The European SoundGirls held an exciting workshop at SSR and invited longtime Monitor Engineer for Tori Amos, Marcel van Limbeek to speak. Women working in professional audio are often treated unfairly by our peers and face numerous obstacles that we often associate with sexual discrimination. Yet, men face some of the same obstacles and barriers. Marcel shared the pressures and obstacles our male co-workers experience and offered advice on how best to handle these situations. It was an engaging discussion and pushed forward the conversation on gender inequality and sexism in the industry.
We want to extend our thanks to SSR for hosting this event and Marcel van Limbeek, for sharing his experiences with our members. We hope to continue this conversation with Marcel, so look for an upcoming article and interview.
We would also like to thank Malle Kaas for organizing the event
Karrie and Michelle
Thoughts on the Workshop
Malle Kaas recently completed Brit Row’s Production Training, she organized this event. She resides in Denmark.
On my way to the event, I was reflecting on the latest blog from Karrie Keyes Unconscious Bias, I felt it related to tonight’s workshop. How we approach others, and how we react to others behavior. I was thinking how important it is to think twice in our approach and reaction to others. Very often, our behavior in the present comes from our history that has been shaped by our experiences. It often determines how we interact with other people.
Tonight was about hearing a male co-worker talk about his experiences. What to do when you lack confidence? Or you have just made a huge f*** up on a major TV-production, and you can’t just run away, but have to stay and face the 200 other people on the production. How devastating it is at an age of 50 to keep knocking doors down for work. What it is like to never really to feel like a part of the industry, even though you have worked for a critically acclaimed artist for over 20 years. I think that the majority of those who attended the event, felt it was a relief to hear that an industry veteran faces the same issues that many of us do.
Marcel offered advice on how to cope with the difficult feelings we may have about our jobs. You must be “aggressive” (courage may be a better word). Aggressive enough to be able to apologize if you have made a mistake. Aggressive enough to be able to come and ask for work over and over again. Aggressive enough to be determined to do a good job, (dress properly, prepare and know the gear, etc.). Aggressive enough to be honest. It is important to remember, it is a friendly industry but also very competitive. And whatever stories you make, they stick to you – especially the bad stories. But hey, everybody messes up – and when you do, be sure to have a friend to talk to about it.
Petra is a live sound engineer working in Holland.
Take away the industry is one of praise, and everything is overly important. It’s an addictive, bright place to be, but this also comes with a flipside. When there is no praise, or you make mistakes, which happens to every human being, you can get very big throwbacks as well, and it might seem you’re worthless.
When you’re sensitive to this, (which I am) and I found out from the talk that many people are, the lows can really take you down. So make sure you don’t take your worth just from your days work, but also make a steady foundation from past days. It is also important to have people and things outside the circus, (who don’t have ulterior motives, like wanting your job for themselves or their friends) to talk to.
Second, I discovered that probably the only reason I have stayed in this business is to prove to everyone who told me I couldn’t do it that they were wrong. Apparently, I’m very stubborn and the more you tell me I can’t do something, the more I want to do it and do it well.
One last thing that struck me is that the SoundGirls Forum seems to fill a void. Not only for women working in sound, but also for men, who also have a need to discuss their place in the industry in a less business like manner. This is actually quite wonderful.
Laura is currently interning at a local studio in London
Personally, I found Monday night fantastic. This third SoundGirls meet up felt like we’d taken these nights up a notch. The talk by Marcel I found was very interesting; he is a naturally entertaining person. He managed to hold my attention for all of it of his talk, which is a rare thing. As well as his successes in the sound industry, he shared his failures with a refreshing honesty, which is brilliant because he obviously wants others to learn from his experiences. I loved (and related to) his all or nothing attitude towards sound and it was reassuring to hear that hard work and ambition do pay off. He confirmed my belief that the best thing you can do is to be awesome at your job. Learn everything you can, treat people well, work as hard as you can, and then no one, sexist or otherwise, can deny you the right to be where you are. Thank you again to Marcel for the talk (and the drink), and I look forward to seeing everyone again next month!