Business Plan: Jules “A” Side Pictures

Business Name:

“A” Side Pictures

Aim:

To take photos at affordable and competitive prices to help promote musicians, venues, and other related events within the local area.

Contact Details:

Address:

A Side Pictures

45 Denver Drive

Bournemouth

Dorset

Bh23 5FG

Email: A_side_pictures@gmail.com

Website: http://www.Asidepictures.co.uk

Phone: 0800 567 456

Mission Statement:

“A picture says a thousand words, Like lyrics to music”

Team Profile:

Initial Profile:

Myself:  current roles include Photographer, Booking agent, Advertisement, Recruitment and Accounting (possibly an outside source to begin with.)

Job Roles and Future Prospects:

Additional Photographers:

Under the command of a head photographer,  since it would be their responsibility for purchasing new equipment to better benefit the company, and taking the photos which would be the service the company is selling.

Booking Agent:

tasked with getting work for the photographer(s), using distance, availability to help justify a cost with the clients for the work required.

Advertising:

Crucial in any line of work it’s their job is to promote the companies name and services into the world to get businesses to approach us. It could involve placing ads in newspapers, magazines, radio, social networks, websites, flyers etc.

Accountant:

Job roles  would involve tracking the companies incomings and outgoings. They would also set a minimum figure of which services could be charged at due to expenditure of the business, as well as sorting out wages and the keeping of records.

Recruitment:

Lastly if the business does take off and more staff are needed, it would be up to Recruitment to hire new people if it was financially viable.

Market Research:

Example 1:

Love Through The Lens:

£15 per hour,  Can hire out their studio for £20ph, £50 half day or £75 for whole day.

Operates within: Beaulieu, Ferndown, Poole, Verwood, Ashurst, Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington, New Milton, Barton-on Sea, Salisbury, Weymouth, Christchurch, Sandbanks, Blandford.

Counties: Devon, Cornwall , Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire.

Contact Info:

Email: lovethroughthelens@hotmail.co.uk

Phone: 07590 200204

Website: http://www.dorsetportraitphotography.com

Example 2:

Studio Shotz:

Band Photography:

From £95, though can be negotiated.

Can do on location, or work in their studio based in Southbourne.

Email: info@studioshotz.co.uk

Phone: 01202 432234

Website: http://www.studioshotz.co.uk

Unique Selling Point(s):

Both businesses listed above have travel option’s with Studioshotz, also having an studio onsite which they can work from and they’re services cover a lot of ground, ranging from weddings to other large events. They don’t specialise in any particular type of photography, where my unique selling point would be that I do one specialised service.

The benefits of this include because I am specialised it makes my target market a lot more easier to identify, targeting a specific demographic, while from an outside point of view, it also means I will get more work because they won’t have to look as far to find what they are looking for.

I have the ability to offer a more competitive price, while still retaining the ability to travel to further locations with my work, with surplus staff adding to the amount of work my business can take on at any one time.

Because I am a specialist in this field, I’m more likely to acquire repeat business, and use these contacts to get recommendations and future contracts.

Cash Flow Forecast:

Attached Spreadsheet

On my attached spreadsheet, I have predicted my cash flow for the year, Starting with an investment of £500 from my savings, and what a £500 investment would do. Roughly each job on average including VAT I would charge a cost of £179.99, with me needing to do a minimum of 3 jobs per month in order to make a profit.

You could have any capital expenditures being paid monthly to save on costs, which would make your monthly outgoings more, but it would leave you with more money in your closing balance, giving you operating costs in months where work isn’t as common, or in case something stops you from doing your work.

However, Paying off your capital expenditures at once means that you would be making more profit each month since you will only be charged your monthly expenditure, but your business would take longer to make a profit, and as a result stay in debt longer.

This then comes with the problem off going into your overdraft which may charge you interest each month your balance isn’t positive. Due to the nature of my business, I have chosen the first option, since I might get more work in some months than others, resulting in me needing less outgoings in order to make the business profitable.

