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Payment of Assistants! Turntables
Old 19th April 2004
  #1
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Two Left Hands's Avatar
 

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Arrow Payment of Assistants!

I was wondering if there is a general amount that assistants get paid. I am just getting ready to start an internship and I was wondering what the starting out pay is like if you get hired on. Thanks!
Old 19th April 2004
  #2
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picksail's Avatar
 

An intern, ordinarily, doesn't receive payment. That said I generally, pay the assistant $150.00 per studio day.
Old 20th April 2004
  #3
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imacgreg's Avatar
Haha.. Stewart, your assistant sounds like a lucky guy! When I assist on sessions, I get about $100 for a full day of work. I show up at least an hour early, get the rooms fired up, set up the mics and stands, patch everything (assuming I know how the engineer prefers their patch), and sometimes set up a template session. I help out during the rest of the session, sometimes even taking over for a bit if the engineer/producer needs to make a run somewhere for whatever reason. Do not expect payment at first. Work your ass off more than everyone else, and eventually people will pay for your experience.

Ian
Old 23rd April 2004
  #4
Gear nut
 

A hundred bucks a day??? Ouch

The going rate in Nash-Vegas is 200-250 per day if you're good. Most of the assisting work is freelance though - not alot of studios carrying staff these days...

I try to make sure even the intern gets paid if he is doing work that someone else would be paid for.





TR
Old 23rd April 2004
  #5
Lives for gear
 

You're supposed to PAY assistants...damn! Gotta go...
Old 23rd April 2004
  #6
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djui5's Avatar
 

who's paying these assistants so much? When I was an assistant for a large commercial facility I got paid $5.15 an hour....
Old 24th April 2004
  #7
Gear addict
 

In LA.. starting wage is around 9 to 10 dollars an hour.. when I worked for a major studio I was paid $15/hr plus overtime (time and a half after 8 hours and double after 12 hours).. Capitol is a union studio and their assistants make much more.. O'Henry used to pay the highest at over $20/hour.

With the way the biz. is now.. and it's been many moons since I was an assistant... wages are probably different. I do know a few studios who are now paying their assistants as contract workers and not employees -- workers comp is very expensive in California.

Rail
Old 24th April 2004
  #8
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robmix's Avatar
When I started assisting many years ago at the Hit Factory it was minimum wage and no overtime, $5.35 or so. L.A. studios seemed to pay much better, like Rail said $9 seems to be pretty standard. That being said, my interns get paid nothing on a regular basis, but I kick them some decent coin when I see them putting in the hours and trying to go that extra mile, plus they get all their food paid for. Freelance assistants here get $100 a day when I need them.

Rob
Old 24th April 2004
  #9
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smoothmoniker's Avatar
 

Assistant is a pretty broadly defiend term. It covers everything from the in-house 2nd engineer to the cable monkey. The rates vary accordingly.

-sm
Old 24th April 2004
  #10
Gear addict
 

Funny.. never saw any monkeys when I worked at the studio.. even when Michael came in.

There are "runners" and "assistants" -- "assistants" are the same as "second engineers"... although not always always credited as the latter... and often times doing the work of the "first" engineer.

Rail
Old 24th April 2004
  #11
As an intern, you will be to begin with more a 'worry' for the studio than a "help".

you dont know where stuff is kept
you dont know what is expected of you
you dont know what to do when in between tasks
you could make mistakes
you need to be told almost everything (tasks)
you need to be kept an eye on

You are worth what the studio have invested in you via their own training.

If you are only going to be there for a month, you aren't worth much to the studio.

If the job opening is permanent then, as your training 'investment' builds you gradually become worth something to the studio.

in 1982 I got $50 per week as a full time tea boy
in 1983 I got $100 per week as a full time assistant

I'm not going to tell you our pay rates but I can share with you the various 'levels'

1) 3 day trial period LOW per day cash payment + meals
2) Part time 2 day a week position cleaning / assisting / loading in / gopher per day cash payment + meals
3) Full time house assistant position, includes taxes paid etc - payroll + cash bonuses for overtime + meals
4) Full time house engineer position, includes taxes paid etc - payroll + cash bonuses for overtime + meals

It would take you 2 years to get to position 4

I include meals as the senario of anyone working along side me eating 'poverty line' food is too grim to deal with, besides an army marches on it's stomach!
Old 24th April 2004
  #12
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dave-G's Avatar
I worked as an assistant in a couple of large studios in/near Boston in the late 80s. I was unpaid at one place, and paid barely at the other. Despite the marginality of the money there at the latter studio, I felt more respected and valued for those times that I was told to finish tweaking the Studers and go buy the engineer some lottery tickets and cigarrettes, and I worked my ass off all the time, with a greater sense of satisfaction.

15 years later, I always try to pay my assistants something if they're working for me and not the studio, always buy them meals while we're in-session (if they're not paid for by the producer or client heh) and generally try to let 'em know they're an important part of the project in every task they do, whether directly audio-related or not.

-dave
Old 24th April 2004
  #13
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

When I interned I got fed. I got minimum wage as an assistant.

There are two kinds of studios.

Studios that cater to free lance engineers demand a lot from their regular assistants and pay them accordingly. In many cases these are career seconds who could be getting paid more than some of the firsts they are working with.

