seen? and if so what does it take to make it out there? I am fully willing to pay my dues shoveling **** at the Recording Farm. I know once I get some board time in front of someone, they would probably want me to work there. Of course the dream would be to work in a big place, but I am willing to do the independant producer route as well. Basically I want my name on some major label stuff and I don't think it's going to ever happen in Maryland. I have some personal reasons anyway for wanting to move to LA, I was just wondering if the market is too saturated for yet another engineer. All I can say is I've been recording starting on Adats when I was 15 and built myself all the way up to a TDM system by 23. I learn superfast and believe I was put on this earth to push faders around. I eat, breathe, and sleep this stuff. I'm sure that anyone that ever hired me for a project would love my work. Should I go for it? What does it take to make it in Cali? Thanks in advance for what I'm sure will be some great advice.
Old 18th July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Albert's Avatar
 

I suggest you visit LA a number of times before making a firm decision on whether to move. If you can, set up some appointments in advance for interviews at various studios. Then when you are here make a bunch of calls, hang with as many people as you can. Do this a number of times until you have a clear idea of what to do.

This is what I did, and I feel it did help make the transition to living out here easier and more productive.

The flip side of the coin is that you have steady clients out there, and are building a name for yourself. You would be starting over here, but age 24 is the time to do that.
Old 18th July 2005
  #3
I have this stereotype in my head..

NYC = hard bitten, tough + v expencive rents, high living cost

LA = cheap if you hole up & dont go out, low living cost.
Old 18th July 2005
  #4
Gear Nut
 

I second the idea of visiting LA first. See if your clients would be up for a mix session out here.....that way you can check some studios and hopefully make some money during your visit. Talk to the staff at the studio you are at......see if you can get some insider info as to the staff engineer/assistant situation, how business is going, etc (btw...you'll be amazed what kind of info you can get if you buy the assistant lunch/dinner). But, be prepared to come in as a lowely intern/runner. Alot of people look now think that is beneeth them (doing runs, making coffee, cleaning, etc.), but there are many opportunities that may arise during the runner/intern time. Anyway....just my 2 cents....hope it helps.

Matt
Old 18th July 2005
  #5
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I moved to LA when I was 22. I had never been there. I had no job lined up. I didn't know anyone. I had $900 (in the late '80's.)

But is was the best decision I ever made. I learned stuff I was never gonna learn. I see people who come to LA and put a time limit on 'making it' and they're often the ones who will tell you it's not what it's cracked up to be.

LA is also a different place than it used to be. I read that between '89 and 2000 the population of the Hollywood area increased by 40%!!

I spent a lot of time in Manhattan later, and I grew to love it even more than LA. It's a different vibe. But I'd recommend going to LA.
Old 18th July 2005
  #6
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

Thanks so much for the advice guys! That sounds like a perfect idea to book some time out there and mix a band. I'm glad you thought it was the best decision you ever made and it's not too expensive to live out there. Would you suggest I save up a few grand and just spend my first few months out there interning full time? or should I get a day job and work on the music stuff off-hours? Any other thoughts about LA? Oh, and I am not above anything (except maybe animal porn). I know you have to pay your dues in this industry and I make a mean Chai Latte
Old 18th July 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Albert's Avatar
 

It sounds like you really have the right attitude, you could do very well. Definitely save up some money before coming out. It's not as cheap to live here as the "stereotype" might have you believe!

I agree with Max's comments 100%. I've learned things I never would have elsewhere. It just takes some time to get going and make progress.

The people that set a time limit are really kidding themselves, because it just doesn't happen that way. Once you are here you need to stay with it unless or until a specific opportunity pops up out of town. There are a lot of people that come out here with stars in their eyes, thinking they will be the next big thing in a couple years. It really doesn't ahppen like that for most people. It's the same as everywhere else, just going to work and hanging in there.

But like I said, your attitude is so right on you could very possibly do quite well.
Old 18th July 2005
  #8
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Go now while you're young. One of my [b]only/b] regrets in life is not moving to LA when I was fresh out of college.
Old 18th July 2005
  #9
Gear Nut
 

"""Would you suggest I save up a few grand and just spend my first few months out there interning full time? """

Thats what I did.....man am I glad I had that money!!! Even when I started getting paid.....it came in VERY handy during a slow December. A second job is definetly an option (I'm sure they will understand you have bills to pay)......however, showing your dedication by being at the studio all the time may get you a paying position faster than someone who has a second job schedule that has to be worked around......double-edge sword kinda thing.

Matt
Old 18th July 2005
  #10
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audioez's Avatar
 

Just remeber that your career is a journey, not a rocketship ride to the top! You're at the perfect age to step up to the next level. GO FOR IT!!!
Old 18th July 2005
  #11
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

**sniff, I love you guys**
Old 18th July 2005
  #12
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drew's Avatar
I live and work near Baltimore and have all my life. Wondering if I know you. Seems like you're trying to stay anonymous. Baltimore is an up and coming place to record. Brian McTernan just moved here and is building a place near Fells Point. J Robbins (good friend of mine) lives and works here. Who knows, you may want to stay and help make a new scene!! thumbsup
Old 18th July 2005
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
keyboardman's Avatar
 

There was recently a similar thread that may be helpful.

LA is not a cheap place to live. Nor is it a place to live if you don't have a car (and do have gear).

But opportunities...I guess that's what drives the real estate market.
Old 18th July 2005
  #14
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

Hey Drew. My name is Matt, I used to own Audio Ink Recording in Westminster above Coffey Music. Now I work for Infuseon Productions in Mt.Airy and I take all of my good clients to either Frank Marchand's studio (Waterford Digital) or when I absolutley have to I go to Sheffield. Baltimore may very well be on it's way up, but I'd really like to work on a major label project. Think there will be enough in b-more to go around?
Old 18th July 2005
  #15
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drew's Avatar
cool, nice to meet you. I've worked on lots of major label projects (do a search @ Artistdirect.com) but often the best projects are the little ones. Ones that weren't supposed to be a big deal. I've known Frank for years. (BTW it's Marchand) Good luck in LA and have fun.
Old 18th July 2005
  #16
Gear Nut
 
ransomRR's Avatar
 

Yes! Frank is the man. He really polished my turd mixing skills when I started working down there. I can only take so many $200 bottles of tequila though!
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