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Music Technology Performance:

Task 1

For my music technology performance, I will be playing a cover of “99 Red Balloons” by German new-wave band Nena, with the instrumentation consisting of myself playing a guitar, which is the routed to be both a guitar and bass, Ben on an electric drum kit, and Richie singing and playing a MIDI keyboard.

Our performance will be accompanied by a projected video consisting of red balloons and war related imagery, which will work well, as the song lyrics are about red balloons being mistaken for enemy planes by a broken defense system.(video below:)

Task 2a:

My set up includes the following:

  • 1 Electric Guitar/1 Electric Bass Guitar (Signal flow will remain the same, except the octave above/below added will be raised or lowered depending on the input signal.)
  • 1 DI Box.
  • 1 Triangle “Buff” Pedal.
  • 1 Digi-Tech Whammy DT.
  • 2 9V DC Power Adapters.
  • 1 Guitar Amp.
  • 1 Bass Amp.
  • 5 ¼ inch unbalanced jack to jack cables.
  • 1 stereo spliter

Task 2b:

My signal flow will be as follows:

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(NOTE: The reason the amplifiers and guitar say bass/guitar is that I could either play bass and raise the octave and send it to the guitar, or play the guitar and lower the octave for the bass.

I would also have to swap the Digi-Tech and the Killswitch around if this was the case, but the other core components would remain the same and the signal flow wouldnt be affected.)

My guitar/bass will be connected via the input on DI box via a ¼ inch unbalanced jack to jack, which then comes out the “link” and is split in two by the stereo splitter. This is then connected down one side of the flow chart to the Digi-tech Whammy DT via ¼ unbalanced jack, where the drop tuned side of the pedal is turned on, while the whammy side is not.

The Digi-tech is designed so that both sides of the pedal can be turned on or off or a single side turned off, with its circuitry being what’s called “True Bypass” which means it doesn’t loose any signal going through the pedal when its not in use; as if its not there.

I will also need a 9V Direct current adapter to power the Digi-tech, as it doesn’t run on batteries and needs to be plugged into the mains to work.

Next it comes out of the ¼ inch unbalanced output to go to the input on the bass Amp, with the Ampeg input being -15dB, if I chose to use my invader loaded strat, which is a pick up with a pretty hot signal output.

On the guitar side of the Flow Chart I have the other split output going via a ¼ to a Triangle “Buff” Pedal, which I intend to use as a “kill switch” type effect, allowing me to only play the bass in certain segments of the song.

This goes from the output of the pedal via ¼ unbalanced jack to jack to the input on the guitar amp. Though in order to make the bass and the guitar sound coherent, I will be limited to only play one note at a time.

Task 2c:

The way I listed above used all hardware to achieve the end goal, however this wasn’t the first method I had in mind when it came to setting up my rig. The first involved a slightly different set-up, listed below.

  • 1 Electric Guitar/1 Electric Bass Guitar (Signal flow will remain the same, except the octave above/below added will be raised or lowered depending on the input signal.)
  • 1 DI Box.
  • 1 Digi-Tech Whammy DT.
  • 1 9V DC Power adapter.
  • 1/4 inch Unbalanced Jack to Jack cable.
  • 1 XLR (Female) to Unbalanced Jack cable.
  • 1 Laptop/Mac running Pro Tools.
  • 1 iLok.
  • 1 Audio Interface.
  • 1 Guitar Amp.
  • 1 Bass Amp.

So my signal flow would look slightly different:

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So this way we are using software instead of hardware to achieve the same goal, with the Guitar/Bass going through the Digi-Tech before it gets to the DI box, so the Guitar/Basses signal is already receiving an extra octave Up/Down.

At this point the signal from the DI is then send into a mono audio track in Pro Tools (Though any DAW can be used at this point.) with the incoming signal then being bussed to two separate auxiliary inputs, each panned hard left and right respectfully.

Once this is done, each bus is fitted with an EQ plug in, one with a High Pass Filter and one with a Low Pass Filter,  allowing the higher octave to be filtered off on the bass, and the lower octave on the guitar.

The outputs of the channel are then set to mono outputs 1 and 2, so they can then be send down 1/4 inch unbalanced jack  to jack cables to their respecting amplifiers.

