- Music Composing, Production & Sound Design 00:00
- Technical Writing – Salesmanship in Print 01:24
- Technical for the Layman 04:11
- Pricing & Establishing the Relationship 05:33
The video above gives you a reasonably quick overview of who I am as a person and the way I think & work. I assume you are here to research me a bit more for some freelance work so please have a look around. Things are in sections so you can skip forward.
Music & Audio
Being a music Producer is my #1 love. By Producer, I mean like George Martin (The Beatles), instead of the “modern” idea of some guy you send garbage to, he inserts some VST Plugins, does a lot of edits, auto-tunes and fires back Trailer Swift, Nicklecrack etc.
Production means that I will start early in the process of your project and involve myself in many parts to help you build the story of your project and then we work on the details with reference to the big picture. That last is the real key to a good Producer, that ability to see the big picture yet work on details without losing sight of the story.
Mixing & Mastering
I will also mix music stems sent to me to help you deliver a final song or piece ready for an album or play on Bandcamp, YouTube etc.
I write music and would love to write something for your movie or video. I won’t pretend to be one of those mercenaries who can churn out anything. I have a style or feel. Go have a listen to my personal music then contact me with your needs & proposal.
Post Production for Podcasts, Videos
I also do work on Audio Post-Production for Podcasts and the like. The common tasks here are:
- Audio Restoration to clean-up or improve with processes like noise reduction/gating, de-esssing (reducing sibilance), removing noises or duff words like “um”, level adjustment.
- Adding & Mixing elements like voice to music.
- Preparing a mix for release or even adding audio to film
Please be aware that I do not do any of these things as cookie-cutter work. I will check that each process is improving your project. For example, noise reduction tools can seem like magic but often do more damage than good so it is better to have a bit of hiss in your voice than have you sound like a robot as all the emotional cues got stripped by the software. With noises and unwanted words, the edits need to be well done or the resulting performance is choppy and unnatural. You note I deliberately didn’t do a thing to my one-take video above as it wouldn’t improve the resulting vid (unless you like watching all the lurches that make the person look faux).
To give you an idea of what is done, here is a screen grab from about 6 minutes of speech. All the cuts are where I have removed breaths, lip smacks, mouse clicks, and other stray noises. With a good performer, these will mostly be in gaps, but at times the noises happen inside words. Easy to get the impression that some magic piece of software fixes all this in seconds but in reality, it all needs to be done by hand & ear lest it sounds wrong.
I am also very happy to help guide you in how to get a good initial performance & recording. I encourage a great first performance as not only does it sound/sell way better than aggressively edited (read chopped) conversation but it saves you money.
Get a good performance and I can help it shine
I can help you build a sales flow in your process. Sadly a lot of what people tell you is conventional wisdom, is unwise in your situation. Creating a working sales flow is rarely about the technology, email lists, free e-books or the like. You need to understand the customer and build a strategy that appeals to them. Then you need to do the work, from building a great product to answering questions.
Sales Flow work can be anything from Phantom Shopping your staff to redesigning all the pages on your website. It is broad stuff but simply put: helping you build a smoother funnel for prospective customers to slide into your web of evil.
Writing is always about sales. Any time a caller tells me “it isn’t a sales call, they are just trying to give me information”, I remind them that this is Lie #1. The free info is a lure, part of their sales process.
I can write articles for you that are either overt Long-Letter style writing, Product Information, Tutorial or Review in style. I can be conversational and even informal. I am good at understanding a domain and working out how to present that information to laymen.
My style is all over this website so go have a looksee. Probably start in the Tutorials or the article linked above.
If you want me to research & come to conclusions, I can do that. I can also meet your conclusions. The better the Brief, the more on-target I can be for you.
As a freelancer I have commitments; or let me put it this way, I have a family to feed. For every hour I work or bill, I have to cover the time it takes to do the work as well as find your job, win it, understand the needs, deliver it to you, do revisions and then the accounting. Oh and don’t forget that Upwork is taking 20% off the top so if you offer me $20 I get $16 (which is below the amount I need to pay someone to dig a hole in my backyard here in Oz).
I will avoid quoting anything definite until I can see your full job. That means the better your Brief Document (or at least letting me see the project) the better I can quote you accurately as I am less concerned about what I can’t see. It also helps me immensely if I can see your proposed budget. When I sold cars I never hid the asking price so when you sell me on your job, give me a clear target.
