Thursday, January 2, 2014

Being There

Among the other groovy things I have been doing lately, I have been teaching again.

I have always rather enjoyed it, and for me it is a way of giving back. In my current part-time teaching gig I have to opportunity to work with young adults who are aspiring audio engineers, producers, film- makers or musicians. I have taught a bunch of courses ranging from Location Audio to Film Scoring to Career Management.

It’s wonderful that I no longer have to deal with classroom discipline problems. ‘Johnny’ can tell me to “fuck off” if he wishes- he is paying quite handsomely for the privilege. But when said ‘Johnny’ is looking for a job in a very competitive, but surprisingly closely-knit, industry he may ultimately question the wisdom of his words. Nor do I take it personally when someone nods off in the middle of a lecture on the difference between publishing royalties and mechanicals. Indeed, for those of us who have endured the teaching profession in a public high school, my current gig would seem like a panacea.

Work not handed in? That’s a zero. No, I don’t mind if you leave early. No, I don’t really mind if you miss class. Again. No, it doesn’t matter why you didn’t hand in your work. You had anthrax? Damn shame. Fallen arches? Your girlfriend’s uterus fell out? That must suck. You got lost because you had to drive a friend to another friend’s house and you lost track of the time and your car wouldn’t start and once you got it going you were hungry so you stopped at McDonalds and there was a huge line at the drive-thru and by the time you got my Happy Meal class was almost over anyways, so you figured….

No probs, man. I have become so very…Zen about it all. Just don’t ask me for a reference next year when you graduate.

One of my preaching teaching topics is how I got to score a TV series a number of years ago. I was given an episode to score. So I did it. Quickly. It was maybe five minutes of music to write. I got it Monday morning, delivered a draft Monday afternoon, spoke with the producers Monday night, fixed and re-delivered by noon on Tuesday. It was approved, and on the air that Friday. I was offered another episode right away. Bada Bing.

Unbeknownst to me, two other guys were given the same episode to score. Apparently after 2 weeks, neither of them had handed anything in. They were probably  “not into it” or were having trouble deciding which snare drum sound to use. Nonetheless, it reinforced something I have always believed: You don’t necessarily have to be fabulously good (though it helps); but you do have to be THERE.

This has become a kind of mantra for me: The most important part of success is showing up. Since so many- perhaps most- don’t, it certainly cuts down on the competition.

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