Studios that have "house" firsts pay assistants lots less however they have a chance for advancement to becoming a "house" first.
Old 25th April 2004
  #14
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i started out as an unpaid intern in 1996 for about the 1st year. than i was working 100% alone for $10/hr for the 2nd year,than it went to $15/hr about a year after that and i have been at that rate ever since.

www.tempermillstudios.com
Old 26th April 2004
  #15
Gear Head
 

Quote:
i started out as an unpaid intern in 1996 for about the 1st year. than i was working 100% alone for $10/hr for the 2nd year,than it went to $15/hr about a year after that and i have been at that rate ever since.
Dang, I make more money than you building school buses.
It is a shame that such a great art is so under paid in various areas though.
But if you love what you're doing that is all that matters 'cause I hate my job.
But for now it does allow me to buy some equipment that with a $6-15 hr pay I might not otherwise be able to afford.

Keith Owens- future great engineer with one awesome home studio too
Old 26th April 2004
  #16
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Owens
Dang, I make more money than you building school buses.
And that's the current reality of the recording bidness. Bummer, ain't it?
Old 26th April 2004
  #17
Gear Head
 

I don't care. Pay off and buy a couple more items and I'm going for it!
Old 26th April 2004
  #18
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Owens
Dang, I make more money than you building school buses.
It is a shame that such a great art is so under paid in various areas though.
But if you love what you're doing that is all that matters 'cause I hate my job.
But for now it does allow me to buy some equipment that with a $6-15 hr pay I might not otherwise be able to afford.

Keith Owens- future great engineer with one awesome home studio too
yea it is not a ton of money but we are not a $150/hr studio either,we are a $60/hr studio. here the top engineers get $20/hr but the cost of living in detriot isnt the highest either.
Old 26th April 2004
  #19
Gear addict
 

Well you figure an average 12 to 14 hour day.. at $15/hour...

8 x 15 = 120
4 x 22.50 = 90
2 x 30.00 = 60

Total of $270/day or $1890/week

.. and most of the time as an assistant I worked a lot more hours than that.

Rail
Old 27th April 2004
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by dave-G
...

15 years later, I always try to pay my assistants something if they're working for me and not the studio, always buy them meals while we're in-session (if they're not paid for by the producer or client heh) and generally try to let 'em know they're an important part of the project in every task they do, whether directly audio-related or not.

-dave
People like you make this world a better place

Old 28th April 2004
  #21
Gear Head
 

Rail, now you're talking my language

Quote:
Total of $270/day or $1890/week
Old 1st May 2004
  #22
Gear Addict
 

paying your dues!!!!!! if one person is getting paid everybody should be getting somthing unless this is in fact just a hobby for them. Fair days pay for a fair days labor. no one should be working for free unless it is for college credit. This type of thought has created a " Cancer " in our industry.
Old 2nd May 2004
  #23
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SaxonSound's Avatar
 

I'm facing graduation from a university in a few weeks, and I fully expect to work long hours for little pay for a while.

It seems like there are plenty of folks willing to assist for free, so I'm going to have to prove that it's worth it for the studio to pay me to assist rather than to take on an intern to do it for free (and I do intend to prove it).
Old 16th May 2004
  #24
Gear interested
 

How about this? I was working as an "assistant" in a Studio with 3 years real studio engineering experience. I was teaching the owner Protools tips and tricks - running entire sessions from tracking through mixing with the owner just hanging out somewhere else, running sessions 100% alone. I never got paid a penny, but i hung around because of the owner's occasional promises of partnership. I got attitude if i wanted to come in on off time to mix one of my songs like i was trying to sabotage him or something. after 4 months of that i decided it was time to take time and find the right place.

Right now in San Diego there might be more studios than bands. Places that should be 80/hr are going for 30. It's insane. No one can make a dime. So i guess i shouldn't be complaining.
Old 16th May 2004
  #25
Registered User
 

Re: Payment of Assistants!

Payment of Assistants?
Old 16th May 2004
  #26
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally posted by :prime-rate:
How about this? I was working as an "assistant" in a Studio with 3 years real studio engineering experience. I was teaching the owner Protools tips and tricks - running entire sessions from tracking through mixing with the owner just hanging out somewhere else, running sessions 100% alone. I never got paid a penny, but i hung around because of the owner's occasional promises of partnership. I got attitude if i wanted to come in on off time to mix one of my songs like i was trying to sabotage him or something. after 4 months of that i decided it was time to take time and find the right place.
.



the guy who did this to you should be taken out and strung up. The reason no one wants to pay for services is there is a top down devaluing of a persons worth. Equipment is only a part of the service. The most important thing is a good compitent staff.

sorry for the bad spelling . I bet Puig , Martin, Albani never let their staff work for free for any extended length of time
Old 18th May 2004
  #27
This whole world operates on the principle that if it can get something for free - then it will - and if someone offers something for free then advantage is taken in perpetuity...!!!!!!

How did things get this bad.......?
Old 18th May 2004
  #28
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Sadly there are a few high profile facilities that are what I'd call "intern mills."
Old 18th May 2004
  #29
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Olhsson
Sadly there are a few high profile facilities that are what I'd call "intern mills."
Yep - more than a few high profile studios would have to close their doors if they had to pay people to do what the interns do for free.
Old 19th May 2004
  #30
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Jose Mrochek's Avatar
 

For some reason when I did my intership, I felt I should pay them for letting me in. Stupid me , I don't know.. I saw it as a continuation of school, but free ?? And learned more, met people I never imagine would meet, overwhelming experience for me... ok so, I had to go on food runs all day, not that big deal considering It was the first time in my life I felt my career was focused. Nothing like a cigarrete break with a top engineer, or artist. Priceless talks!
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