So how many folks here do the recording thing full time?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by TeddyBullard, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    I was thinking about this yesterday....I am out of the Army in the fall, and will be going back stateside to do location recording full time. It is scary in a way, but the fear is negated by the fact that this has been a dream of mine for the last couple years. I made a promise to myself during my last combat deployment that I was going to do something that I enjoy for a change, come hell or high water.

    So how many of you guys here do this location thing full time? Any regrets? do you wish you were doing something else? How long have you been in the business? And what in the way of training have you had? Ive got a bachelors in music and spent several years as an Opera Singer(Basso Profundo), but I am finding that the transition from being a singer to being on the other side of the baton is quite natural. It is also rather frightening and disconcerting that I am enjoying this more than singing, as I spent so much of my life working on my voice and trying to be the next James Morris or Jerome Hines..

    Any input would be great. I love analyzing people and their motivations...
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Teddy, I have made my living in the audio business for over 36 years now. It has not all been easy-going nor have I reaped the financial benefits of ever having a hit record.

    I've always loved on location recording for the extra challenges it presents. I did so enjoy working in the studio as well because it is a much more controlled environment.

    Making recordings for a living has been somewhat problematic on a consistent basis and so, I have also worked in radio and television for a better workable income. Right now, I'm working nearly full time for Voice Of America television broadcasting doing really bad sounding talking head programs. No element of quality or high fidelity there. Just get it on the air.

    So you have a wonderful bass operatic voice? My mother sang with Jerome Hines many years ago when she was a young Metropolitan Opera star. They had a lot of fun together. Perhaps you should consider staying an operatic bass? There's good money out there and it would help to support your recording addiction? Besides, I think it would be a wonderful thing to have a major operatic star who owns a recording studio? Don't you? If you believe your voice is not what it should be, may I suggest you contact the old girl with the finest technique in the business who still teaches here in Washington DC area named Marilyn Cotlow. You'll be glad you did because they didn't teach you in school what she teaches. If you wish to contact her might I suggest you drop her a letter or call? 6573 Flagmaker court, Falls Church, Virginia, 22042, 703 534-4956

    If you truly just want to be a recording engineer, if I were you, I would definitely hit up all of the NPR/PBS stations? All of the major opera companies and show venues. All of the Atlantic City casinos and/or Las Vegas casino? Having a track record with a degree in music and the army behind you-is an excellent calling card.

    At ease
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    I have a unique voice in that I am a "true" bass which there arent that many of. My vocal range is from about A1(55HZ) to G4(392hz). My voice changed at age 11, and my church choir director immediately capitalized on it. I imagine it must have looked rather funny to see a young kid in the midst of all the old choristers and even funnier to see the same young man walk out front and sing those pedal point notes. That is how my vocal career started. I have no doubt that I could continue to do well singing due to the sheer fact that my fach's ranks are very thin. I have only met one other "true" bass, and that was the Late JD Sumner. He was a hero of mine.

    I will never give up singing permanently, Ive just been at it for so long that I desperately need a break. I am burned out and need a break from the egos and politics!
    Thanks for that tip. I have a wonderful teacher here in Germany and I am sure I will need one when I return stateside.

    Thanks so much for those tips! I hadnt thought of the NPR/PBS idea before, though it makes so much sense, I dont know why! As for being an engineer full time, I had no idea I would fall in love with recording as deeply as I have. I am getting that same sense of fullfillment and excitement that I got when I first started getting serious singing gigs. I love them both, it is just that I want to focus on recording for a while and let my batteries charge. My wife is also a classical singer(mezzo) so im sure she wont let my voice be idle for too long. Another reason I got into recording was so that I could record mine and wife's demo CDs.

    I am very glad I did the Army thing too, though If I had to do it over again I dont know if I would have chosen infantry as an MOS. I got to see beautiful Iraq, Afghanistan, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Turkei free of charge though! lol

    Thanks so much Ms. David. I value your input! 36 years! wow.!
  4. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    I'm working full time in audio... Took awhile to get to that point as a freelancer, but I'm finally there. Spent years doing stage work getting paid low money to tape stuff down to the floor or run lighting cable. But it was what I needed to do to pay some bills while I was getting up and running with my business.

    Some days my work is better than others, but for the most part things are good now here. :)

  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Congrats, Teddy, on getting out and back into the world. I hope I speak for all of us when I tell you how much your work over there is appreciated. (And I was wondering what's the deal with the Johnny Cash picture, but now that I heard about you bass voice, I think I get it? ;-) )

    In any case, where will "Home" be when you get back? I would think that a career in voice-overs would be a natural for you, ditto for some semi-pro singing, at least to get your feet wet, and back in the game a little bit. I'm sure where ever you will be located, there has to be a community choir with a need for a great bass voice, even if it's for fun and non-profit. I sure hope you stick around on this board, as well.

    As for this biz.......30 years at it for me now, at least professionally, when I turned 21 and got my first live sound gig. (Ray Charles was the first act I mixed live that summer, 1976, in an outdoor venue for the City of Phila. Talk about a baptism by fire! ) It's been a great ride so far, and I hope to put something of a better bio up on my website. A lot changed for the better when I turned 50 (hey, it's the new 30!) and that's a great spot to be in; I can finally concentrate on taking care of my clients and enjoying my career.

