Jobs in recording studios - getting a job as an assistant engineer
Getting a job in a recording studio will be difficult but it is not impossible and the key skills needed are determination and drive. The skills of recording can be taught but a key skill that is much harder to learn is attitude.
When there is a job at a recording studio the number of people to choose from is enormous so you must demonstrate that you have a personality that shows you can get on with people in the demanding and often stressful environment you'll be working in. An ability to keep your mouth shut and not offer advice to artists and producers will be important, no one likes the kid know all. You'll be there to help and assist by doing any number of chores that you may find unfair, after all, you've got maybe a degree and you 'know everything'.
As mentioned on other pages, you may find that getting in to a recording studio is near impossible in your area. An alternative is to track down a record producer or artist with their own private recording studio, many would appreciate having someone help out even if you do the washing up to start with. This is a people business and having nice people around is often much better than having no one around.
We have produced hundreds or interviews with leading recording engineers and record producers - many of these cover how they got started on their career. If you take time to watch these you can learn a lot. Maybe they're quite a bit older than you so times have changed but in most cases all of the advice is as true today as it was then.
Visit the record producers pages to choose the interviews that interest you and remember, it was just as hard for them as it's going to be for you but they show that it can be done.
One thing that crops up on our recording studio jobs forums are the qualifications needed. Well, getting a degree is a fine thing but stop and think before you commit yourself to a recording or production degree. Ask yourself, 'can I use this degree if I decide the business is not for me'? Also, is having a recording degree going to offer any advantage? Maybe, you could look at other degree's, possibly music, possibly a science. We have met so many producers with physics degrees it surprising!
Do you need a degree at all? Many of us studdied at the school of hard knocks. Having a determined and single minded focus on getting to their goal motivated them so much that they made it. This is one of the most important things really, degrees are great but no matter how many qualifications that you have, unless you have the attitude and personality that fits you won't get far.
OK, so say you get a job in a studio, what can you expect and how can you move forward? We will cover that in the next articles but in a nutshell, you will be working for peanuts doing all the jobs you hate and unless you are driven you'll lose interest. Do yourself a favour, think hard before you start out on this career as so many people start with massive enthusiasm and then it wears off, the novelty is gone and after a while get out of the business. Do be absolutely sure you want to put the effort in.
Market yourself. Today, being good isn't enough. You will need to make sure that once in a studio and you are impressing people with your flair and results that you keep an eye on self promotion. Even before getting that far think about how to present yourself. Sending a reply to a forum post offering a job with 'hi, I want a job, email me' will be an immediate turn off. Find out where the job is, if it's within range send a letter. Maybe send it in a 5 foot envelope painted with pink spots - just get yourself noticed and show creativity. We will go in to this further on later pages.
Good luck with your quest. Be sure it really is what you want as the journey is long, tough and in so many cases, unrewarding. However, if you put the work in, keep focused and take advantage of the bits of good luck that come your way, you could be the next George Martin, Nile Rodgers, Gary Katz, Phil Ramone etc etc.
Our own FORUM has helped a few people get some great jobs. You can search our FORUM but remember that jobs don't just come to you, you need to get out there and hussle! Keep an eye on when the job ad was posted as some people reply to jobs that were posted ages ago!
Major career links - please let us know of any good links that you find!