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Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Discrete, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Discrete

    Discrete Active Member

    I'm looking for internship oppurtunities in the Dalas area. My goals are lofty. I want to be able to produce the biggest names in my own world class studio. To get there, I'm trying to develop my skill set in as broad a way as possible; meaning that I'm trying to learn as much about the business and industry aspects as the technical/engineering aspects.

    Any advice on seeking internships. If you are a studio owner/manager, what do you want to hear from a potential intern? I'm trying to find the biggest productions around here, based on the premise that they would have more need for an extra hand around.

    Looking for advice,
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Jason -

    One thing to be mindful of is to at least spell the city correctly... ;-)

    Second, are you in college? Are you planning on being in college?

    This is a big factor. Internships aren't paid positions usually and as such, a studio can't just hire an intern from the street. I have agreements with certain relatively local colleges all over VA that place interns with my studio. I have to sign some paper work and be all official about it and then the guy/gal can come to work for me. (Generally, I slip the intern money for the work they do, but it's not much unless I call on them to do some serious work.)

    All that being said - if you're in college and will be doing an internship program, there's a few things that you can do to improve your odds of hanging around as an intern.

    1 - No matter how much you know or think you know, keep your mouth closed in the studio while there's a client in the studio. This is number 1 on my list for a reason. First, I'm not interested in answering questions on which guitar you should buy, or which microphone sounds best, or how cool ProTools is. I'm also not interested in hearing about all of your years of experience. (Please bear in mind, while I'm coming across as a dick, it's not directed *at* you - just general statements used to explain where I'm coming from.)

    2 - Be on time.

    3 - Always be working. Don't sit around looking like there's nothing to do. There's always a trash can that needs emptying, paperwork that needs to be filed or files that need to be un-screwed-up, or Hard drives to index, etc. There's ALWAYS work to be done in a studio. If you're not doing anything, it shows me that you're only interested in the "glamorous" part of the job.

    4 - Have a notebook on hand. You should document your hours worked, what you did and definitely any questions you would like to ask or stuff that you need to research.

    5 - Keep your aspirations to yourself. I'm actually quite pleased personally to see that your aspirations are this high. It gives me the initial impression that you thrive for success and will work for it. However, in a studio environment, it's more often "I'd like to make it through this session without murdering the lead singer or his girlfriend." Not to say that studio owners and engineers don't also have lofty goals, it's just not a good time to discuss them while you're on the clock. Maybe while you're enjoying a beer after a gig with the engineer, sure.

    6 - Learn to understand how the engineer thinks. I'm always impressed by interns who don't need constant instruction. I don't even mind if the intern tries to stay a step ahead but occassionally needs to be brought back a step for going in the wrong direction. Again, as long as the client doesn't see this, I'm cool.

    7 - Always understand that the clients are the single most important thing to the studio owner/engineer. No matter how stupid or ignorant they may be, treat them with respect and courtesy. Most of my clients are professional musicians. If I have an intern who oversteps his/her bounds in front of the client (swearing in front of the client when not appropriate, addressing the client improperly, wearing inappropriate clothing to a gig, etc), I'll gladly fire them on the spot if for nothing else to demonstrate to the client whom they just offended that I'm 100% business and won't tolerate anything less than that.

    So...if all of the above hasn't scared you away from trying to intern, go for it and have a good time.

    Be willing to work your butt off for 10-20 years of little pay and less respect and you will eventually succeed.


  3. Good read, Cucco. Thanks for that.
  4. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Good suggestions Cucco as always.

    I would like to add a few of my own.

    1. Be attentive and don't drift off mentally or have a glazed look in your eyes when you are sitting in a session. You should be mentally alert and ready to do what is needed without the engineer saying your name over and over again.

    2. Know where things go and how to handle equipment. If you are doing setup for a session and drop a U87 on the floor any money made from this session and any session done for the week will probably go into getting the microphone repaired (if it can be repaired at all) and "I am sorry" is a nice thing to say but does not even start to cover the cost of repairs that have to be done due to carelessness on your part.

    3. Don't bring any liquids into the studio or control room that aren't in containers with lids so that if something gets tipped over it WON'T go into the console or keyboard.

    4. Don't make verbal value judgments on the music being recorded especially if the client is in the control room. I know of one instance where the interns were cleaning up after a session and the microphones were still powered and the client was talking to the engineer in the control room and the one intern turns to the other and says "what a load of sh!t the bass player was way off, the drummer sucks and the music must have been written by a ten year old" . The client heard this, closed his bag walked of the session and refused to pay for the studio time and took his business elsewhere. The studio lost a lot of money and the two interns were persona non Grata in the studio afterward.

    If you have comments keep them to yourself and NEVER but NEVER get into a argument with the client.

