Organization: A bit more important than you may realize

Hi All,

First off, let me begin by offering an apology for going dark since my introduction. I’ve been deep in work, and at this point, I’m just stoked to have an opportunity to embrace community again. So here goes!

I wanted to share a bit of insight on something that, albeit subjective in nature, the bigger picture traditionally starts with habit. Habit, by definition, is a learned behavior. When we (composers/post-production professionals) think of organization, one of the first, and sometimes only things that come to mind is organization in deliverables. Organization in template. In bussing. In naming conventions. You name it. But what often gets overlooked - aside from aesthetics (we’re all guilty) - is the level of comfort you have in your space, and the navigation of the various pieces of equipment you may have at your finger tips. Especially when it comes to trouble shooting hardware related issues. Or even a move.

Which brings me to the beginning of something I feel could benefit everyone here, to even the simplest degree. I’d love for everyone to share some insight as to their organizational methods, no matter how big or small. As I said at the top of this post; habit is a learned behavior. Healthy organizational habits lend themselves to wellness, creativity, and even a few less headaches when problems arise.

With that, I’ll begin. I label everything. Literally, just about everything. All of my cable runs, DB-25 connections, and any control surface that doesn’t have a digital scribble strip. This way, If I have to move something, troubleshoot something, replace something, or otherwise - all of it is ready to go with guesswork and signal flow tracing removed. Surprisingly, one of the best pieces of gear I’ve ever purchased, was a $20 label maker from Office Depot. No Joke. Images included:

I look forward to seeing what you may do promote creativity, and bring peace to an otherwise chaotic mess of cabled rats nests.

~ Brett James

Disclaimer: I’m by no means negating the fact that some people do thrive in clutter and have no clue where 18 of their 36 MIDI cables are headed to or from, or which non-sequential outputs their monitors are coming from. Trust me, your thing is your thing. So I more than welcome the chaos images my dudes.

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This is an excellent topic Brett, and I confess I cheat with some parts of organization even though I am pretty OCD about keeping things structured. I definitely need to improve my cable management, as it is all a clutter atm.

I completely agree that great order supports creativity, as you remove the frustrations, time wasters etc.

What has been the most beneficial for me is probably having a super organized template, instrument bank, sound folders etc. structured and labeled in a systematic way.

Oh and another thing. Sometimes the best thing we can do is remove things. Delete sound libraries we don’t ever use. Sell gear that don’t help us anymore. Basically I feel that having too much stuff that is just in the way without getting used can hurt your workflow too.

Haha. A man after my own heart. While my personal organization methods begin with my physical workspace, my template in both Cubase and Pro Tools has been organized to an almost unreasonable method. So much so, that even having my “Project Specific” folder in Cubase makes me mildly uncomfortable - simply because of its fundamental lack of structure. Aside from that, all of my I/O is labeled, color coded, and sequentially numbered - as are all my stem outs for the purpose of getting it all out of Cubase and into Pro Tools in the same order for final mix and/or deliverables. Cheers, Mikael!

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I can simply not understand how many composers have projects that look like chaos, no color coding, not even labels on tracks that make sense. It would make me mad :smiley: