Need a Mentor?

(Please note the date on this post – I won’t take on another virtual sound design intern until mid 2010, but if you are interested have a read of this post & the follow up posts at the end)

Empathy is a character trait I value. Highly. I heard a psychologist interviewed on the radio a year or so ago & her core theory (based on research) was that a large proportion of people in prison never learned empathy as children. Every now & again I meet someone with an obvious lack of empathy & think hmmmm… they just have no appreciation for their effect on other people & I think about those people in prison, who commit crimes with similarly no thought for the often devastating impact on their victims…

So why am I talking about empathy? Well I so appreciate the support a number of generous people gave me early in my career & while its difficult to repay their kindness I feel that it is probably more appropriate to repay in kind ie offer similar support to young people now… And to me this is an act of empathy, as I dearly remember how hard getting that start is, and how much a small gesture of support can mean at critical stages… Accordingly I’ve managed to do this a number of times over the years by taking on someone with no real post experience as an assistant/trainee and it is satisfying to see them develop & forge their careers… Finding the right person can be problematic, not through any lack of willing participants but more so in terms of clarifying the crucial formative characteristics. But having successfully been through the process four times now I have a reasonable idea….

Anyway, enough philosophy for now – this post is really just to say I would like to offer a virtual internship by acting as mentor to a young sound editor who is early in their career.

So what is a mentor exactly? The dictionary defines it as “a wise and trusted guide and advisor” while Wikipedia refers to “a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person” which sounds a bit more like it.

When I started my own company I had a business mentor for a while, and I found it invaluable to have someone far more experienced to ask advice from. Often they played devils advocate & answered my questions with questions, so I thought through my own conclusions and I definitely subscribe to this approach. If someone I am supervising is stuck on a problem it is rare that I would simply come up with an answer for them, because that doesn’t help them develop the skills to solve that same problem when it arises again in the future.

So what are the characteristics I am looking for? Well the first thing I can say is you do not need to be local. I already have a good team of people who I work with & accordingly I simply don’t have a trainee job to offer, per se. So I am happy to mentor via email, ichat, skype, ftp etc…

You need to be able to illustrate that you are already committed to film sound post as a career. It is an investment of time on my part so I need to be convinced this isn’t just a whim. That doesn’t mean you need to have credits on films, but already having some experience of contributing to short films or TV drama etc is a definite bonus.

Technical skill is important – don’t apply if you don’t already have a basic knowledge of ProTools. I’m not interested in what your favourite software is, it is a simple fact that ProTools dominates in film sound post & we need to be able to exchange Protools sessions as work in progress. I did plenty of films early on using nothing more than ProTools LE, so that at least is a prerequisite.

Owning (or having access to) a field recording kit is also important. I dont really believe in using library sounds other than in specific situations so I want to know what you will be using to collect sounds for your work.

Lastly & in my opinion most important is personality & attitude. I am going to have to research some questions for this bit – not about your personal life but definitely about your attitudes, ethics & approach. This will also require a character reference or two who I can contact.

So its kind of like a job interview, except there isn’t a job. The virtual internship will run for a maximum of 12 months, at which point I will take on a new intern. And bear in mind I despise sycophants. I do not want to hear what you think I want to hear, I want to hear what you think. Still interested? if you want to apply, please email me using the form below & in a week or so I will send you an application form.

> Registration is now closed!

- Update 1

- Update 2

- Update 3

- Update 4

- Update 5

20 Responses to Need a Mentor?

  1. Good on you, Tim. :-)

  2. That’s very, very, very nice of you Tim ! I’m not in sound effect, but if I was, getting the chance to have you as a mentor would be a chance I would not want to miss.

    I hope this goes well, keep us posted !

  3. AKA says:

    A very exciting and generous plan – I second the request to keep your other readers posted on how this project progresses!

  4. Gustavo says:

    Thank you Tim, this is such a generous offer.

  5. Chris Box says:

    Wow, this seems really exciting

  6. Tristan Peloz says:

    Hi Tim,

    this is really exciting and probably once in a lifetime opportunity! I have some experience in film sound post and something like this would be beyond my dreams, but it looks like I’m too late… If there’s any possibility whatsoever, please contact me on e-mail or Facebook.

    Thank you & take care!

  7. Che O'Donnell-Gibson says:

    Hi Tim,

    My names Che. I am relatively new to reading your blog. I’ve just come across this article and realise June 2010 is not too far away! So am writing to you in an early attempt at a 2010-11′ virtual internship.

    I live in Auckland and have recently finished an Audio Engineering diploma at SAE. I’ve been on ACC for the past 4months as I broke my foot snowboarding. I think it’s been the best blessing in disguise I’ve ever had as I have spent the last couple months reading/searching/practicing anything and everything related to sound post-production. And the more I learn the more I fall in love and feel like this is the start of my career (the first time i’ve ever felt this before).

    I have pro tools LE at home and have literally been looking at purchasing a Tascam DA-P1 in the near near future along with a shotgun mic and anything else that’l help me get started with my own field recordings.
    I contributed in shooting a short film at SAE where I had to then personally construct the entire soundtrack. I was part of a team who entered the V48Hours 2010′ (my first) a couple weekends ago and I made a soundtrack for that too.
    I have met a local composer/sound designer (Andrew McDowall@Digicake) and he is willing for me to come and sit in on some of his sessions (work experience kind of thing).
    My goal is to initially gain work experience with as many different people in the sound for video world as possible before hopefully getting an intern/assistance position somewhere.

    A Virtual Internship with you would be like having another rock in the family. Like my mother, a rock is always there to be able to call on when I’m at a cross road.

    Pre thanks in reading my spiel.
    Che O’Donnell-Gibson

  8. Hello Tim,
    My name is Preston and I came across your a comment you had left on the Social Sound Design website regarding taking on virtual interns in July.
    After reading through the outline of what you expect from a possible candidate I had to jump on this opportunity as I believe I can fulfill your requirements.
    I have a love for film, but have had a very difficult time gaining experience. I completed a Post Grad program specifically in Audio Post Production at Fanshawe College. I currently work in a admin/technical role managing a audio facility and have just recently lined up my first indie feature project. I have access to Pro Tools LE & HD, and have a Zoom H4n.
    I am in the process of updating my online portfolio, so I hope have examples of my work available soon. I look forward to discussing this opportunity with you soon, please feel free to contact me at p.patey@gmail.com.

    Thank you,
    Preston

    • tim says:

      I’ll be advertising for new virtual intern/s in July and will go through similar process as last time so that it is fair for everyone….

  9. Miles B. says:

    Hate to have hesitated so long to ask this question, but did I miss it or is a call for virtual interns (2010-11) yet to be posted?

    • tim says:

      Sorry, I am too busy with other stuff at the moment ie HISSandaROAR, dub45, start a new film Monday etc…
      Its at least 2 months away!

  10. Miles B. says:

    *phew* I’m just glad I didn’t miss it! :D

  11. You’re a cracker Tim.

    The successful applicant will benefit significantly from this.
    Thumbs up!

  12. Pingback: Music of Sound » Virtual Intern – iteration 2

  13. Hi Tim,
    Have you stopped the mentoring program for the foreseeable future?

    I’m in final year of my sound engineering degree, and for one assignment plan on creating small sound libraries, and having additional professional guidance would be fantastic.

    Thanks!

  14. Cesar ramirez says:

    Looking for some ideas on sound design…..are you in Los Angeles CA area?

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