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Hey Everyone,

This will be a LONG read, but I would Reall appreciate advice

For the last 3 months I've been phoning various post sound people around town (Zurich), sending them resumes and links to my Vimeo page to see my stuff, asking about the possibility of a trainee or intern position. But you know the drill: 'Sorry, at this time we do not have any....', seems to be the most common answer.

Out of the blue, this morning, I got 3 calls, which carried various possibly positive messages. Could you please give me advice on what it all means?

On my side I have 2 years production sound experience: corporate videos, the odd commercial, 5 short films and one or two TV shows. I have bascially no PRO post experience. I know Ableton, Nuendo and a bit of ProTools LE.

(No, i did not got an audio engineering school, but I am studying physics and math through the OU)

Ok, now for the calls:

  1. A call from a well respected German film mixer who will be in Zurich to record ADR for a feature length doccie. He asked if I could sit-in for the 4 days he will be here...

    • He doesn't really work from Zurich so I think he wants to meet me and maybe introduce me to some people.
  2. A local sound designer has called me to 'help' him tonight and tommorow to do tracklay and sound deisgn for an animated video clip? What does this mean? Is this a test?

3.An engineer at a local studio has invited me to 'come and see what we do' for a few days this week and next.

For all of these, but especially for call no. 3, I really want to impress enough that I can get that elusive 'start from the bottom' inhouse job.

What should i do?

Or rather WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO?

Yours in excitement and trepidation,

Kurt

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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Two things I find extremely attractive in perspective interns/trainees

1 The ability to observe in silence. It is very difficult to mix or edit content when there are constant interruptions with questions, this is especially bad if clients are present. Take mental notes (or actual pencil and paper notes) of questions you have and wait for the appropriate time to ask your questions. You will find many of your questions will get answered naturally through observation and those that don't give you lots to talk about over lunch or at a slow point in the day. It is very important to ask questions and learn as much as you can, after all you are possibly offering your time for free with the expectation that you will benefit from knowledge and experience, but the studio also has obligations and deadlines. So it is important to know when to ask and when to simply observe. I have had bad experiences with interns that never stopped talking all day and they never made it past the intern stage as a result.

2 Don't under any circumstances pretend to know more then you do. I would rather teach you how to do it right then waste time re-doing something that was done improperly. It can be true that there are no dumb questions, I am much more impressed with someone willing to learn to do it right then someone trying too hard to impress. Every studio does things a little differently so figure how things are done where you are and try to meet those standards.

Keep your head up and if want bonus points treat any clients you encounter like gold. After all, equally as important as technical skills is the ability to get a client to trust you and your work, because if they don't trust you or like you they won't come back with their next project - and it is their money that keeps the studio in business.

Good Luck.

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Excellent advice @AzimuthAudio. Especially the points that each studio works a little differently and client relations are just as important as technical chops. –  Steve Urban Jul 14 '10 at 17:55
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It means your 3 months of effort have paid off with 3 leads. Follow them.

Know the limitations in your knowledge. Observe, listen, and absorb.

Don't promise anything that you can't do, do what you promise you can.

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I concur with Steve here. Take advantage of the opportunities as best you can. I've found that potential gigs/hookups figure out relatively quick if they want you to continue helping them, or if they'll consider recommending your name to others. With the upmost tact, show them that you're eager to learn and help, and that you're dependable.

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Thank you all for the great feedback. I'm in an exciting time, where I can learn a lot. Especially a out what I actually know.

I hOpe that I can turn one of these opportunities into an internship or a trainee job..

Thanks again!

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