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So I've got the internship, what now??
Old 14th March 2003
Question So I've got the internship, what now??

Here's the story,
I've finally gotten into a good, busy local studio and have been interning there for almost 3 months. So far I have had to do some bitch work, which I expected and definately don't mind, considering that I've gotten a great education there as well. So far they've taught me Pro Tools (hell, I'd never even used a Mac before) and proper tracking practices, and other basic studio etiquette that one wouldn't know dicking around in a home studio. They have also let me do a lot more actual engineering for clients than I would have expected, which is great.

Anyway, I know that I've still got a ton to learn, especially mixing, but eventually I'm going to have to take this knowledge/experience somewhere right?

What's the next step?

I mean, it's not like the studio needs any more engineers. After I get a few full projects under my belt and feel confident with my abilities, do I just go to other studios and look for job positions? Do I open up my own studio? Kinda confused about the next step...

And I thought getting the internship would be the hardest partyuktyy
Old 14th March 2003
7rojo7's Avatar

Did you ever think that one of the engineers above you is thinking the same as you? If you're in a good position, hang tight.
Are you getting paid yet? If you're getting paid then sit on this job and let the experience come to you. Why take a chance and lose a good opportunity? I think that this kind of job is disappearing and you're lucky to have it. Ambition is a snake that eats its own tail. Some people assist for five or six years before cutting loose, You can't cut loose unless you already have clients.
Help this studio grow and function and you'll know how to do it and who you have to look for to help you when and if you have your own. This business is much more than knowing how the equipment works and it takes way more than 3 months to learn it.
Old 14th March 2003
What's the next step?

Your next employer wil like to see 2 years expereience. That is a 'standard' target for any first job.

Be the best assistant engineer / intern that facility has ever had. Show extreme keenness. Go the extra mile.

Make it obvious that if an engineer were to go down with flu that you could step in an save the day if required.

Be loyal, dont steal other engineers clients, but if you get put with a new client, try to seem like you want to keep them for life.

Beware boredom. There is always something to learn, do this when there seems like there is nothing for you to do.

As mentioned above try to make use of dead time with your own projects & friends so you can up your skills. Do this only with the full permision of the boss.

Be aware that thousands of folks would love to be in your shoes, dont blow it.

Old 14th March 2003
member no 666
Fletcher's Avatar
What's been said is sage advice... I would add to it that you should pretty much plan on being there for 3 years max. When you're not working at the studio, be hanging around musicians.

Work on stuff during studio 'downtime'... develop a 'client base'. Meet and hang with 'label' people you meet in the course of your daily duties... but don't become a pest. It's a fine line between clever and stupid... learn where the line is and stay on the 'clever' side of it.

Save whatever money you can and invest in tools... tools which can be used to define your sound if you decide to go the 'independent engineer' route... tools that will enable you to come out of the box running if you decide to build your own facility.

Anyway you look at it, networking will be the key to moving forward. Knowing all you can is great and should absolutely be encouraged... knowing "industry" people is of paramount importance. Understanding that it's not just what you know, and not just who you know... but who knows what you know is the key.

Best of luck.
Old 14th March 2003
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I spent a year interning/assisting/whatever before I left and started to freelance for bands I knew in crappy rooms. A few years later I opened my own place and it's been a slow uphill battle. Sometimes I wish I had stuck it out at the first studio a bit longer, learned more and paid more attention to how people got the sounds they did. If I had learned everything in 3 months I would've taken over the world by now. I've been doing the AE thing seriously now for about 6 years and I'm still learning everyday and running a studio still sucks.

Talk to the people that own the studio, see if you can bring in your friends bands on the off-time and record them for free or next to free for the experiance. It's one thing to assist, it's another to actually be the guy in charge. An assist who has run their own sessions can do a better job of assisting and becomes much more valuable.
Old 14th March 2003
So I've got the internship, what now??

Go get coffee?heh

Hey you don't know how lucky you are.

I started back in the mid 80's and just to get in the door of a professional studio was a big task.

They just didn't take anybody as interns. You had to have been recommended or they saw something in you that they could trust.

The big studios were still rascist back then(and sexist) so if someone didn't like you because of race or sex, you weren't let in.

If you didn't "show" yourself in the first 3 months, you were let go. The intern positions were very competive(you were judged on everything), to move to an assitants position you had to really prove yourself(among the assistants and the freelancers). If the assistants didn't like you(if you were better) than you were fired.

Yes they did make you clean the bathrooms(and the stories were true). As a runner sometimes you had to buy drugs or bring prostitutes for clients(but I guess this hasn't changed).

It was all about survival,respect and the right attitude.

Something that the new generation of engineers lack.

I would say the biggest thing for you to learn is not mixing skills(which don't really exist, you're either born with it or you are not), or micing techniques. I think attitude and appreciation will get you farther if this is your destiny.
Old 14th March 2003
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar

Everyhting said so far is worth its weight in gold.. but here are some things i learn when Assisting

-Never offer an opinion if a band, artist, engineer, producer or memeber of the peanut gallery sitting on the back couch if asked. Giving an opion is a surefire way to create friction in the room. Remain impartial and things will flow and the more astute people will respect you for your impartiality.