Production & Music Mixing is $50 per hour or by the project. Talk to me. If you get my excitement I can be very flexible esp if it will look good in my portfolio.
Composing or Licensing my music depends on the license you need. If you want to own the work outright then I won’t be cheap if you want music for a feature film or any other thing you intend to make money off of as I will no longer be able to claim royalties on your #1 hit. Chances are you are better off making a broader agreement with me that can be anywhere from a few dollars so I have the ability to use the music elsewhere to letting me release the Soundtrack once your film goes viral (or I just like the music enough to call it my next album – with the film poster and links).
Audio Post-Production will normally be quoted at $25 per hour. This is simpler work but I will be as pedantic about it as anything else I do. My formula is the length of your audio x 4. If your podcast is 15 mins long and you want me to add some music and make sure the voice is clean and sounds good, I will need at least 1 hour. If you have more than 5 or so edits to the vocal performance then I will need more time. Remember every edit is by hand. If you want me to add music then please allow time for me to find it. Actually far better you provide it as that way I don’t have to bill you whilst I wander the interwebs in-hope I find something you like (and wait for you to get back to me).
All work is done by hand as in my experience automating noise reduction etc. does more damage than good. The file may sound cleaner but the performance (persuasiveness) is more greatly damaged than any perceived improvement.
Sales Flow is only ever quoted once a Scope & Brief is developed. This is high-end stuff so putting a price on it is tacky. I will say that I still work on the $50/25 model based on the type of tasks (of which there may well be both).
Writing is again quoted based on the brief. My minimum is $25 per 500 words of researched & fully original material. If you need 2,000 words then that becomes $100. I don’t do cheap test projects or freebies as I have 3+ published websites of my writing.
Revisions are a fact of life but must be kept to a minimum. I will commonly be ok with One (1) clear & simple revision but if you want to keep coming back to add work, esp after the work is approved, we will not get on well. I have quoted based on the core work and tried to make my price attractive to you so can’t allow for endless revisions as you try to work out what you wanted. If I start to sniff that this could be a thing early in a job I will try to clarify asap (or pass).
How to Get The Best From Me & Your Job
I am a very passionate person about the things I do. If I don’t feel a spark in a project I will pass it by or decline (even if the coin is good). I am also a fairly direct person. Both of these traits are common in Aspies.
I know I can be verbose compared to others. I can be pedantic. I can also be downright difficult if I can’t find a way to understand someone after asking. None of these things are really unusual, especially if you work with engineers or specialists of any type. We think in facts and clearly actionable events. I also think in extremely big-picture, broad-strokes which can confuse some people but is an amazing asset if you use it. I can tell you why Trump is/was the man of the moment without personal judgment and how he did it.
The clearer your job Scope or Brief (detailed description) the easier it is for me to see myself in it and to quote well (low). Well organized materials like all the files in one Zip Folder helps me be more efficient as I don’t have to find things all over the place and arrange them myself. Keeping feedback clear and positive helps me to find it and stay positive about your job.
Sometimes things go square. I know this. We all do. If it feels like that to you, please don’t shout at me. It won’t help me to be engaged as it will make me want to dump you. I know you may think, in the heat of the moment, that is the only way (and maybe it is) but very often it is a small thing, a misunderstanding as you thought I said one thing as I was trying to convey another. Ask me directly, “Hey Benedict (as I do like my whole name) when you said XXX, what did you mean? I was concerned you meant YYY. Can we find a solution here :-)”. The smilie face reminds me that you still prefer a nice outcome with me on-board.
I’m Here for the Long Term
It is my hope to develop long-term relationships with people. It is less effort for all and trust is an amazing thing in business and creative relationships. Trust allows creativity to open doors that are less likely when there is fear.
I know that some people think that business should always be done with fear. Iron fists and velvet gloves and all that. Sure amuse yourself but trust means a person is more likely to feel confident to float a stupid idea like an oversized mobile phone with no phone connection that no one needs and call it an iPad.
Please remember that we reap what we sow so if you offer peanuts you will get monkeys.
Payment & Work Protection
If you are nervous about hiring me over PayPal because you don’t know me and are worried that maybe I won’t do your job and your money will be lost, we can move you and your project over to Upwork where if I bring you on-board, there are no fees between us forever. Their system is robust and I have been happy there.