Stand Out at Your Internship Interview
As of this moment, there are exactly 1,374,821 schools in the states that offer some form of an audio recording or music industry degree, and this number doubles every three minutes! Okay fine, maybe not that many. The point is, right now there are more students than ever graduating from college and looking at studios for internships, but there are very few opportunities to be had. This is great news for a studio, but not so great for a grad. Let’s look at ways to stand out from the pack and improve your odds of getting the studio internship of your choice.
Technical skills are great, but for many, those skills will not have the chance to shine on a daily basis. Not all tasks given to interns are hands on. Chances are, you’ll be moving the broom more than the EQ on the console. Many studios put a high emphasis on personality for that very reason. More jobs are won in this business by simply bringing a good vibe than being the best on Pro Tools. The truth is, plenty of people can get around on Pro Tools, but they’re not all people you’d want to be stuck in a small room with for hours every day. Also, interns tend to sit in on sessions and learn by watching. Being around a client and not disturbing them or making them uncomfortable is important. Bring a positive attitude to the interview, leave the ego and demonstrate your eagerness to learn and contribute – it goes a long way!
Understand the Job:
If it is your dream to work in a studio (and why not?), then you should be researching and asking around about studio life BEFORE interviewing for an internship. Have a clear understanding of what you are and aren’t signing up for. It seems like an obvious point, but studios are often misunderstood places since most people don’t have access to them. There’s some strange misconceptions as a result. Here is an example from one of my interviews.
ME: “What do you expect to do during your internship here at the studio?”
NOT MY NEXT INTERN replied “Well, I’m pretty excited to play some bass.”
Confused, I asked “Right, but what do you think we do here and how do you expect to contribute?”
NOT MY NEXT INTERN again replied “I just really love playing bass. I think it would be cool to play on people’s records.”
So here is someone who has a degree in audio engineering, but not a clue as to what an engineer or intern actually does. Your research should have you more prepared than this, and being prepared makes a great impression! The opposite is also true…
Flattery will get you everywhere:
Don’t just know about the job, know about the company. I’m impressed when I meet someone for the first time and they can tell me about who owns the studio, my background or who our clients are. This goes back to being prepared. In our case, Overit Studios is part of a larger company, Overit, whose services range far past that of audio and video. It’s off-putting when someone is asking me for a position but doesn’t know this simple fact. If you can’t put the time into learning about where you will be working, it shows that you don’t have much of an investment in the studio. Therefore, the studio will have a difficult time investing in you. Doing a little homework like learning what awards have been won, who works at the studio, or how long it has been open shows that you are eager and capable of learning on your own. These are the people I want on my team!
Larger cities tend to have larger studios, and a larger number of them. However, they tend to have a larger response to internship openings. You may find more opportunity in a smaller city. You also may find that you have more time to get hands on work since you may be the only intern there. Larger facilities tend to grab several interns, who end up sharing the tasks required (and the fun times, too!).
Wherever you apply, just give it your best and be honest. Those two things will serve you in interviews, jobs and everyday life. Good luck!