5 Key Points You Need To Hit During Your Introduction With Your Artist

How To Convince Your Client That You Know What You’re Doing (Part 3)

This is a guide to being respected, feeling valued, and creating personal brand ambassadors. In PART TWO, we went over the primal brain and first impressions. Now, we’re going to talk about your introduction. A good introduction can set the tone for the entire record. If you do this properly, you’ll establish that you are a professional and the client will feel that you are a valuable part of his recording process.

Your introduction should have one main goal. Clarify Your Role. This will go a long way to change your client’s expectations. Artists bring their musical prejudices with them to each session. When they first see you, it may remind them of a bad experience they had in a different studio. Your presence may induce fear from a client who wants to protect the integrity of the song. Or, your client may have seen too many Metallica documentaries.

Here’s how to properly clarify your role:

1. Start with “I – You – I”

Before explaining what you can do for the client, introduce yourself, and explain why you’re looking forward to working with them. Sample introduction…

“I’m so glad to be working with you. You have some fantastic grooves and melodies that I can’t wait to be a part of. Before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about myself, and my process as a producer. I’ve been producing records for ___ years.”

2. Qualify yourself.

Add some quick resume highlights. Even if you have little to no resume, you need to find a secondary way to connect with the client. I would personally say something like this…

“I started out as an artist, so I see everything from that perspective first. But, I’ve also done A&R for an indie label, so I know how those guys think.”

(And, if you feel you have little to no resume highlights at the moment, you can use your drive and excitement as a qualifier.)

“I’m obviously a music lover, but I’m also an incredibly hard worker. I care deeply about the record we’re about to do.”

3. Tell the client how to think of you.

As strange as it sounds, telling the client how to think of you is the most important step. Here’s how you can do that…

“I want you to think of me as part of your team. We both want to make the best possible record. I’m going to give you my professional advice to help facilitate that.”

4. Default to the client’s decision.

This little piece of reverse psychology is very disarming. Letting the client know that she can overrule you will stop the power struggle before it gets started. It will also tip the power towards the producer! You just qualified yourself, then told the client you’re going to do anything you can to make the record better. Now, throughout the session you can say things like “Hey, just give this a try. If you don’t like it after we hear it this way, we’ll go back to the old way.” In my experience, the client will at least try the vast majority of your ideas. Here’s how I would add that to my introduction…

(“I’m going to give you my professional advice to help facilitate that.”) “But, I was an artist, and I understand that you need to love your music. It takes a lot of drive to go out and tour on a record. I don’t think I would have gotten through it if I didn’t love what I was playing. So, if we try out an idea and you don’t like it, I want you to feel comfortable telling me that. We can try other ideas or head right back to the original way it was played.”

5. Get to work.

End your introduction by actually starting to work. You may want to show the client how you’re planning to mic the drums, or talk to the client about her tempo changes. Show the client that you care about the record by talking audio while you set up the session. Say something like…

“So, lets get this record started. Could you come inside with me and make sure these drum microphones are in good spots for you? Drummers play differently, and I don’t want you to adjust your style to my microphone placement.”

Remember that this is likely to happen in conversation form. So, learning this monologue is not as important as understanding what points you want to make during this introduction discussion. Here is the entire introduction…

“I’m so glad to be working with you. You have some fantastic grooves and melodies that I can’t wait to be a part of. Before we get started, I want to tell you a little bit about myself, and my process as a producer. I’ve been producing records for ___ years.

I started out as an artist, so I see everything from that perspective first. But, I’ve also done A&R for an indie label, so I know how those guys think. I want you to think of me as part of your team. We both want to make the best possible record. I’m going to give you my professional advice to help facilitate that. But, like I said, I was an artist. I understand that you need to love your music.

It takes a lot of drive to go out and tour on a record. I don’t think I would have gotten through it if I didn’t love what I was playing. So, if we try out an idea and you don’t like it, I want you to feel comfortable telling me that. We can try other ideas or head right back to the original way it was played.

So, lets get this record started. Could you come inside with me and make sure these drum microphones are in good spots for you? Drummers play differently, and I don’t want you to adjust your style to my microphone placement.”

I hope that this introduction will convince your client that you are a valuable part of the team. If you do this properly, you’ll avoid butting heads with the client for the majority of the record. In PART FOUR of this series, we’re going to talk about handling problems and disagreements that come up during the record. These situations can turn into record ruining monsters! But, I have silver bullets ready for you.

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How To Hack The Primal Brain Using Dogs, Ben Franklin, And Elevators

Part two of our “How to convince your client that you know what you’re doing” series.

This is a guide to being respected, feeling valued, and creating personal brand ambassadors. In Part One, we went over how to identify the problem clients. In Part 2, we will discuss how to make and change first impressions. Here’s how to hack the primal brain using dogs, Ben Franklin, and elevators. Note: These tactics are very powerful. Only use them if it benefits both you and your client.

1. Why your dog seems to know what you’re thinking

We’ve all been in a situation where we know we’re being judged. Opinions are constantly being formed, and they are most commonly formed based on feeling. Consider how illogical that is.

In a split second, the brain makes a primal decision. Friend or Foe? This decision is made by a part of the brain that we do not fully control. We actively read body language. But we passively read faces. And we’re very good at it.

Have you ever wondered why your dog seems to know what you’re thinking? Dogs and humans look at human faces the same way. We look at each half of the face separately from left to right while searching for that person’s intent. Face’s are NOT symmetrical. Expressions work across our faces. So being able to read each side separately is powerful. Perfection is alien. That’s why when you symmetrically invert Sylvester Stallone’s face in a photo… [images style=”0″ image=”https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myrecordinginternship.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F04%2Fa75XWVA_700b.jpg” width=”700″ align=”center” top_margin=”0″ full_width=”Y”]

He looks like an alien!

