After much thought, I would have to say the best thing about the LA Program are the opportunities that become available to you just by being out here and meeting with people.
The industry workshops the program offers are the best icebreakers for meeting people who have been living in Los Angeles and have experience working in music. If I found a workshop particularly interesting, I would ask as many questions as I could, whether it was during the workshop, after the workshop by going up and talking with the speaker, or through emails.
Sending follow-up emails with questions was a great route to go because this kept me in touch with various industry professionals. One workshop was about artist management, a job that I am very interested in. By staying in touch with the manager who spoke to us, I was put on the guest list to go see one of his acts in Hollywood. This was a great perk that I enjoyed just by being a part of the LA Program.
The best opportunity I received was through my actual internship. The first week I was in LA for the program, all the Berklee participants had to attend an orientation with the Intern Services Coordinator, Justine Taormino. She gave me great advice about making the most out of the internship experience. She encouraged me to try and become acquainted with as many people that worked at my company as possible. She gave us many ideas of how to do this including simply saying hello and being friendly, buying them a coffee in exchange to pick their brains, or offering assistance on any work projects.
In following this advice I showed my co-workers that I was eager to learn, had prior knowledge of some aspects of the music business, and had a strong work ethic. I was able to work on some very cool projects including creating a book that had artwork and liner notes for every album owned by the label I was interning with. That book was then given to many major industry professionals including heads of the major record companies. In the end, I eventually got to know the CEO of the company and that inturn lead to a job offer.
These were just a few of the many opportunities I was able to be a part of during the LA Program. I remember talking with my roommate at dinner one night about our internships. We both came to the idea and agreed that if someone had told us 10 years ago what we were going to be doing today, we would not have believed them. Berklee truly has given me many great opportunities and I recommend to anyone who participates in the program to really make the most of it. Absorb as much as you can, talk to as many people as you can, and keep in touch with all the people you meet.
Scott Sapcariu, LA Program participant (Summer 2009), is the Digital Assets Supervisor for Avenue Records in Los Angeles. Contact Scott via email: ssapcariu at berklee dot net.