home studios equipment staff/friends booking/rates for sale forum contact

How did you get this internship?

Waste management tips, fly-on-the-wall tatics, etc.

Moderators: kerble, Electrical-Staff

How did you get this internship?

Postby mnotaro on Mon Jul 28, 2003 11:34 pm

What steps did anyone take to become an intern? How did the work change as the internship progressed? Where and what did you end up with upon and after completion?
Last edited by mnotaro on Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
mnotaro
mayor daley
mayor daley
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 1:30 am
Location: Indiana

Postby swordfish on Thu Jul 31, 2003 8:35 am

Wow, Intern 8033, you're exceptional. I thought we'd get the usual boring crap about mics and stuff. You remind me of me when I started:)
swordfish
courtesan
courtesan
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:23 am

whoa, nelly

Postby MTAR on Mon Aug 04, 2003 11:51 am

Mike, these are good questions, and it is good to see some serious intern-related questions on this board.

Andrew, it is cool to hear about your experiences at EA, and how yours are, in a broad sense, similar to my overall experience last summer. That being said, I will try to eliminate redundancy in this post. Unfortunately my post will not be as well worded as yours since Im pretty bad at...wording. At least mine is longer. Much longer.

Publius_Maro wrote:What steps did anyone take to become an intern?


I initiated the process by trying to call Steve and talk to him about a possible internship. He quickly forwarded me to Rob Bochnik. Rob was an engineer, and also in charge of internships at EA at that time (that was redundant). Rob was rather short (this is referring to the length of the phone discussion, although I did eventually find out that he really is kind of short) but told me to send in a resume and letters of recommendation. I immediately sent them and waited two weeks. I called back to make sure he got the stuff, and he told me he still had to go through it and I should call back in a week. I called back in a week and he said I should call back in 3 weeks because the entire studio was getting ready to close for a staff trip to Europe (Shellac-curated ATP). I was starting to get nervous since my internship (according to my school) would have to start in 4 weeks. Three weeks later I called again and Rob told me to come in for an interview. I jumped in my car with my girlfriend Colleen that weekend and traveled to Chicago for my interview. The interview was very informal. We basically talked about music and recording for a while, and Rob said I was welcome to come in and help out as an intern. After the interview (which was held in the Studio B control room), I stepped out into the lounge to find Novotny with his arm around Colleen, who was trying to take a nap after our trip. Man, what a shithead. I was like, "What the fuck, motherfucker?!" And then he punched me in the stomach. I was so excited about my internship that it didn’t matter.

The crazy part about this story is that I had no place to stay, and I was supposed to start three days after my interview. Well, on that same day Colleen and I went for a walk down Damen Ave. and stopped in a clothing resale shop. I ended up mentioning to the cashier that I needed a place to stay for a month and a half, starting in three days. She told me her friend next door to the shop was moving to NY and needed someone to sublet for exactly a month and a half starting in three days. No shit. So I moved from Bloomington, IN to Chicago two days later and made it to my first day on time.

So if you are getting ready to pursue an internship:

a) Be persistent. Let them know that you are serious and interested. Don't call everyday, but make sure they know who you are.

b) Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute to find a place to stay if you are from out of town. Don't ask if you can stay at the studio either, cause then you probably won't have an internship, let alone a place to stay.

c) Don't bring your girlfriend to an interview at EA, unless it's on the weekend.

In what way did the initial idea of the work at hand change as the internship progressed?


I was ready to get there at 9:00am and stay until four in the morning, everyday of the week if they needed me to, and on many occasions I did. However, the first thing Rob told me when I got there was, "Everybody here likes to do things on their own, and nobody’s ever going to tell you what to do". Then he showed me how to take out the trash, where the dirty dishes were and where the vacuum was. During the first week I felt awkward because I would run out of things to do, yet I refused to look like I wasn't working. I just kept asking anyone I saw if there was something that needed to be done, and eventually I had a shitload of stuff to do.

Actually, the first day that Steve was back from Europe (he came back later than everyone else), which was maybe my third or fourth day, I decided to see if Steve needed me to do anything. I had just met him an hour earlier. I found him in the Studio B control room talking to one of the engineers that worked there at the time. I waited patiently at the entrance to the control room while he spoke with Lionel. After a couple minutes it felt a little uncomfortable just standing there, so a started to turn away when suddenly Steve turned his head towards me and said, “Hey, can you do me a favor and fuck off?”. That was the first thing Steve said to me besides “hi”. He followed up with, “No really, I mean that in the nicest way”. And I’m sure he did mean in the nicest way, but I did still learn an important lesson that day: don’t uselessly stand around within proximity of two people that you don’t really know while they are obviously trying to have a discrete one-on-one conversation in isolation from other people in the vicinity. This is a general rule not just for interns, but also for anyone with a shortage of common sense.

