CAS Quarterly

Winter 2017

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Page 42 of 55

C A S Q U A R T E R L Y W I N T E R 2 0 1 7 43 The range in conversations we've had included talking in-depth about equipment specifications to controversial sound techniques to traditions within the sound department to sometimes just talking about our personal lives. I find that this range in topics shows the kind of comfort I feel is required to have a healthy mentorship, since formalities go out the window and unfiltered intellectual growth can occur. That sounds pompous. Honestly, just not holding back and knowing that we can talk about anything and everything is conducive to comfortable and productive mentoring ses- sions. You will hear this in any mentorship article written by anyone: It's really a friendship first. We were also unfiltered enough to talk about the subject of being "green" or inexpe- rienced and how this was playing into the day-to-day on his recent project. Danny remembers: "There was a remark every now and then that made me feel like they were commenting on me being inexperienced. And, although I'm a year-and-a-half into this and this is my first big show, it's not that I'm THAT green. I know what I'm doing." I know exactly how this feels! My reply was not dismissive of his colleague's sentiment, but I offered as much support- ive rational as I could. I replied: "I can see that and, at some point, that does go away. I think it goes away right when you stopped caring that it was there. When you are green, you can't help but say, 'No! I know what I'm doing now. I'm not green!' But hey, you're still green. It's funny. It's just the way it is and that's OK. I think the minute you'd prefer to be green is the minute you realize, 'Oh no, I'm old now.'" I think it resonated. Danny is a very smart person and it makes it easy to communicate with him. He replied, "Yeah. But see, as simple as it sounds, that's very tangible advice for me. And this is what I think is valuable in a mentorship, it's having these interactions where it's not something tangible. It's not something I could read out of a book, like having this face- to-face conversation." But why is the in- person conversation so valuable, even if you're not even always talking about sound. I told him: "It's the 'wax on, wax off,' really, where you think, 'Why am I doing this? Oh … it did have some use to it.' There are a lot of little tricks that you might pick up along the way. I've always been the protégé. 'I want to meet with this guy' and 'I'm going to learn from him' and 'I look up to this guy.' And now, people are starting to look to me for things. Maybe I can influ- ence and shape the direction of their career. We will keep this up because, sometimes when we're having a mentoring session, we'll just talk about relationships. And then sometimes, we'll talk about equipment and then sometimes, we'll talk about set politics." Our discussion revealed an interesting thought that I had mentioned in the beginning of the article, but kept it in the back of my mind because I didn't think it was super relevant until he mentioned it as well. "You and I moved from the same state, similar culture, similar background to this new place and this new industry. And you didn't move out here with a relationship in mind and neither did I. So I've been able to pull and draw things. I'd say a lot of my role as a protégé has been finding it's a lot of—I have to phrase this delicately—reading in-between the lines. But I think there is so much more than just preamps and microphones that I can learn from you." CONCLUSION … FOR NOW This is ongoing. If you're thinking about taking on a protégé in production sound, there has never been a more potent time to do so. I think it's going away in so many fields. and that is tragic for any profession that relies on quality crafts- manship and collaboration. Even if you think you may not be an effective teacher, you may be surprised what someone starting out can learn from you. What may seem like com- mon knowledge to you may be a "eureka" moment for them. I think Danny has a bright future ahead of him and I will be very pleased to witness it. I look forward to the many more mentorship hangouts to come! • Left to right: Danny Maurer, Steve Morantz CAS, Devendra Cleary CAS, and Chris Howland CAS. Danny won a gift card at the 2016 Holiday Brunch!

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