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The Right Balance: The Diverse Career And Life Of Grace Royse

Looking at the key aspects of a successful career from someone who places as much weight on accountability and attitude as she does on technical aptitude.

Setting Priorities

It’s better, Royse suggests, to focus on reaching out to those you’ve met in person while working: “Find out who their super tech is and what company they work for. They’re the hidden rock stars. It’s really about developing that network; the perfect crew to support whatever artist it is.”

One of the qualities that she looks for in new members of her own crew is the willingness to learn and to develop their ears instead of leaning on technology.

“I want you to understand how signal gets to the speakers, then we’ll talk about your laptop,” she says. “Lately I’ve been taking away programs like Digital Workbench and Smaart from people who are misusing them. They’re not using them as tools; they’re leaning on them 100 percent and being distracted by the details of software that they don’t 100-percent understand.

“I’m not a super tech or an RF specialist,” she continues, “I lean on those professionals on our teams and I also watch them use the tools properly over and over again. If you sat through the eight-hour class, good for you, but you haven’t been in 400 different rooms and the tech you’re working with has. Ask them: ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing that?’ Essentially, she says – more walking, more listening, less laptop. “Just worry about getting good and working for a really solid company or network.”

It comes down to being open to learning and meeting the demands of any gig as part of a team. Which begs the question – does she have a preferred role?

“I want to say yes, but that’s really not true. Lately I’ve been helping support television shows in Los Angeles. These audio companies are now supporting independent shows, like on Netflix. You build the show, show them how to use it, leave their techs in operation of the thing and then come back three months later and rip it out.

“But I’m spoiled because I have options. I made decisions early on to say no to gigs that I wanted because I knew that it was important to have variety, and because my long-term goals were to have a well-balanced career and well-balanced knowledge. I think the only way to be an effective and safe production manager is to have the full picture. And the only way to have the full picture is to step into as many roles as possible and find out what’s important to the artist, and the well-being of the production, so you can staff those positions.”

That said, she concludes, “I do hope in this next year to continue to get to put together some of my own productions and teams. I love to do that. I’m still growing and learning how to do it and to be good at it. It has to grow naturally; I can’t crank out shows all year long until I have the network and the team to make that sustainable, but it’s definitely happening. In the meantime I love continuing to jump in on other projects.”

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