The most critical skills in the pro audio world

I graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in January of 1998. Loved the school. Learned a lot. Actually, I have about 5 pounds of handwritten notes from my time there. Planning to get into them as blog posts soon.

Robert Scovill was a guest lecturer at the school a few times. He is considered to be the “almighty” of live sound. During a lecture, someone asked him what he was looking for when he hired a tech. His desired resume in a potential apprentice? His words. “An innate understanding of signal flow and a good attitude.”

Simple enough? I promise you this, that’s it. I have worked with countless guys who can wire a rig blindfolded, run shows that will blow you away, program the most elaborate shows and piss off everyone they work with. I have seen people do and say stupid things that cost them their job. The skills will get you the job, the attitude is what keeps it.

I have also seen the other version. The really nice guy who everyone wants to kill because he has no idea what he is doing. The funny guy who breaks stuff. The great guy who can’t make anything work right. Know him? The guy you are always trying to figure out. How the heck did he even get this job. Don’t be that guy either.

Simple stuff here. Know your business, watch the attitude. If you want to work in this business, learn it. Read. Ask questions. Don’t act like you know stuff you don’t. Find answers. Become an expert on the area you want to work in. Then work it.

And as for the attitude. Think about the business you are in. It’s supposed to be a fun business. It’s entertainment. When I would hear people griping and complaining about the working conditions, or money, or whatever; I would remember where I came from. I had the pleasure of working construction for most of my life, prior to getting transitioned to audio. I spent many fun filled days digging holes, pouring concrete and laying asphalt. Always in the best of conditions. Seems like it was always over 100 degrees or below freezing. Don’t remember any comfortable days. When I would hear the moans and complaining, I would tell them this. “It’s better than pouring concrete.” Some got it some didn’t. You should get it.

If you love the business, learn it and do it with a great attitude. If you don’t, go do something else and stop ruining it for the ones who do.

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