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Do studio owners/producers/engineers appreciate cold-calls from session players?
Old 10th November 2009
  #1
Gear Addict
 
jsbeeth's Avatar
 

Do studio owners/producers/engineers appreciate cold-calls from session players?

Just wondering what the etiquette is on this...

I recently moved to a new town where I'm trying to establish myself in the studio scene as a session player, and while I've certainly been meeting people and making connections the old fashioned way, I'm wondering whether it's a good or bad idea to also just cold-call studios and producers in town and offer my reel, press kit, etc.

On the one hand, it seems like it could be annoying, as any other cold-call can be. On the other, I keep hearing there's a shortage of what I do here, so in that sense it could really be helpful to them for me to put the word out.

Thoughts? How would you guys feel about getting contacted by a random session musician new to town? And for the sake of discussion, let's say this is all assuming I don't suck I want to be proactive but don't want to be obnoxious and get myself blacklisted!

Thanks!
Old 11th November 2009
  #2
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jsbeeth's Avatar
 

Cool, thanks. Yeah, I figure it shouldn't be such a big deal, but sometimes it seems people can get weird about that stuff.

Anyone out there who *would* be annoyed by a cold-call from a musician, provided it was courteous, to the point, and they didn't suck?

Thanks again.
Old 11th November 2009
  #3
Gear Nut
 

It doesn't bug me, but they are also getting nowhere.

I have a short list of first-call musicians, and when I need someone else, I always go to them for referral.
Old 11th November 2009
  #4
Lives for gear
 
hazelmossobrien's Avatar
 

If I were trying to do this, I'd drop a business card off or drop an email. Calling seems a bit forward.

Surely you'll network, it just takes times and feels grueling, doesn't it.
Old 11th November 2009
  #5
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jsbeeth's Avatar
 

Hazel -- yeah I didn't mean phone calling per se, but more of just any unsolicited contact. It would probably be an email and/or a drop-off of my card and reel. Yeah, it takes time, and I don't want to be impatient. Just trying to hit the ground running in the new town.

Mgilboe -- yeah, I'm aware of the possible futility, but I guess it never hurts to cover all the bases if I'm not po'ing anyone.
Old 11th November 2009
  #6
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

You really need relationships with other musicians as opposed to studios.

Nobody's ever going to refer somebody they haven't ever played with. You can create situations playing with others by hiring them for gigs yourself. If they are impressed with your playing, they'll return the favor.
Old 11th November 2009
  #7
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LeMauce's Avatar
Indeed. Contacting studio's / drop by can work. (Be quick, to the piont and proper reel)
But working with other "great" musicians is a must. They will talk about you in the next studio session to the producer if you play good and if the "feeling" of playing music together is right (What is the point having 4 brilliant musicians in a studio with no musical mojo magic...right..zero). GO TO open JAM sessions in the localpubs. Talk around and discover and play.
Good social contact is a must.
Old 11th November 2009
  #8
get a gig for the studio/producer/ engineer. they will love you trust me.
Old 11th November 2009
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
get a gig for the studio/producer/ engineer. they will love you trust me.
+1! I was going to say exactly the same thing.
Old 11th November 2009
  #10
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Rednose's Avatar
I get random session guys emailing me and every now and again calling me.
It doesn't bother me that much.
Like the other posters said, keep it short and sweet.

I have a short list of ringers I call for sessions but in the odd case they can't make it, I keep others on file.
If you contact enough people, you may get an opportunity that could lead to something else.

Its happened in my studio.
Old 11th November 2009
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
AmongstTheLiving's Avatar
 

I would send an email, but make sure its doesn't seem mass produced. Write an individual email geared for the particular studio in mind. I wouldn't like it if someone just "popped in." Nor do I like phone calls. Amazing musicians that you can rely on are an asset though.
Old 11th November 2009
  #12
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jsbeeth's Avatar
 

Cool, thanks again guys. Sounds like no one's gonna be too put off by some succinct personalized emails, so I'll get to it.

Shane/Clueless -- that's a great idea! I'll see if I can work that out somehow.
Old 11th November 2009
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaneoconnor View Post
get a gig for the studio/producer/ engineer. they will love you trust me.
+2. I'm way more likely to hire someone who's come in on a session than someone I don't know at all. IN fact, I'm not likely at all to hire someone I've never heard or talked to in person.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 11th November 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
You really need relationships with other musicians as opposed to studios.

Nobody's ever going to refer somebody they haven't ever played with. You can create situations playing with others by hiring them for gigs yourself. If they are impressed with your playing, they'll return the favor.

I agree. The people hiring session musicians are the same ones hiring the studios. You'll have to put yourself in the local music scene and play around and meet other musicians. Stay away from only like minded musicians and get out of your comfort zone and start talking to your polar opposites. Those are the people that will need your services most likely.
Old 11th November 2009
  #15
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waxx's Avatar
 

I would call musicians i know from playing live somewhere. Try to expose yourself as much on all levels (play in jamsessions in your town, meet other musicians, club owners, promoters, do start a band there with some locals, ...) so your name is going round. Studio owners are mostly music lovers who know what's happening in the local scene and mostly call ppl from there they like.

