This article may seem a personal situation. And it is. A very hurtful personal situation. But if you read it you can learn what sort of damage you do if you give in to ego and allow yourself to act unprofessionally when dealing with someone trying to act professionally. And the opposite too, when trying to be a professional amongst people who don’t want to improve themselves.
This is some of a recent – very lamentable – conversation over at Drooble yesterday.
A bit of background if you don’t know Drooble. It is a Forum set up to :
The theory is that Musicians will understand and be kind to one another, seeing as we are all colleagues.
This is at least the third time I have been set upon & called rude names when engaging in what was intended as “help”. This makes it pretty clear that there are some people who operate under a very confused understanding of what constitutes Professional behavior.
If I had known who this person hidden under an Avatar & obscure name really was, I wouldn’t have engaged as there is history here. I would have taken the higher road and left him alone.
Instead, I got him spreading across the whole thread what an “Asshole” I was. Sadly no one attempted to curb or stop him. Last time someone did this and I did the right thing and reported it to Drooble, they did nothing. So why have rules about behavior?
I am posting here because he has clearly done what he can to try to damage me and is going to do all he can to discredit me no matter how loose he is with the truth.
Here’s what actually happened underneath this:
Dialogue Part I & II (single edit)
James posted a track on Drooble which sounded pretty good musically but poorly mixed. I explained how his mix was suffering. A few exchanges later, I offered to mix the track properly for free so long as I could put it in my Portfolio as a before-after example.
Sign #1 was when James gave some snotty answers when I asked for information on the (messy) Stems he sent over. He pulled himself together and apologized so I kept on. I hate to not finish what I start, even if the other person has lied or behaved badly. My failing I know. I should have folded up the job right there.
I finished the mix and he was really happy. He asked if I would do more free mixes for him?
I declined because while being “kind” is well & good, I am a man with a family to feed. Only ever doing things for free to please others is not feeding my family – let alone covering the skills I have invested to develop. Not to mention the electricity it takes to give these free things.
However, I had a suggestion: if he was interested I would take him through full Production of a track for no $ but on the proviso that he did exactly as asked in terms of changes, performances etc. Just as one would if Mr. Sony had you under contract. I also asked for a daily video diary of his ups & downs during the process. It is called a Contra Deal.
This I put as clearly as I could in an agreement. I kept stressing that this was not a freebie but a professional engagement. To which he gave agreement.
Sign #2 was that James often didn’t seem to really read what I sent him. His responses often were at a bit of a tangent that indicated he wasn’t really taking in all I had said & meant. I know I write a lot and use some $5 words but that is part of being Aspie. I do what I can to adjust to others so why not the other way? What you don’t really see here is that James completely twisted what I said in my first post in this Drooble thread. This is his habit. One I have seen before in people who like to adjust situations to their own ends.
The reason I made this offer is that I saw opportunity to build a series of articles on both sides of working with a Record Producer to help develop a track from Demo to finished product. All was clearly explained several times. And agreed to.
Sign #3 was that James kept trying to send stems for the track chosen. Even though I had made it clear that his existing track was a Demo and not what I would be working with directly when it finally came time to Mix. We were to re-work/re-build the track to make it “better” overall. So it seemed odd that I kept being sent these stems to mix when they weren’t relevant.
Sign #4 was that James seemed “rubbery” about doing the video diary. I explained exactly what I was after & why. This is exactly what they do on Reality Shows so it wasn’t a strange request (remember he was not paying cash – $500 based on my carded rate).
Overall though he agreed to everything and even said several times how excited he was to get going and get this done as it was a thing he really wanted (and had begged me for).
I set his first tasks: to add some slight melodic movement as his whole track appeared to be on one chord. I provided examples from released songs in his genre that use this technique. I even went so far as to write a rough example and send the MIDI over & mp3 when he seemed unclear (or perhaps unwilling). This is what a Record Producer does. I also asked for the first video diary entry so I could start to build the article series.
A few days went by (Christmas to be exact) and then his silence spoke volumes. Jane said to ask him if he needed a hand with something. My gut told me otherwise so I held. A day or so later I get a terse message simply saying he had “lost interest”. Ok sad but not unexpected as there were those signs. Often artists get too wedded to their first version and find it hard to move from exactly what that sounds like. All Producers & Mix Enginneers meet it.
I left it at that. Said and did nothing. Until I accidentally commented on his post about using presets to luck into finding a great Mix and he started calling me an “asshole” not just in this part of the thread but to everyone else he was engaged with.
ez mix is made by toontrack, check it out, and now I’ll deal with this a****** below.
Well said XXXX…I lost my cool and I apolgise to everyone, except you know who. I’m glad you like ez mix.
Hard To Say I’m Sorry
Chicago do have it right. It is hard to say sorry. It often seems easier to dig a deeper hole, one where you are not to blame in any way for what you did.
That translates into “attack”. Massive attack! But that is not the definition of “glorious battle” to borrow from Varvatos Vex on “3Below: Tales of Arcadia”.
I am sorry that James is so upset with me. I would have simply bypassed him as the professional way of handling the situation. But I didn’t really have that option seeing he uses Avatars on some of his accounts.
He came out swinging. I kinda get that if he was only thinking about it from his ego. Looks like I took to him over sour grapes or something. But I didn’t and I think my response shows that.
Is his next response a wise way of handling the situation or did he really just tell everyone who reads his verbal dummy spit that he is a dangerous person to work with?
I think the latter. While I am not in any way happy that he has, and has been allowed to, smear my name in public, I know that any who judge me purely by his name-calling are probably people I’d be better off without.
What Kind Of Man Would I Be?
Maybe I could have simply left him to it at that point and done nothing. While I know some people say to do this, it is simply letting a bully have his way. If someone tells lies about you, do you do nothing or do you try to state your truth? You do the latter because otherwise all it takes is to be called something a bit off-color once and your life is over. That passes no test of “fair” at all.
Even in Kenny Rogers “Coward Of The County”, the pacifist, finds there are times when one must “Stand Up And Shout” (thanks Dio). This is one of them for me.
There is no reason at all why I should have fewer rights to speak openly. To have to creep around, not being myself in public. People like James and others who have tried it on in the last few years should not have an open goal when it comes to me. That people expect it is not ok in this day & age where we constantly talk about fairness & understanding. That forums (and schools before them) should allow such behavior is a severe failing of their stated intent & rules.
My reality here is: I did James a favor (out of which I did have a tiny win). He asked for more. I found a way to make it work for us both and made a formal offer. Despite agreeing, that wasn’t what he really wanted as he simply wanted me to mix his existing track – and any others I took before cutting him off. He broke the contract once he realized that he couldn’t turn the situation to his intentions. Once faced with me, James came out swinging (and swearing) to try to cover that he behaved dishonorably. His righteous emotiveness is a perfect example of Shakespeare’s “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”.
I am posting this here simply because Drooble is not the place for this. Never was, never should be. I didn’t start this war – but I reserve all rights to finish now it has been started.