If there’s one good thing about being at this business for so many years, it’s the store of experience one can draw on in an emergency…which turns into another emergency…which deteriorates into another emergency!
If you can just avoid panic, chances are you can think of one more work-around. That was impressed upon me following a session that really happened…but almost didn’t…this past Friday the 13th.
Project: local radio spot…acting as producer for a first-time client a good friend/client had sent my way.
Problem (#1): voice talent client had chosen from my suggested list couldn’t make it to my studio. No Problem. We’d hook up via our ISDN, even though we’re both in the same town.
Problem (#2): ISDN boxes won’t connect, in either direction. Carrier error? Phase of the moon? Billing issue? No time to sort it out. No Problem: we’ll just do the session with my Talented Friend recording on her side, and my client and I listening/directing by regular telephone while I record the phone patch for any playbacks we need during the session. File can be sent to me for editing/mixing with only a short delay.
Problem (#3): Even though recording was successfully made on Talented Friend’s computer…no attempt to send it to me via email finds its way over the internet. No Problem: we use a third-party delivery service (in this case, yousendit).
Problem (#4): Yousendit…doesn’t. After long minutes of clicking the “get mail” button on my side, Talented Friend finally checks her account status, which tells her the service did not, indeed, receive or send the file she’d gotten confirmation of. No Problem (although, by now it’s becoming a problem but I’ve assured client the original cost estimate will be honored). If I need to, I’ll just drive across town, pickup a CD from Talented Friend with the recorded tracks and drive back home to finish the session, at no extra charge to client…whose deadline will still be easily met.
Problem (#5): Talented Friend can’t seem to get her computer to burn a CD. Even after we get a burning program she can use, one drive ignores the blank disc, the other won’t even open for her! No Problem. I’ll make the trip over with a flashdrive, retrieve the files, etc, etc, etc.
Fortunately, my wonderful first-time client (who instantly felt at home in my ecclectic museum/studio and befriended its real owner – my cat, Dodger), knows she’s going to have her spot on time, and we set up means of finishing over the phone and having her spot delivered directly for final approval without costing her an extra trip to my place.
As she’s leaving her chair and I’m looking for my car keys…email #1 shows up with the first attached audio file from Talented Friend (only took 1/2 hour). Since we know what we wanted was on a second file, lost in yousendit-land, client and I start to head for the door, when…the yousendit file shows up, in perfect condition! Wonderful client has time to sit and have the spot edited, processed, mixed and approved. And a happy ending is enjoyed by all.
No Problem. And the spot sounds just the way she wanted it.
Now I’ve still got to figure out the ISDN glitch, and Talented Friend still needs to get a better ISP for email and figure out how to burn CDs on her computer. But the important part is: panic was avoided, alternatives were offered, solutions were found, and the client left the session happy.
I’m just glad to have clients who know “stuff happens”…and who trust me to figure work-arounds when it does. That ability is just as much a benefit of my years of experience as anything I draw from when I’m the one behind the mic. (And just for any potential “new clients” reading this…the main reason I’m telling this story is because it is very much out of the ordinary. Don’t be scared off!)
And even though I don’t think any of us involved in this story are particularly superstitious…I wonder if we’ll go out of our way to avoid scheduling future recording sessions on a Friday the 13th after this!
[Epilogue: found out today the spot was approved by my client's client...and Talented Friend's computer crashed from a virus the day after our session! Friday the 13th has a long, long reach!]
– over and out –