Also the Kill switch pedal could be replaced by automating the volume in Pro Tools to cut out at pre-determined points, saving me from dancing over a pedal board.

Initially I thought this would be a good idea, as I would be utilizing both Hardware and Software, however once I found a DI box with a second output, It simplified the whole process.

It also meant that if something went wrong with my rig, It would be easier to work out what was causing the problem, while the PC/Mac it could be an internal fault which I wouldn’t know where to start. also If I couldn’t get one of the outputs to work I could plug an 1/4 inch unbalanced jack to jack into the second output on the DI and have it run into the respective amplifier, using the EQ settings on the amp to filter out the added octave.

Flat life Assessment:

My final assignment was for sound and moving image, where we given a video titled “Flatlife” which had no audio, and it was tasked to us in groups to record the Foley and other sound effects and then dub them over the clip.

The video has 4 rooms being displayed with each of our group being assigned to 1 of them. I was assigned flat 3, which is the bottom left flat in the video which features a man watching TV and fixing things within the others flats.

I started this assignment by watch the clip, making some notes about what was happening in the flat and what sounds may be associated with each, before then condensing down the list so I knew what sort of sounds I had to acquire. Most of them I could record myself, such as a door opening and closing, hitting against a ceiling, etc which I did using a Palm Track hand held recorder.

The other sounds I had to either make myself or had to sample from elsewhere, with examples of the later being the white noise of the TV, which was used by recording a signal generator, and the music accompanying the rocket being composed to give a hopelessness and emptiness to the setting.

Sample-wise I used a fire-alarm, an explosion for the TV com-busting and hitting the truck, as well as some “simlish” dialogue from the “Sims” games to act as speech between the occupants.

All the samples I used where under creative commons, so I could them for educational purposes,(The sample sources are listed at the bottom of the page.)

It was then a case of going through the clip and finding where the sounds needed to be added. I then received my groups stereo Foley tracks to add to my own and had to balance them all out so that all the effects could be heard together. In hindsight I would of mixed my Foley louder, as when I put them all together I had to increase the volume in places so everything could be heard over some of the other flats.

I then in addition to this added music to it to make it seem more fulfilled, using the arrangement from Blur’s “Park life” as the bulk of the song, but instead slowing it down and transposing the guitar parts to a piano.

The Isolated Foley is displayed below:

References:

https://www.freesound.org/browse/tags/sound-effects/

http://soundbible.com/free-sound-effects-1.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pWaJV_C1cM

Young Griffo: Blood to Bone

For one of my most recent assignments, We where given the stems to a song (titled “Blood to Bone”) by a band called Young Griffo, and where asked to make out own mix of the song.

This was split into 4 seperate marking criteria’s, which included many aspects of listening skills, mixing, and mastering.

Listed below with a PDF document underneath for each one, or Here as one document. (Warning its a lot of pages.)

Criteria 1: Young Griffo Critera 1

Criteria 2: Young Griffo Critera 2

Criteria 3: Young Griffo Critera 3

Criteria 4:Young Griffo Critera 4

Below is the finished track:

 

Company Materials:

(NOTE: this is not a real business, just a hypothetical situation.)

Company Materials:

Further expanding upon my Business Plan, I needed to start making marketing materials to help me advertise myself and subsequently gain business. The three main materials I need to produce are a Logo, a Business Card, and an Invoice.

An example of a logo that is synonymous with its product is the Coca Cola logo, almost as famous as the flavour itself.

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Logo Design:

A logo is a graphic mark or symbol, which is used by organisations to get the public to easily identify their products and services, with the following factors being taken into its account when its being designed:

  • Convey the history of the business.2
  • Be used in on many different forms of media.
  • Be easy to understand and memorise.
  • Colour and shape.
  • Its purpose.
  • Your target audience.
  • Why it is needed?
  • Be timeless.
  • Work in black and white.
  • Impressive and Seductive.
  • Keep it Simple

Now that I had established some traits a logo should exhibit, I decided to use the two examples from my business plan and see if their subsequent logo’s showed off any of the previous points.

