Shaina House spent her final semester for the Music Composition for the Screen MFA program in LA (learn more about that opportunity here) with Emmy award winner Trevor Morris. She shared her experience with me, and I’m so glad I can share it with you!
Who did you intern with?
I interned with Trevor Morris! He’s a wonderful, passionate composer.
What were your specific responsibilities?
At first, I was a shadow to Tyler (the tech assistant) who took care of Trevor’s entire setup/rig. This ranged from troubleshooting his DAW and interfaces in his room to making charts for when soloists would come in to record. I also set up Protool sessions for the new episodes coming in and created their respective folders on the server. When those fun things weren’t happening, I also helped out around the studio, organizing cables, answering phones, and picking up (and delivering) drives from the certain studio lots where the post production suites of the shows were.
What are two top things you learned while there?
1. Probably one of the things I’ve learned that will stay with me is how to manage your life as a composer and as a businessperson. One thing that I might have been disillusioned about with regards to the Film Music Business is getting the gig and just getting to write the music I felt was best for the project (probably from previous collaborations). In actuality, I not only have to write the best music I possibly can, but I also have to keep the relationship strong, keep clients happy, and collaborate with not only the director but also producers, the post production team, and my own team. Being a hermit, basking in the dim light of your computer screen, surrounded by your own scores, doesn’t do anything for you out here, brilliant music or not.
2. Another thing I’ve learned is that there is little to no room for mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you are the top dog or just the intern (hahaha). It’s a ruthless business we’re in out here, and a mistake from anyone on the team can hinder any part of the process. So, supporting each other and keeping everyone in the loop on what’s happening on the project is an important part of being successful.[flickr id=”8191087282″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
How much interaction did you get with the composer?
I interact with Trevor every day! He was a little intimidating at first, but once I started to get to know him, I realized we had a lot more in common than I would’ve thought.
What do you wish you would have known before you went to LA?
Protools**. A lot more of Protools. Hahahaha. Trevor also uses Cubase, whereas I focused on Logic, but it would’ve been nice to explore other DAWs more in-depth to see the advantages/disadvantages of the different programs. I also wish that I had learned how to market myself better and learn some more about business practices.[flickr id=”8191086998″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
What have you been up to since finishing the internship and graduating?
Well when the internship was up, Trevor asked me to stay on an be a part of the team! So, besides being a “Production Assistant” during the day, I’m also working on two game projects. One is a large-scale, in-depth RPG game that I’m writing the music to and attempting to sound design! The other game is being created for an IGF student competition and designed more as a mobile game. Both are very fun, and I’m learning a lot about myself as a composer and the game-making process!
Thank you so much, Shaina, for the valuable insight on your awesome internship! It is good to hear from you, and I hope all continues to go well!
**The coursework has actually changed now so graduate students spend a year working in Pro Tools and a year in Logic. Thanks to the new program directors for making that change!