June 02, 2011

If You Have to Ask . . .

(What to do When You Just Don't Know)

In the course of a typical live sound day, you might hear something like this: “We're gonna fly our cans off the box, so pop in those cams.”

Or this: “We're gonna run our blinders off our distro, so we'll need your cams or tails.”

These are two different ways of saying this: “We're bringing in additional lighting, which we will power from our own power distributor. To do this, we'll need to access your house electricity, which (hopefully) has an idiot-friendly camlock connection system.”

Do any of these make sense to you? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, you've entered the surreal world of Technical Jargon.

It's easy to be overwhelmed when confronted with TJ. If you've ever been to a doctor, a mechanic, or the Best Buy Geek Squad, you're no stranger to this feeling of bewildered ignorance. You have no idea what is being said, and you might as well just quit, go home, and hope that your collection of baseball cards can support you for the rest of your life.

Alright, let's get real.

When you find yourself in a TJ encounter, remember the following:

1. Don't panic.

2. Seriously, don't panic. This is not the end of the world. (Insert Harold Camping reference here.)

3. If you don't know what's being said, just ask. Remember that the whole point of the internship is for you to learn – if you already knew everything, you wouldn't need the internship.

Reader's Digest version: DON'T BE AFRAID OF TECHNICAL JARGON. Everybody who's spouting off about impedance loading and band-passing started off just as clueless as you. They learned, and so will you – if you ask.

Rock on,


Nathan Schied
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