Business 1: Love through the Lens Photography:

3First off the Logo is simple and readable, creatively replacing the O in “Love” with a heart, with a font type that gives the impression its hand written, further emphasising the love and attention which goes into their work. It’s easy to remember, While being seductive enough to make you want to further explore its works. Due to the nature of its design it definitely seems to aimed more towards a feminine audience, even though what the company does is a multitude of things.

It also works in black and white:

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Business 2: Studio Shotz

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As opposed to Love through the Lens, Studio Shotz have gone for a far more practical logo design, in bold black and white to act a stamp to let you know they mean business. The use of the inverted “Shotz” part of the logo gives contrast and draws the eye, with the black square acting as frame, tying in their business into the logo. The fonts are easy to read, with the main information in a different font so it doesn’t blend in with the rest of the logo.

These two gave me some rough ideas to work with, I decided my logo needed to exhibit both photography and music related imagery, as this would convey what type of business it is, or its purpose.

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Immediately I gravitated towards the idea of using the music stave as a form of film roll, as they both exhibited similar qualities as they both record the events of their respective media, and would be easily identifiable by my target audience.

So with a little artistic license, I created the above logo for my business. I chose to keep it simple by only using two colours, which would mean printing costs wouldn’t be as expensive, plus make it usable on multiple different forms of media easily. In black and white it also acts a stamp for my business, looking professional and could potentially stay in its current form for the duration of the business’s existence, taking inspiration from Studio Shotz.

The name of the business works well with the design too, as the “A” side of a single would usually contain the song the record company where trying to promote, and since my business is trying to help musicians and the like more recognition, works well with the imagery.

Tech LogoBusiness Card:

Now that my logo was created, I moved on to using it on a business card, a common device used during formal introductions to help potential clients remember the services the business offers and how to contact them in the future.

Business cards usually about the same size as a credit or debit card, measuring 85mm length x 55mm width, with information being displayed on either one or both sides. The benefits of having information on both sides means that there is more space for the information to be printed, but may cost more to produce, while having only one side printed means that its cheaper, and gives the option for the client or person associated with the business space to write any additional information specific to that client.

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These cards can range from being multi-coloured and heavily decorated graphic statements, or plain and simple factual devices, but the most common features business cards exhibit are:

  • Name of the person associated with the business, giving the card.
  • Name of the business.
  • Company logo.
  • Company Tag line or motto.
  • Telephone number (both mobile and landline.)
  • E-mail address.
  • Fax.
  • Street address.
  • Web address.
  • Social media address (Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In)

Like before, using the list above, and some examples of different types of business card, I then broke down the strengths of each one.

Market Research:

9On this example, it keeps it simple, a one sided card with 2 main colours and 3-4 spot colours. This card doesn’t have a logo, or a street address, focusing more on the individual giving the card than the business overall.

10On this card, the designer has gone for a two sided design, and has put a bit more thought into it aesthetics. By having just the name on the front, it allows the designer to put more work in the logo, making it stylish and imposing, while having the information on the back.

 

So for my design I’ve decided to create mix of the two about designs, pictured below:

Front:Business Card

Back:

Business Card Back

By keeping the information brief, it makes the card look more professional, while only putting the phone, e-mail and Facebook information, makes it easier to identify and to remember. Keeping with the black-white contrast of the logo, not only does it make it cheaper to print, with the exception of the spot colours, but also means that it is easier to read as none of the colours are similar, so don’t blend together.

Invoice:

Now I had some promotional material for my business, I now needed to make an invoice. An invoice is a commercial document used between a business and their clients and usually contains the following sections:

  • Logo.
  • The services or products that have been sold, so it’s clear what has taken place.
  • The quantity, of the said services/products, so the buyer knows how many services they is paying for.
  • The price of each item, plus overall cost, including transaction fees and other payments, so the buyer knows how to pay.
  • Name and Contact Details of the person buying the goods, so the business can contact them further if any changes’ occur or need to contact them further.
  • Name and Contact Details of the person selling the goods, so the buyer can contact the company if they have any addition queries.
  • The Date the Invoice was Issued, plus what date the payment is due, so both parties can keep a copy as part of their financial records.
  • A Invoice Number, so the business can easily identify who they have done business with, and which specific service or product has been sold.
  • To who and what account the fee should be made payable to, etc. sort code and account number.

