The Zone - Getting there and staying there!




We've all experienced "The Zone' at some point in time. You know, that feeling of heightened focus where time itself no longer seems to exist! This 'zone' is traditionally associated with runners and athletes, but even programmers tap into it. After breaking through a common level of focus, you become a machine... and all other events get muted. Everything takes a back seat to this feeling of bliss as ones sense of direction becomes laser sharp. This phenomenon has been studied since cave-times and was likely experienced during the discovery of fire, language, cheese curls and other such great inventions. It certainly occurs in more places than just modern sports - People doing jobs they love, constantly seek that space where time disappears, leaving them to do their best work. Whether you're an oil-painter, guitarist, puppeteer, or game audio composer, one thing's for sure: The Zone is real. For some, it can only occur in the morning after a giant cup of coffee - for others, it's in the dark of night with a glass of wine.



The Zone is so elusive that some will deny its very existence! However, my first game audio project delivered a strong dose of this 'zone' while creating a .MID song for a pirate game. Halfway through the creative process, I started laughing and thought "is anything better than this?" The answer was a resounding NO, and I was hooked for life. Although fleeting, I knew that this dragon must be captured and leashed. Well, that has yet to happen, but how can we get more time inside this elusive state? There are a few simple tips that seem to help. The first and most obvious answer for audio folks would be turn off the phone. Yes, even your meticulously crafted ringtone is an unwanted sound. It becomes a giant horsefly, bobbing and weaving, trying to distract your focus. The best solution is to turn the power off and remove it from the room. The Zone tends to have a phantom-like schedule, so you really never know when it will hit. During yardwork? rebuilding a DAW? When it does hit, you want to be as accomodating as possible. What about IM ? Do you really need to get a text popup in the midde of a creative tsumami. Nope.