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Advice for a Student


shazelwood
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Hey, everyone!

 

I'm new here on JWS, so let me start by introducing myself.

 

I'm Sara, a senior Audio Production student at Middle Tennessee State University. I graduate in May of 2015, and as you can imagine, I'm starting to stress about where to go and what to do once I'm no longer a student. 

Sound for picture has become my passion, although I don't have much to show for it aside from a few school projects. I got an internship at Trew in Nashville, though, so that's pretty nifty. And I know it starts me on the right path. 

 

However, I'd like to know if any of you lovely people who frequent this discussion group may be able to offer up a few words of advice. Everyone started from the bottom, and I'd love to know how I might be able to work my way up that path and land in a position similar to any one of you. What did y'all do outside of school to help carve a name for yourself in the industry?

 

I understand these are very broad questions, and I apologize. I hope to be able to narrow them down once I get a few replies.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

-Sara

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Hi Sara, great question, I'd advise you simply do what you love and apply for every darn sound gig you come across - keep knocking and sooner or later someone's gonna let you in.  Keep in touch with all your peeps at Trew.  Likewise, stay in close contact with your classmates and professors and work on everything they do, especially after you graduate (those are your closest connections, use them!). Staff Me Up often offers work down in TN, apply for all the gigs you can find - but be CAUTIOUS about joining poorly run productions and/or working with bad people, there is a significant burnout and abuse factor in this industry and so you gotta work with good peeps and be good at what you do in order to enjoy life and profession :-) Refuse jobs that make you work crazy hours and remember to eat well, exercise well, and sleep well every night.  And don't worry about anything whatsoever.  This is America, land of the free, just enjoy the ride.

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Sean is correct.  Stay in the Nashville area and get your foot in the door.  For example, go beat on Trew Audio's doors until they give you a job doing anything.  At Trew, you can learn about the good people in the business.  You can learn about the equipment from pros.  And eventually buy good used equipment for your own videos.

 

 Your own videos???  Of course!  Find like minded friends who want to make videos about music or interesting documentaries.

 Go to your strengths.  You live in a great area for gospel, blue grass, country, and pop music.  There are even classical music groups in Nashville.  Your day job might be checking out audio rentals, but your professional goals should be learning about how to do live recording and post production finishing.  Meet other young people who want to do their own film/videos, but try and find a job at a small media venue where you can learn the ropes from people already working in the business.  On the week ends you head out to the hills and find great unknown, unrecorded artists for your videos.  Once you have a pro track record, you can move to a bigger venue like.....Atlanta.... Charlotte, NC.....Miami.... Or.... If you must....NCY or LA.

 

Sara, I wish you the best... But reiterating what Sean said....Do what you want to do.  Don't get sucked into the maw of reality shows with incompetent producers.

 

Ciao,  Sully

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Best advice I got from more established mixers: go out there and meet other mixers around your area. The fact of the matter is that when starting out, you do not know any producers, production managers, coordinators, directors, or just anyone who would hire you or recommend you for work. If you start meeting other mixers and forging friendships with them, eventually, when they need to pass on a gig, they will go down through their list of contacts, and if you are lucky enough, you will be the next call.

 

While on jobs, if you demonstrate a superb work ethic, and do an amazing job, others will notice (mixers, producers, PMs, directors, camera operators, anyone!), and eventually, they will call you directly or recommend you as well.

 

Key here: you have to be patient, you have to be diligent, and you have to be passionate. Go get 'em tiger.

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Good advice, and most especially about making the most of the TREW experience...

that is where you can meet and learn from the pro's.. and maybe even some of the semi-pro's.. 8)

make friends and learn there... maybe even get a regular gig there...

also there is a lot of information, advice, and experience here on jwsoundgroup.net,  so read some of the old threads...

for example: you can learn a bit from the CL thread...

break a leg...

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Thanks for all the insight, guys!

 

I've been prowling the forum on my down time in the shop, and there definitely is a lot to learn. I can tell Trew is a very reputable company, both from posts on here and from the customers that come into the store, and I know this internship can open some doors for me.

Looks like when I graudate, I'm gonna have to find some way to occupy 6 or 7 cities at once, haha! That'll surely help out.

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FWIW, it's possible to carve a good career outside of LA. Smaller cities will have fewer formal opportunities to start as a production mixer's or editor's or dubbing mixer's assistant on a big show... but they'll also have more opportunities to try a bunch of different roles, see what you excel at, work on smaller productions from start to finish, learn the whole process instead of just one function, and make a unique name for yourself. And of course, there'll be less competition (for those fewer jobs).

 

Worked for me...

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My advise to you and any young person is to have fun wherever and whatever you do. Life is too short to go through it otherwise. I'd venture that most of the old gray backs here at jwsound had no idea of our futures or only vague plans at your age. Take a deep breath, work hard, play harder, and things have a way of working out. Best of luck on whatever road you take.

CrewC

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My respected colleagues have said all that may be said on the subject really.

 

As I look for further advice, these words rise:

 

Listen.

 

Look and see.

 

Hear and understand.

 

Integrity.

 

Loyalty.

 

There's a thread here where folks tell their "how I got here" stories that might give you ideas for career paths. IIRC, the thread's title is "Who I Am Today".

 

Good luck and welcome to sound.

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Hey all, my name is Amelia. I am also an MTSU student pursuing a degree in Audio Production. I share the same passions as Sara does - we're also interning together at Trew. I have learned so much already browsing this forum and while being at Trew and just wanted to introduce myself but felt like a new post was unnecessary.

I don't know where exactly I want to end up once I graduate in December, but I do know I want to do anything related to sound for picture- be it production or post. The advice you all have already given is awesome and I look forward to learning more.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Oh, I also wanted to add that I'm trying to get as much experience as possible while still in school (it's hard to do everything because I'm also working while going to classes, etc) I am involved with the Film Guild here and am hoping to do some post sound for a documentary shot this summer for a video class. I've taken both post classes offered and they've proved to be invaluable. My teacher for both of those classes has taught me a lot.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If you have a can-do drive to stay busy, a good attitude, humility and willingness to learn what you don't know on your own, you will do just fine.

What you don't know can be learned as you gain experience, or through research or through the many amazing mentors you will meet, if you stay humble.

Your contacts will grow as a direct result from your proactive nature, good attitude and work ethic. If you know how to get work done and also let people enjoy having you on set, half the battle is already won.

Keep at it and always be willing to introduce yourself to anyone and everyone in this field. There are more amazing, generous people in sound than you can imagine, and introducing yourself is the best way to meet them! No one gives a hand-out, but so many people are ready to give a hand up. We are all here in part because of someone taking thier time to invest in a young professional.

My two cents. Cheers!

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