Marginalia, Graduate Blog

LA Internship — Pick Bickmore (Atli Örvarsson)

Steven Spiel

Pick Bickmore Recording Session

Pick Bickmore Recording Session

The culminating experience of being a student at Columbia’s Music Composition for the Screen MFA program is the Semester Internship in LA. The fifth semester is 5 weeks long and spent in the heart of American cinema, interning with some of the greatest composers out there. Pick Bickmore, class of ’12, shared some excellent insights into his fabulous internship in LA with Atli Örvarsson at Hanz Zimmer’s Remote Control Studiios. Read what he had to say!

What were the top two things you learned during your internship?

If you’re going to be a tech and you’re asked to do something, just say yes. And when you’re done, say you’re done. Just Google it if you don’t know how to do it. You’re never the first one with a problem. Don’t tell the guy you’re working for the story of your life of how you did it and any drama that entailed. He’s hiring you to make his life less stressful. He doesn’t want to think about it. Also, do things that you think will help that he or she may not ask for. Like getting documents organized, serial numbers in order, make some sounds, whatever.

Atli Örvarsson

Atli Örvarsson

Photo Credit: http://www.hans-zimmer.ch/news_detail.php?id=1198

How frequent was your interaction with the Atli?

Everyday, 11-5, for a month. After SLA, which was unusual.

Is there anything else you think would be helpful to current or prospective students?

This is your best question. As soon as you get here, get a job. A crappy job. Start applying. The Apple Store and Guitar Center don’t count. Those are dream jobs out here, and they’re already taken, so don’t waste your time. Don’t depend on whomever you’re interning for to hire you. Their rig was working just fine before you got there. I asked a guy at Ikea how long it took for him to get his job. He said, “Pretty fast! Only 3 months!” That should be an indicator about jobs out here.

Goal one is to make ends meet. EVERYONE has a side job starting out. If you want to make it in LA, you’ve got to pay rent first, you know? It takes a while for these places to hire people. I was lucky to keep my side job, as I was hired seasonally. I’m still looking for non-musical side work. Really consider taking out all the loans you can to have a buffer, and invest in yourself, too. You can leave your crappy side job at anytime if lightning strikes, and you get hired as an assistant, but first thing’s first.

Pick Bickmore with Gary Chang

Pick Bickmore with Gary Chang

What have you been up to since you finished your internship?

I just finished my first indie feature! I’m very excited about it. Music will be released soon—hopefully with the movie in about a month or two. It should make a big festival run. It’s called Solomon Grundy. Updates here.

Thanks so much to Pick for sharing these insights! Good luck to you in LA!

If you want to get in touch with Pick, or listen to some of his music, check out his website here!

LA Internship — Pick Bickmore (Atli Örvarsson)

The culminating experience of being a student at Columbia’s Music Composition for the Screen MFA program is the Semester Internship in LA. The fifth semester is 5 weeks long and …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Steven Spiel, steven.spiel@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605