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Land an internship and move up the ladder
Old 25th October 2018
Here for the gear

Land an internship and move up the ladder


I've been doing a bit of research on what it takes to land a internship or job at a studio and I wanted to know your guys' opinion on what sounds good to you. And obviously, what one studio owner would be okay with, another wouldn't. Every person is different.

Some studios say they won't hire anyone unless they have projects to listen to made by the applicant. I get that regarding hiring a house engineer, however, some have said even for interns they won't.

My research finds that studios look for "good cover letters, serious e-mails, good resumes, fun to be around, useful, not distracting..." a bit of the logical stuff.

So, if someone meets all the social norms they need to, my questions are: will a studio hire someone that doesn't have a project made? If they do hire you as an intern, what does it look like to climb the ladder?

As far as personally,I know it's a red flag to not have anything to show. I went to a school and got majorly ripped off so I've been learning on my own for a while but I have nothing to show. It's pretty expensive to just record a band and mix it and all the sorts (especially since I like to be legal with software). Although, I know you can download multitracks but that seems like cheating.

Hope it's not too long! Thanks to anyone who reads this.
Old 25th October 2018
If i was you and I was you over 30 years ago. I would build my own studio and acquire your own clients. You have a better chance winning the Powerball lottery than landing an internship at a studio in this day and time.

That being said, most studios that look for interns will want to hear your work, as this will give them an idea of what you know and how talented you are. Most studios that have interns will hire one form word of mouth form another person that works there.
My research finds that studios look for "good cover letters, serious e-mails, good resumes, fun to be around, useful, not distracting..." a bit of the logical stuff.
I do not think this is true. Anyone can write a good resume and have a nice looking cover letter. This shows nothing to how talented you are.
In this industry, your work is your cover letter and resume, not a piece of paper with writing on it.
Old 25th October 2018
Lives for gear
It's mostly about who you know, and networking. Talk to some musician friends of yours, if a band/artist is good, offer to record and mix one or two songs for free or cheap so you can have something to show people. Go to shows and open mics, and meet new musicians. Don't bombard them with soliciting your services, just get to know them and become friends, then eventually meet their friends, etc...

It takes a little time, but eventually you'll get to know a wide range of talented people, and if you can show that you can offer them something that's mutually beneficial to both of you, then you'll start getting steady work. Once you have a decent portfolio of recordings/mixes, and people enjoy working with you, then shop around for an internship, or maybe realize you don't need it, because you're getting paid to work on projects you like from freelancing. Good luck.
Old 27th October 2018
Lives for gear
when your studio has a stack of 300 written applications from students seeking positions, you come to realise that none of those applications are going to get looked at.

if a young man presents at your door, smiles and shows great interest, then he's real, and goes onto the short list.

i never cared about demos and the like, its largely irrelevant. people get chose more on personality i believe.

best way in is to volunteer for free, and see where it takes you. sometimes doors open.

good luck. Buddha
Old 29th October 2018
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by adplanes View Post
My research finds that studios look for "good cover letters, serious e-mails, good resumes, fun to be around, useful, not distracting..." a bit of the logical stuff.
there aren't that many studios to begin with, and I doubt many of them are "looking" for hirees much less reading every resumé that comes in.

Years ago, I knew a guy who got a job at a studio because somebody quit and his resume had just arrived that day and was on top of the pile. The pile had hundreds of applications that had come in all year long. Actually I think the full story was that there was another resumé on top of his, and they called that guy first, he wasn't home, and then they called my friend.

If they do hire you as an intern, what does it look like to climb the ladder?
Interns do not get hired. They work for free. Many places will not take interns unless they are affiliated with a real school program and getting credit. Something to do with insurance, supposedly.

I have known people who got hired first as runners, did a good job assisting and got promoted to engineer when an opening appeared. I have known other people who when the opening appeared, were passed over - and an established engineer from elsewhere was hired over them. Again and again. Not always their fault, sometimes its the policy of the place. Sometimes it's luck.

