The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Help with interns and assistants....
Old 12th September 2007
  #1
Gear Addict
 
hle144's Avatar
 

Help with interns and assistants....

Hi Guys,

Fall is upon us and the new batch of interns have arrived..Same as it ever was...

Over the past 6 years and about 150 interns having come and gone through our studios, I have tried every approach at motivation and encouragement.

The most successful has been the 'tough love' approach. They call me "Darth Fader'.
I have a questionable rep with some of the school administrators from feedback of former interns. Usually the ones that won't make it in this biz...We're talking about the internship level.

The tough love method is effective but draining. I don't like to judge someone. I get paid whether they pass or fail, but I try to be a good role model for the rookies.

Its getting tougher everytime. Flying off the handle is not the answer, neither is being condescending. But kids nowadays with things being what they are, have this 'I have arrived attitude'. I try to remind them that when they go to sleep,...the world keeps spinning,...Blah, blah, blah,..Early to mid 20's..blah, blah, blah, Berklee or similar,....blah, blah, blah Protools 002.....Blah, blah, blah.....My album on MySpace,..Blah, blah, blah,...i'm ready.....Repeat 150 times over 6 years...

I could use some words of encouragement or advice on how to be more patient and a better instructor.

Thanks guys,


-H
Old 12th September 2007
  #2
Gear Nut
 

before I moved up to a paid gig, I interned at my studio for a couple months.
I love it there. The owner is very gung-ho.. But he doesn't hold a grudge. That's the key I'd say.. If someone does something wrong, make sure they KNOW they did it wrong, make sure they won't make the mistake again, but don't get/stay pissed about it.
"It's not what you know, it's what you don't know" (he pounded this into my brain and I think its a good way to approach interning)

perhaps that helps, maybe not. good luck. Must be a lot of work w/that many interns!
Old 12th September 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 

But look at where they are. In their "early to mid 20's" working for free for a guy who talks **** (in a broad sense) about them on a message board. I just feel bad for them. Out of touch with reality, I call that.
Old 12th September 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 
jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brainmeat View Post
But look at where they are. In their "early to mid 20's" working for free for a guy who talks **** (in a broad sense) about them on a message board. I just feel bad for them. Out of touch with reality, I call that.
That was really helpful I'm sure...
Old 15th September 2007
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Jazzpunk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hle144 View Post
I get paid whether they pass or fail, but I try to be a good role model for the rookies.
You get paid for allowing them to intern?
Old 15th September 2007
  #6
Here for the gear
 
Mr.Sue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olivia_nb View Post
That was really helpful I'm sure...
amen
Old 15th September 2007
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Dale's Avatar
 

Wink

interns from a school with a "recording" program
I bet you get all types of self smug wanna-be's
and then they may be like "brainmeat"
over-pulverized and undercooked.

and yet there are those who are actually good people who need to have some real world experience,
and this is where you come in

you are right in that you should not let those less apt occasions color your interactions,
I think that it takes a special person to be able to create the proper environment that gives the start and spark to those who "really" want to succeed.

best advice is to remember the good ones
and don't give the bad ones enough rope to hang themselves
Old 15th September 2007
  #8
I think the "tough-love" thing is the best way to go. It takes a thick skin to work as an engineer, and a great way to develop interns' skins as well as weed out those who aren't cut out for the biz is to kick their asses a little. Like someone posted above, it's important to make sure you don't hold a grudge, but I think a little bit of ass-kicking goes a long way.

Here's a case in point:

My first internship was miserable. I went in thinking I was the **** (problem number one), thinking that the dudes at the studio, which is a known rock studio, would be thrilled to have another cool-guy rock n roller around (problem number two), and I was really, REALLY into recording and eager to please (this manifested itself into problem number three because I talked too damn much).

