Creating More Content Through Simplicity
Work in media long enough, and you’ll eventually experience the feeling where completing a song, show, or season feels nearly impossible, with nothing but grueling work up ahead. There’s no magical cure to make it all go away, but a few minutes of strategic organization can make the entire process (and life) far more enjoyable. If you’re seriously engaged in media production, keeping the process painless and simple offers the added bonus helping you stay more consistent. As we discussed in our last post, posting content more often is preferable to creating content infrequently. Our advice on how to ease production boils down to simplicity and creating a system with the least resistance from idea creation to upload and distribution.
Before making any changes, assess your workflow and find where the problems lie. In Peter F. Drucker’s classic book, The Effective Executive, Drucker outlined how he learned to be more productive first by documenting how he spent his time. Much to his surprise, the vast majority of it went to frivolous tasks that could have been either delegated or avoided altogether. Most of us waste huge swaths of time, and it’s not until we’re presented with hard evidence that we begin to realize it. In a journal or in a smartphone, take notes about your current production workflow over the course of three typically sessions. Afterward, tally up the total amount of time spent and look at which tasks used the bulk of your time, and if that time can be reduced.
Many of us wouldn’t hesitate to pay for an oil change, a Lyft, or web hosting, but outsourcing audio production might feel like crossing an invisible line. If your hourly rate is higher than that of your editor or sound tech than you only stand to gain by working on something else. We also recommend outsourcing the duties that cause you the most pain, even if it puts you at a minor short-term loss. If the difference between creation and stagnation requires spending a few dollars per week, then spend the money to keep you creating content.
Another obstacle with outsourcing stems from a lack of trust in others to handle your project. Part of making this work results requires setting realistic expectations and providing clear communication. Try giving your assistant a two-hour project, then step in to discuss the results and direction. Often times, this kind of back and forth communication works wonders, although you might be pleasantly surprised by the results right from the start. When hiring others to do your work, clearly define your goals and set realistic expectations. Opportunities for outsourcing about from local students looking to gain experience, to web services like Fiverr, and full-service sound technicians.
Simplify Your Setup
If it takes thirty minutes to set up recording equipment for a video recording or a podcast, you might feel some resistance to get going. Minimize your equipment to include only the bare essentials, and if possible, organize your equipment to store it conveniently. Invest in items like equipment racks and cases that keep your equipment all in one place and make it easy to stow away. Consult a professional if you need help with this. It sounds trivial, but these little items can work wonders to ease your workflow.
Rent a Studio
Simply put, more recording spaces exist than at any time in history. Recording studios are surprisingly easy to rent with competitive rates, and it’s worth exploring options in your area even if you already own a project studio. Try services like Studiotime.io, and save money by only booking studios with the bare minimum of equipment to meet your needs. Alternatively, an try renting an office space through services like Breather and bring your own equipment. If you’re recording video as well, this might be a better option for the sake of visual aesthetics, although it might be slightly more expensive. Follow the advice in our recording basics post to learn how to create great recordings in any location.
Plan for Failure
A good friend of ours recently had all of his equipment stolen and without a personal articles policy, wasn’t covered by insurance. Anything can happen to your space or equipment, so begin creating simple contingency plans in case of unforeseen obstacles. This can include simple tasks, such as archiving all files to an external server or saving $10 per week for a rainy day. Something will inevitably get in the way of your plans, so plan for failure to avoid getting trapped in a cycle of uncreativity, refuse to let anything get in the way of your dreams.
We hope this gets you creating more content with fewer hassles along the way. If you’ve found any tips for simplifying your workflow, share it with us in the comments. Connect with us on social media, @Finewav on Twitter and Instagram.
Photo credit: Eryk Thompson