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Full Sail or Crash & Burn

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Dethwretch, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. Dethwretch

    Dethwretch Active Member


    I'm currently debating on whether or not to attend Full Sail next year, but before I make any final decisions, I'd like to get some advice from you guys if you can help.

    After doing a little research, I happened to "run into" someone online who used to be a student, and although they did not go through the recording program, I asked what they thought about the school. Their (unexpected) response (although they did say that it was a great school) was "don't waste your money." As you can probably guess, this left me a little unsure and confused, as this was the very first person whom I talked with that had attended FS. Basically, the reasoning behind their answer was that the recording industry is a very hard profession to get into, and that there's about 100 or so graduates that are "let loose" into the world every month with the same goal in mind.

    Although this person made it seem as if FS was just a means to find a job instead of developing a passion, it is something I have to consider because I very much want to make a living in the recording field.

    I know that a lot of you reading this are in a much better position to give not only solid but invaluable advice, and I am open to anything that you can offer. I'm especially anxious to hear from those of you who are established recording engineers who can maybe talk a little about how you started and got to where you're at today, and what your opinions are about FS students, or if you've ever worked with any. Do they have a good grasp on what they're doing? Are you working with any now, and for how long? Do you get bombarded with resumes from FS students? How difficult is it for a "newbie" to get their foot in the door?

    After learning everything I could with 4 and 8 track recorders and reading as many books as I can get my hands on related to audio recording, I felt that going to school would perhaps be the next, best step to take. If you have any other suggestions, or know of any other schools besides/better than FS, please let me know.

    Anything that you can share is welcome and appreciated! :)

  2. KTek

    KTek Guest

    you're not alone buddy, i'm in the same boat. same story thinking about going next year as well......

    well,,,, it's a tough decision. my gf obviously doesn't want me leaving, and i'm concerned about the job i may get when i get out. (i know a guy from there who is werking for MUZAK for 7.50 hr starting out. basically ripping and labeling audio files... :thumbs down: but i know another guy from fullsail who werked at muzack and then got a job on a cruise ship running sound. nice. but might not be that great. man you just got to get as close to what you love as possible.

    anyway, it's a tough call and you just got to way it all out my friend. my other plan is to just buy a house, build a studio and start doing projects whether it pays good or not. bottom line, i'm ganna do studio werk dammit!!!!

    best of luck my friend.
  3. Hi -

    I'm currently a student at Full Sail. I'm in my 11th month here, Session Recording, and I'm very anxious to get out there.

    This is my opinion, so take it for whatever it's worth. Hopefully it will help steer you in the right direction. Personally, Full Sail has met my expectations so far. I came to the school knowing that I'd have to deal with a lot of crap (moronic classmates, mostly), but I've waded through the crap and done everything I could to get as much out of what they have to offer here. There's a lot of great gear at this school, and a lot of great people who are willing to teach you what they know. As cliche as it sounds, Full Sail really is what you make of it.

    If I were in your position, I would ask myself these questions: Is going to Full Sail really going to give me an edge up on the competition when it comes time to look for work? Do I have any contacts in the industry right now that would be willing to help me get started? What is it, exactly, that I want to do in the audio field, and how is Full Sail going to help me get there?

    In my personal experience, Full Sail was what I felt I needed to do in order to take my career to the next level. I was kind of in the same boat... I had gone to a year at a 'normal' college, but knew it just wasn't for me - I knew for years that I wanted to pursue my passion for the recording industry. I've been fortunate enough to have grown up in one of the major markets, so I've already got a good deal of professional contacts. It made the most sense to me to come down here to Full Sail and get the education that I knew I needed before I could seriously pursue a career as an engineer. Basically, what I'm getting at is, if you've got contacts in the industry right now who would be willing to help you out after you get out of school, and you're willing to sift through the crap and make the most of what Full Sail has to offer, then yes, I'd say Full Sail is a good choice. On the other hand, if Full Sail seems to be your last chance, then I'd strongly reconsider. Yes, their 'placement' department has a great track record, but I wouldn't count on them. I'm working with them right now, but I can already tell that I'm going to have much more luck if I take advantage of my other contacts rather than rely on placement.