Once I got used to being there and got to know everyone at the studio a little better, I found myself to always be busy. During my second week there, Zwan came in for a lockout in Studio A. I was constantly busy cleaning up every morning before their workday started, running to get them food, picking up drum accessories and guitar strings, and trying to find fragrance-free sea bath salts. Some other projects included building microphone cables for Studio B (Zwan held most of the cables hostage in A), making a plastic cover for the 4 track MCI machine, helping Lionel sound proof the new sand filled doors in the basement with weather stripping, making an inventory of all the old master reels in the basement (Rod Stewart...?), putting together alphabetized, easy access menu binders for both of the control rooms. This was in addition to the other regular tasks such as vacuuming, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, cleaning the stove, mopping the kitchen, wet-ragging the console and outboard gear, shelving boxes of videos, cleaning cat terds, cleaning cat hair off the couch and re-ribboning all the Coles mics.

Although Zwan had Studio A locked out for %90 of the time I was there, I had the opportunity to sit in on three sessions with Steve in Studio B, and also one with Rob and one briefly with Greg as well (unfortunately I never really got to see a session in A, since I never sat in on the Zwan stuff). As Andrew mentioned earlier, the most interesting aspect of the session is setup. Although I will agree that tracking can get boring if you are just sitting and watching, I found that it was actually a good learning experience none the less. It was interesting for me to see how different engineers conduct their sessions, how they interact with the musicians and what kind of contributions they make to the session. It's also pretty entertaining to watch Steve do 2" edits and spot erasing. He's pretty good at it. I also found it helpful to repeatedly watch analog punch-ins to get a feel for the timing involved.

I would usually do a bunch of internesque work in the morning until I felt that I had “earned” some sit-in time. After a couple of hours of watching I would start feeling like my sit-in-dollars had run out, so I would leave and do some more work. I sometimes would sit in at night until the band was done for the day.

Back to Mike’s original question, I don’t think that the initial idea of the work at hand really changed too much. My initial idea was that I was going to do whatever they needed me to do, no matter what it was that they needed. However, if you show the people you are working for that you are not a complete idiot and you are a relatively competent worker who can get things done, they will start to give you more responsibility and more gratifying projects. I wish I knew what the felt like. Just kidding! I was awesome.

Where and what did you end up with upon and after completion?


I apologize for the redundant redundancy, but I would have to agree with Andrew in that the most important thing that I took away from my internship was inspiration (I’m sorry, that sounds so fucking lame). All kidding aside though, EA is so great because its sole purpose is to document original, independent music. They do everything they can to make first-class recording available to bands that don’t have million dollar budgets, or 7 months to lay down drum parts.

Strictly from an audio perspective, I didn’t realize how much I had learned until I started recording again myself. Although I saw some cool micing techniques, learned a lot about processing to tape and witnessed the proper use of some great gear, the most important thing that I learned was that as an engineer, it is your responsibility to intimately know the equipment you are working with, including the instruments being played. I also learned that great sounding instruments and a great sounding room will make all the difference in the world. I also learned to listen to what I was recording before I stared recording it.

I basically left Electrical extremely excited to pursue a career in audio documentation. Going to audio school and hearing horror stories about the demise of professional record studios around the world and listening to the rapidly decreasing level of sound quality in the majority of recordings made today can depressing, but being able to witness first hand a successful operation than records great music the way it is supposed to sound, on a regular basis, is inevitably inspiring. I can’t thank Electrical enough for letting me hang around there for a bit.

Holy shit, this is officially the longest post ever. If you have made this far, then you are probably not very busy. I hope this was helpful to any audio enthusiasts ready to pursue an internship in the near future. I spent a lot of time this.

Mike, thanks for the help this weekend.


mike
User avatar
MTAR
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:04 am
Location: bloomington, IN

Re: How did you get this internship?

Postby sparks on Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:51 pm

It seems like you guys covered a lot of ground, so I'll just fill in some gaps.

Publius_Maro wrote:What steps did anyone take to become an intern?

I was the intern at Electrical in the fall of 2000. I came to Chicago on a "study abroad" program for my college. I had virtually no recording experience, but I had a physics background. The previous summer, I had interned at Touch & Go and they put me in contact with Rob.

