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I just started freelancing full-time in a new town. While everyone I have worked with has asked me back, I have been asked to discuss a mix or two in order to receive feedback as to why it was not exactly as they had hoped.

I often am not provided specs, a template, any training or room orientation, or any guidance as to how hot they like their music, if SFX should be added, or if it is strictly a mix. When I ask, I am often given a one word "-24" or "just make it sound good," "use your ears more, not the meters"...

But all the feedback I have had has been for things like...we mix on the track, we don't worry about undipped stems, the dialog is too conservative, hit the meters harder...use less of a dynamic range, we want the narrator about 2-3 dB hotter than the dialog, less volume automation on the music...it should be more music video like, they don't pay for sfx...just mix what is in the AAF, etc.

I love the feedback but want to make sure this is normal. How do you guys orientate your freelancers and are these types of situations par for the course when working with a new mixer? It kills me to think someone would have to correct a mix I did for them. I am here to get work done for them, not create more. My goal is to become an extension of their own ears and hands. Whenever I can, I reach out and ask for more feedback and I often try and open old sessions to see what has been passed before....but many times they are not around nor are any example sessions to learn their proprietary processes or the level specs/deliverables for the show.

Any advice on how to minimize gaps in communication as a freelancer and learn a new studio's mix style quick?

Thanks

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I have done freelance at a bunch of different studios and I have found everyone single one likes things done a bit differently, and has slightly different expectations. In my head I liken it to how every director also wants things done a little differently on their projects.

The best way I find to deal with it is to keep notes. Write down what studio wants things done which way. I find they obviously expect a certain level of ability and quality, but they also know things are done differently in different locations and it will take a session or two to get up to speed on their expectations/protocols. The main thing is to not make the same "mistake" twice. Once I am told that __ is not how they want things done, be sure not to do it again.

The truth is that if the client is happy, then your method of bussing the stems is of less importance. If you keep the client happy and coming back with their next project the rest of the details is a learning curve that a studio is willing to put up with. Just make sure make the adjustments they request............ and be prepared for the next studio to ask you to do the exact opposite.

  • Thank you. I do keep a notebook of notes and take any feedback very seriously and the clients who work directly with me are all very happy. Your perspective and experience makes me feel tons better. THX again. – Karol Urban Oct 8 '11 at 6:59

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