You Start Your Journey, Through Failure.
Or, at least, that’s exactly what I did.
While growing up in a town my peers and I affectionately referred to as “Greensboring”, I was bitten by the nerd bug. I spent a very large amount of time in front of my computer designing these things called “websites” when places called Angelfire and Geocities were still around.
So I went to school, thinking I would do just that for the rest of my life.
That is, until I was thrust into a conversation that proved me wrong.
“Hey George! Here’s your new sound tech!” my college best friend yelled, as he introduced me for the very first time to George, our school’s technical theatre director.
I didn’t even get a chance to argue before I wound up with a degree.
A strikingly similar thing happened a few years later. After completing another bit of school, I failed both at “making it” in Los Angeles and in finding a real job after going back home.
“I want you to work on my movie” I heard from a man I’d barely just met. It was another one of those conversations that would change things forever, it ended after he said “I’ll pay you.”
A decade later I’d built a solid little business with freelance audio and film.
Always Finding Shortcuts.
I’ve always had a difficult time with repetitive, mundane, boring work – probably like you – I think it’s probably the creative theatre nerd in me.
After all of the freelancing, I got married and moved into corporate work. Suddenly I was walloped with long-standing, time-consuming processes. They still existed, because nobody knew any better or there was no time to fix them.
So I learned ways to help, and make time.
One company was always building the same spreadsheet over and over by hand. They had a template, but spent literally days looking up, and copy-pasting equipment costs. With a friend’s idea, I automated it via programming. The company loved it, because it saved time and was more accurate. They could bill the same and earn more money. I loved it because I got rid of the stuff that drove me crazy.
Another company had many processes simply for processing and shifting around hundreds of thousands of audio files. My brain nearly collapsed from trying to remember double-digit steps that had to be done just right or else you’d have to start all over. I did the process once, and then wrote a program and automated the whole thing. The company loved it, because we could set it to work while we were at home sleeping. I loved, because I didn’t have to remember the complicated process anymore.
Defeating Challenges, for Your Advantage.
It was late in the winter of 2016, and a Canadian friend of mine presented me with a challenge. I was championing certain DAW software, and bugging him to convince him to use it (unsuccessfully, I might add).
He told me he would give it a shot if it ever came out with a feature that he heavily relied on from a competitor’s product.
As is my nature, when faced with a challenge I step up and figure out how to tackle it.
But as all of these unanticipated conversations go, I came out with an unexpected-yet-delightful outcome. Through the process, I ended up combining my original love – programming – with what I later fell in love with – audio. It’s a pretty wonderful sweet spot.
Best of all – I get to help some of my favorite people and best friends improve their lives by providing them with new tools and lots of education. I call it “muting the boring parts of sound design”. At the same time, I get to learn all sorts of new skills myself.
So if you’re struggling with something, I’d love to hear from you. And if you find yourself in Seattle, I’ll even take you to the best BBQ joint in the state (I’m a North Carolina BBQ snob, trust me). Get in touch – Thumbs up!
Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.