    I hope this has helped some... it's just my experience though - everyone's situation is different. By the way, all the horror stories that you hear about the 'intensity' of the program... don't be so quick to believe it. If you've made it through high school in decent standing, you won't have any problem at Full Sail. It never ceases to amaze me how easy they make the tests here, and how many people still don't pass them. The hours aren't all that bad, I promise. Yes, some months have straight up sucked (like my 4th month here when I had class from 5pm - 9pm and labs from 3am -5am... or Midi when I had 5am -9am labs and 1pm-5pm classes....), but overall it hasn't been nearly as rough as I had prepared myself for it to be.

    Anyway, I didn't mean for this to turn into a novel. Just trying to give some insight. I hope this helps. Good luck with whichever path you choose to take!
  4. I liked ur story ^

    it gave me alittle insight on the school as well. i am planing on taking a visit down there this october. i have one question tho. how much math is required in full sail? is it higer level or low level, and what kind of questions do they ask on tests, if you dont mind answering those questions itd help me out alot, especially comming from a student there right now.

    thanks man,
  5. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    Wow. I don't know about you, but that's a frightening statement to me and tells me all I need to know about Full Sail. This school costs a considerable amount of money, right? And to go there and feel good about it, one has to "sift through the crap?" Uh, NO THANKS.

    One view that's been stated here many times, and I definitely agree with, is that you should take the money you'd spend on school, invest in some gear and software, learn it all INSIDE AND OUT, and exploit the contacts you say you already have. While I feel that a 4 year university isn't for everyone, I don't think that recording programs such as Full Sail are always a wise investment, especially when you weigh the money spent against income potential in recording. The reality of the situation is that opportunities in recording as a career are dwindling as schools like Full Sail are cranking out more graduates. The odds just aren't that good.

    Also consider other areas of pro audio that aren't immediately in danger of going away. I abandoned my pursuit of a music recording career long ago and now work as an A1 in pro sports broadcasting. A different path than I originally wanted, but just as exciting. Live sound. Corporate audio/video work (training and marketing videos, etc.). Audio for video and film. I've done and still do all of those, and all are areas that won't be threatened any time soon by technology that you can pick up at Guitar Center and toy with in your basement. The same can NOT be said for recording.

    And that's really what you have to realize. I think there's a huge surplus of "recording engineers" because the technology is so accessible now, a fairly recent trend. Now anyone can go buy a DAW to record themselves with, and once they start thinking, "hey, I can do this," they think they'll do it as a career, without realizing or considering the fact that everybody else is doing the exact same thing. Audio is my passion, and I love my job(s) more than any of my accountant friends could ever love theirs. In a perfect world, I'd be in a music studio every day, but I'll leave that to people who are willing to work for free. I'm too damn good to give my skills away, but I've found other ways to make my passion my career. Open your mind and explore other options.

    So, all that just to say this: I'm not a Full Sail graduate. I don't know any Full Sail graduates. But based on my professional experience, and that of those that I have had the fortune of working with and for, I feel that dropping that kind of money on a little piece of paper from a non-accredited educational institution is a waste. Furthermore, the pursuit of recording as a career is a decision that should be researched and considered REALISTICALLY. It's one thing to say it's your passion and it's all you want to do. It's entirely another to be out in the real world trying to make it happen, especially when saddled with student loans. The work just isn't there (in recording), at least from what I've seen. Just my $.02. Take it for what it's worth.
  6. younglai

    younglai Guest

    recording schools

    I was wondering to what extent the skills provided by a place like Full Sail would translate to other audio related professions? If you were to attain a degree at Full Sail then decided you didn't want to (or couldn't find) work in a recording studio, would you be qualified to work as an audio technician in film, television or radio? I would guess that with an educated understanding of the principles of audio recording and related technologies that you might have a shot at jobs like that but perhaps that's not the case? Does the training for the different branches of audio related professions differ greatly? This is personal so don't feel obligated to reply jdsdj98, but how did you get your start in television audio production? Did you attend a technical college or learn on the job?