With so many studios closing, there is a large pool of very capable people 'out on the street' as it were. In other words, you aren't just competing with your own age group for an opening. Some places 'hire from within', and other places can't resist hiring a Ringer.

It's pretty expensive to just record a band and mix it and all the sorts
Many engineers start out the freelance route. You convince some band to hire you as their engineer. You convince a studio to give you the studio time at a discounted rate if you bring in the clients. The difference is your 'salary'. You could forgo your salary if you want to make it really attractive for the band. Of course you would have to be able to handle running a session by yourself.

Many studios will be agreeable to someone who brings in clients. Now, how do you convince the band? Maybe you mix their live sound or make some demos in your home studio. Tell you one thing: it's easier to convince a band you are the freelancer who will take them into Studio X than it is to convince Studio X to hire you as a staff engineer.

Although, I know you can download multitracks but that seems like cheating.
I doubt they will care about how well an entry level employee can MIX. You won't be mixing anything for quite some time. They might be interested in how well you dress and wrap cables, and if you can make a good cup of coffee. That's the reality of starting at the bottom. As far as moving up, there is no path, no guarantee, part of it is up to you, but in a shrinking industry, part of it is not.
Old 29th October 2018
Lives for gear
FreshProduce's Avatar
You could always try your luck with a school of broadcasting for some general audio experience. There are teachers out there who don't mind someone sitting in for the sake of learning.

I don't think there's anything wrong with your ambition of wanting to become more well rounded, while networking... you just came onto this scene 10- 15 years too late.
Old 30th October 2018
Gear Maniac
cjac9's Avatar
Here's my story for what it's worth...

When I got out of school, I sent out a bunch of resumes to producers, engineers, studios, etc.

Know how many responses I got?


A few years later a singer-songwriter friend of mine made a record with one of the guys I'd mailed to. So, naturally, I asked to sit in on the session. (Side note: I bought my own round-trip plane ticket out to LA.)

During the sessions, I was dead quiet unless spoken to. I was helpful. I learned how to pull espresso on the studio machine. I made morning and afternoon shots for everyone. I did lunch runs. I cleaned up after people.

During lunch one day, the engineer mentioned he was thinking about bringing someone on. So that night, I went back to the place we were staying and cranked out a resume. I brought it to the session the next day and handed it to him on my way out.

He said, "I don't even need to look at it. You're hired if you move out to LA."

My wife and I tried to pull it off but we just couldn't make it work financially. This was still the middle of the recession and she couldn't find a job.

Instead, I ended up taking a soul-sucking country bass-playing gig on the road.

Between tours, I took all the money I could and invested in gear. I built a little studio in my apartment and started taking on clients for little to no money.

I did good work and built a reputation within my regional scene and genre. A year and a half later I was able to leave the road gig and go full-time with production.

I'm still doing that now and have an assistant of my own.

Wanna know how he got the gig?

I was friends with his mom and she told me he was studying recording at school. She said he was super smart and eager to learn. I was hesitant but...

...I brought him on as a runner for a session and he kept his mouth shut, made good coffee, and did flawless lunch runs. He was a perfect compliment to me personality-wise and a good engineer.

I hired him as soon as he graduated.

So to answer your question: do you need to have done anything? I don't know... but to "put all of your eggs in one basket" (aka landing a gig at someone else's studio) is foolish.

If I were you, I would start down two different paths at the same time ASAP:

1.) Meet local bands/artists and produce/record/mix for them. For free at first and then start charging a little more as you get more of a reputation. Invest every penny back into gear. It's not about the money at this point. It's about gaining experience and doing an awesome job. It's a long game.

2.) Start meeting artists/bands that are working in the bigger studios around you. Offer to be their personal runner on their sessions. That'll get you into the studio where you can meet the people that might hire you one day.

Hope that helps - it's an awesome career but you gotta just go out there and grab it! No one's gonna hand you anything (that advice probably applies to life in general.)

Best of luck!

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