It has been almost a year since I flew home from rehearsals to do laundry and pack for a tour that would have kept me on the road well into this year. Instead of putting my laundry into a suitcase, it went back into my dresser. At first, we thought we would start our tour in June, but alas we all know what happened.
With the arrival of the vaccines, I am hopeful that I might return to work in the fall. That being said, it is going to take much longer for our industry to come back as much of the infrastructure has been broken, we have lost vendors, venues, and crew people. We will all need to work together and have some empathy for everyone when we are able to return to touring.
Today, I was wondering where my gig bag, passport, and show files were, so strange as I always knew where these things were, usually by the front door. I will have to dig my gig bag out of the closet and check for show files and passport and when it might expire. So this got me thinking about the things I need to do before returning to work, and while it seems far away it really is not. I thought I would share some thoughts about preparing to return and changes and plans that need to be put in place.
Check your passport to see when it might expire and if it is coming up, get it renewed now. Passports are usually not valid for travel six months before it expires, so don’t wait until you need it.
If you do not have a passport, I urge you to get one, when work does resume you don’t want to lose out on gigs because you do not have a valid passport.
Double-check your Driver’s License and make sure you have applied for The Real ID.
On October 1, 2021, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID-compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id
Clean out and restock your Gig Bag. If you are missing tools or testers now is the time to purchase them. Rat Sound Systems sells many items you need in a gig bag and offer SoundGirls Members a discount. If you don’t have a Gig Bag put one together.
I am almost scared to look at my show files, the last time I saw them was at rehearsals and there were so many new cues, inputs, and even a new band member that I no longer know what we covered in rehearsals, all my notes are locked away in my workbox in storage. But I am gonna take a look at the files and see what I can clean up and organize a bit better.
If you don’t have show files, visit manufacturers’ websites and download the offline editors. (almost all the manufacturers offer these) You can start learning how these consoles work, build a template, learn how to route things, etc.
Make sure your resume is clean, professional, and up to date. You may find that you need to make a few different versions of your resume to be more detailed for different disciplines in audio. If you work in both live sound and post-production and if you are applying for a touring gig do not send a resume full of post-production work.
Clean up your social media and make sure it is professional. You may want to start separate accounts one for personal and one that is professional.
Here are tips for resumes and social media.
Make sure you are listed in professional directories and that your information is up to date. You can find a list of directories here
I only refer people for gigs that I have worked with or know personally with great attitudes. I am updating my lists as things are gonna be a bit weird when we return to work. I am checking in with people I normally refer gigs to see if they plan to return or their general availability. I am also making a secondary list of people that I may not know but come highly recommended by people I trust. I am also making sure that I add women and BIPOC to my referrals.
Hearing Tests and Hearing Protection
Get a hearing test and take steps now to protect your hearing. Get in the habit of getting annual hearing tests.
If 2020 taught us anything it is that we might need more of a safety net (since The U.S. Government has completely failed to assist unemployed people) of 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved. Now is the time to get a budget in place and savings for emergencies and retirement. Andrea Espinoza walks us through this process and is available to assist you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Training and Education.
With all the webinars and online training offered last year, you may have found yourself burned out. Now is the time to make a list of what you need to know or understand and sign up or find the training info you need.
Working 16 hour days on concrete is going to come as a shock to us both mentally and physically. I am planning on changing up more exercise program to start building muscle strength.
Finally, if you are in a leadership role I encourage you to diversify your workplace and to implement sexual harassment training. When we do go back to work we want an industry that is safe and diverse.
Calling All Crows has an extensive sexual harassment training program and will work with you. Contact Kim Warnick
Hope to see you on the road soon.
Karrie Keyes: Karrie’s blog deals with her work as long term monitor engineer for Pearl Jam, issues facing women in the industry, and balancing being a single mom with touring. She is a co-founder and Executive Director of SoundGirls.
About Karrie: Karrie got her start 30 years ago when she met Dave Rat at a Black Flag show. She started working for Rat Sound loading trucks and setting up shows in clubs and theaters for $20. She worked for Rat Sound for 20 years and had worked with RHCP for ten years (1990-2000) and Pearl Jam for 26 years as their monitor engineer. She currently bumps between Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder Solo tours.