What is an Extern?

In today’s economic climate, competition for jobs is becoming more and more strenuous as prospective employees must fight to stand out among an increasingly large and well-trained group of applicants. For someone eager to break into the entertainment business, this is even more applicable. Not only does a person need to possess the talent required to make it in the industry, he/she must also have experience in the field and they need to have the right connections too. This is a who-you-know profession where simply having the skill and education can only take you so far.

Conventional wisdom says that in order to compete in this industry, you must attend an expensive four-year school that can teach you the skills you need and grant you a degree that you can show to employers. However, that is no longer enough. You must also find time to get valuable on-the-job experience, inside a real studio, on a set, or in a radio station. This will help to get your foot in the door, see how the professional side works firsthand, and meet people who are currently in the business who can be instrumental in moving your career forward. Many students now need to add a demanding internship to their schoolwork just to make this possible.

An internship in the entertainment industry is definitely a good thing on paper. You are given a chance to learn in a professional environment. You work under people who are currently in the business. You meet people who have the ability to hire you. Interns are many times pushed to the top of the pile of applicants once a job opportunity becomes available. Unfortunately, what exists on paper is not the whole story.

Being an intern in the entertainment industry can be a stressful and draining prospect. The work you are doing might not very much like “on-the-job training,” but instead more closely resemble the job of “office errand boy.”  You could end up doing tasks like making copies, picking up the dry cleaning and take out the trash — and while you may be in a professional recording studio, film production company or radio station, it probably won’t feel like it. Considering you might be given little or no time to use the equipment or show off your talent. As far as networking, you could get to meet a lot of influential people while you’re handing them their coffee.

The Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools does not offer an internship experience. We are a post-secondary institution or trade school that offers externship programs in a blended education model. The difference between our approach and other alternatives may not seem substantial to you yet but could be the difference between landing a job doing something that you love, and finding yourself at just another mindless office gig, so do your research. Interns can struggle to get their foot in the door. Externs go right through the door. Interns can get moved to the top of a pile of applications. Externs can get the skills and experience that can get them hired and keep them working and growing in their careers.

We believe externship is the most effective way to learn a trade. The concept of a mentor-extern relationship has existed for centuries, and the basis of that hasn’t changed. In our programs, you will be paired with a mentor, a person who is an expert in their field, and has been working in the entertainment business at a high level for years. Our mentors are not professors or teachers who make their living from teaching students; they are people who are currently working in this business. And you will not be one of a group of interns vying for your mentor’s attention. As an extern, your training will be one-on-one, and hands-on.

As an extern, it is understood that you are there to learn the trade from your mentor, not simply to do their chores. You are given a structured curriculum, and your mentor will make sure that you complete all your requirements before you can receive your certification. Each of your lessons is taught to you on the equipment, and you and your mentor can dictate the pace. As an intern, you might be able to get some amount of hands-on training in between errands, and if you have a question about how something is done, you may have to keep it to yourself. This externship program is designed to give you a full education, tailored to your learning style, from a mentor who knows the trade inside and out. After the six-month course, you will have the knowledge you need to start working in the business and you’ll have the-job experience that can enable you to stand out from the rest.

The mentor-extern relationship is traditionally a very strong one, and it is the backbone of this program. As an extern, you must have the commitment, integrity and character to earn the trust of your mentor. Once a mentor has given you the wealth of his/her knowledge and experience, they will want to see that knowledge put to good use. Unlike an internship where higher-ups could have difficulty remembering your name, our mentors are invested in you and your success in the industry.

During the program, your mentor will introduce you to people in the studio, production company, or radio station that can help shape your career in a variety of ways. As was stated earlier, entertainment is a WHO YOU KNOW industry, and your mentor will help to get your name out there to the people who can help you not only to break into your first job in the business, but also your second, third and fourth job down the line. A recommendation from a successful mentor in the entertainment world can be more valuable than any degree money can buy, and even the most prestigious internship cannot set you up half as well as a handshake with the right person.

Trying to break into entertainment takes a lot of hard work and determination, no matter how you go about it. What makes the difference is where you are able to direct your effort. In an internship, your hard work might be put toward fulfilling tasks and assignments that have little to do with the field of audio engineering, or filmmaking, or broadcasting. And the opportunities that arise from an internship are not always the kind that put you on the right path. The Recording Radio Film Connection & CASA Schools offers externship program delivered in person and online in a blended education model. Our externships are designed grant you the opportunity to learn a trade, get experience, and make connections all at the same time. The job market is competitive. We believe it’s smart to use every advantage you can get. This way your hard work, commitment, and dedication can be put towards helping you build the career you want.

Learn how these externs became success stories:

“At first, like many I’m sure, I was somewhat intimidated. The majority of my experience with studios up to that point had been in the form of small in-home project studios with little more than a pair of monitors, a USB audio interface and a MIDI controller. When I first started interning with my mentor, Jesse … I was overwhelmed by the staggering amount of outboard gear, instruments and gigantic mixing consoles; but as I quickly learned, my previous years of experience had set the foundation for me to fairly easily learn my way around unfamiliar DAW’s like Pro Tools and the unique set-up of the studio’s consoles and patch bays. Once those obstacles were overcome, my sit-in sessions with Jesse’s clients turned into a collaboration of ideas and unique approaches to common methods of recording and producing music. Song arrangement, melodies and harmonies have always come pretty naturally to me but it wasn’t until interning in a professional recording studio that my productions went from just being creative to being refined.”

“Music production is something that up until recently, I had no idea what it was really about. I was always someone that was much more concerned with the playing / singing / songwriting aspect of music. At some point, maybe three of four years ago now, I slowly began to realize that when a song is first composed, it’s really still like a diamond in the wrought that point. It needs to be cleaned up, polished, and cared for.”

Mark Maksymiuk - Recording Connection Audio School Student
Mark Maksymiuk
Sterling Heights, MI

“The best way to become a music professional is to constantly increase your knowledge and apply that knowledge any chance you get and you will eventually develop a strategy that works for you.”

Chelsey Heidenreich - Recording Connection Audio School Student
Chelsey Heidenreich
Spokane, WA

“One thing that surprised me the most about myself is that the only way to gain experience in the industry is to actually take part in it. The best way to learn about studio work is to learn it hands on. I had the confidence to jump in, listen carefully, and ask questions.”

“I loved talking to all the new faces that I would meet and bump into at the studio. I felt like I had connected with a lot of people there and multiple levels. “I embrace the fact that I was welcomed into the studio as one of team and I was treated with more than enough respect. It was one of the best bonding experiences that I have had the privilege of enjoying.”

Linda Yockey - Recording Connection Audio School Student
Linda Yockey
Las Vegas, NV

“I was in the middle of recording my own album when I started Recording Connection. I was able to record all of my vocal tracks … and my mentor mixed the album on analog equipment. It sounds great!”

Anthony Cotton - Recording Connection Audio School Student
Anthony Cotton
Atlanta, GA

“What surprised me the most was how effortless it felt, it was just second nature. I would go to the studio around 3pm and leave around 8 am and be the last one left in the building. The music industry really has endless hours and it takes a lot of time, dedication, and sacrifice in order to reach your full potential. The studio life is like a family its a lot about relationships, bonding, laughs, making artist feel comfortable but at the same time remaining professional. Now that the program is over I want to branch out to producing. I want to build a house hold name and to be recognized through my music.”

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