Iron Imager finalist Brian ‘Sludge’ Haddad gives some final advice

My buddy Brian “Sludge” Haddad was in the Iron Imager Finals last year. It was close, but finally he lost in a 2:1 split decision against the reigning champ Paul Duffy. Sludge is a great guy  and a lot of you might know him from the Philly market as an On Air presenter and Imaging Guy. Now, Dan Kelly, the contender of this years Iron Imager gets ready to rock  – the perfect reason to ask Sluge how it felt to be there, how to win against Duffy and how to rock LA.

Enter Sludge:

You’ve already been in the finals and know the procedure. Are there any tips on how to prepare for the contest you want to share? Any pre-finals training units?

Since the Iron Imager competition is approaching rapidly, there is only one thing you can do to prepare for victory. Deer Antler Spray, all over your fingers.  Trust me. Wait, that’s a Benztown banned substance??? Uh oh. Well, good luck then.  Actually, just do 3 push-ups and a shot of Jägermeister, and you’ll be fine.

OK, real helping hints. Obviously, make sure your laptop is perfectly ready to produce magic. This is GO time! Template should be exactly how you like for optimal ease of getting the effects and sounds you like. You probably knew that anyway, but the last thing you want it to have to adjust anything during your “creative” time. Speaking of that, make sure you are “feeling” creative. Whether it’s getting a little exercise before the competition, eating some awesome food you like, sleeping, or a glass of beer. Not too many beers, I hope. No time to head to the facilities. After I chatted away with peeps, since there are tons all around you, I made sure I had some time alone to get my head “clear”, before it began.

There’s a really tough time limit on the competitors in the final round. How to deal with the stress? Do you have any tips on getting started real quick?

I work in Sports/Talk radio, where I’m always under deadlines. If you are not used to producing with a gun to your head (remember that scene in Swordfish?), you should get yourself aware BEFORE the competition on how long it takes you to perform select imaging tasks.

Benztown provides all the elements you need for the competition. I started right away with the voice parts. I built what I wanted, with the takes I liked, and how they were going to be effected, first. That’s how I do things on a day-to-day basis as well. Keep an eye on the clock. Keep moving. Think ahead of your next move. THERE IS NO TOMORROW!!!! Sorry, got carried away. I still have therapy sessions for PTSD from the last Iron Imager, but I digress….

I would plan on producing something using the skills that you are best at. This is not the time to experiment new techniques. I have done a lot of beatmix imaging/mashup, whatever you want to call them, so I was pretty sure I was going to build something like that, unless the copy presented wouldn’t work for that plan.  It did.  So, my order was:  voice parts, drum bed, match the songs, and spice it up at the end.  When I listen back to the mix posted on this blog from last year, I noticed I had some minor volume issues in my final mix.  Still bugs me. Like missing crucial free throws (Michigan!!!!). So, try to leave yourself 5 minutes of time at the end to review your “final cut” a few times.

What do you think? How hard will it be to beat Paul? Can anyone do it this year?

From what I’ve heard, Paul has been doing Irish Navy Seal-type training in preparation for his title defense. After viewing the Youtube clips of his training online, it even caused Floyd Mayweather to say: “Damn. Paul is super talented and super nice. A deadly combo Eye of the tiger. To be the man, you have to BEAT the man. Go for it!

The final round takes place in Hollywood, CA. Did you find the sunshine, beaches and glamorous celebrities to be distracting? What did you do to stay focused on the competition?

Hollywood is a glorious distraction. Especially the ladies at the W Hotel pool. I’m red flagged there now. I don’t want to talk about it. OH, staying focused! I love visiting Hollywood. There’s an energy you can feel in the air, that should absolutely inspire creativity. I found a great place to gather my thoughts and ideas for the competition. The 101 Coffee Shop. If you saw the movie “Swingers”, it’s where they filmed most of the “eating” scenes. Hollywood memorabilia, staff with personality, and killer food. Take advantage while in town!

Do you have any last words or advice for our future competitor/s?

Just be yourself. Don’t try to produce something that you think, Benztown or the judges WANT you to produce.Do what YOU want to do!  Have fun! Play hard…

I attached some of my recent work. One is a “March Madness WIP Promo”, with my voice. I also attached some of freelance work, I did for KEGL. Beatmix music imaging, using their voice guy.

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Thanks to Brian Haddad aka “Sludge” for sharing his knowledge and audio with us.

For more, visit Brian on Facebook and follow him on Twitter:

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