Are interns valued as they should be?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ezride251, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. ezride251

    ezride251 Guest

    I recently finished my coursework at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. at which time I found an internship at a studio that will go unmentioned. I was well prepared for the difficulties that awaited me as I left school, or at least I thought that I was. I did the whole set up/tear down, wash, clean, run errands, seen but not noticed problem fixer, food getter, clean up crew bit for about 5 months. At which point I was banking on my attitude of being THE guy you could always depend on paying off.

    It didn't, and I was broke scrambling for a source of income. I didn't mind being an intern at all, as long as I was working toward something better. Why, because I love all things music as do countless others, but I still had to eat. We love it so much that we are willing to do anything you ask within reason at any time you ask us to do it FOR FREE. However, to ask someone to work full time at a studio and then expect them to pay their bills with side job they get with their left over time is ludicrous. I mean you've got dedicated people willing to work their tails off for free, could you imagine what would happen if someone actually made it worth their while to be there. Don't get me wrong the opportunity to learn is definitely worth while, but it is not enough to justify someone working 80 hour weeks but still has to sleep in their car.

    I know too many qualified individuals who if given the chance could not only survive in this industry but thrive, myself included. They are wasting away at studios, who by the could care less, because they have a whole line of willing bodies just hoping to get in so they can clean toilets with the delusion that it might one day pay off. The logic is all backwards; come work for me without pay, in turn I will continue your "education", so that you can leave here and try to find work at another studio which is doing the exact same thing.

    Do you think that this type of thing is good for the industry?
  2. DIGIT

    DIGIT Guest

    There are NO rules as to what's fair and what's not. YOU make your own and only YOU will know what your time is worth.

    I know a multi-grammy winning engineer/producer here in Los Angeles who parked cars for a long time before getting a break.

    I would offer this: do NOT think for a second that being in ONE place will get you anywhere. As you are interning in one studio look for a 1,000 other avenues that can serve you better.

    Make everything CLEAR and UPFRONT with every one as well.

    Do NOT make enemies and keep a positive attitude even as you are speaking to (or working for) someone who has NO idea what they are talking about.

    Choose your 'sacrifices' wisely. Do NOT intern in a place for a long time if it's going to get you nowhere. Often times, it's better to get a part-time gig doing whatever and then, pick some project in which you may work as an assistant, etc...

    Look after yourself as no one else will do it for you.
  3. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    Internships are tricky things. Depending on where you go, what you do, and what you are told you will be able to do, does in fact depend on you talking and asking questions. A lot of times there are cases where interns are told one thing but then what they were given does not happen for them, This has happened to me. I also learned how to not run a studio, so I looked at it as a learning experience. I also came out of this internship as a more hardend person, meaning I can deal with a lot more issues, and do some pretty crumbby things if I have to.

    This industry one negitive comment can affect you. You also have to look at it as the market is filled, you need to be flexible and you need to adapt, I could not get a studio job and turned to teaching, which I love, and through that I have gotten a lot more work on the side. You just need to keep plugging away at this and you will do what you want to do.

    Digit said it best and he is right 100%.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Don't feel too bad. I have been in the industry for over 36 years. A lot of my friends are losing their job at NBC but why should I care? I work for the Voice Of America. Uh oh..... I just got rift today.... And now after 11 months of really enjoyable employment, I have to start beating the streets again at 51 years of age. Crap!!!

    Anybody interested in some Neve console modules???
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    This should be made sticky. Everytime someone comes to this forum asking about going to one recording school or another or trying to break into the business, we try to explain to them the exact scenario you are experiencing. If you want to do this to make a living...find something else to do.

    It does suck..for the intern. For the studio it's great. They get free labor that's willing to do anything and if the intern doesn't work out, like you said, there's a long list of people waiting to get their foot in the door.

    The thing is, an internship usually lasts, what..6 months? and studios don't need new employees every 6 months. A person going into a studio as an intern is fooling themselves if they think that after it's over they will be hired.

    Now you've got 5 months in studio X under your belt. That's 5 more months of real world experience then any freshly graduated noob has. Adjust the ol' resume and hit the streets. If you don't get any bites, try some clubs. That's a great way to meet bands. Bands who at some point in their careers will want to record and want someone familiar with their material in the studio with them. It's worked for me.
  6. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Nov 16, 2004
    When things like this happen, thank God that it happened to you, and not some poor schmuck who couldn't handle it.

    Ms. Remy Ann David will be just fine.

    In the mean time, fire sale!!!
  7. ezride251

    ezride251 Guest

    pr0gr4m wrote:

    The thing is, an internship usually lasts, what..6 months? and studios don't need new employees every 6 months. A person going into a studio as an intern is fooling themselves if they think that after it's over they will be hired.

    When I started I was well aware that by the time I was done the chances for employment were for all intents and purposes non-existent. The point I was trying to make was this.

