I'll be starting an internship at a recording studio next month. Although I don't know exactly what I'll be doing for the first little while, I can assume that a lot of it will involve being the coffee-bitch and probably other mundane tasks.
Just looking for some advice from someone that's been in a similar position / has recently started out in a studio - what things do you wish you had known on your first day? What will go wrong? Are there certain things I should focus more on than others?
Getting coffee, cleaning up or setting up cables, fetching and moving other assorted things... yeah, menial shit p much probably.
I haven't interned but speaking from a position of what I'd want from one or if I was in such a position: always be observant, ask if you're unsure about anything, try not to be obnoxious or get in the way.
Mostly though, be attentive to what they ask of you, what they imply they want from you through body language and meta-level behavior, and be honest about your goals with them I guess.
I imagine they'll either not really teach you much of anything and jsut want a free work slave, they'll ease you in with lectures and shit as they work about things here and there while also using you as free work slave, or they'll just throw you the fuck in and tell you 'ok lol do it'. probably something along those three scenarios. let us know how it goes yeh? :U
What you might be doing later on is positioning mics in the tracking room while the AE tells you which way to move it as he/she listens through the monitors. They don't want their ears fucked from loud volumes so they send in the gimp to do the micing. You might also be doing patch bay organizing and labeling what is going where.
I can't imagine they'd get you to intern and not teach you anything. If I wanted to get someone's coffee I'd work at Starbucks. So silly how the world works.
Almost all great engineers started off as coffee-bitches. Congrats and have fun!
^Totally. Just accept the dirty work for however long, be patient and willing, and keep a good spirit about it all. You'll be able to tell after a while if it's headed anywhere. And keep us updated! Awesome stuff might arise- who knows!
Get there at 3 pm, get tour of studio (real nice place, two studios in one)
Sit and watch owner fiddle around with Kemper profiling amp for about 30-40 min.
watch other intern learn how to use Drumagog for another hour.
Owner goes to get Chinese food, graciously accept offer.
Sit and watch intern do drum replacement for 25 minutes or so.
Owner gets back and promptly leaves again.
Eat food and sit in awkward silence with other intern, trying to start a conversation but he won't have that.
Owner gets back and they talk about some stuff, I chime in here and there.
Intern goes back to drum replacing, can't get Drumagog to work. I point out blend control is at zero, and he says "Oh, ok. I guess you're good for something". I'm offended.
Continue to watch him do drum replacement, talk a bit with the owner.
Clients expected at 8 pm.
Clients arrive late at 8:40, intern leaves.
The client is a pushy label owner whose girlfriend's 12-or-14 year old daughter is going to do a cover of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You".
The label owner is friends with some pop singer, she gets the girl to warm up for maybe half an hour.
The girl is not very good.
I get to sit through 4 hours of a little girl badly singing a Christmas song and having to do parts over and over and over again, while the label guy gets more and more frustrated and mad at the girl, telling her things like "you want to do this, right? So do it! Stop texting and finish the damn song!".
The girl is tired and upset about some boy troubles.
I'm just sitting on the couch in the control room with a look of intense concentration which actually means that I'm trying hard not to lose it.
Finally at 12:40 or something, they decide that she's spent and can't do any better.
They eventually leave, now it's my time to shine!
The owner lets me tune the vocals with Waves Tune.
I teach myself Waves Tune very fast, never having used it or any other professional pitch correction software before.
Reading the manual, I smell glass cleaner which somehow triggers a panic attack.
So I'm trying not to pass out and am tuning the vocals when the owner notices I don't look so good and asks me if I'm ok.
I tell him I'm having a panic attack and take a break.
He asks me why I get them so I tell him my whole awful story about developing horrible stress-related anxiety issues, I can't stop talking. He is luckily sympathetic and lets me cool down.
This makes me feel better so I continue tuning.
The girl is so out of pitch it takes me three more hours to finish it all.
He then spends another half-hour mixing the vocals and balancing everything out.
I go to the bathroom and come back to find he's exporting already.
We finally leave at 3:something.
The next day I oversleep, missing my opportunity to come in again and help set up guitar cabinets.
This was in December. Luckily he was cool enough to let me come back and do stuff a few weeks later. I spent some time doing simple mixing stuff, some graphic design, and eventually songwriting and production for his scary sounds and soundtrack company. I sit in on a lot of sessions, going into the wee hours of the night. I am then allowed to run the board during tracking which is pretty awesome. I get to track metal singers to bass players to huge entourages of rappers. I also get some paid work tuning more vocals and doing 8-bit remixes for a big-shot millionaire producer who is renting out half of the studio even as we speak. I continue doing the 8-bits until I can't do them anymore due to lack of interest and the torture that is making the song "I Luh Ya Papi" into chiptune. I finish the vocal tuning and get paid for it a few months after it's done (the band didn't want to pay him for it even though they said they would). I stop going for a while because they're super busy and can't have me in. I get hired by the Owner's friend who is also a label owner to tune his punk record. It's really easy to do, each song takes me either one or two hours. I also start doing piano covers of pop songs instead of 8-bit which is a godsend, but only do two before the millionaire dude gives all the work away to someone else because "I was gone for too long" meaning I had things to do elsewhere for three days, one of the days being Sunday and he doesn't work Sundays. I also learn that I should've taken the vocal tuning money up front because most days I'm not allowed in the studio because it's "too busy" or the owner isn't there that day (even though the millionaire is there every day except Sunday). So eventually the guy who hired me says he gave the rest of the work to someone else.
Let me break this down: I only worked on the ten song album for three days and got half of it done. Two or three more days and it would be complete. The label owner kept saying there was no deadline but the sooner the better. So, three days spread out over three weeks. He even liked the ones I already did. My mistake was saying he could pay me when I'm done. This allowed the studio owner to disallow me time to get the album done, which resulted in the label owner getting some free work out of me. So that's $175 that I desperately needed, gone.
I no longer intern at that studio, I won't ever trust those guys again. I squandered my time there by making bad decisions, but at least I won't make them again; get paid up front, and get in the fucking studio as much as possible. Don't take no for an answer when you have a job to do.
Also: The music industry is shit.
Last edited by Tsachi; 30-08-2014 at 09:17 AM..
Reason: Good luck reading all of this.
The only work I have done in a studio is setting up a wall connection bay, soldering the XLRs into thw wall on each side (control room/tracking room) so they could run cables through the wall. They asked me how much for my time and I told them 300 bucks for 6 hours of work. I did it and at the end they said they'd just give me 6 hours of recording time.
I told them, you guys know I have my own recording studio? Fuckers.