The studio was known for being really hard on interns, and they kicked my ass. I mean, I had my faults, but they were downright abusive. I hated it so much I considered finding a new career path. Instead, I learned to keep my mouth shut, and speak when spoken to. I kept at it awhile, until the intern manager told me off for (get this) vacuuming during downtime, because as he put it, that was only to be done on Mondays, and today was Tuesday. The cigarette ash and food crumbs all over the floor didn't seem to bother him. Oh well. Later that day, after Pro Tools crashed several times in a row after attempting for forty minutes each time to render some Beat Detective edits, the producer for the very-high-profile client came out to yell at me. Keep in mind, I had nothing to do with that session, or its problems. I was just hanging out in the lounge doing dishes or something. But the guy needed a whipping boy, and I was around. After that, I quit, but here's the silver lining:

The next studio I started working at was way more laid back, but because of my previous intern-boot-camp experience, I was easily the best behaved, most professional, and hardest-working intern there. Luckily for me, I also had a couple early opportunities to prove I had a decent set of ears, and before long I was assisting the head engineer and getting paid for lower-level sessions. Soon after that, I was getting hooked up with cold-call clients, and when the head engineer had to leave, I was running the place. Had I not had the ass-kickings I had had at the first gig, I'd never have been ready for such responsibility. Since then, I've worked with some really high-level pros, and I've never felt uncomfortable or out of place, because I know how to behave in every position from tape op to head engineer. I learned all that from getting beat up a little.

The point is, keep kicking the kids' asses. But let em know you care, and let em know it's not personal. You'll find the kids who are ready for it, and in fact (at least in my experience), they'll start to appreciate it as they begin to feel like pros. In a strange way, it can really be a huge confidence builder. It also keeps them humble, which is a trait that everyone should have at every level, no matter how long they've been doing it. It keeps us all interested in learning.

I think it's really important for your engineers to trust your interns, and to know that if the kids are sitting in on their sessions, they're not gonna say anything stupid or do anything to embarass the engineer or the studio (this is especially important if you have a lotta freelancers engineering at your place).

Keep up the good work and the tough love. Some day, some kid somewhere will thank you.
Old 15th September 2007
  #9
Lives for gear
 
ToddF's Avatar
I was wondering about this too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzpunk View Post
You get paid for allowing them to intern?
We love our interns, well not all of them and feel they are a very important part of our facilty. Yes you need to be stern and strict. Some people will get it and some won't.

We are always pointing out that some people just don't have the personality for it. I also point out that every engineer I have been involved with hiring has done an internship. Some light at the end of the tunnel.

Peace, Todd
Old 16th September 2007
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
seagleson's Avatar
 

If you don't mind me asking. what studio was your first internship at? I think I might have a clue..

Great post btw!


Quote:
Originally Posted by bgrotto View Post
I think the "tough-love" thing is the best way to go. It takes a thick skin to work as an engineer, and a great way to develop interns' skins as well as weed out those who aren't cut out for the biz is to kick their asses a little. Like someone posted above, it's important to make sure you don't hold a grudge, but I think a little bit of ass-kicking goes a long way.

Here's a case in point:

My first internship was miserable. I went in thinking I was the **** (problem number one), thinking that the dudes at the studio, which is a known rock studio, would be thrilled to have another cool-guy rock n roller around (problem number two), and I was really, REALLY into recording and eager to please (this manifested itself into problem number three because I talked too damn much).

The studio was known for being really hard on interns, and they kicked my ass. I mean, I had my faults, but they were downright abusive. I hated it so much I considered finding a new career path. Instead, I learned to keep my mouth shut, and speak when spoken to. I kept at it awhile, until the intern manager told me off for (get this) vacuuming during downtime, because as he put it, that was only to be done on Mondays, and today was Tuesday. The cigarette ash and food crumbs all over the floor didn't seem to bother him. Oh well. Later that day, after Pro Tools crashed several times in a row after attempting for forty minutes each time to render some Beat Detective edits, the producer for the very-high-profile client came out to yell at me. Keep in mind, I had nothing to do with that session, or its problems. I was just hanging out in the lounge doing dishes or something. But the guy needed a whipping boy, and I was around. After that, I quit, but here's the silver lining:

The next studio I started working at was way more laid back, but because of my previous intern-boot-camp experience, I was easily the best behaved, most professional, and hardest-working intern there. Luckily for me, I also had a couple early opportunities to prove I had a decent set of ears, and before long I was assisting the head engineer and getting paid for lower-level sessions. Soon after that, I was getting hooked up with cold-call clients, and when the head engineer had to leave, I was running the place. Had I not had the ass-kickings I had had at the first gig, I'd never have been ready for such responsibility. Since then, I've worked with some really high-level pros, and I've never felt uncomfortable or out of place, because I know how to behave in every position from tape op to head engineer. I learned all that from getting beat up a little.

