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© 2019 by Disher Sound.

  • Matthew Strasser

Media and The Importance of Relationships

Updated: Oct 19, 2019



The Disher Sound Team with director Kara Harold



As sound artists, we have a lot in common with everyone in the creative universe. At the beginning of our careers, we all latched on to something that we took great interest in and decided to pursue it. We were passionate about this craft and had a vision of where we wanted to go; who we wanted to be. So we created good habits based on a drive for technical mastery of our unique craft and art. What we didn't realize however, was the flip side of this coin. Public victories, relationships, and emotional intelligence were equally important if we were to survive in an increasingly competitive world. I'll be talking about the latter to hopefully impart some knowledge that has brought me great productivity, joy, and satisfaction.


How does a project generally begin? It's starts with an idea, brought forth from our unique ability as humans to imagine. Once this vision is formed, it is then followed by the realization that we need additional assets to complete it. So we assemble a team, or work with the team that we already have. Once this all star team is formed, we open new doors for possibilities and success. I would argue that it is the relationships with this team that will ultimately determine the success rate of the project. Hence your relationships are your strongest asset.

On the flip side, I would argue that one of the biggest reasons that projects fail is because of breakdowns in communication, and our lack of understanding of others. Our communication skills determine not only the success ratio of the project, but also the speed, dexterity, and motivation of our endeavors. So how do we develop these communication practices? Below I've assembled a list of 5 concepts that are immediately applicable in both the work place and our personal lives.


1. Listen to others completely (without interruption), until they feel understood.


In Sound Design, we understand that the director/artist arrives with a vision, and that it is up to us to not only complete that vision, but to also add our unique contribution to it. This is why a meeting with the director (preferably face to face) is the most important step to ensure proper communication on the project. By listening to your director (or other team members) until you completely understand what they are saying, you develop clarity on the issues and form trust between parties. To clarify, you don't necessarily have to agree with everything that they are saying, but by treating them with respect and listening first, we then can add our own viewpoints after they feel understood. Within our world of sound artistry, reiterating their ideas "in terms of sound" (Wylie Stateman, 2019) helps to focus the discussion on how our talents can best be utilized for maximum impact.


2. Develop trust


Trust is everything. If there is no mutual trust between team members, people will withhold information and ideas. When people trust each other, they allow themselves to be open to each other's ideas and viewpoints, leaving the playing field open for group concepts that are as good if not better than either of the individual viewpoints. Trust is something earned from others, but is also something given. By choosing to trust someone, we open up opportunities for them to trust us in return.


3. Choose a positive mindset


Positivity is a mindset. It is hard work. It is also extremely rewarding. Vision and positivity help to motivate and propel us forward in all of our endeavors. Positivity is also contagious. As positive people, we can inspire others to be positive as well. We'll smile more, imagine new possibilities, and create new opportunities. Positivity is a habit, but it can also be a choice. By choosing to be positive, we can overwrite our negative thought patterns in the moment and become a part of the solution.


4. Act with kindness, integrity, and honesty by loving others.


After listening to others without interruption, and allowing them to speak fully, we begin to understand them. By understanding them, we start to notice how their strengths are integral to the team. I truly believe that when trust forms, we begin to be more kind, honest, and empathetic. By seeking to hold these qualities close to your core values, you can inspire others to think the same way, improving the collaborative abilities of the team.


5. It Starts With You


Why can't THEY just change? Why can't THEY hold up THEIR end of the bargain? I have found that ultimately, the changes in others begin with the changes in yourself. You can BE a light to others. By choosing to improve yourself and focus on being the best that YOU can be, you then can become an inspiration to others. This is what some people mean by "be a light" or "be a beacon".


The Team At Disher


Here at Disher, we place high value on teamwork and the sharing of ideas. We are a small full time team, and have opened ourselves up to each other to become a tight knit unit with aligned goals and common values. We aren't perfect (is anyone?), but our deep understanding of each other allows us to create strong systems that positively impact our projects and our clients.


Final Thoughts


These aren't prescriptions that you have to do, or even should do. These are things that you can do. These aren't jobs, they are opportunities. Exciting forays into new territory on how to improve the relationships between you and your team members. Creating a micro-world where trust is freely given, ideas are freely shared, and projects are efficient and well managed. You can choose to follows these opportunities, or choose not to, but I truly feel that keeping these things in mind will open new doors and possibilities for you and your team.


-Matthew

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