I've been inspired to share this story after reading David Farmer's article on Designing Sound.

I do remote mix reviews where the directer is in a room in LA watching off of a DigiBeta or HDCAM deck, sending me TC and I'm sending them the sound from the studio in sync with their picture.

There was one week where I was ridiculously busy and was doing something else in my studio while the episode played back (with the volume turned down but not off). 12 minutes later the director and producer came over the intercomm and said "another great mix finished". Hurrah! we all cried. Well, until I noticed that ProTools was sat there with all the automation turned off. With luck the faders were all at a point where the dialogue was louder than the ambiences etc etc. No-one noticed a thing. To save my own face and theirs I just said excellent and we'll speak to them next week.

My mixing isn't that bad surely!?!?

Anyone else had amusing stories they can share?

  • That's a very funny one indeed :) Sep 23, 2010 at 17:17

7 Answers 7


Co-worker on my was on an indie production gig that was notorious for going past the 12 hour mark w/o paying OT. One day he had had enough of it. They had started at 7a and it was approaching 8p. The director decided he wanted to do some night stuff, essentially lengthening the day another 5 or 6 hours. AD came up to my buddy, who was mixing it, and she tells him about the plan. My buddy says, "Oh man, I wish I had known he was going to do that - I would've brought my night rig. We could try to shoot, but my wireless doesn't work so well after dark. Good possibility the audio will be useless." The AD looks at him wide-eyes and concerned and walks away briskly. A few minutes later, they called wrap.

  • that's flat genius.
    – Rene
    Sep 24, 2010 at 13:21
  • HAHAHA....I love that. Just further proof that everyone thinks audio is voodoo...lol Sep 24, 2010 at 13:25

Client wasn't happy after a bajillion rounds of revision, and an internal email thread ensued. An angry designer accidentally CC'd the client when he said, "Geez, this guy doesn't like anything. I wonder if I should just show him a photocopy of my ass instead of busting it." Designer FREAKS OUT that he's done this...he's pretty new to the game. Supervisor decided to wait on that one and see what happened, mostly out of not knowing what to do. Supe logs it as a potential issue and preps to deal with it some other time.

Weeks go by. Nothing happens...well, at least certainly this episode isn't discussed, and it's practically forgotten. Whole project wraps, creative's finally nailed and the client winds up being quite happy. After the final project meeting the client came up to the designer, gave him a congratulatory slap on the shoulder with a knowing look and smirk, and said, "Y'know, I was kind of hoping for a photocopy of your ass."

  • I don't even know how I'd react after messing up like that... great ending though xD
    – Miles B.
    Sep 24, 2010 at 4:43
  • Have you read the stories at www.ClientsFromHell.net? It is technically a "designer" site, but sound designer stories should fit right in. You can submit your "favorites".
    – Mark C
    Sep 25, 2010 at 7:16
  • 1
    Not only do I read it, I've submitted stories that have been published on it. Nope, I'm not telling which ones. :-p Sep 25, 2010 at 20:35

Another good one is back from my recording studio days. Something goes wrong in the CR - something ridiculously easy - but nobody can figure it out. You tell them you know how to fix it, but it'll take a minute, so why doesn't everyone take a few in the lounge. While they're getting up to exit the room, grab a rubber mallet and hold it somewhat obviously in your hand, making sure people see it before they leave. Close the door behind them, then proceed to whack the floor as hard as you can, making as much noise as possible with the mallet. Then go flip the one switch that fixes everything and bring everyone back in the room.

Makes for a bit of quality entertainment :-)


An engineer I worked with years ago, a guy by the name of Rick, had a funny story about Orson Welles.

Rick lived and worked in Chicago when he was younger, mainly doing commercial spot editing and mixing. On one particular day, his clients were going to bring in Orson Wells to record the VO for their commercial. He showed up early to make sure that everything was in perfect working condition and ready to go the moment Mr. Welles stepped into the booth. Everything was set. He sat down to wait, and eventually the producers and Mr. Welles entered the studio. The producers and writers were engaged in conversation, so he politely waited just outside the group for the appropriate moment to introduce himself. Once their conversation ended, and the producer turned towards him, he knew he had permission.

Rick approached Mr. Welles with an extended hand, looked directly into his eyes and said, "It's a pleasure to meet you, I'm Orson Welles."

As he was standing there, cringing and running over what an idiot he was in his own head, Mr. Welles looked down at him with a slightly perplexed expression and said, "No shit?! Me too. Why don't we get started?"

  • That's hilarious!!!! It is fun meeting "famous" people though, you have to calm yourself a bit and act all professional. Worst time was doing ADR with the man who invented warp drive!
    – ianjpalmer
    Sep 23, 2010 at 17:57
  • 1
    I once recorded Mr.T and he walks into the booth saying "We gotta take car'a bizness" and then he came out and handed me and my assistant and everyone in the room a keychain which said Mr.T catch phrases. Then the "professional" business men in the back - the producers - walked up and like a couple of teenage groupies they asked if Mr.T would take a photo with them. It was a sight to behold.
    – Utopia
    Sep 23, 2010 at 18:01

I was doing foley on 2 films at once and got really tired towards the middle. I was doing feet and at one point, in pair of high heels, I was intending on doing the woman but in my fatigued state of mind, did the man instead without realizing until I got a call from the editor asking why our hero sounded so feminine. Opps!!!

  • At least you weren't so tired that you forgot to take the high heels off and only realized you still had them on when you got into your car in the parking lot. Wonder if THAT's ever happened!
    – Utopia
    Sep 30, 2010 at 4:43
  • I was doing heels for another film and when I turned around to look at the recordist, there were about 5 sets of eyes looking at me in bewilderment. Students from a local audio college.
    – oinkaudio
    Sep 30, 2010 at 9:32

Back in my music recording days I would frequently send clients identical mixes but tell them there was some change in one of them. The vocals up 3db, compressed more, or some other line of BS (in reality there was no change or difference). I would typically only do this after a few rounds of changes and they were beginning to be completely ridiculous about their requests. "Turn the keys up...no...down...pan it more left...no, back to the right..."

So often I wanted to just tell them that changing the level of the djembe part 2db wasn't going to shine the turd of a song they wrote.

  • Too true. Too true.
    – Utopia
    Sep 23, 2010 at 21:17
  • My favorite is when the singer wants to record by himself. Sure-fire sign of garbage. And 2db, lol. "sweetened" Sep 26, 2010 at 11:06
  • Well @Detroit, one time I was being directed by an artist to adjust things like the high-hat by .1 (tenth) of a dB.
    – Utopia
    Sep 26, 2010 at 20:38

My Personal fave... Producers who start talking s&*t about the talent, WHILE THEY'VE STILL GOT THE TALKBACK ON!

But that's not really MY faux pas.

Many years ago, I did send an email to the Line Producer of a show I was working on (an acquaintance of mine), with some rather choice comments about the way the schedule was set by our overseas clients. Shortly after I sent it, the Line Producer pointed out that I had hit "Reply All", and had sent it too the said overseas clients. Had to do some serious eating of crow to smooth THAT over... Learned to be VERY careful who emails were going out to!

  • Don't you hate the taste of crow?
    – Utopia
    Sep 25, 2010 at 6:06
  • Oh by this point in my life, I've gotten used to it!
    – Sonsey
    Sep 25, 2010 at 14:13
  • Ah! Aren't we all.
    – Utopia
    Sep 26, 2010 at 20:38

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