I then looked up some examples:

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Both Invoices contain many of the above points, though the overall layout remains the same, following a very linear format to make understanding the invoice as simple as possible, something I have used as a guide for my invoice. (See attached Invoice)

The way they do this is by starting with logo of the business, plus having the word “Invoice” to denote who it is from and what has been sent.

Next they follow with the address and important details such as the invoice number, date it was issued, etc along with the recipient address so immediately they can identify that it is for them and have key dates showing when it was sent and potentially when its due.

What follows is the Inventory List, showing clearly showing what products or services and of what quantity, with a brief description of what was ordered, with the cost of each individual service or product. This is then added up in a total cost section for each item, before a sub-total and total payment section is presented with the figures already calculated, plus VAT or tax.

Finally the information about how to pay the payment is presented, either in the form of a bank transfer in the case of example one, or the payment has already been made in the case of example two.

On my invoice I have followed the above layout, but also added an alternative payment method, being by cheque, which also allows me to put a business address and phone number, giving the client a way of contacting the business about any further queries or payment methods. I also added an additional notes section, allowing miscellaneous information specific to the client to be added to the invoice.

Questionnaire:

Now I have created some promotional material for my business, I now need to create a marketing tool to help get some information back from clients and the public so I know what areas of the business I can best develop.

The idea of a Questionnaire is to acquire a lot of information quickly, where standardised answers allowing the researcher to easily see correlations in data in order to make judgements. It makes sense for a business to use this method as it cheap to create and distribute.

Questions put on the questionnaire need to follow some of the basic rules laid out below:

  • Having statements which are interpreted the same way by different subpopulations of the target audience.
  • Have statements which people with different opinions will give different answers.
  • Each question must only address one piece of information the researcher wants to receive.
  • Use positive statements, rather than negative ones.
  • Don’t make assumptions about your target audience.
  • Not be biased towards a certain answer.

My Questionnaire is going to focus on trying to gather information on how much, what age and genre demographic, are willing to pay for a particular outcome, as well as asking them if they have had any promotional material before and if so, if they were satisfied, and what the end result took the form off. (See attached invoice.)

They also have an incentive to fill out the Questionnaire by adding at the bottom that they will be entered into a prize draw where the winner will receive a free photo-shoot which will be displayed on the Businesses’ website and Facebook Page. Not only does this then promote the group on various media, but acts as marketing material for the business too.

These questionnaire’s could be mailed out to existing customers with their invoices, as their details have already been acquired, or to a select target audience with a free post envelope, or filled in only on a survey website, such as Surveymonkey.com.

By numbering the multiple choice answers, the answers then have set values, which can then be entered into a spreadsheet to create charts and graphs that can be used to measure the required result.

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For example by correlating the amount of people who had previous promotional work to satisfaction level, we can see that only 8% where satisfied.

References:

http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/awesome-rules-designing-perfect-logo/

http://www.dorsetportraitphotography.com/

http://studioshotz.co.uk/

Mastering:

This is part of my final major project: click here to return to the main menu:

Once I had all of chosen tracks bounced down, I loaded up a new Pro-Tools session at 16 bit/ 44.1Khz Sample rate and imported all my chosen tracks plus a master fader. I also imported a song from my iTunes collection to act as a reference for what sort of level I should be achieving, using the Queens of the Stone Age song “Avon” which I used previously for my last mastering session.

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I then proceeded to move the tracks along the grid so that when one finished I could get an idea of the same level I had to obtain, as well as get an idea of how the tracks sound in a particular order.

2

For this section, I will be using the Parallel Compression technique, which involves having the stereo mix track bused to two auxiliary inputs equipped with compressors.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.36.32

One of these compressors is designated the “heavy” compressor and has a much lower threshold an a higher ratio, while the “light” compressor is has a higher threshold but a lower ratio, this allows you to keep the dynamic range using the light setting, while bringing up the overall level using the heavy setting. I also applied Maxim as a Limiter, set at -0.1dB to stop any of the tracks clipping.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.37.25

Song 1 Drink Up:

I decided to have Drink Up first as it’s a upbeat Pop Punk number with a really catchy chorus, starting the CD off with a bang.  Since Its was the first track on the album, I had to use my reference track to get it around the same level bringing it up to that of the original using the settings in the example above. I also added a fade out after the gang vocals, which made sense to do it here as if I had done it in mixing it would of be been compressed more and the dynamic range would be lost.

