There’s a lot to take on board when you’re learning about Radio Imaging so it’s easy to get bogged down in trying to do it all at once.
We’ve all started at the beginning. When the amount of new stuff you’re learning seems indomitable, an endless sea of knowledge you need to take on board and apply in order to create work that’s on a par with that which you’re inspired by. It can demotivate and scare you as you decide that making a good piece of Radio Imaging is a lot harder than you thought. You revise, tinker and sweat away on your one piece. You get nowhere, fast. You start to feel disheartened and ready to throw in the towel, you’re ready to give up because you can’t get your one piece to sound like anything you like.
There is a reason why you’re getting no-where. It’s one skill a lot of people don’t talk about that you need to learn. The one thing anyone and everyone in any industry will tell you is the most important skill to have. It’s called: Failure.
Why do I say that you need to learn failure as a skill? Failure is meant to be a negative word. When we fail at something then we’ve not succeeded at all and wasted our time. Or have we?
Think about it. As a child, by failing to pick good words when learning to speak you learn better ways to speak. By failing when trying to walk, you learn better ways to try. By failing when learning to write you learn how to write at least a little better (my own adult handwriting is still pretty childlike!) I think you get where I’m going with this. Failure is the best way to learn. The problem is, we’re all too scared to do it.
There is no shame in getting things wrong. I listen to my old work on SoundCloud and I don’t like it, but if I hadn’t done that work I wouldn’t have learnt how to do it better today. In my time working on various teams making Radio Imaging I’ve often played work that isn’t all that great, only to be given better solutions or ideas from team members which have ultimately made my final product or my next piece of work instantly better. By failing I learn new skills.
The more you fail on every piece, the more you learn how to make the next one better.
Don’t overthink it
Let’s accept that the more often you fail, the more you learn. That means that you don’t need to worry about overthinking your single piece of production so much that you spend hours perfecting it. If you find yourself just continuing to work on perfecting a single piece for hours on end you need to stop and get some feedback on it. By continually revising you’re not getting fresh ears or fresh perspective on your work and missing some great learning opportunities. No matter how much experience you have, it’s still important to get those from people. In a way you can think of failure as feedback to learn from.
Failure as feedback
Every producer I talk to tells me of their own failure process. Don’t be scared of failure. Embrace it. Learn from it. It is the best kind of feedback you can get. The more you fail the more you will learn and the closer you’ll get to making work similar to that which inspires you. Fail now. Fail fast. Because you’ll learn right now, and you’ll learn much faster than ever before.
So here’s what you can do to instantly improve: go and fail.