Showing initiative. Sticking your neck out. Acting independently. Taking a stance. Lately, I’ve been feeling that these have become forgotten concepts. Whether I’m comparing notes with fellow educators or talking to studio owners, production coordinators or other employers, there seems to be a common thread. For the last decade or so, our educational system has been churning out students who have not been trained to take the lead, think independently, or forge their own paths. We give them study guides, multiple federal and state mandated No Child Left Behind assessments, and ask them to spit back reams of information as though that is what is valued out there in the workplace. Well, guess what? It’s not.
Talk to anyone who has to supervise studio interns. There are three types of interns. Let’s say that Rock Solid Recording has a typical pathway for the advancement of interns. An intern shift starts at 9:00 and runs until 6:00. Each intern is given a list of jobs to do during their shift. The list might say “Vacuum all of the carpets in the common areas. Mop the bathroom floors. Empty all of the wastebaskets. Clean the bathrooms with the supplies in the cleaning closet with the yellow door.”
Intern Type 1 arrives a few minutes late for his shift. He does a half-assed job with the vacuum, getting most of the big stuff, but not moving any furniture or getting into the corners. He mops the bathroom floors, but doesn’t use hot water or wring out the mop all that often, because it’s a pain in the ass. He takes frequent breaks to call his girlfriend and to take Instagram photos of himself posing in front of the studio’s gold records. He empties the wastebaskets and does a decent job on the bathrooms, but doesn’t replace an empty toilet paper roll because there wasn’t a replacement in the supply closet. He is always ready to go at the end of his shift.
Intern Type 2 is always on time…
Keep reading Jim’s post about studio interns on his blog!
Welcome to the Jungle includes chapters on setting goals, networking, building a portfolio, time management, personal and professional finances, and dealing with the ups and downs of the freelance career. The book also includes interviews with successful music and audio freelancers, such as legendary producer Howard Benson (Kelly Clarkson, Santana, Daughtry), producer/engineer Kevin Killen (Peter Gabriel, U2, Elvis Costello), bassist Julie Slick, and others.