Thank You seems to be the hardest email

Quite frequently I get email requests for help with obscure sounds or archive material that other sound designers are having problems locating. These come in because over the years I’ve been involved in quite a few first-run productions and my name appears in the published play-script. Where I can, or where legality permits, I’ll help out and, because these requests usually come with the words “we have no budget” somewhere in the text, I usually do it for free.

However, I’ve noticed increasingly that, once the files have been sent or the research material passed on, that’s the last I hear about it. Occasionally, I’ll get a terse “Got it, thanks” message, sometimes even a tetchy “No, that’s no good, haven’t you got anything else?” message, but rarely anything else. Mostly, it’s just the sound of the wind whistling through cyber-space, leaving me wondering if the material’s actually arrived, or if, having arrived, it’s simply been consigned to the trash as wholly unworthy of the production being mounted.

The internet is wonderful in many ways, but it has bred, particularly in younger users, the idea that anything should be available, be it sounds, music, research material or whatever, instantly and for free: that’s a subject for discussion elsewhere, but it saddens me that it also seems to have bred a culture where the casual rudeness of failing to thank people properly for helping you out is the rule, rather than the exception.