(Continued from last week…)
L.A. is an action-oriented city, so expect to see a lot of activity. This can be intimidating for someone like me who generally draws their energy from isolated activities. I’m still trying to get used to how extraverted this place is. The best thing to do if you aren’t blessed with the “gift of gab” is to ask questions. Chances are most of the people you will talk to will relish the opportunity to chat about themselves. It sounds superficial, but you will learn from what they have to say. Whether or not they are into themselves, they have been around the industry much longer than you have and are most likely well connected. You can gain a lot by just inquiring, shaking hands and exchanging business cards. If someone likes you, they will want to introduce you to other people they know. It’s the same principle anywhere else. The difference is this is L.A., which can make it more intimidating. JUST BE YOURSELF! You can never go wrong just being who you are. If someone doesn’t jive, that’s their problem. Don’t take it personally.
Consider securing two internships. You will probably only be working three days a week anyway so why not do something with the other two days that you are free? Of course you can use this time to work on your own projects and collaborate with other people. If you are like me, you hate being bored and feel the need to fill up your schedule as much as possible. I just landed my second position at RipTide Music. They focus on representing outside artists as opposed to being their own artists like the owners of redCola. This is also a small company with eleven full-time employees. What’s great is that some RipTide employees graduated from Berklee and even participated in the L.A. Internship Program themselves. There is always a chance you may get hired at the company you intern at, however only a small percentage of interns do. Still it’s important to keep your professionalism consistent. It easier to do that if you think of your internship as a paying job.
Lastly, do not assume that these people don’t know music. Yes, they are primarily business people and make decisions based on whether or not it will generate income for their company. But most of these folks have been and always will be active musicians in addition to their day jobs. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions about what they love! You will have that in common with them right off the bat. The sooner you ask, the better chance you have of them taking a liking to you, helping you out, and even consider creatively collaborating with you in the future!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay positive. You can be your own worst enemy. Keep in mind that if you are having trouble you should speak with your supervisors. They’re there to help you and are genuinely interested in your learning experience. Heck, they may even ask to hear some of your material. (Don’t be like me and have nothing to show them when they ask you). If anything, sharing your career goals gives them a feel for where you want to go and what you want to do. They may take it into account and work with you to incorporate that into your everyday tasks. Just remember, DO NOT force your material on your supervisors. You have to wait for these things to come up in conversation naturally. You’ll know when the time is right.
Well, that about does it for my thoughts this week. I hope I’ve answered some of your questions, especially for those who plan to participate in the L.A. Program soon. It’s a valuable program that offers numerous opportunities. I’ve learned and experienced a ton in only my first month! Good luck with all your preparations and hopefully I’ll be seeing you out here soon.
Paul Hartley Margolin is a singer / songwriter and musician interning at redCola and Riptide Music via the Berklee LA Internship Program in his last semester at Berklee. You can contact Paul at pmargolin at berklee dot net or at 303.929.5283.