But if you got good credentials and skills, it won't harm you to send an email/drop by and present yourself and your work to studio owners. But be polite, humble and to the point.
Old 12th November 2009
  #16
pointless calling commercial/mailing studios - they don't employ session musos directly. Still receive countless CDs/bios, which tend to get binned unfortunately.
Old 12th November 2009
  #17
Gear Addict
 

It is not pointless unless you're calling the biggest studios, like Chalice or The Record Plant. Those studios don't hire talent in this way, but I do. Part of my job as studio owner and producer is to act as session vocalist contractor and session musician contractor. I require a link to their online reel which I can forward to producers. Youtube or a website will do, but it's got to be quick. I'll usually test them out on a laid back gig, and I make it clear that if they can't cut it they won't get paid a dime. It is unbelievable how many people in LA that don't know their music try to pass themselves off as session musicians.
Old 12th November 2009
  #18
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JoaT's Avatar
Just a thought, and I would love to hear what the studio owners would think about this...

What if the new kid in town contacts the studio and books a few hours of paid studio time to show the studio owner what he / she is capable of in terms of session playing?

They could arrange a typical session playing situation with a typical amount of preparation on player's side (just jump in an play to a piece you have never heard of before with a style somebody tells you).

A first thought it would straight away make some money (=not waste their time) for the studio in question, and as the session player gets to show his / her abilities in a real working situation.
Old 12th November 2009
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetplane666666 View Post
It is not pointless unless you're calling the biggest studios, like Chalice or The Record Plant.
That's why I said "commercial studios" not owner/operator style rooms. That's the distinction - one is in a position to hire sessioneers, one isn't.

The company I work for gets loads of different musician mailouts of various quality. But because the rooms are hired to external producers, it's pointless because we never hire anyone through the studio directly - and even if I was asked if I knew a drummer/guitarist/whatever, I'd recommend someone I knew personally, not someone I'd never met.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
Just a thought, and I would love to hear what the studio owners would think about this...

What if the new kid in town contacts the studio and books a few hours of paid studio time to show the studio owner what he / she is capable of in terms of session playing?

They could arrange a typical session playing situation with a typical amount of preparation on player's side (just jump in an play to a piece you have never heard of before with a style somebody tells you).

A first thought it would straight away make some money (=not waste their time) for the studio in question, and as the session player gets to show his / her abilities in a real working situation.
Great idea - superb lateral thinking - providing (again) the person you're "auditioning" for is in a position to hire you. Be very little point doing this if the studio owner never booked any of their own productions in. Could use the time to make a showreel as well!
Old 12th November 2009
  #20
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JoaT's Avatar
I don't think the studio owner needs to be the only one hiring.. In my experience, it is quite often when clients need "somebody to play the marimba on that part" and ask the engineer if he knows anybody.

And of course it would be dumb not to leave a showreel behind on that paid session.
Old 12th November 2009
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoaT View Post
I don't think the studio owner needs to be the only one hiring.. In my experience, it is quite often when clients need "somebody to play the marimba on that part" and ask the engineer if he knows anybody.

And of course it would be dumb not to leave a showreel behind on that paid session.
..my point is it would be little point booking a session for this purpose at a non-owner/operator studio. Unless you play something really specific (eg lap steel or something) if anyone at most commercial rooms needed a bassist/guitarist/drummer/etc, there's probably someone on staff who could do it, who would get asked before the bloke who dropped a CD in.
Old 12th November 2009
  #22
Re: Do you appreciate cold-calls from session players?

No, I don't not appreciate calls from session players.

Send an email. It's so much less invasive for me and gives you a better chance at a well-thought introduction. It also gives me a chance to look at any material you may have posted online. Getting a call is doubly annoying for me because I never really use session players!
Old 12th November 2009
  #23
Registered User
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
..my point is it would be little point booking a session for this purpose at a non-owner/operator studio. Unless you play something really specific (eg lap steel or something) if anyone at most commercial rooms needed a bassist/guitarist/drummer/etc, there's probably someone on staff who could do it, who would get asked before the bloke who dropped a CD in.
Yes to the above, bassist/guitarist/drummer/ - there are lots of these guys around unless your smoking great it might take you time to get worked in. Most studios have little to say as far as player the producer picks the players.
Old 12th November 2009
  #24
Lives for gear
 
phillysoulman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbeeth View Post
Just wondering what the etiquette is on this...

I recently moved to a new town where I'm trying to establish myself in the studio scene as a session player, and while I've certainly been meeting people and making connections the old fashioned way, I'm wondering whether it's a good or bad idea to also just cold-call studios and producers in town and offer my reel, press kit, etc.

On the one hand, it seems like it could be annoying, as any other cold-call can be. On the other, I keep hearing there's a shortage of what I do here, so in that sense it could really be helpful to them for me to put the word out.

Thoughts? How would you guys feel about getting contacted by a random session musician new to town? And for the sake of discussion, let's say this is all assuming I don't suck I want to be proactive but don't want to be obnoxious and get myself blacklisted!

Thanks!
No way.
I have my own pool of GREAT players when I need them.
Old 12th November 2009
  #25
Gear Head
 

A little off topic, but does the same go for calling about internship/assistant positions? Or should I stick to e-mails?
Old 12th November 2009
  #26
^^start your own thread^^ (search is even BETTER)
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