How to Pay Your Bills With Audio ft. EYAL LEVI, JOEY STURGIS, JOEL WANASEK

People think you’re being unrealistic.

And for the most part, they’re right. That’s because for the most part, people who embark upon a career in audio production don’t make productive moves towards their goals. They end up failing.

Let’s be honest though….It is a longshot.

There’s a lot of competition out there. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever make a living at this. But if you get your mind right, and take the proper steps, you will immediately help your odds of profiting in this industry.

Here’s a list of some essentials skills and mindsets you should adopt on your path to pro audio success:

While I believe that the list could go on, I’ve decided to elaborate on some of the topics we covered in the video:

1. COMMUNICATION IS LIFE

As an audio engineer you will be in constant contact with both your clients and their investors. That could mean that you have to talk to some nervous parents who are footing the bill, or eventually labels and managers who are riding your ass. Remember, just because people are on the same team it doesn’t mean that they’re going to see eye to eye. When people are investing their time, money, and artistic vision into something it becomes very personal to them and things can get very heated if not handled properly. If you learn how to communicate effectively with all the different parties involved you will be that much closer to ensuring that your efforts together are a success… which will lead to future bookings! Beyond just being an interface between the business people and the artists, you need to be able to work with the band in a way that will ensure their best possible performances, and the least amount of stress. This is NOT one size fits all. Learn to size up a situation, and then take whatever steps needed to keep the artist happy, and in good rapport with you and their band.

2. CHOPS

All the communication skills in the world won’t help you if you’re not actually good at audio. However, if you’re cool to hang out with, and actually know what you’re doing in the studio, you can’t lose! When trying to get work as an engineer or intern, there’s a base level assumption that you have some grasp over the basics. So do your homework and quit fucking around:
a. Learn how to use various DAWS
b. Get fast with edits
c. Understand different miking techniques
d. Master the gear involved
e. Commit to always learning more! (the most important part)

3. EDIT EDIT EDIT

It cannot be said enough. Being a good editor is one of the single best skills to have in your corner. An accurate and meticulous drum, vocal, and guitar editor will never hurt for work. Why? Well, it’s simple. Most people are unreliable and don’t have the attention span for edits. Most producers don’t do their own edits anymore. Therefore, most producers hire other people to edit for them and typically have a high turnaround. What this means for you is that if you can prove yourself, and really provide value for a producer, he will give you repeated work. Now what if you’re not looking to work under someone else? Editing is still super important. Obviously good edits sound better, but beyond that ask yourself this: wouldn’t you and your clients be happier the editing process was done quickly and well?
For more info like this, as well as in depth recording, mixing, mastering, and music industry advice with myself, Joey Sturgis, Joel Wanasek and our amazing guests, be sure to subscribe to our podcast here.

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Written by

Eyal Levi is a critically acclaimed guitarist, composer, producer, educator, and engineer.