Working in a recording studio is a dream of many music enthusiasts. Those big facilites with all the gear you salivate just thinking about, let alone having the opportunity to touch and handle. It’s just all so exciting.
So how do you get a job in one of those facilities if you don’t know anybody in the field? Nothing is going to happen if you sit idly by. Just like big labels don’t come knocking on your door with a contract, neither is a recording studio going to come to your house with a job offer. I recently moved to a new city where I didn’t know anybody except my girlfriend. How did I start assisting in the biggest recording studio in town if I didn’t know anybody there?
Research studios in your area.
Search for studios that you think would be able to give you a job, or at least a tour. Do some research and find out where they are and if they specialize in anything. Maybe other recording studios are more exciting than others. Some studios have impressive websites, but then end up doing mostly voice over work, instead of the music you thought they were recording.
Find some contacts
Email these studios. Find the contact form on the site, or better yet an actual e-mail address. The first step in contacting your studio of choice is, well contacting the studio. Same applies as before, you won’t get an e-mail back until you send one first. It’s called a reply for a reason.
Find out where your e-mail is going. If it’s obviously run by its owner, addres your e-mail to him. It shows you’ve done some research and actually know who you are talking to. It’s much nicer to get a “Hello John” than a “Good day” or “To whom it may concern.” Leave “To whom it may concern to formal documents and applications”, not personable e-mails. You want to give the sense that you are talking to an actual person. You don’t want the first impression to be “oh…one of those emails again”.
Be clear in what you want
If your e-mail isn’t direct to the point you will not get desired results. If you are looking for a job, say so. If the studio has a position advertised, be sure to include your CV, cover letter etc. If there is a job to be had and you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it. I e-mailed a studio owner and told him I would be moving to the city and wanted to get a feel of the recording industry there. I e-mailed him before I even moved and asked him questions about the studio. I asked if I could come check out his studio when I got there. Because I wasn’t there in person he didn’t feel any commitment when he said I should just e-mail him again when I was there.
When I finally made it to the city, I followed up on my e-mail and told him I was here now and if I could see his studio. Because he had e-mailed me back with a “yeah, just hit me up when you’re here” response, it might have compelled him to actually follow through as well.
If you get a bland response, take it as a challenge to sell yourself a little. Be thankful for the response and offer your services or interest in their studio. If you have any education in or experience in the industry, let them know. It’s easier for them to warm up to the idea of greeting an experienced professional than a kid off the street. If you just look at a non-complacent reply as a rejection letter you won’t get anywhere. Make it easy for them to help you out. Make their schedule your schedule. Ask them when would be a good time. People notice perseverance when they are being subjected to it, and prospective employers take notice of that as a positive trait in a worker.
In the end, by being persistent, interested and personable you might just land a position at your favorite job.
Björgvin Benediktsson is an Icelandic born musician, sound-engineer and audio technology writer. He is an SAE Alumni from the SAE Institute. He’s recorded, played on and mixed numerous songs, whether live or in the studio. For more of Björgvin’s work you can check out his songs at Ubetoo or his audio production website at Audio Issues.