Inappropriate Client Behaviour In Attended Studio Sessions

07-01-2014 02:59 PM

This article will highlight five examples of inappropriate client behaviour that I have experienced as an engineer in attended studio sessions.
As a studio business owner I regularly work along side clients in sessions. I strive to make my clients feel comfortable within my studio so that they can be free and enabled to be artistic.
I always ensure my environment is friendly, clean, functioning, creative and professional so that the atmosphere is neutral for both my client and myself to collaborate effectively. However, these efforts can all be for nothing if a client decides to not behave in a like minded way, resulting in myself… the engineer being made uncomfortable when working.
Session Start Times

I don’t understand how some clients have no concept of time management; it really makes me wonder what is going on in their heads when they turn up late to appointments without any sense of remorse or consideration. It really gets my goat when such clients still require their brief to be met in the now shortened session we have to deliver in. This puts unnecessary pressure on myself as the engineer, and themselves to play catch up, usually with below average results.
Microphone Placement

A real pet peeve of mine is when a client finds it in their infinite wisdom to move a microphone after I have spent time and attention positioning it. I have found vocalists and drummers to be the main offenders of this, so much so that I’ve been tempted to gaffer tape their hands behind their backs when tracking.
If I go to a restaurant I don’t feel the need to go into the kitchen and move the chef’s knives around.
Carelessness And Breakages

Client’s music being played and pumped out the monitors can make some of them distracted and just want to jump around the place. That’s all well and good as to me it is a sign they are enjoying the session and digging the music.
However, some clients have a tendency to forget themselves and get a little over excited. I have had microphones knocked over, guitars hit the ground, headphones pulled out of sockets, coffee spilt… the list goes on. I can accept accidental damages but get really quite mad when something is broken due to dam right carelessness because of a lack of awareness to their surroundings.
Photos - Say Cheese, Or Not

This may not irritate every engineer but it does me. There are countless pictures on the Internet of clients in my studio posing behind me whilst taking a “selfie” including the back of my head in shot as I am working. I generally have no idea this is going on. Next thing I know I am tagged and shared on social media sites. I find this embarrassing for the both of us and wouldn’t mind so much if I were asked prior to a photo opportunity. It tempts me to go and take pictures of them doing their day job and sharing it on Facebook… Like.
Clients With Uninvited Company

I will give an example of a situation that happened earlier this year. The client informed me that four members of their band are coming in for a tracking session. On the day I had about 10 people, most of them friends of the clients just wanting to sit in. I was not impressed and asked whoever was not directly involved in the brief to kindly leave.
I have also had clients turn up with their young children, again with no prior warning. Do not get me wrong; I am a family man myself. I believe an environment such as a recording studio is not a suitable place to create music and child mind. In these sessions I found myself worrying about the child safety in regards to them injuring themselves with equipment in the studio. More times than not the child gets bored quickly and needs instant attention from their parent.

Please note this is a “tongue in cheek” post. I have learnt not to get stressed out or take it to heart when clients misbehave in sessions, it’s not worth it. It is better just to laugh it off and decide if you want such clients back to work with you in the future.
If I believe my good nature has been taken advantage of by a client in an attended session I feedback that to the them as I know if the shoe were on the other foot they would certainly inform me.
So lets all share our weird and wonderful “client bad behaviour stories in sessions” and learn and laugh together.