Song 2: Get Out:

Next up was Sound the Siren as I wanted to maintain the moment cause by the first song, plus the gang vocals transitioned nicely into the siren at the start of Get Out. This song was around the same level as Drink Up, so only required some slight tweaking on the faders to get it the same.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.39.25

Song 3: Love Me Like You Do:

I decided to place this track in the middle of the CD as it’s a nice change of pace from the heavier songs, as well as being the only cover. The tempo’s of both this and The Motion’s where around 90bpm mark, so the drums in this work well going in to guitar of the next song. due to its nature, this song was the most sparse and also the quietest overall, with me having to use some of the makeup gain on the compressors to get it to compete with the Sound the Siren track.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.39.50

Song 4: Down to Dusk:

Originally I was going to put this song last on my recording, but having Got no Pity in the final slot allowed the CD to end on a more energetic number. As mentioned above this song fits well in the middle, going from energetic to calm. This song was also fairly quiet in comparison, sitting in the middle ground between the previous two tracks, requiring the faders to also be quite high.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.40.16

Song 5: Got No Pity:

This song is the only track on the album to not be guitar driven, but the drums are quite heavy so its a nice closing track. I had to bring up the level about the same as the previous one.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.40.47

Once I did this I burned the tracks to an Audio CD using Toast Titanium, and checked it in multiple different mediums, such as a CD player, Laptop and a Car Stereo.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 14.38.07

 

Evaluation:

This is part of my final major project: click here to return to the main menu:

Overall this project has allowed me to gain a better understanding of how a song goes from being an idea to a finished recording  as well how rewarding it can be if you see it through from start to end.

Over the course of these 5 recordings I developed my skill set  in all three areas, working with a variety of different musicians each with a different level of skill and energy. This energy was inspiring to work with, as when an artist is passionate about what they do, it becomes infectious.

I was trying new recording techniques as my knowledge of the microphones at my disposal became more in-depth, especially with frequency response and mic placement, giving me a good idea what sort of sound I am looking for and a technique to replicate it.

My mixing skills also got better, as I started to tidy up my signal flow and use bussing and my knowledge of sound to achieve certain goals, such as the guitar in “The Motions” recording, using an inverted waveform to cancel the positive one, as well as using auxiliary inputs as reverb channels.

I also learned how to master recordings, with an actual practical way of learning as opposed to just learning the theory, with it being satisfying having a selection of your own productions all sounding coherent.

It was also the first time I actually sort out a local band on my own accord: Sound the Siren,  as I felt that they were at the point where a recording would help elevate them to the next stage of their career, having something other than live shows to go on. This was by far my favourite track to record and the one I had the most impact on, as I went to their practices and fine tuned their chosen song to make it even better.

I prefered this role to the other recordings, as I was taking on roles of being an “artist and repertoire” guy, a studio engineer, as well as a producer, not just being a tape recorder.

It was also encouraging to have a local band come to me for a recording, as it made me want to live up to their expectations and record a really well written song.

Some of the weaknesses I encountered along the way was I wouldn’t spend as much time on a mix as I should of done, resulting in some ok results, but I think its noticeable which ones I spent the most time on, while others I did earlier in the year  I then came back to and realised that they didn’t sound as great as I remembered, and decided to remix those tracks.

I also realised once I had done recording sessions where I was in control, I found myself butting heads with my recording partner on the college recordings,  having disagreements over how we should record certain instruments, or having only half finished songs because he would schedule sessions and be reluctant to give me the files.

I also thing some of my sessions ended up sounding over compressed, so when It came to mastering the dynamic range got even shorter if I brought them up, or quieter if I brought them down.

One thing I learned from this experience is that practice makes perfect, and that the more mixes and recordings I did, the better I think the outcomes where.