Audio Pro Network has been a labor of love of mine for over 10 years. Although the mentorship platform is only a few years old, it's really just a continuation of the way I've always conducted my professional life. Training and educating interns and assistants I've worked with through the years has always been something I naturally did and enjoyed. So I guess you could say I've always been a mentor and I think that's because I entered the business into a very generous stable of mentors at the first company I worked for. I was lucky.
Creating the mentorship platform was simply a natural progression to solve the problem I saw young people having entering the industry. With so much competition, and audio curriculums in so many more colleges and universities, I imagined that finding a job would be really tough when starting out, not to mention finding an internship. Professional Studios seem to have less time to invest in training from the ground up these days. I’ve experienced this in some of the facilities I’ve worked, at or for, over the past 15 years. Management unfortunately has only been interested in hiring people that already possessed the necessary skills to get the job done. This got me wondering if I could do something to help, so I created Audio Pro Network as a sort of prep school for the industry. It’s a place where young graduates can get an edge on the competition and make connections that would be impossible to do on their own.
Everyone currently on the APN mentorship platform has a tailored individual experience depending on what school they attended, if they attended one at all. Some young people have great interpersonal skills and some don't; some are shy; some are outspoken. Most of them just need a boost of confidence and help getting organized. Also, most members know digital audio workstation software well enough, but don't know the real-world workflow that employers need. We include these very important things; interpersonal skills, real world Pro Audio workflow, all while enabling a work ethic that can only be learned on the job. This is how Audio Pro Network supports, prepares and inspires young people for success.
The mentorship program has a lot of great success stories, some are monumental and some of them are the results of just creating an inspiring environment for members to push past their personal challenges. These are examples of how belonging to a community like this can be life changing in ways you may never have anticipated.
Success Story 1
I met one young member at a studio I rent from time to time. She was interning there and helped to set me up for my session. Obviously knowledgeable enough to make some complicated patches in the machine room and set up my project. We got talking and I offered her an introductory membership to the mentorship platform. We worked together on her organizational skills and finding inspiration. She has already achieved a lot on her own and has proven herself in many areas. One of my professional members reached out to me looking for some new young talent for his world class mixing stage in New York City. I recommended her wholeheartedly and her in-person interview is coming up in a few days. I think this story exemplifies that it takes one person to change someone's life. Over thirty years ago someone made a similar recommendation for me and it changed my life. It's my mission with the mentorship platform to do the same for all APN members.
Success Story 2
Another success story is with a young man who really wasn't sure what kind of audio he wanted to get into. Honestly I don't think he was sure that he wanted to get into audio at all!! I took him under my wing on the network and we had many conversations about his career direction. An internship came up at a local studio I knew and I was able to get him in there for a six-week commitment. While he was interning I coached him in Pro Tools, we worked on his resume and website, and he completed many practice projects. He finally decided that audio was something he needed to do, so he enrolled in a proper audio school to fully immerse himself. Of course he remains a member of the mentorship platform and continues to grow. Using some of the business coaching he's received from me, he has found a few podcasting clients and is developing his own business acumen. Audio Pro Network succeeded in giving him direction in life. Of course he put in the work, but if he did not keep an open mind and was never a part of APN he probably would never have found his calling. I’m extremely proud of this story.
Success Story 3
The third story is about a young man who wants to compose music for video games. Having already gone to school for music but knowing nothing about audio sequencing and digital audio workstations, we were starting from the ground up. I coached him in the software and hardware he needed to purchase to compose music for games. We worked on his website, resume and networking tactics. A year later he has a wonderful website with many aspiring music demo tracks and has scored several games for a small developer. I was also able to put him in direct contact with a sound engineer that works at a major AAA game studio. They were able to have multiple inspiring conversations. This is certainly a contact that may become a transformational one as this young man's career advances. I can't emphasize enough that making connections is one of the superpowers of APN. Connecting members on the mentorship platform with our professional members is only one of the features that breaks new ground in the audio industry.
Success Story 4
The fourth and final story I'm going to present here today is about a young woman that went to school for audio recording and did very well, but truly felt lost after graduation. Unfortunately a very typical story, but this is where the Audio Pro Network mentorship platform shines. Knowledge of the audio industry is something her parents just didn't have experience in, so this is where I stepped up to help. I was able to coach her and after many communications she decided that she wanted to do sound effects for games. Together we mapped out a plan and she's working on executing that plan everyday. When she's ready I'll promote her on the professional platform and reach out to companies on her behalf.
Although there are no guarantees with the platform, what I can promise is a transformational experience. And as with any platform like this, you will get back what you put in. There is no quick fix to getting a job in audio, you need to do the work. Keep in mind, Audio Pro network is not just about community, coaching, job search, and making industry connections. It’s all of those things and so much more. In an industry that's getting more competitive every year, APN will help people succeed through sustained collaboration and a positive spirit.
One thing that is intangible in mentoring is the ability to quantify success after the fact. This begs the question; if you were never a member of Audio Pro Network would you be achieving the same success on your own? For some members that are advanced it’s hard to tell, but it’s been proven time and time again that a connection, an inspiring conversation, or a new insight gained, can be life changing. I’ve experienced these seemingly small events in my career arc many times - small events that were indeed life changing for me. For those members that do need more organization, exposure to new people, and help ‘breaking out of their shell’, APN can show very tangible and obvious results quickly. I expose members to real world workflow, industry professionals, and situational life examples that are indicative of my personal style and customized based on my relationship with each individual. It’s a two way street as I learn as much from my mentees as they learn from me. It’s collaboration, which is why it works.