We recently connected with Aaron Payton and have shared our conversation below.
Aaron, appreciate you joining us today. How do you think about spending on the little things / small joys when finances are tight?
There have been many times in my professional creative life were Ive had to make a hard pivot and often these pivots cost. I remember recording a full drum kit at my studio for the first time and realizing that I wasn’t going to have enough microphone cables and another time where I needed a device to link a camera to my sound gear and it was going to cost me fifty dollars for the part. These are common problems to run into when you’re running your own freelance business or company. There’s always going to be some small gadget that can help you get the job done or get the job done more efficiently and sometimes it can be worth the time saved to get these things even when your budget is tight.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
Professionally I’m a Location Sound Mixer for Television and Film and my typical work day consists of managing any means of audio recording. That could be anywhere from mixing audio levels and holding a microphone on a hot June day to sitting in a cool truck watching high-school sports while eating Whataburger. I’m also a freelance musician that started writing songs at age seven and playing shows at age fifteen.
When I was young I was always pushed towards my creative ideas and reinforced by family’s strong business ethics. So much so that when I could afford to buy my first amp at age fourteen I made sure I knew how to disassemble and replace all the parts to keep it alive. My family taught me about long term investments by the way they invested in and lived their lives.
After going to university for Film/Video and getting my bachelors I sought out two things; A place where I could be creatively fulfilled and a place where I could be financially fulfilled. I thought for a while that these things would be found in the same place but after years of job hopping and off hand gigs I found that I had the most fulfilling moments in organized yet creatively open situations. Then after years with more time on set I learned how to organize these types of situations and began pushing my company PaperTone Studio as a brand.
Papertone Studio specializes in generating Audio and Visual Media for small companies and musicians. With four years of commercials, music videos, live band recordings and film mixing under our belts we provide our clients with creative and clear goals for their projects.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
A lesson that I had to unlearn was that University and a traditional 9 to 5 is for everyone. Everyone in my family is normal wage worker, a teacher, military service member, or a lawyer. I was the first to step into the realm of freelance media and music so there were a lot of lessons that I just had to learn on my own time. I think of it like different eras of my life, I once was a waiter and it taught me how to communicate, I worked as an in home nurse and it taught me patience. These different jobs all presented their own difficulties and sleep schedules and they put me through the ringer that’s for sure! All this to say that I had to learn that a 9 to 5 didn’t work for me by working many types of them!
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I feel that what help me build my reputation in my market is how much I hold myself and others responsible. When I get the call for a job I am very thorough with learning what is expected of me. As a Location Sound Mixer I found that there is a community of sound mixers that network and keep each other informed on the latest tech and union news. Here in DFW the film community is very tight nit and work often comes via referral. After graduating from The University of Texas at Arlington I began to take any sound gig I could get and raised funds to get the next best piece of gear to make my life easier for the next gig. Then after years of borrowing and side hustles I was at a point where I could book myself for bigger jobs at better pay rates or refer a guy I knew could do the job better. This creative film market isn’t better than the next guy, it’s about getting the job done creatively and safely.
- Website: Papertonestudio.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/papertonestudio/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/PaperToneStudio
- Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-morgan-payton-081419156/
- Youtube: youtube.com/channel/UC4rbr8RV8NmXcrGqWkgRo8A
Images by Papertone Studio, Brey Browne and George Dockery