The point is, keep kicking the kids' asses. But let em know you care, and let em know it's not personal. You'll find the kids who are ready for it, and in fact (at least in my experience), they'll start to appreciate it as they begin to feel like pros. In a strange way, it can really be a huge confidence builder. It also keeps them humble, which is a trait that everyone should have at every level, no matter how long they've been doing it. It keeps us all interested in learning.

I think it's really important for your engineers to trust your interns, and to know that if the kids are sitting in on their sessions, they're not gonna say anything stupid or do anything to embarass the engineer or the studio (this is especially important if you have a lotta freelancers engineering at your place).

Keep up the good work and the tough love. Some day, some kid somewhere will thank you.
Old 16th September 2007
  #11
Lives for gear
 
-silent-sam-'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hle144 View Post
Hi Guys,

Fall is upon us and the new batch of interns have arrived..Same as it ever was...

Over the past 6 years and about 150 interns having come and gone through our studios, I have tried every approach at motivation and encouragement.

The most successful has been the 'tough love' approach. They call me "Darth Fader'.
I have a questionable rep with some of the school administrators from feedback of former interns. Usually the ones that won't make it in this biz...We're talking about the internship level.

The tough love method is effective but draining. I don't like to judge someone. I get paid whether they pass or fail, but I try to be a good role model for the rookies.

Its getting tougher everytime. Flying off the handle is not the answer, neither is being condescending. But kids nowadays with things being what they are, have this 'I have arrived attitude'. I try to remind them that when they go to sleep,...the world keeps spinning,...Blah, blah, blah,..Early to mid 20's..blah, blah, blah, Berklee or similar,....blah, blah, blah Protools 002.....Blah, blah, blah.....My album on MySpace,..Blah, blah, blah,...i'm ready.....Repeat 150 times over 6 years...

I could use some words of encouragement or advice on how to be more patient and a better instructor.

Thanks guys,


-H
Im really impressed with your attitude towards interns just based on this message..... you really seem like you want to help out the new guys and your not just looking for cheap labour....thats awesome.....i wish i could intern for you!

Im kind of a new guy myself but im pretty reasonable in general so i will give you my opinnion.

I think the tough love thing IS the way to go because unfortunately there are a lot new guys that think they are the ****. You seem like you really want to help out the new guys and you don't want to come across as an asshole but you don't want stupid kids that think they know everything walking all over you and your studio and doing absolutely nothing for you or themselves......so this is what i suggest.


Being a complete asshole could really end up benefiting some kids.... But if you personaly find it draining and want to NOT come across as an asshole but you want everyone to know you mean bisness....then this is my suggestion


Be upfront about the fact that your Strict and you want things to run like clockwork
But Be upfront about the fact that you want to help them not just get them to scrub your toilets for cheap.

ALWAYS tell it how it is
ALWAYS be your normal "Darth Fader" self
ALWAYS put them in there place

but make an effort to jump on opportunity's to let them know that they are doing a good job and if they are doing a good job they you are behind them and you are rooting for them.....because after all you really want to help them don't you?

Some notorious asshole producer chews out your intern for ****s and giggles even know your interns doing a fine job.

Catch him by himself and say "its not personal so don't hold a grudge .....theres more coming but your doing an awesome job so just keep it up"

Yeah the kid should be able to handle this situation if he wants to be in the industry ...but no matter how well you can handle it.....it still sucks getting treated like crap......

The point of reacting this way isn't that you need to wipe his ass for him and kiss his boo boo's better. The point is this is a chance for you to look good and show some respect to your interns because the more you respect them the more they will respect you.

Now if they really do mess up and you really do get on there ass ...... they can't just pawn it off on you because your always an asshole and you never say anything good. They are going to have to admit to themselves and everyone else that they ****ed up and admitting it is the first step in correcting it and doing it right.

This shows that yeah you might be "Darth Fader" and this producer might be the Biggest asshole on the planet but thats how it is....and your still rooting for him to do a good job.

To me thats some solid encouragement.


As far as the the whole
Early to mid 20's., Berklee Protools 002. My album on MySpace,..i'm ready........Get that **** out of the way the first time you meet....have an interview and ask them about that stuff straight up...

"So you got any experience? pro tools? berklee? myspace?"
and say Great.....Good for you.....Thats Cool....Awesome (not sounding to excited but not sounding like you totally don't give a crap)

Then just say:
Alright obviously your judging by your background you have an interest in audio....i am not hiring you based on your background ..... you have a lot to learn but you seem like your interested.

