Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The Joy of Unsupervised
Recently, I went to an mix session with an audio engineer. While they appear to be staff, they’re pretty much freelancers as they make a living based on how much work they book. This engineer, who has sat through about half a million mixes still loved his craft. It was the contradictory notes that he had heard enough of. He said something that made me stop to think. “If I could work unsupervised, it would probably add another decade to my career.” The mixer wasn’t tired of listening to the delicate balance between music, dialogue, and sound effects. He was sick of listening to input like, “Can you make it softer but also make it louder?" or the old favorite, “what if the VO had more, I don’t know, energy!” When the Voiceover is screaming like a Banshee and someone asks for more energy, it’s enough to make most audio engineers turn around in their chair and say, “Hmm, like maybe if we gave the talent a straight shot of adrenaline to the heart, would that be enough energy?” There’s a breed of animal that thinks the louder the VO yells, the more product they will sell. I’ve never subscribed to that point of view but I digress. The irony is if you hire someone to work unsupervised, you usually get a better creative product as well as a better rate. Sounds like a bargain to me. When possible, I book editors and mixers unsupervised. I’ve found that it brings out the best in them.