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I was looking for a place I can intern over the summer, and I found a guy named Benjie Freund. The problem is, I don't know him, I don't know if he frequents forums, and I'm scared that I will be a nuisance if someone like me with no experience calls him out of the blue asking for work. How do you think I should go about this? Should I just look for a multi-person studio instead? Thank you for reading!

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Didn't anyone ever tell you not to talk to strangers? ;) –  Jay Jennings Aug 15 '10 at 20:34

9 Answers 9

I get calls/emails like this at least twice a week, and I can't speak for everyone, but...

I feel that if you send a POLITE, WELL WRITTEN email, or call and again be POLITE and well-spoken, and explain who you are and what you are calling for (looking for an internship), you will not be a nuisance. Do not call or email every day, and if he says "no" then thank him for his time and move on.

Above all else, be polite and well-spoken. Nothing is more likely to make me turn you away then an email with a bunch of grammatical and spelling errors (just got one of those), or a phone call along the lines of:

"Hey, I'm like really into the whole studio thing, and I was wondering it you, like, take in interns and stuff like that, cause I really wanna learn this whole thing, so I can be a famous sound designer/producer/engineer...".

I might suggest something along the lines of:

"Hello Mr. Freund, my name is ---- and I found your name on ----. I'm an aspiring sound designer, and I was wondering if you had any intern positions available, or coming available in the future?". Again, polite and well spoken is best (are you sensing a pattern here?). Don't waste his time giving your experience/schooling/bands unless he asks.

Folks who take this approach, I'll at least take the time to talk to...

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My first question is, how did you come to find this guy? If it was anything but an internet search: a friend, a professor, someone in the industry, anyone really, they are your key to not being a "stranger." Whatever your connection, that is how Mr. Freund came on your radar and into your professional network. You should place that information very early in any correspondence. As in:


"Mr. Freund,

My name is Mercy and I'm an aspiring sound designer. My Aunt Matilda* is friends with your Great-Uncle Larry* who mentioned that you are in the business and that I should get in touch with you."

*Names changed to protect the innocent


Ta-Da! Now you're not a stranger. Personally speaking, I will much sooner take the time out of my day for an acquaintance of a friend than some random.

But now on to a more serious matter: Doing your homework

A quick google on Mr. Freund shows there is indeed a sound designer named Benjie Freund, who was born in Memphis and went to college at the Atlanta Institute of Music. But yet, provides no info about where here currently is located. So, (A) how do you know he's close enough to warrant a summer internship?

The same google search gives us a facebook page for DJ Benji Freund who has the "Atlanta Institute of Music '10" listed under 'Work and Education' in addition to "Audio Engineer," and "Sound Design for Games" (gotta love them internets!). Hold on to this for a second...

Facebook DJ Benji Freund shares an unflattering photo with MySpace DJ Benji Freund who says he's located in "LOUISVILLE, ??? United States." HaHA! We might have found him!

So my second question is "Is he worth all this?"

IF this Benjie Freund is in fact this Benji Freund then he has only just started his illustrious career as a Sound Designer. This is a medium-sized "if," but if this was how I found Benji Freund I probably wouldn't stop looking. Having just graduated he hasn't had his own career opportunities to make the mistakes and figure out the secrets that are worth passing on to an apprentice. He's probably looking for an apprenticeship himself...

Reviewing your history of questions you are clearly motivated to find some kind of internship/apprenticeship, and you have received a boatload of responses from some very notable characters in the field. I believe you can gain valuable advice by pouring over boards like this, creating projects of your own, and demonstrating your abilities here and elsewhere on the net. By making and reinforcing these connections rather than hunting down a relative "stranger" you are teaching yourself by doing, subjecting yourself to the review of professionals, and making yourself a valuable commodity that will put you in a position of opportunity when the time comes. Hope that helps.

ps- Isn't it a little late in the season to be thinking about a "summer" internship?

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haha, detective Urban. You're good! –  Andrew Spitz Aug 16 '10 at 8:04
    
:) @Andrew when the info's so easily obtained, there is no excuse to not do a little detective work! I probably should add that I completely agree with what's been said so far, professionalism is key and that includes being polite, respectful and grammatically correct. –  Steve Urban Aug 16 '10 at 13:33
    
I was talking about for next summer. I like to think ahead ^_^ –  Mercy Aug 16 '10 at 14:17
    
@Mercy, Bravo. I think your timing is perfect then. –  Steve Urban Aug 16 '10 at 16:02

I agree with Sonsey, If you don't ask you don't get! The least you can be is polite and humble and if he's offended by that then he's not worth learning from.

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I've been doing a whole lot of cold calling, so i know how you feel. What i do is send an email (polite, naturally), and mention in the email that i'll follow up with a phonecall in the next week. That way when you call, they have some warning and it's less of a cold call - more of a lukewarm call. Also, maybe this is overly speculative, but i've found that people are more receptive to calls in the mid morning.

If he doesn't have anything for you, make sure you ask him if he can give you any advice on who to approach. That way when you call THEM, you can mention that he pointed you their way.

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Ever try to be impolite? Apply what basketball players do to Kobe Bryant: Get in a fight with him and he gets you on his team (Ron Artest and Matt Barnes). Maybe this principle will work with pro sound designers if the polite approach doesn't work!!! –  Utopia Aug 16 '10 at 1:11
    
@Ryan Haha, i'll let you test that one out! –  Roger Middenway Aug 16 '10 at 12:52
    
@Roger IT WORKED! He said "Get Lost". I've bought the DVD of all the seasons I could and once I'm done watching them, I'm e-mailing him RIGHT BACK with the GOOD NEWS!!! I'M IN!!! –  Utopia Aug 18 '10 at 17:04
    
@Ryan Haha! It took me a few minutes to get that. –  Roger Middenway Aug 18 '10 at 18:57

What do you have to offer them? What do they have to offer you? How can this be mutually beneficial? You should know this before trying to contact them. Be clear on your availability and skills. Do your research on who they are, what they have done and are doing now, and whether this fits together.

For example, I just posted an answer to another question on this site about what kind of virtual intern I would have interest in working with. If someone wrote that they'd like to hang out with me to help on my next feature film, I wouldn't bother answering because they hadn't read what I really need. But if they demonstrated interest in the educational work that I'm currently doing, then I will respond.

So do your homework and you will up your chances of getting in the door.

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Unless this guy is looking for interns, he probably doesn't need them. You'd be best to look at larger studios that might have a defined intern program.

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FWIW the first question you should ask when calling someone who works in studios is: "Do you have time to talk now, or should I call you back at a better time?" If you dont ask this question & they are busy and/or stressed you may just get no to every question regardless, whereas calling back at a more suitable time may help your case...

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Very short answer, but it changed my life. Read the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. After you've read that book, put it into practice. Then you'll know the proper way to approach people about this kind of thing.

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My wife finished this book about a month ago, she now swears by it. –  Steve Urban Aug 16 '10 at 22:29
    
@Steve it's an incredible book! –  Colin Hart Aug 16 '10 at 23:14

Hey there,

I was just notified about this post. I am glad to see that you know what you want to do as a career right away. I am always open to share my experiences and ideas with people, feel free to contact me at www.neutrinogaming.com under our contact section. We can talk more.

PS - You got a ton of great feedback from everyone on here, that is the first step. Just listen to what people have to say.

I look forward to hearing back from you!

Benjie Freund

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