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Need advice for upcoming internship with sound production company


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  • Need advice for upcoming internship with sound production company

    Alright, so I'm one class and an externship away from completing my college degree. My major is audio/video production, but since I have no interest in video, obviously I wanted to do something audio related for my externship.

    Well, my department chair has hooked me up with a pretty sweet gig with a local live sound/stage/lighting production company. Obviously I don't want to say who they are, but they are a pretty big deal around here -- tons of huge rigs for the biggest of outdoor events, clientele including major music festivals and Presidential speeches (from what I was told), permanent installation services, and live sound engineers who work at the major clubs in the area.

    I have basically no hands-on live sound experience except for messing around at home, and most of what I know I have learned from the internet. I am pretty intimidated to say the least. The thought of working with professionals putting together full-scale L'Acoustics/Midas type rigs dwarfs my experience goofing around with my JBL-on-sticks system at home. This internship is for 120 hours in 4 weeks, so at 30 hours per week, I'm going to be spending a lot of time with these guys. A lot of what I will be doing will be work in their warehouse testing systems, but if I make a good impression, I'm sure I will get to help out with some live sound work. Do any of you have any advice for me going in that might help me make the most out of the experience, and possibly make a good enough impression to find some work after graduation?

    Thanks in advance,

  • #2
    Learn how to make good coffee! Ask lots of pertinent questions about what the engineers are doing. Learn their systems. I believe there's still a VDOSC manual on the L'acoustics website. Read it. I doubt you'll get behind a console as an intern, but you never know. Familiarize yourself with the consoles they own, as well as their speaker processors. Stay busy. If nobody's got anything for you to do, sweep the shop. When you're on the job, be as helpful as you possibly can without getting in the way. If you see somebody lifting something, help them. Always ask the lead engineer how he wants something done if you're unsure. Better to do it right the first time so he doesn't have to undo it then fix it later. Mostly learn how to make good coffee.


    • #3
      Do any of you have any advice for me going in that might help me make the most out of the experience, and possibly make a good enough impression to find some work after graduation?
      Do not volunteer "advice" and generally keep your mouth shut and your eyes open. Nobody likes a college knowledge know-it-all. The proper answer to "jump" is "how high" . If you don't know exactly how to do something ask. If you get somebody hurt make sure it's you and not somebody else. In general don't !@#$ up. Good luck!


      • #4
        all i know is that the band in your picture looks awesome.....that's great news on the internship. ill have to give you a call, but i bet i could guess what company it is. Congrats!!


        • #5
          I'm sure it will be a fun, meaningful learning experience if you come into it with the mind set of wanting to learn. Leave any attitude at home, do whatever is asked of you willingly and promptly, and get to know when and when not is the right time to ask questions. Sometimes in the middle of a hectic set up the last thing I would want to do would be to explain why we're doing something - just get it done and I'll explain it later.

          Your post begs a question though. I may be missing something, but how can you be one class away from completing a degree in audio/video PRODUCTION
          and have basically no hands-on live sound experience?? Was this strictly a studio recording program?
          Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant.....


          • #6
            Don't expect to be put behind the board anytime soon. You're probably going to spend the summer pushing boxes, coiling cables, etc. Valuable experience even if not glamorous.

            Buy a pair of work gloves, make sure you've got a good pair of summer working shoes. If you're at all curious about any of the gear, download the manual and read up on it. In live sound (unlike studio work) you're generally welcome to ask questions, especially during setup. If it's any kind of big name act don't bother the performers about anything other than the job at hand - no autographs!
            "I would kill the children of a thousand planets, just to see you smile"


            • #7
              Do everything they ask you to do no matter how it relates to what "you want to do". Keep your mouth shut and eyes & ears open. Always volunteer when they ask for volunteers. Keep a positive attitude and you will learn more then you ever expected. Work hard and keep your mouth shut. I am a musician and I am a martial artist. Those paths cross more often then most realize. Learn these words and live them...

              Self Control
              Indomitable Spirit

              Much of the music business is mental. Learn those five words like a mantra and live by them. They will get you by even the toughest of times. You will be tested mentally and physically. Those five words will help you when you are asked to re-coil the cables again because your "boss" doesn't like the way they look.

              This may all sound cheesy but it isn't. You will learn from people that treat you like a slave and you will learn from people that feel threatened by your presence and you will learn from people that think schools can't really teach you this business and you will learn from people that believe school actually helps. You can learn as much from people that want to destroy you as you can learn from your friends.

              Like I said, eyes and ears open, mouth shut.

              (Trust me, been there, done that.)
              "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson

              Band promo shots on railroad tracks were cool in 1981...


              • #8
                rule 1) always be doing something. you don't even have to ask, with in 10 feet of you will always be a cable to clean up , a case to position a mic to put away, something.
                2) if you don't know how to do something, ask for help; not ****************ing up your job comes before doing a good job.
                3) show up for work in a state that is good for the work, don't stay out drinking the night before ect. Don't confuse working, with your body being in the place that work happens.
                4) when in doubt think "if I owned this company, what would I want me to be doing right now?"

                PS is "externship " a word?
                -token canadian

                Lest we forget: double-blind tests make audiophiles look twice as stupid. CRAIG V 2007

                Just for fun, what do you think would happen if you decided to take a nap in the fast lane of a freeway? agedhorse -2008

                Funny, I'll bet I have a good one sitting on my shelf. agedhorse -2008


                • #9
                  Always be willing to learn!

                  If you see someone doing something you don't understand...ASK. It just might be one of those "tricks-of-the-trade" that can come in handy later.
                  Engineering Axiom 21: Whomever has the key should be qualified.


                  • #10
                    also be prepared for 15 hour days , little sleep, coiling heavy AC cable , lots of hurry up and wait . The sound company is usually first in and the last to leave.