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'Bear Basics - The Masters Series Pt 4: Getting a Paw into the Industry' by Tony Mantz

Author: Tony Mantz
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Over the last few months we have delved into mastering on a superficial level. Rather than keep writing on a topic that will probably bore you to death; myself and the fine friendly folks at Tranzfusion organised for our collective neurons to have a power-lunch, and decided on a 'variety is the spice of life' policy.

So what might that be- Well…….one of the most common questions I get asked is :"how do you get into such a kewl gig like yours"-

And this got me thinking that some of you reading this might be wanting to get into the biz, without knowing how to go about it.

Well there are no easy steps and the bottom line is that not only are you going to have to work bloody AND smart, but a little luck doesn't go astray either.

It can be daunting when thinking about getting into any industry, especially one that is as competitive as the music biz. Truth is, it doesn't need to be. The first thing you should do is be very clear as to what you specifically want to do. Don't just go willy -nilly because you think it'll be a foot in the door. You need to do WHAT YOU TRULY LOVE, otherwise you will be wasting your time and your employer's time.

You need to contact as many people as you can and keep maintaining that contact at a rate that will not piss them off, yet still keep you in their memory. I suggest once every 6 weeks or so. E-mail is a good medium as it is not as obtrusive as the phone.

Be prepared to hear the word "no" a lot. This is just a part of the territory and you should never take it personally. As humans we have a deep desire to feel accepted, and the word "no" is not conducive to this. However, you need to develop a thick skin and persist, persist and did I mention….persist- Remember that for every "no" you get, it just means you're one step closer to a "yes". Mathematically speaking, it's all about the law of averages. You can't keep bombing out if you keep going.

Be creative in your approaches. I once sent a nude singing telegram as part of a job application. I had no experience in the job advertised, but I was hell-bent on getting the gig.

Get ready for great sacrifices, I went to New York as a kid fresh out of school after selling my loved record collection for the ticket, and landed at JFK with $40 odd bucks in my pocket. Ah….. the folly of youth.

Personally, I suggest people try and go down the road of self-employment. This is probably the hardest way to go………but the most rewarding. Back in my early days it wasn't as easy as getting a computer and building your home studio. Computers weren't being used for music then. You also had to do very hard yards and pay serious dues.

The reason I do what I do is because I LOVE IT!! There is nothing….NOTHING better than job satisfaction and never having Mondayitis. To me my vocation is my vacation. It came at a huge cost, but if Einstein is right and I could hurtle back in time, I'd do it all again just as I did…..and more.

Your dream is possible. It starts with a thought and becomes reality if you back it up with massive action. Keep focused and keep the big picture in mind. Remind yourself why you are doing this and if you stick it out you will ultimately succeed. That I can promise you.

Catch ya on the flip side.

Tony Mantz aka Jack The Bear has been a mastering engineer since 1981 and his clients include a who's who of Melbourne, Australian and international artists and record labels. For more info email him at or check out his website at the link below