Then after you offer them a job and your talking about the rules include :
Its great that your passionate about audio but none of the people who come here care if you went to berklee or if you know pro tools.....so try and sell yourself too them....in fact don't even talk about it unless they ask you about it because i had some kid trying to sell his demo's to a client and it really upset my client.

The good thing about this approach is there are different kinds of people:

*Kids who ARE NOT arrogant pricks who think those things will help them get a job because berklee told them they would.

*Kids who DON'T think that they are the ****...but berklee and pro tools and myspace is one of few things that have actualy acomplished in there life and they are proud of it.

*Kids who ARE arrogant stupid pricks who think they know everything because they went to berklee and there rich dad bought them pro tools HD and a Digidesign ICON.

this approach takes care of all them.... and it sucks to have to listen to it at all but....as you already know your going to have to listen to it either way.


So yeh....be Darth Fader.....Be Strict.....work those interns hard.....prepare them....but let them know that you are behind them...and you want to help them ....and you aren't just ****ing them around and getting your free labour........show them some respect.....and they will show you respect....and want to work for you and please you .....and i guarantee it will be a lot less draining.


Be Strict but don't give anyone a reason to think your an asshole basically. If they still think your an asshole well then they are the ones with the problem not you.
Old 16th September 2007
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Hello eveyone,

Hey, after reading your post, the only thing I recommend is getting new interns that would fit your workflow better, with that said, I"M AVAILBLE, live in queens and have plenty of free time during the day, real eager to work and learn. I didn't go to berklee, but most of the small amount of knowledge I have is through my own rough experiences, and reading everyday, on forums like this one and books. I feel I'm ready to get some guidance from a pro. If you feel I could be a faithful candidate you can email msg me and I would be more than happy to offer my time and sweat.
Old 16th September 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 
gsilbers's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hle144 View Post
Hi Guys,

Fall is upon us and the new batch of interns have arrived..Same as it ever was...

Over the past 6 years and about 150 interns having come and gone through our studios, I have tried every approach at motivation and encouragement.

The most successful has been the 'tough love' approach. They call me "Darth Fader'.
I have a questionable rep with some of the school administrators from feedback of former interns. Usually the ones that won't make it in this biz...We're talking about the internship level.

The tough love method is effective but draining. I don't like to judge someone. I get paid whether they pass or fail, but I try to be a good role model for the rookies.

Its getting tougher everytime. Flying off the handle is not the answer, neither is being condescending. But kids nowadays with things being what they are, have this 'I have arrived attitude'. I try to remind them that when they go to sleep,...the world keeps spinning,...Blah, blah, blah,..Early to mid 20's..blah, blah, blah, Berklee or similar,....blah, blah, blah Protools 002.....Blah, blah, blah.....My album on MySpace,..Blah, blah, blah,...i'm ready.....Repeat 150 times over 6 years...

I could use some words of encouragement or advice on how to be more patient and a better instructor.

Thanks guys,


-H

tell them to organize a closet, do tons of editing in pro tools and do it in a small amount of time.

i remember when i got out of shcool and i thought i knew pro tools. man was i naive.
best bosses where very hardcore into doing things very fast and good in PT.

it keeps interns busy. and of course getting lunches, and rutine stuff so not oonly they know thier place at the beggingi but they also observe how stuff is done in the studio. like dealing with clients, dealing with co-workers, receptionists, etcetc .
Old 16th September 2007
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by seagleson View Post
If you don't mind me asking. what studio was your first internship at? I think I might have a clue..

Great post btw!
Thanks!

I'm afraid I can't divulge that information; a guy's gotta work in this town!! Seriously, though, I don't wanna piss any of my colleagues off, and that experience is ancient history for me.
Old 18th September 2007
  #15
Here for the gear
 

This is a tough situation, and tough love is the most proven method, however the militant days of coming up seem to be making their way out along with analog alignment skills. I still have nerve problems to this day over how I was treated starting out, so I can't say thats the best method, but its the one i know. The one bit of advice I have, is after six years, you have a good idea who will and won't make it. Keep the guys that will, lose the guys that won't, saving yourself and your facility alot of headache. Dropping the dead weight will open a chance for someone else who gets it, and relieves you from coming up with new and clever ways to tell a kid he sucks.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump