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Case Study, In the Studio, Pre-Production

Music Production Blog – William Stage 1

William is songwriter and musician who makes his living busking around Sydney’s Central station. He was “discovered” a few years ago by a TV producer, Kristina, who was instantly captivated by his music. Over the past couple of years Kristina and William have collaborated on writing songs, and it was through the Music Producers Forum that they found myself, and invited me to produce four initial tracks.

Today marks the first official day of production, and in a lot of ways, it is one of the most important days (That unfortunately is usually overlooked). This is the preproduction phase, where we make some pretty important decisions.

Preproduction Initial Phase

We met over lunch with the executive producer (Kristina), William, the audio (geek) engineer and myself as the producer. I burnt CD’s of the 4 demo tracks I received. I gave them to all involved, and it was important to tell everyone that these are THE demo CD’s that I’ll be referring to. I knew that William and Kristina have recorded multiple versions of all of the songs. So by reissuing their songs from myself, we are all starting off on the same reference Material.

We also went over the project structure. It is vitally important that all parties have an idea of what they’re responsible for and where they are contributors not decision makers. Working out the chain of command is VITAL. I believe democracy has a place, but in any type of production, the “dicatator” needs to step to the plate, and know when to override, and the team need respect that.

A very important question I also needed to determine, was the expected deliverable date. The “Always begin with the end in mind” philosophy is critical at this phase. By knowing the deliverable date required, it helps develop a clearer idea on how to manage timing, resources and people.

We then visited the studio which is a small innercity facility. A studio visit prior to recording is useful as it gives you an idea on what and who you’ll need to bring in the recording session. In this instance, there is only a small sound booth, so live drums are not really practical. They do have an electronic kit, but this is not a desired option for sound and feel that we want to achieve with this production. So we’ll lay the inital tracks to a click or straight drum loop, and record the drums at a later stage.

So from here the draft production plan is;

  • Acoustic rehearsal – Guitar and vocalists
  • Band rehearsal (+Drums and Bass)
  • Studio Recording (With sequenced drums)
  • Drum Studio recording
  • Additional instrument recording (Dige or piano, depends on what we find we may want to try)
  • Mixing & Mastering

To be continued…..

About Jomar Reyes

Jomar Lectures in Creative Industries as well as Digital Media in Marketing at the Danish Institute of Studies Abroad. He also runs the Strategic Media Company, a corporate consultancy agency based in Copenhagen.


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