    I absolutely LOVE what I do, and pinch myself every day to make sure I"m not dreaming. It's one of the coolest gigs in the world; I get paid to record people, tweak knobs, play with software, listen through some of the best speakers in the world, and make CDs & DVDs. Once upon a time, I thought I'd make my living entirely as a working musician, live and in the studio, but it seems to have worked out a little differently. It's been one gradual transition after another, and now I seem to have everything I need to keep going - thankfully the clients are all there with ongoing projects, and almost more work than I can handle right now.

    My only wish is that everyone I come in contact with is as happy with their jobs as I am with mine. THAT would be a perfect world, alright.

    As for following your dreams, man; GO FOR IT. There is never a better time than now, and you'll be glad you did. If you've got a partner (your wife?) who understands this and will help support you, even better. If you're going to raise a family, it's better to be doing this now, before the kids come along, at least you'll know your budget. Even if it crashes and burns for you (which it probably WONT if you're as determined as you sound), at least you'll know you gave it a shot.
  6. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    Yeah Joe, Johnny is/was my hero. My grandaddy took me to see him (and george jones and merle haggard) many many times in the 80s, and from the moment I heard Johnny I was in awe. Im probably weird in the fact that while I record and sing classical music, you will never see me listening to it unless I am learning a role or preparing for a recording. I am pretty much stuck on pre 1980s country and bluegrass and Southern Gospel, listening-wise. I play decent pedal and lap steel as well, but I bet that those players are a dime a dozen. I just do that for fun.

    My home and business will be based in Southeastern NC. My Grandaddy has several thousand acres in a town called Whiteville, NC, which is about an hour outside of Wilmington and about 30 minutes from Myrtle Beach , SC. Some time ago he gave me and my wife 43 Acres to do with whatever we chose. Yesterday we found out that we are approved for our first mortgage, so construction will begin in the fall. Wilmington and Myrtle Beach both are hotbeds of cultural activity, and both are growing by leaps and bounds. Wilmington is the home of screen gems, and also the home of Dawsons Creek, One Tree Hill, etc..Theatre, Movies, Choir, and Symphony/Classical events(as well as a thriving indie music scene) are always going on in that city, whereas myrtle beach caters more to Jazz, Rock and big Vegas Style events. Between those two cities, and the idea that I am working on to give some exposure to the Appalachian Music and Folk Music of the North Carolina Mountains(sort of what Mr. Kavi Alexander does..he suggested the idea, actually), I think(and hope!) that I will stay busy. I am certain that I will go right back to doing voice overs(I did that for a living before coming in the Army) and singing as well.

    I find it really interesting that a lot of guys in the location business got started in the live sound arena. How did you make the transition? Do you do a lot of live/location work or is studio work the brunt of it? When It comes to Studio work, I am a big dummy but love Live recordings.

    Yessir. I made a promise to myself in Iraq (after coming close to getting killed several times and seeing my best friends die around me) that I would never ever turn down an opportunity to have joy in my life. I do have a Wife who is an incredible woman(met her in the Army, she was a soldier and a dental assistant and a classical singer in her spare time) and a newborn(2 months now) daughter, Kaia Mirabel Bullard. Marinda is very supportive and open to whatever makes me happy. I am very lucky to have her, and thank God for her every day. All of this is incredibly exciting.

    Yall's stories are very inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing. And I will of course stay here on the forum. Between this and 3d Audio(the two "professional" forums), all of my serious questions are answered ,and I really love the fact that there is no bickering and any of the other silliness that can pop up on other sites. I also love gearslutz, but consider it a sinful pleasure. :)
  7. hughesmr

    hughesmr Guest

    Hi Teddy,

    Just a lowly ameteur recordist here, with a relatively small rig of gear (but GOOD stuff :mrgreen: ), but permit me to prematurely welcome you back to the US and to wish you the best of success in your venture. Your obvious passion for the craft of recording, along with your enthusiasm and generosity in your offerings on these boards, bodes well for your professional success.

    And, many thanks for your dedication and sacrifice to the defense of our country.

  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Yo Teddy -

    It's hard to say if I'm full time or not. Yes, I log in roughly 40 hours a week on audio production or recording. Yes, I make by what many would consider to be a decent living at it. However, it's by no means decent enough to afford a place around here though, so I still also work for the gov. Fortunately, unlike many of my colleagues who have to fight up to 4 hours of traffic each way to work each day, I get to work from my home, so I have the luxury of having a flexible schedule and staying in my studio whilst working. During my lunchbreaks, I often bust out some audio work and get to it. While reading and reviewing policies, my horn is in my hands doing lowly Kopprasch or Rochut.

    If I were willing to live in an apartment or a townhouse, I could be fully satisfied with my "night job" in recording and mastering, but by no means would I have a "comfortable" living as I do now.

    I do wish you the best of luck in NC and I'm glad to see you returning home safely. I've personally only spent a little time in the red zones and I can tell you it was WAY too long for me. I am always pleased to see some of our nations finest return home in one piece!

    :cool: :cool: :cool:
  9. TeddyBullard

    TeddyBullard Guest

    Yeah, J ..the government sure helps soften the blow of the real world expenses. I agree there. In my case, I had to ask myself whether or not that extra cushion was worth all of the "stuff" that comes along with being obligated to Uncle Sam.I am totally cool with doing a GS job, but being a soldier (though I wouldnt trade the experience for anything and am glad I did it) just isnt what I see myself doing for the long haul. I will be searching out GS gigs, as I love the benefits.

    Thanks for the kind words. I cant wait to get back! 6 years is a long time overseas!


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