Publius_Maro wrote:In what way did the initial idea of the work at hand change as the internship progressed?

I really had no idea of what to expect. I ended up splitting my time fairly evenly between working with Steve, Greg and Rob on various tasks in the studio. I think the important thing to remember, especially as an intern, is that the experience is what you make of it. You can never ask too many questions.

Publius_Maro wrote:Where and what did you end up with upon and after completion?

After my internship, I stayed in Chicago for a couple of years. I ended up buying a 1/2" eight track and recording bands between odd jobs around town. Last year, I moved to Baltimore to go back to school. I'm currently working towards a Masters in Architectural Acoustics at Hopkins. I'm still recording when time permits. Since everyone at Electrical had helped in its construction, it definately spurred my interest and reasons for why I'm back in school.
sparks
jock
jock
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2003 9:04 am
Location: Washington, DC

My intern experience

Postby Andrew Weatherhead on Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:40 pm

My story is somewhat similar to what you have heard above, but here it goes:

What steps did anyone take to become an intern?


For me this was a long and arduous process:

The idea of interning at Electrical first came to me about this time (August) a year ago. I had just finished a recording workshop at Studio Chicago called Music Industry Workshop (also called MIW, maybe you have heard of it). Anyways, I called and I think I talked to Steve, who said they didn't need anyone, but asked if I wanted to come take a tour. Well, I took that tour, and the tour guide, who happened to be Russ, told me that I should talk to Rob about getting an internship, as they might need somebody. Well, I called Rob, but he was out of town for 3 months touring with the Frames. During this time I interned at a place called Reeves Recording in Evanston. The owner did not have any sort of internship policy, so it was extremely relaxed and I don't think I learned much of anything and never sat in on a session. Well, after the three months, I called Rob who told me that I should send him a resume, I did. Then I got a call back from Rob, after some small talk he asked the one question I had dreaded, "How old are you?" I had been hiding my age, as most studios don't allow anyone under 18 to work or intern there, but I told Rob the truth, "15" As I expected, Rob said that they had never hired anyone under 18 and they weren't really planning on it. So feeling dejected, I went back to my internship at Reeves Audio. Then, being the sneaky bastard that I am, I found out that Rob had left and a new guy, Chad, had taken his place as the guy in charge of interns. So, I called Chad and he said that I should send him a resume, which I did. This time I told him upfront how old I was, now 16. This didn't seem to bother him, so I was happy. Lucky for me, Chad said that I could intern there, but only when I had days off of school, because by the time I would get down there on school days, everyone would be gone. This made me extremely happy and I began interning that Winter Break, thus concluding the magnificent tale of how Andrew Weatherhead got his internship at Electrical Audio.

In what way did the initial idea of the work at hand change as the internship progressed?


Well, my first time at Electrical, I was very intimidated. I did the work the I was asked to do and offered to help in any way. I was shy and timid, like a frighten animal. However, the more times I intern there, the more I feel a connection with the people and the place in general. I do more work because I want to please the people around me, but more importantly I want to feel like I am contributing, I am doing my share. As a result, when I sit in on sessions, I ask more questions, I take notes, I take pictures, and as has been stated before, I become inspired.

Where and what did you end up with upon and after completion?


I can't really talk about this because I haven't finished my internship yet, but I had addressed every other question, so I thought that I would address this one as well.
Andrew Weatherhead
rocky mountain oysters
rocky mountain oysters
 
Posts: 459
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:15 pm
Location: Chicago/New York

Postby mnotaro on Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:51 pm

Yeah, that second question turned me off when I read it for the 81st time. Too market research, not enough pizazz.
User avatar
mnotaro
mayor daley
mayor daley
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2003 1:30 am
Location: Indiana

Postby MTAR on Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:53 pm

yo notaro, why did you change your id, bro? you are confusing me.
User avatar
MTAR
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:04 am
Location: bloomington, IN

Re: How did you get this internship?

Postby benadrian on Tue Aug 05, 2003 2:52 am

mnotaro wrote:What steps did anyone take to become an intern? How did the work change as the internship progressed? Where and what did you end up with upon and after completion?


I don't know if this will help, but I'm going to answer anyway.

In 1995 my band wanted to record but we didn't want to pay some schmuck in Indianapolis $600 to work in his crappy studio. So I got an 8 track and a cheap board and cheap mics. See my other post about buying cheap gear. I now had a kind of mobile recording set up and treated it that way for a couple years. I recorded bands at their homes and all ages clubs during off hours.

