Academy Dashboard Forum Production Music Business Getting Your First Gig/Developing Your Client Base

  • This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Paul Motion.
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    Ryan Bloes

      Hi everyone!

      I am a new audio engineer just starting out. I've completed internships with good recommendations in both well known recording studios and post production houses in NYC. I've worked on a few paid projects, and was an assistant engineer on a few records.

      That said I find myself at a crossroads moving forward...there is a glut of talented engineers at my recording studio, so much so that the paid work isn't terribly consistent. I'm taking a parallel approach by going to shows here in NYC and trying to build a client base to get into the studio but I'm finding it fairly hard to land gigs. Especially in NYC there are many established engineers and it can be difficult as a new guy to land one.

      I recently took a few teaching gigs, teaching music technology and DAW's, to keep a roof over my head. I'm 31 and have more obligations than your average 22 year old, and I don't have the parental resources flowing in to help float my rent, or give me an exceeding amount of free time during my day, so every second counts!

      What I'm curious to everyone's thoughts on are this:

      1) How did you land your first gigs? And how did you develop a client base early on? Any networking tips in approaching bands/filmmakers about doing audio for them? What shows/events did you go to to start out? (I'm going to smaller shows in Queens to build my base but welcome all ideas/stories!)

      2) Did anyone who was at this phase in their career intern at one studio and then got hired as a paid assistant engineer at another studio? How did that happen and how did you approach finding those gigs? What did you find about your approach and your audio background that helped you successfully land that gig?

      Happy to start the conversation there, I may post other questions as they develop but this is the main thing I am thinking through. As a note I'm mainly focused on musical projects (and this would be my long term goal), but I also love post too and these questions could apply to that as well.

      Thanks to everyone here! Excited to connect and share experiences.

      Paul Motion

        Hey Ryan, I felt I needed to reply but honestly I'm not sure how much this will help as I'm a fair bit older and it feels like the studio scene has changed quite a bit since I was a part of it. Plus I came up in London which differs a little again.
        Anyway, the main tenet of being someone who people want to be around in the studio was and seems to remain a key attribute.
        Going to gigs and getting your name around as much as possible is always good.. offering to do a gig or 2 for free for a band you really like is a good way of getting to know the band, possibly the manager and maybe the publisher if one exists. I got quite a few gigs with a particular record company back in the day thanks to working on an album for them through the studio.
        I don't recall internships being a thing in the UK back then.. that always seemed to be a very American thing. Most people would start out on a pittance as a tea boy or runner and try and get as much studio time as possible and maybe you'd get lucky and have to tape op for a session or even assist!

        Finding gigs in studios...... literally the same as what Eric said he did when trying to get an internship in a studio. I wrote letters to all the studios I could find, hand delivered on occasion to get my face known, (yes.. this was well before the days of email), and then follow up with a phone call. Be as persistent as you can without being annoying and maybe someone will recognise your dedication.

        All I can say is, if this is your dream.. don't give up. I made the choice to leave the music industry for family reasons and I regret it every day. It's a tough industry, especially these days where anyone can be an engineer, producer, mixer etc etc in their bedroom..... but the only person who can be you is you, so keep at it and I really hope something comes through for you.

        All the best!

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