Today was the first day of recording foley for the class that I am assisting on. There were two back to back sessions starting first thing in the morning on a Sunday and I was going to be in charge of it all: none of the normal support staff were going to be on hand if I had questions: and in the past I’d had a lot of questions.

So I was nervous.

I kept trying to put it out of my mind so that I didn’t dwell upon it: a technique that worked right up until I arrived at campus this morning with half an hour to spare thanks to the Sunday morning lack of traffic. I found myself sitting in the parking structure telling myself that everything would be fine and not sure whether or not I believed it.

Something made me think back to a book that I’d recently read called “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. The premise of the book was the importance of integrating right-brain thinking into everyday life and one of the last segments discussed the importance of Meaning in everyday tasks. At the end of each segment is a workbook of different ways to apply the concepts described in the book (there are six concepts in all: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning) and in the segment for Meaning one of these exercises was to dedicate your work to somebody else.

I’m not sure what this had to do with foley recording or with nerves, but somehow the idea helped.¬†Perhaps it put the emphasis on the effort instead of the results. I liked the idea that I could dedicate my work to someone other than myself. I tried to think of who best to dedicate my morning to: which raised a new problem: who to dedicate it to? To one of the directors in the class whose films were being worked on? To someone who was particularly interested in sound? To someone alive? To someone dead? The book offered no suggestions on this.

The person that I finally settled on was someone who knew nothing about sound: or, at least, nothing about foley recording. It wasn’t even somebody who had many ties to the film world. It was just someone who had been going through a rough time recently and that had been on my mind lately: I decided to dedicate my morning to them because even though I was stressed I was happy and even though they were far away and had nothing to do with the task at hand I wanted them to have some of that happiness too.

In the end, what did I accomplish by this dedication? Maybe nothing. I didn’t tell anybody that I’d dedicated my morning’s work to someone. (Until now, I guess). I didn’t tell the person that I’d dedicated my morning to that they were receiving a dedication. I really didn’t do much of anything, but I definitely thought differently. For one thing, I thought about myself a lot less, for a change, and about someone else more. The recording sessions went smoothly and the morning passed quickly, so maybe someone was looking out for me too.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on February 15, 2015.

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