Work in the Box

You remember Jack?  He worked in a box…one that made you fast food. Now, his box is gone and his logo has gone all artsy fontsy.

When I think of the boxes I have worked in, it makes me realize that many people work in the same box for years and years. I can’t imagine doing that. I’ve exchanged one box for another after some time in each. The longest box I’ve worked in is the one I’m in now. Even though it’s in a building with horrific non-working HVAC, so that it’s really cold like a meat locker one day, and a 90-degree sweat box another, it’s truly a cool place.  Why? Because it’s a series of recording studios and computer labs at the college that I teach at. We have the most amazing students who come to learn in our boxes in the department known as Broadcast Electronic Media Arts at City College of San Francisco.  Recording studio boxes are amazing. The studios that I have taken my classes to visit are elaborate boxes where the owner has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars not only on the equipment used to record a music artist, but also on the walls and the acoustic treatment and the furnishings. AMAZING boxes those!

I have also toured in live sound for a chunk of years which brings one to one box after another night after night.  Depending on the success of the band, those boxes can be pretty gritty and small, and they can sometimes be gorgeous music halls decked out for fantastic sound.  A different box every night from 1993 – 1995  touring around the U.S. several times and Europe was definitely the toughest work life in boxes. Those years certainly helped to build my moxie. I became a mini Amazon in those years.

My first big box out of the college box back in the 1980’s was at a huge 20,000 sq ft office supply box called Schwabacher-Frey.  I answered an ad to work in their warehouse as I wanted a mindless job after college to work on my songwriting while working.  I figured that if I didn’t have to use my brain too much, I could concentrate on lyrics in my mind while pulling reams of paper and one gross of pens to ship off somewhere to a buyer. But after my interview, a guy higher up the food chain called me into the “front office” where he sat me down: “You went to UC Berkeley.  What are you doing applying for a job in my warehouse?”  I answered the exact truth.  He laughed and said, “Well, I need you somewhere else because I need some brains in my purchasing department. I can see that you’ve never done that, but I’m sure you can learn fast.” He chuckled as he walked me over to two casually-dressed women to introduce us and said, “This is Dana. She’s a member of your new purchasing staff.  Show her the ropes.”   So much for mindless work.  I learned a lot about the perks of working for a company that sells goods:  you get deep employee discounts. So, that particular work box sold a lot of stuff in boxes (pens, paper, staples, binders, paperclips, etc.) that shipped in container boxes via trucks shaped like long boxes to people around the Bay Area and beyond who worked in other boxes.

baby in a box_Finland I hear that the Finnish people keep their babies in maternity boxes.

Voila!  More to come.  Stay tuned.

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About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I was a part-time faculty member until 2009 when I became full-time. My career as an audio engineer spans 27 years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassetter 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991. The club and its staff are like family. I have maintained a live sound production company since 1989 called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST145). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. A few CCSF Projects: - Produced a promotional video for the Math department Bridge Program titled "Quadratic Rap". - Produced a new employee orientation video for the Human Resources department at CCSF - Coordinated audio for camera - SF Mayoral Debate, Fall 2011 - Coordinator of Audio Industry Advisory Panel for BEMA, Fall 2011 - Co-Coordinator of Video Industry Advisory Panel for BEMA, Spring 2012 Outside Affiliations: - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - current member of Audio Engineering Society - current Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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