The Intern Checklist | Recording Arts Canada | Digital Arts College

The Intern Checklist

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Here are several points to consider before you apply.

1) ATTITUDE:  Check your ego at the door.

2) APPEARANCE: Dress for success. Be clean, neat, new clothing – and it might be a good idea to skip wearing jeans for the first few days.

“I’ve had people come in here with ripped jeans, and piercings beyond belief,” notes Donny Da Silva, Facility Manager of Phase One Studios.

“We’re a very versatile studio: I‘ll have an orchestral session Monday, and the next day, a rock session. I won’t necessarily have the guy with the rock t-shirt in the orchestral session, nor will I have a jazz specialist in the rock session. You have to be somewhat of a chameleon to be able to fit into any situation, and it’s hard for someone who doesn’t look the part to do that.

“I’ve actually asked people to leave within a half-hour of their arrival if they’re poorly dressed.”

3) PERSONALITY:  Be personable. Play nice with others, especially clients.

“Anyone can learn how to record a vocal,” says Da Silva. “At the end of the day, dealing and interacting with people is something one cannot learn overnight. It’s got to be somewhat natural.”

4) INITIATIVE: Be proactive. If coffee needs to be made, the floor needs to be swept or a glass needs to be cleaned, use your common sense and get the job done.

“Try to solve problems,” advises Matt Redman, Keen Music, Voice & Sound Design production assistant, and former intern.

“Be your own boss and show some proactive leadership – that’s what they’re looking for.”

5) RESEARCH: Be informed.  If you’re applying to a particular potential employer, educate yourself.

“I’ve had people come up to me before and they clearly have no idea what we do,” says Keen owner Thomas Neuspiel.

“In today’s world, where everything is available on the Web, you can get an idea of how things work pretty quickly, very easily. So people who haven’t bothered to do the research – that bothers me.”

6) CONDUCT: Be professional.  Whether it’s through correspondence or in person, conduct yourself accordingly.

“A lot of times, I’ll get people e-mailing me using slang,  ‘Hey, how’s it going?’, “ notes Da Silva.

“That really doesn’t cut it in my books. When we address people here, we are very professional. We’re not corporate to the point where you have to have an English degree or anything like that, but it’s important for you to act professionally.”



1)   Tailor your résumé to each position.

“Multiple résumés are the ways to go,” says Matt Redman. “I’ve been working in film for a long time, so I found that a unique skill set, over a decade of experience in film and being an ACTRA member, helped me land my position at Keen.”

2)   List that seemingly unimportant part time job.  You never know when it might  come in handy.

“I always love it when people include as much information as they can,” says Da Silva. “If you worked at Starbucks and you know how to operate an espresso machine; we brew a lot of coffee here, we have an espresso machine, that’s good information to know.

3)   Prep your references.

Make sure that whomever is listed as a reference a) has your permission touse them as a reference, b) is aware that they’re a reference and c) will say glowing things about you.

4)   Bring a demo.

If you’re a musician or an audio engineer, bring a demo. Sometimes it can  make all the difference.

“One of the guys that I’ve hired has no post secondary education, and he’s not the kind of person where one would say, ‘Oh, what a sophisticated individual,’ ” says Keen’s  Thomas Neuspiel.

“The reason I hired him is because I listened to stuff that he recorded in his  garage with punk bands, and the sound was good. It wasn’t pristine and perfect, but this kid had something.”

5)   The interview.

“Do your research,” advises Keen’s Neuspiel.

“Wherever it is that you’re trying to get in, find out everything about the company, the business they’re in, and make a list of intelligent questions about how they work, what kind of people they look for, and what kinds of advice they can give you.

“Being articulate and polite goes a really long way. Like any good musician, listening is more important than playing: Especially with the person that you’re talking to.”

-- Nick Krewen

For more info on the RAC Internship program, please click here.
For an article about the importance of internships, please click here.

Recording Arts Canada grads are working around the world in Sound and Music Recording companies, Film and TV Post, Game Design, Music Labels, and so many other creative fields. Click here to see a list RAC grads and where they work.