    5. It goes without saying BUT don't ever do drugs or imbibe in alcohol even if you are offered it by the clients. If it is after the session and someone offers you a beer ask the boss if it is OK don't just assume that it is.

    6. Have a positive receptive attitude about your job and your learning. Be open to doing things slightly differently than they taught you in audio school and don't tell the person who hired you "hey that isn't the correct way to do such and such" but instead say "I was taught to do it this way why do you do it the way you do."

    7. Have fun at work but don't be the court jester.

    9. Learn as much as you can but don't ask questions in the middle of a session simply save them for later when you can talk to the engineer in a more informal setting.

    10. Keep your cool and don't get upset even if you feel the need to tell someone off. It is NOT a good thing to do and may ruin your internship faster that anything else.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Great posts!

    Hey Cucco, you said:
    Which part is that, exactly?

    The part where I'm covered in dirt and cable nastiness after a solid day of rebuilding and prepping amp racks?

    Or is it the part where after being on the gig for 36 hours straight (way beyond tired, hungry as hell, and again covered in the crap mentioned above), I almost crash into a tree on my way home?

    I gotta know 'cuz that glamorous part is the part I'm most interested in these days...

  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Pushing faders around and flirting with the band's t-shirt model/groupie.....
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Glamor on the technical side of the music biz:
    I think you've pretty much got it covered.

  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    That's now been on here twice...
    I think I'll pen an "Ode to an Engineer" but I'll keep that to myself. Unless someone else finds it funny or if Google hacks my hard drive and indexes it.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I'm afraid that people would find "Ode To An Engineer" only slightly more funny than "Ode To A Mathematician." (And I have no idea which profession I am insulting. - relatively ...)
  10. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Yep, well the 36+ hour thing hasn't happened for a year or so, but the covered in crap due to an amp rack rebuild? Yeah, that was me today...

    Did I mention there are a lot of birds living in our warehouse???

    What do birds make, aside from a tasty Thanksgiving meal?

    Yep, on my hands - mixed in with the dirt on the cables and roadcases...

    ...Are you aware of how many times, whether you're working on a car or audio equipment, you wipe your forehead without knowing it?

    What do birds make again?

    I should have stuck with clean studio living...
  11. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    This is good reminders for any job, and life in general.

    I have a crush on this thread.
  12. AnomalyAlecB

    AnomalyAlecB Active Member

    Is it feasible to get an intern position WITHOUT having gone to college/audio school?

    I want to have some real hands-on time and also watch someone do it the right way! That way when I do go to school, it's coming together and I see why certain things went certain ways.

    I kinda want to intern while I go to audio school as well. I'm going back to college for business and the like after I get a bit more established with myself. So about 2 years after audio school/interning.

    What do you think?
  13. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I could've used this advice 12 years ago. LOL. As much as I didn't cause too much damage, it did not sit well with the producer or the talent. A mighty dark mark on my resume'.
  14. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    My current intern has not been to audio school. He has been trained here at Acoustik Musik and is doing GREAT. He is a quick study and really tries hard and gives me his all everyday. I don't think you have to go to audio school BEFORE you apply for an internship but it is a good door opener. What most employers are looking for today is someone with a quest for knowledge and who can "catch on" quickly. Even if you graduate from a top audio school with a strait "A" average you are still going to have to learn how your employer wants things done.

    Best of Luck and let us know how things are progressing.
  15. AnomalyAlecB

    AnomalyAlecB Active Member

    Well, I'm still trying to get out of high school. Give me two months.

    I do believe I will be starting classes at the Recording Institute of Detroit on the 20th of this month. So I'll have started my schooling before even getting out of high school. Hour and fifteen drive to the place every Sunday for 12 weeks, I believe.

    I hope to be just like the intern you described: all open ears, ready to do what is needed and hopefully more.

    I imagine it will be months until I can even try to land an internship. Possibly over a year since RID doesn't like to help you with job placement until AFTER you graduate. I figure, why not do both at once?
  16. Discrete

    Discrete Active Member

    Wow! Thanks for all the great replies. Only sorry I didn't check back sooner.

    To answer a couple questions, yes I am a Senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, which I recently learned how to spell. I'm in a broad-scoped program that has everything from 3d modeling and animation to Sound and Video design. Obviously, I am most active in the Sound Design area. I've been recording live concerts that are held by the Arts & Performance department at our school. It's mostly classical/acoustic stuff, so it's been really interesting to learn the nuances of recording classical instruments in a natural acoustic space.

    I also have a small studio at home. I would say it's pretty well equipped for a project studio. I usually record vocals and guitar and just started work on a voice-over project. I would say the sound I'm getting right now is pretty much "demo-quality."

    So, the point of me getting an internship would be to have more immersion in the industry as it is today, as my school is not a "Sound Engineering" school and has its limitations.

    Thanks again for all the advice. Just need to beat the streets and get in somewhere after finals.

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