Shut Up, I’m Trying to Concentrate! (Revised Repost)

I-like-the-sound-you-make-when-you-shut-up

There are times when I need absolute silence in order to concentrate. Since I spend a lot of time at home writing, I deal with the constant challenges of coming up with new material, and allowing the creative process of writing to develop. Perhaps the most distracting thing I face when I am trying to focus is NOISE. Whether the noise is from people talking to each other, exercise equipment banging against the floor, car horns blaring, cats playing, doors opening or closing, or people constantly trying to talk to me, any noise except music will get me to the point where I get close to losing it. I am well aware of the fact that I suffer from misophonia, and have dealt with it since med school days, when I had to wear earbuds whenever I sat for exams.

I recently read that a group of psychologists at Northwestern University discovered that highly creative people tend to be more sensitive to noise than the average person. I digested this information with relish, since I certainly hope the fact that I can be easily annoyed by noise when I am in a creative mode is indicative of creative genius, or at least something close! The assertion that creative types are more easily distracted by noise is demonstrated by great novelists like Proust, who apparently would sequester himself in his small apartment, donning earplugs and drawing the blinds while he wrote.

Cat shutting dog up

Basically, I think the general rule of thumb should be that if someone tells you to pipe down, and the person is clearly trying to focus, then SHUT UP!

Fighting The Sirens

the-sonic-landscape-of-the-city-sirens-taken-for-wonder

Anyone who works in the entertainment field knows that audible distractions can really throw a wrench in the works while filming, recording, or taping. Interruptions on set prolong the time that talent and crew must be on set to get clean, usable takes. Otherwise benign sounds like a cough, jangling keys, or a barking dog will register on audio recordings, requiring the director and talent to pause until the noise has subsided, then re-shoot the take.

I have been on set for many different projects over the years and have been witness to various noise distractions. However, I had never experienced a nonstop cacophony of sirens and horns while on set until a couple of weeks ago, while I worked on a commercial set in New York City. Our first day on set was punctuated by a relatively steady stream of horns and sirens which added another ten minutes to our shoot day, since we had to pause for every single one, then launch into an additional take each time we had an interruption.

Day two was even worse, because evidently an “incident” in NYC right near the studio warranted a profusion of police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines at the site. In addition to all the sirens which blared for several hours, irate drivers on the road insisted on expressing their frustrations by leaning on their car horns. It’s no exaggeration for me to say that the steady interruptions emanating from the neighborhood added another twenty minutes to the shoot that day.

It’s difficult to maintain your cool when you land a perfect take, only to have a siren or horn blare right at the tail end of the take. Guess what that means? It means the take is rendered worthless because of the extraneous noise.

Everyone on set became increasingly irritated by the challenges to getting a perfect take. It became a bit of a joke as we kept rolling, launching into another take, only to have another siren assert itself and ruin that one as well. It was like a big F*&% YOU to all of us on set, and it kept occurring!

The clamor of alarms continued mercilessly, and our frustrations rose in direct proportion. Towards the end of the second shoot day, we switched to uttering expletives to more adequately express our increasing annoyance with the whole situation. The one positive note about all the interruptions and our reaction to them was that we all bonded even more during the project.

If you are planning to shoot a commercial, television project, film, music video or other entertainment related footage in New York City, and the studio you shoot in isn’t soundproof, you had better brace yourself for the probable onslaught of noise which will challenge the patience of everyone on set.

Shut Up, I’m Trying To Concentrate!

I-like-the-sound-you-make-when-you-shut-up

There are times when I need absolute silence in order to concentrate. Now that I write content almost daily, I deal with the constant challenges of coming up with new material, and allowing the creative process of writing to develop. Perhaps the most distracting thing I face when I am trying to focus is NOISE. Whether the noise is from people talking to each other, exercise equipment banging against the floor, car horns blaring, cats playing, doors opening or closing, or people constantly trying to talk to me, any noise except music (which I listen to through earbuds) will get me to the point where I get close to losing it.

I recently read that a group of psychologists at Northwestern University discovered that highly creative people tend to be more sensitive to noise than the average person. I digested this information with relish, since I certainly hope the fact that I can be easily annoyed by noise when I am in a creative mode is indicative of creative genius, or at least something close! The assertion that creative types are more easily distracted by noise is demonstrated by great novelists like Proust, who apparently would sequester himself in his small apartment, donning earplugs and drawing the blinds while he wrote.

Cat shutting dog up

Basically, I think the general rule of thumb should be that if someone tells you to pipe down, and the person is clearly trying to focus, then SHUT UP!