    Suppose for a moment that studios did pay interns and/or make some of them employees. Have kind of a trial period, a chance to prove that you are good enough to be paid to do this. If you like the work that the intern has done, why not hire the intern and ensure quality service for your clients. This would eliminate the need to shuffle a staff of "noobs" every 6 months resulting in a more knowledgeable, dependable, and more experienced work force.

    While I was interning, another intern had impressed a client so much that the client was bragging to the owner. This in turn impressed the owner so much that he decided to tell the intern that he had done a great job and should find someone to pay him for it.?!?!? WTF? If I was that owner I would have done everything I could to keep that intern at my studio which would include a job offering.

    I understand it is hard to compete with free labor, especially since the recent downtrend of the larger studios. But, would this investment provide enough benefit to that particular studio, as well as the industry as a whole to justify the expenditure? I personally think that it would but I seem to be in the minority here.

    Anyways that is my rant, and I am looking forward to your feedback.

  8. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    They do. Interns do get hired. It happened to me and happens to other lucky interns. It all depends on the studio, the owner, the financial status of the studio and the types of projects the studio handles. Some studios need a full time assistant, some don't and just get buy just using interns.

    For example if a studio has a couple of full time engineers that do the bulk of the work, that studio may not need a permanent assistant because those engineers are familiar with the studio and don't need an in-house guy to help out. For them an intern is all they may need.

    On the other hand, if a studio had different engineers coming in all the time who weren't familiar with the studio, that studio would probably benefit from having an educated experienced permanent assistant to help the engineers that are unfamiliar with the studio.

    Some studios may not be financially capable (or willing) to pay a full time assistant. From your description, this sounds like the case for that studio. The owner knows the intern is good, but either can't or won't pay him to work there.

    Not if you couldn't afford it or didn't want to pay for it. You work there. Why don't you ask the owner why he doesn't offer any full time/part time paying job to interns? It sound to me like he's getting top notch help from unpaid interns. Why start paying them if you can get quality work for free? It makes fiscal sense, even though it sucks for the interns.

    Over the long term, some interns are good some are bad. But they are a dime a dozen...if you find a bad one, you get rid of him/her and get a new one.
  9. ezride251

    ezride251 Guest

    Thanks for the feedback pr0gr4m. I think that I just have a hard time accepting that things are the way they are and are not going to change. And, Ive got a habit of developing these idealistic paradigms...lucky me. I used to bug my teachers with queries like this all of the time and one of them told me once "I know what your problem is... You want everything to make sense dont you?" Some things you just cant change.

    Anyways on another note you are going to have to explain to me how on earth yall do those quote things with the box and all. I guess I paid too much for that college education. LOL
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    I have two interns working with me and they are both paid for their time.

    They are involved in the day to day running of the business and I very seldom. if ever, have them do anything that is not audio related . I make my own decaf coffee and clean my own restrooms and if we need something for a client I usually can provide it myself. I don't use my interns as slave labor and want them to stay with me for a while.

    After reading the posts here I guess I am in the minority

    Today many people are looking for intern jobs. They want something that is meaningful for them and that will pay them a living wage. The problem is that today many studios are fighting for their very existence. This makes paying an intern an extra burden and sometimes can be the difference between the studio making money and losing money. Most studios around here do not hire interns just for this reason.

    When I interned back in the 80's I did not get paid for my time. If was a short internship and I learned so much that it made it very worthwhile for me. However I also was very involved in audio and had already been in the audio business for 20+ years but this was a specialized internship in mastering and was a VERY GOOD learning experience. Did I want to be paid? Sure but I understood that this would not be a paying gig from the get go and I had a real job to tide me over. All I did was assist the mastering engineer and did not have to do any gofer work the whole time I was interning. (I did however have to bring in some beverages to clients once in a while which was more fun than anything)

    There is the darker side of interning where the intern is doing things he or she should not do and when found out they get upset.

    I have had interns copying client's CDs for themselves without asking, I have had interns making copies of my business contacts list which I assume they were going to use when they got out on their own. I have had interns confront me about a mastering I was doing in front of a client which is a real big no no. I have had interns use our cable Internet to go to sites that were questionable and were using our computers to surf the Internet for porn and game sites. I have had interns who were trying to get into the client's good graces by doing things like giving them extra copies of a CD for no charge but were not telling me about it and I only found out about it when the client thanked me in the email for the extra 25 copies of their CD my intern did for them.

    Interning is not a God given right it is something that is on going relationship and both sides have to be work very hard to make it a good working relationship.

    Sometimes things just don't work out and the relationship has to be terminated either by the intern or the employer and this can be for many reasons. As someone else said this is a learning experience and even if it does not end exactly the way you want it to end it will still be a learning experience. If you are not happy in your present interning arrangement there is nothing stopping you from looking around at what else is available to you.

    Best of luck and let us know how things are going.

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