-Know where to find THE best coffee

-Know where to find th ebest of each variety of food, like Italian, Chinese, sushi etc etc etc

-Know where to find the right drugs at the right price with decent quality. (sad but true... but its only rock and roll and i like it!)

-Have access to weird oddball outboard, gtr pedals, guitars and people that can help a session/project out.

-Have a little case with 'assistants' special tools, like sharpened chinagraph pencils and sharpners, gaffa tape, fresh razors for cutting tape and (coke!grudge ), moon gel for ringing drums, drum keys for tuning, mic cable tester, IBP phase(damn i wish they were around when i started!). leader tape fro 2" , 1/2" and 1/4" tap decks. Manual for PT handy, assorted mic clip conncotrs and inserts, uninversal shockmount for weird ass mics, weird odball cable for connecting stupid things like minidisks to TT patchbays, tape alignment charts for differenent stocks, photocopy of alignment sheets from various tape machines as they all having lineup peculiarities.

-To be seen and not heard, only offer to help when engineer or producer is in dire need of help or look to be floundering.

-Show up on time and be prepared to leave Way late!

-Work with little or no sleep, and be expected to rember all things pertinent to running a session smoothly.

Hope it helps

Old 15th March 2003
Wow, thanks for the response! You guys gave me a ton of good advice that will defniately help me out.

The studio I intern at is set up very much how Slipperman described it, I intern for free and when I engineer I get paid by the hour. It sounds like I've got a couple years ahead of me at this studio which I sort of expected, I know I've still got a TON to learn. I've also got 4 more years of college in this town as well, so I'm not anxious to be moving around. At least I enjoy it and to work at something you enjoy makes it seem less like work. If only college was that way for me...

Appreciate the advice!

Old 15th March 2003
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
All the advice given is wonderful. Print the thread and re-read it every month or two. I'd like to add one little trick that helped me a lot when I started.

I moved to a small town to work in a small but starting to be busy room. There were many tapes on the shelf of things that the boss had tracked. On off nights (which there were many when I started) I would randomly pick something to mix. This was purely for my own learning and amusement. There was nobody in the room, the clock was not ticking and I could try anything I wanted. It was a very valuable experience for me. I think I’m going to find that first DAT and listen to it now!

Good Luck brother and keep working hard!
Old 15th March 2003
That is a great idea! I am going to do that as soon as possible. Since we are all Pro Tools it'll be easy, I just gotta make sure it's cool with the boss. Sounds like a good way to get some practice mixing. I'm definately gonna print this list and keep it close by when I get bored or when I'm waiting for some producer's laundry to dry!!

Old 16th March 2003
Gear Head
droog's Avatar

Originally posted by Wiggy Neve Slut

-Know where to find the right drugs at the right price with decent quality. (sad but true... but its only rock and roll and i like it!)

Actually this is really , really bad advice if you want to keep your job in a professional studio...sorry wigs

We had one assistant who was able to get anything drugs wise and made it known to all the clients he worked with. Soon we were getting calls from the same producers and engineers and bands looking looking to score from this guy and often wanting to do the deal in OUR studio. When we put it to him that he had to stop , he quit , saying that he made more money dealing than working for us. He crossed that fine line from conduit to dealer. Currently he's enjoying the hospitality of our finest jails.
Old 16th March 2003
He should have contained his vending activities 'better'.

Once in a while I veered into' trouble' with this issue as an assitant..

Being an assitant / intern is all about learning boundaries and when not to cross over them.

Nothing is black & white IMHO, it is the grey areas in which you stand or fall.

Old 17th March 2003
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
I've had people ask me where to score stuff but I've never volunteered it. Some clients might get put off by it to. If you have access to that stuff and it's warrented (meaning it comes up because someone from the band asked you) I'd tell the owner/manager about it and see how they want to handle it. I heard and kinda saw one nasty situation where the someone from the band wanted something and asked the assistant. The assisted got him taken care of but the shop owner was pissed because it bypassed his hook-up. **** happens. Becareful.
Old 17th March 2003
Lives for gear
Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar

Droog i agree,

Dont get me wrong i dont believe that interns assistants should actively 'promote' this feather or service in their cap. However sometimes it can come in handy for better or worse, and can actually make a session progress (which is really fuct up in terms of logic i know). I think jules nailed it on the head by saying that discretion is the key here and IS one of the foremost skills any assistant can develop. Conversely if the assistant does not know the score (no pun intended) with the people who are requesting/wanting the drugs then it REALLY can be a catstrophe of biblical proportions, cos some can really get carried away with it and everyone gets annoyed cos nothing tangible has resulted from the session.

And it's sad to see any assistant get carried away by drug dealing cos if thats the case perhaps they should have stuck to that vocation instead of the studio career or another.

Old 18th March 2003
Lives for gear

Sit tight and learn to relax. The hardest thing to understand when you're younger is that it doesn't really matter what you know. It's about people. You won't really have the maturity to be in charge of a record in its full range until you're probably 30. That's just sort of how it goes. Along the way, keep that in mind and don't push yourself too hard, or you'll burn yourself out. Have fun and remember that it beats having a real job. Work, learn, build relationships, but try to have a life and interests outside the studio. It will make it much easier to stay in it for the long haul.
Old 18th March 2003
Originally posted by robdarling
Have fun and remember that it beats having a real job.
Yep, that's why it's so easy to work long and hard for free and still have fun!


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