We are back with another FAQ Friday, where I will be answering some of the questions you have submitted to me! This week’s featured question is:
Every mix I do lately is sent back for changes, almost to a point where I feel like it’s not my mix anymore. How common is this to top engineers and how do you deal with this and not take it personally?
To points are raised with this question – the experience of other engineers, and how to not take criticism personally.
Most engineers have experienced this – one of my most successful songs had thirteen total mixes. We were working with a very famous mixer and between the first and thirteenth mix, it had changed quite dramatically from my original vision for the song. BUT by the thirteenth mix, we were able to get to a place where everyone (the artist, engineers, mixers) were happy. There were other songs on the album that only had a couple of mixes before it was ready to go, but because this was such a big song, it needed some love.
Don’t feel bad if you are working hard on a song because it is going to make you better, since this is how you learn! You will grow as a mixer from the experience, you will learn how to make your mixes better.
There are certain things that mixers will do, one of which is limiting the amount of recalls. By this I mean you can indicate the amount of recalls included in your price, then if they go past that, they will need to pay your hourly rate. For example, you can say that you are happy to do three recalls, but once they go past the three you will have to charge them your hourly rate. By the time they ask for the fourth recall though, you should give them a reminder that they are past the amount included in your fee, and you will now be charging them ‘x’ amount per hour and the work they are asking you to do should take about ‘x’ number of hours.
This does one of two things: firstly, it makes them sit down and focus on the song to make sure their notes are really specific, and they know exactly what they want. Secondly, it gets you paid what you’re worth for the extra time you put in.
When you’re paid for your time, that is a good way to make sure you are not taking their changes personally.
You will learn from this experience – you will learn how to deliver a mix to an artist that will limit the amount of changes.
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