There are many unwritten rules in any industry, and ours is no exception. Know how some people just seem to get it, while some are clueless?
I’m sure you’ve observed people trying to make their way in this business of sound, and you think to yourself, “That guy is never going anywhere because of X, Y and Z.” What if there were people in positions of power and/or influence observing you in this way? Here’s a list of things you might want to consider.
7: Knowing it all. Or, thinking you know things that you actually don’t. Our industry seems rife with this one – people who profess to know about audio, or wireless mics, or power, but don’t. In some cases, such pseudo-knowledge or lack of basic understanding can simply be annoying. But sometimes, people can get hurt, hearing can be damaged, equipment can be damaged, or you can lose your job – or all of the above.
So my suggestion is to really spend time learning the fundamentals so that when you hear others spout false concepts, you can distinguish between the real and the fake. But don’t be arrogant about what you know. Just be confident and look for opportunities to make things better.
6: Arrogance. Often it seems that some of the most stuck-up people in this business are the ones that don’t actually know much. I think this is because deep down, people know that they have gotten this far on a house of cards, and at some point, it will all come crashing down. But let’s avoid the pop psychology and stick to the path. The first thing people seem to do when something is going wrong is the blame the gear or those around them that are lower on the totem pole. But a sure way to gain respect, in my opinion, is to admit one’s fault and look for ways to solve the problem.
Unfortunately, in our business, attitude and confidence are often mistaken for real knowledge and ability. I’ve often noticed that some of the best and brightest people in our industry are also very humble. They don’t feel they have anything to prove, the just dazzle us with their knowledge, ability, and most importantly, results. Arrogance, on the other hand, alienates everyone and will definitely set you up for the big fall.
5: Coiling mic cables around your elbow. This one may be simplistic, but the bottom line is that there are right and wrong ways to do things, and you need to know the difference. And one systems guy or monitor engineer may want things done differently than the last guy you worked for. Pay attention! If you have questions, don’t assume you know the answers or that one of the roadies will steer you straight.
Be humble and ask the right people how to do those specific things. Then listen carefully and don’t ask them again – just do it right.