My Road to Sundays
I was asked not too long ago in the comments section of one of my articles if I could talk about how I go about prepping for Sunday services. Since my job doesn’t involve much outside of audio production for our Sunday services, I think the best way to explain it is to just give an overview of my week. This isn’t set in stone and some things tend to shift from time to time depending on what’s going on, but I’d say this is probably my week 80-90% of the year.
I’m in around 5:45am for our morning Sunday services. I’ll get everything powered up, do a quick virtual soundcheck, do a transmission/sync check for multicampus message transmission, and walk around to check on the rest of the audio crew.
Depending on who I have mixing our PM services, I might stick around through our afternoon rehearsal. Right now I’m probably around through rehearsal 2-3 Sundays of the month, but ideally I’ll get that down to once a month or less this year. Getting the handoff from AM to PM services has been one of my bigger challenges over the last couple of years, but I think I’ve just about got it sorted out.
Mondays are primarily a meeting day. We start the day with our Service Programming Division meeting. The meeting typically consists of some team leadership development followed by an evaluation of our services from the day before followed by talk of the coming week or two of programming. That meeting rolls right into our Production Team meeting over lunch where topics can range from upcoming production needs to general team stuff. We follow that with our Tech Meeting which is focused strictly on the technical side of executing the services for the next two weeks. The morning programming meeting is more big picture overview of what’s happening, and our tech meeting gets into specifics such as where people will be standing on stage, where is a video coming from, how we’re going to handle transitions, etc, etc, etc.
I get maybe thirty minutes to an hour between our production team meeting and our tech meeting and then I usually have a couple hours left at the end of the day that I typically use for my own admin stuff. I’ll pay contractors and vendors, take care of scheduling, push through email, etc. I’ll start on the input list for the upcoming week if there’s time. I might also clean up any gear left out from Sunday.
One big thing I typically always do on Monday in my admin time is to work on scheduling the audio crew. I try and maintain a crew scheduled 4-5 weeks out so on Monday I schedule the next one. I’ll also go through and make sure everyone is confirmed in the weeks leading up to that next one and resend Planning Center invites for anyone who hasn’t confirmed.
Tuesdays are my day. This is a good day to schedule any meetings I need to do which could be with our other campus audio staffers or a volunteer. I might also have a 1-on-1 meeting with my Production Director. These are also good days to meet with vendors or manufacturers.
Tuesdays are also typically my main project day. I might do some audio post for a video like our baptism testimonies. I might take care of equipment maintenance or track down equipment for a future Sunday or event. I might work on new training material or vision stuff. I could end up tuning/tweaking a PA in one of my rooms or elsewhere on the campus. I might do some audio experimentation with new gear or a new technique. These things all seem to go in seasons, but Tuesday is the day they usually happen on.
I’ll also use Tuesday to finish up any pre-production I still need to do for the upcoming Sunday such as our input lists. Depending on what’s going on, I might even start turning the stage over for rehearsal on Wednesday.
Rehearsal is the name of the game on Wednesday. Since I work late Wednesday night, I usually don’t come in until after lunch. My main priority on Wednesday is getting everything set for rehearsal. Sometimes I’m still finishing input lists if things were still in the air on Tuesday. Then it’s getting everything set on my two stages, making sure everything is patched, and finally setting up all FOH and Monitor consoles–remember, I have 4 of them to do. If I have any free time in the afternoon outside of rehearsal setup, it will usually get spread amongst doing general admin stuff or projects.
Our audio crew starts showing up for rehearsal between 5-6pm. Between 6-6:30pm we get everything line checked and try and soundcheck the drummer in that time as well. Then we head to the green room for dinner. Soundcheck starts between 7-7:30pm. Then the band rehearses each song until they get it to a place where they’re either happy or the point of diminishing returns. Finally we record all the music to get a sense of timing and flow and to provide materials for our other production areas to get ready for Sunday.
After rehearsal I’ll usually try and head next door to our other auditorium to listen to the multitrack of their rehearsal. We’ll also often work in virtual soundcheck at this point. I typically am out the door sometime between 9:30-11pm depending on how much music there is for the week, and the shape of things.
Thursday is for wrapping up any loose ends related to Sunday. I’ll usually use virtual soundcheck to refine the mix in the auditorium I’m working in on Sunday, and that usually amounts to probably a little over half a day’s worth of work spread across the entire day to take breaks and rest my ears. The rest of the day gets used for miscellaneous admin and projects that I can work on in between mixing. Thursdays can also be good days for lunch meetings with volunteers, manufacturers, vendors, staff, etc. I try and leave early just about every Thursday, but it never really seems to happen.
Friday and Saturday are my days off, and I’m very protective of them.
That’s my week, but hopefully you understand this isn’t everything that happens every week. Sometimes I work at home in the evening doing research or maybe on a schedule or input lists or just generally trying to keep myself educated on what’s going on in the world of audio. We might do an audio team meeting or training event on a weeknight at some points in the year. Conferences and special events also throw this off. But, ideally, this is my week.
What else would you like to know?