We consciously look for symmetry and ignore imperfections in that symmetry. This leads us to believe things are symmetrical. It’s also the reason we recognize face shapes while looking at craters on the moon or mountain structures on Mars. The imperfections in symmetry is what shows that persons emotions.

I will explain how to train your face using elevators in a moment. But, lets go over a much simpler way to hack into the primal brain.

2. The Ben Franklin Effect

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” – Benjamin Franklin

A person feels obligated to do favors out of kindness. Completing a favor gives that person a sense of pride, accomplishment, and completion. The brain is pleased by these feelings and the brain attaches you (the person who asked for this favor) to these feelings.

As a music producer, I ask for something that will help me produce the record I’m working on. Simple requests do work, but leading requests work more consistently.

Simple request: “Could you bring that guitar you mentioned?”

Leading request: “That guitar is going to be a huge help to me. I need it for the record. You can bring it, right?”

Leading requests are more exciting. The favor sounds larger than it really is. This will correlate directly with the pleasure your client feels when she does you that favor.

3. Elevators – The rise of walking emoticons

Training your face to display the proper intention cannot be done alone. A mirror is of no use to you. You need someone who does not have a set opinion on you to read your face. So, you cannot practice with friends or family. That’s why you should use elevators.

In an elevator, you will meet people who have no intention of talking to you. Start by engaging people in the elevator in conversation. Use your face to say things silently. Show surprise, concern, joy, pain, and other emotions without saying a word. Keep mental notes on which faces worked to move the conversation in the direction you wanted it to go. After you begin to really understand how to use your face in conversation, start conversations using only your face.

I personally thought this was a fun exercise. After getting the hang of it, I would enter a crowded elevator and stand towards everyone. I would be the only person facing the back of the elevator. This afforded me a lot of eye contact with people who were unsure about my intentions. It’s amazing how different the reaction will be when you change your face emotions. I was able to make people laugh without speaking! They’d smile and even laugh if I was displaying the right amount of surprise and happiness in my expression. I would be asked if I were okay if I displayed sadness with my face.

If you happen to be a fan of the television show “The Office” than you’ve seen this in action. Those actors do single camera candid shots and talking head style shots that move the story along without any dialogue.

[images style=”0″ image=”https%3A%2F%2Fwww.myrecordinginternship.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F04%2Fmaxresdefault.jpg” width=”1280″ align=”center” top_margin=”0″ full_width=”Y”]

Look at the lips from left to right. They show a slight curve up at first and a straightening towards the right. This person has mixed emotions in his lips. It leads you to believe he is concerned about something. Of course, when you look at it as a whole you can tell by this expression that he is very troubled or concerned at the moment. But remember, that’s just your brain doing all the work for you.

So… dogs know your intentions, Ben Franklin is a brain hacker, and elevators are a great place to meet new people.

In the next article, we will speak about convincing a client you’re valuable while you work with them.

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How to convince your clients that you know what you’re doing (Part 1)

This is a guide to being respected, feeling valued, and creating personal brand ambassadors. Music producers work with artists from all walks of life. The artists have different skill sets and varying levels of experience. But, you’re the producer. You have A LOT of jobs to do. You manage the sessions, help structure the songs, place the microphones, get the tones, supervise the performances, edit the audio, stop the artist from making mistakes that they’ll regret later, and that’s just scratching the surface. Even with all of that in mind, I still see this as a dream job. But, there’s one thing that can quickly turn this dream into a nightmare.

Your clients!

Part 1 of this series explains how to spot the problem client.

Identify the person who will give you the most trouble. The problem clients come in several forms, but they are very easy to spot.

Here are the archetypes I most commonly see:

1. The know it all. This person has went to school for music. They have their nose up in the air while they explain their grasp on music theory.

2. The know it all audio student. This person is going to or has went to school for audio. He is probably the person telling you how to use the microphone you’ve owned for 6 years in a room that you spent months fine-tuning.

3. The hobbyist. This person will quickly say something like “That’s not how I do it in garage band.” Or “I read an article on what you’re doing. I should forward it to you.”

4. The idealist. This person will tell you how the record has to be produced with absolutely no real knowledge on the subject. Watch for statements that contradict themselves like “I want the drums to sound like they do on that Taylor Swift song, but there’s no way we’re using any drum samples. We have to record it live like Rage Against The Machine!”

5. The quiet leader. This person hides in plain site. The entire band defaults to his decisions, and look at him every time you ask a question about their music. He is comfortable being king of his small group, and he is waiting to see you fall in line so he can secretly run the session himself.

6. The too cool. This person has worked with other producers that he considers more high-end than you. He’ll spend most of the session telling you how good the other producer was while second-guessing everything you do. You may even hear something like “I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but I’ve been in the studio before.” Followed by him telling you how to do your job.

Have you dealt with any of these archetypes? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.

Now you know how to spot the clients who are most likely to mess up your workflow, turn the band against you, and ruin what can be a great record. In Part 2, we’ll learn how to disarm these record ruining time bombs by gaining their respect and confidence.

If problem clients are a real worry for you, you’re not alone. I originally spoke about this subject with the interns I’m currently transitioning to producer roles. They’ve worked on dozens of records with me and are very capable of doing the job. What they’re worried about is dealing with difficult clients. Here’s what I told them…

Please check back for Part 2 on April 14th.

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