  7. KTek

    KTek Guest

    fullsail will get you some jobs doing werk in the audio field. may not be what you want, but there are many places that need a guy who knows sound equipment. i don't know, i like what the guy said about taking the money you'd spend on school and buy equipment. but you can't exactly get a gov't loan for that. but you can get a credit card and see what you can come up with. if there's work for you as your own studio engineer, then jump all over it, but if there ain't, yes be realistic. my thing is i want to produce my band, and others like ours, but there's not many around our area today... time will tell. but protect yourself, and don't pass up any opportunities do get involved in related werk.
  8. Dethwretch

    Dethwretch Active Member

    Thanks for your reply!

    Thinking it through carefully, I guess in the back of my mind I was thinking it would give me an edge. (Usually when someone sees that you have a degree of somekind, it puts your foot that much more in the door). Not only that, but they have the equipment. They don't just give you a bunch of books to study and then test you on the material. I think people (at least this is true for me) are able to get a better understanding of something if they "get their hands dirty." This was a major reason why I wanted to go as well. Looking through some postings however, it kinda dawned on me that it really doesn't matter what kind of degree you have. Talent is the major issue. If theres some guy with 50 degrees, but in the studio, he has absolutley no vision, and another guy who dropped out of high school, but can do incredible things with the sounds he's given, then I think the dropout is going to go a lot further. However, this is only my opinion, as I have yet to hear from any professionals on the subject (hello [echo] [echo] [echo] :lol: )

    In any case, thanks for your input! It has definitley helped me . :D
    The best of luck to you friend!

  9. Dethwretch

    Dethwretch Active Member

    Though it can get expensive, (ahem :roll: ) this is a great idea!
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    If you don't know what you're doing, how can you expect to make correct gear purchases??

    Any school will only give you back what you put into it and there will always be morons in your class.

    Full Sail is one of the best schools around. The only thing better is a four year program in a University ... but opportunities in audio are dwindling ... the audio business is in a state of flux and will likely remain so for some time to come. I see a time when audio will not pay at all ... so much for the digital democratization of audio ..

    Take the money, buy some property .. a house or land. Then you will have assets a bank will be interested in and you can finance the toys ... Never spend the capital.
  11. jdsdj98

    jdsdj98 Active Member

    I'd say search and read through the countless, endless threads here at RO regarding "What mic pre should I buy?" "What should my first mic purchase be?", etc. There are tons of those threads here that many audio professionals that frequent this place have contributed to that can steer even the novice audio dude/dudette toward making informed, correct, wise first-time purchases.

    I see the gear as an investment just like land or a house, and I know Kurt has said the same on other threads. I can buy a high end mic pre today, and sell it for just as much in 5 years. I'd rather have that than a piece of paper from Full Sail that doesn't guarantee me anything at all. I feel that any individual that would be motivated to do well in school would also be adequately motivated to teach themselves through getting their hands dirty and reading and working toward their goals on their own. I've not spent a single minute in a pro audio classroom or lab or workshop, but have learned everything by doing and researching for myself, AND by being fortunate enough to have had some incredible mentors along the way. I feel that the resources for knowledge are endless. Just look at this website. What an awesome place to be able to access audio professionals and ask for advice. I think if you're motivated, and are willing to think outside the box of recording music in a studio (one of my main points), you can find your niche in pro audio. But be willing to start at the bottom, and work your ass off to get it.

    All just my opinion, FWIW.....
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I agree in essence but the biz is changing soooo quickly ... It used to be that great analog gear held its value reasonably well but in the past 6 months or so .. even this has begun to change.

    The proliferation of boutique and clone pres and compressors is starting to drive down the resale price of even the best vintage pieces. I saw a "classic" 1176 for sale for $1200 just the other day ... so it appears even quality gear is going to take a beating in the long run. It's hard to say if the scenario will turn around or not but one thing is for sure .... real estate is still appreciating while the value attached to music and it's creation/recording is diminishing ... free mp3 downloads, the proliferation of cheap recording equipment that sounds bad but who cares is all responsible for this state of affairs...

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