A couple years later I moved into a house and set up a more fixed installation. My gear was getting better, but not great by any means. I kept recording and recording for little to no money.

Indianapolis is one of those towns that is great if you're good at making your own fun. However, it is kind of a cultural wasteland. Every studio that was recording remotely interesting music was like mine. A hole with mediocre gear. The studios with pro level gear did a lot of jingles, country music, and corporate gigs. A couple times I tried to get my foot in at a more established place. Even when offering to intern no one seemed interested.

So I moved out to San Francisco for many reasons, and got an apartment and set up shop. I began recording a lot more interesting bands. These bands actually released their music, and people liked what they heard. Finally, my weekends were getting very full. But neither of the two pro studios I talked to wanted anything to do with me.

Luck came when my room mate, who was a mastering engineer at a studio, got sick of mastering and stepped down. After about a year of phone tag and miscellaneous interning I ended up working there.

So in my tiny time of interning I never once took out the trash, washed dished, made coffee, or ran an errand. I just sat in the mastering room. Now that I get paid to be there, I wash dished, take out the trash, and make coffee all the time. Hell, today I vacuumed the console, repaired a Genelec 1030 (which I broke Sunday recording my own band), checked the grounding on the monitoring strip in the console, made coffee, called the guy from the yellow pages, answered the phones, and had Thai takeout. Tomorrow is trash day, whoopee!

For me, though the most important aspect was just recording, recording, recording. Getting gear, doing it, and not losing my love for it. I also got really into gear, and just read technical manuals, electronics books, tube amp books, etc.

Ultimately, you do have to make connections to get into a studio as a job, unless you start your own as a legit business, but having a discography of a variety of bands, knowing how to repair gear, knowing ANYTHING helpful in the environment in which you want to be can only make you more attractive.

Love from Oakland (and speaking of Oakland, don't I have comrades at Electrical right now?)
Ben Adrian
User avatar
benadrian
Guardian Diety of the Planet
Guardian Diety of the Planet
 
Posts: 5996
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:52 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: How did you get this internship?

Postby stupid_life on Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:47 pm

Sorry to revive a super old thread. I saw the thread where Sowley said Electrical usually only takes interns that are receiving college credit. Maybe I misunderstood, but does Electrical take interns that are actually not out of some recording school or are not going to school? It's always been a goal of mine to be able to intern at electrical but I really have no plans of wasting money on school. I record in my free time and more so than that like repairing and modifying old studio gear. It looks like they usually ask for a resume, and other than recording a few local bands, taking a workshop, and working on my own gear and occasionally building things for friends I don't really know what I'd put there.
stupid_life
julia sweeney
julia sweeney
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: Lexington, KY

Re: How did you get this internship?

Postby spacebar on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:56 pm

You understood Sowley correctly. We require academic credit.

Internships here are done in exchange for academic credit. Here's the short version: the internship involves, well, "interny" things like coffee making/delivery, replacing lights, cleaning bafrooms, garbage, etc., so steve decided long long ago that if somebody's going to be here doing that sort of thing they need to be compensated either by way of academic credit or we need to just hire a janitor. Having a handful of interns in a year means a handful of people might learn a new thing or two on how to/how not to run a session/studio. Since we don't pay interns, we feel a little less gross about it if they're at least receiving academic credit for helping us out.

I get it if academia or trade school isn't your bag (this is actually a whole nuther can of worms that's been debated in other threads), it's not for everyone. Same goes with people who have already graduated. I've had to say "no" to some A+ people, but them's the rules (sorry).

There is an Intern Law of Conservation at play, because there are a good many reputable studios that don't have a preference, and just as many refuse to have students/audio school graduates as interns at all.

As far as a resume goes, if you've got relevant experience for a job/internship, it doesn't hurt to list it. In my experience, if the resume gets too long, you can then state your experience more succinctly or start to shake out the not-as-relevant stuff.

Hope that helps.
User avatar
spacebar
dock ellis
dock ellis
 
Posts: 338
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:23 am
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: How did you get this internship?

Postby stupid_life on Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:07 pm

You're right, academia isn't really my bag. There aren't really any recording schools in my area except for one, but you don't get legitimate college credit for it I don't think. It's just a trade school and they give you a certificate.
stupid_life
julia sweeney
julia sweeney
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:57 pm
Location: Lexington, KY


Return to Intern's Corner

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest