Pre-production discussions are some of my favorite conversations. Aside from easing general anxiety (and proving that we exist beyond email addresses), they allow us to have a pressure-less conversation about the specifics of your project. Here is a hit list of things that generally get covered in a Handwritten preproduction discussion.
Tour of the Space.
Virtually all pre-production discussions start with me showing you around the space, explaining the buildout of the live room, showing you where the bathroom is, etc. Not only do I feel like this is a logical first step for us, I also feel like people are initially relieved to know I keep an organized space and a clean bathroom.
After that, we normally settle down in the control room where I give you a quick explanation of the recording setup here. The majority of the conversation can be boiled down to this: I still wholeheartedly believe that good recordings are made before they ever hit a DAW (ProTools)- but that we would be ignorant to not use every bit of the the technology they afford us.
Sometimes this portion of a pre-production discussion can get incredibly technical and I will spare you, and this Blah-g post, the details. Email me if you would like me to inundate you with my thoughts on mic choice, mic placement, EQ patterns, etc.
You talk, I listen. We bond (normally).
You tell me about your project. You tell me how you feel most comfortable recording. You introduce me to your process, preferences, concerns, and ideas- and we get to have a significant conversation about how connect all of those to the recording you hear when you close your eyes.
This is my favorite part of the pre-production discussion. We get to talk about the infinite possibilities that exist in communicating your ideas. If we aren’t talking passionately about the potential for your recordings at this point- yuck. We’re toast. There is little greater than the possibilities that exist at the doorstep of a recording.
We talk Logistic Specifics.
How do we want to record? Live? Portion out the tracking? Some amalgamation of the two? Do we want to use a click track? Scratch vocals? How do we want to record the drums? Do I hate DI acoustic guitars? (yes, but we should take the output anyways…) How do we want to plan on mixing the record? Do we want to dedicate mixing sessions or mix it on the fly? Do you want to be here when the record gets mastered? … and like a million other possible questions.
You get it- we get into the nitty gritty of how you feel most comfortable recording, specific sounds, communication patterns, how I think the resulting record sounds as a result of certain recording scenarios, etc. Again, creatively fulfilling discussion ensues that normally leaves us feeling pretty great about one another.
Budget / Scheduling.
Not the “coolest” part of our time spent together, but it’s a necessary conversation to have when making records in the real world. It’s really important that you know that I have an underlying respect for your budget – and I want to sit with you and devise a plan for how to make a record that both (A) lives up to your creative expectations for it and (B) fits into the financial structure that you need it to.
Again, not a “cool” conversation to have at this point, but I think making records efficiently is about as f—ing cool as it gets.
We talk scheduling in the same breath because I think its incredibly relevant to your budget to schedule effectively. Putting three, 10 hour days back-to-back-to-back is just a recipe for lapses in sanity and pizza topping discussions- and I don’t want either of those any more than you do.
At this point, we have engaged in some pretty heavy conversation and are ready to just act like non-musical humans for a moment. Sometimes the occasional last minute question comes up, but mostly we talk about life, television, memes, and how unnecessary it is to put a fried egg on a cheeseburger.
Get at me if you want to recreate this script- or even if you want to intentionally deviate from it. I’ll love it all the same.
Looking forward to it.