I, like many of you, am really looking forward to the Semester in LA to cap off two years in Chicago. I find myself asking “Who should I intern with?” and “How much interaction will I get with certain composers?” and “Do I want to work with someone well-established or choose an up-coming-composer?”. If any of these are questions you are wondering as well, you are in luck! Cooper Rich, a Music Composition for the Screen MFA alumnus, has been kind to interview with me to get more of a glimpse into his experiences as an intern and life after graduate school!
First, here is some background about Cooper:
Cooper is a Los Angeles-based composer who is interested in composing for film, television, video games, commercials, and concert projects. He is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago’s Music Composition for the Screen program, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree. The program concluded in July of 2012 with a semester in Los Angeles, in which Cooper had the privilege to record and conduct his score for the animated short Doggonit at Capitol Records with a 32-piece orchestra.
Cooper has a strong passion for music, film, storytelling, and the interaction of these elements. His diverse musical upbringing includes being the vocalist and guitarist for Chicago-based rock n’ roll group Bat Masterson, as well as studying classical and jazz music composition and theory at Columbia College Chicago. He is also inspired by his great-grandfather, successful Tin-Pan Alley composer Ray Henderson, whose compositions such as “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and “Birth of the Blues,” have become standards in the American songbook.
Cooper interned with Mike Reagan, a seasoned composer for film, games, and television.[flickr id=”8098040373″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
What were your specific responsibilities as an intern?
My responsibilities during the internship consisted of preparing audio files to be made into sample instruments, as well as exploring, experimenting, writing, and solving any issues with Mike’s 2nd studio (Studio B), which he generously made available to me and a fellow intern.
What were the top things you learned while working with him?
The top things I learned while interning for Mike were all the business and financially related information, tips, advice, and stories that he shared, as well as learning how his studios, which are three computer rigs, are specifically set up and wired.
How much interaction did you get with Mike?
I had quite a bit of interaction with Mike, because he also taught our Game Scoring class during the Semester in L.A.. During the internship, Mike was very attentive and would come check our progress and answer any questions we had when he wasn’t composing.[flickr id=”8097990522″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
What do you wish you would have known before going to LA?
What I wish I had done more of and I encourage future students to do is contact people in the industry before coming out here. You will have a head start on building up your contacts. It is very important to connect with as many people as possible, because you never know where that next gig might be coming from.
What have you been up to since finishing the internship and graduating?