This summer I had the privilege to intern at Remote Control Productions in Santa Monica, founded by film composing legend, Hans Zimmer. It was an absolutely incredible opportunity, and I learned so much along the way. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Gardner-Webb University's Emily Eidson, and have the story featured on their website. Below is my full interview with Emily about my time at Remote Control Productions...
Emily: What year are you and what is your major/minor?
Christian: I am a rising senior, double majoring in Music Composition and Film & Video.
Emily: How did you "score" (pun intended) an internship with Hans Zimmer?
Christian: A Christian group called Jenny & Tyler came to perform at Gardner-Webb my freshman year. After their performance I went to talk to them, and after I told them my career goal to be a film composer, Tyler mentioned that his college roommate, Ryan Harner, had interned with Hans Zimmer at his film studio in Santa Monica. Tyler connected me with Ryan, and after chatting a long time, Ryan referred me to Remote Control Productions, Hans' studio. The studio manager recommended that I intern before my senior year, and so in the spring I applied, interviewed, and then landed the position.
Emily: Why did you choose to go to California and intern with the RCP studio?
Christian: When I was 13 or 14 I had my heart set on becoming a film composer, and ever since then, it's been my dream to go to California and work for Hans Zimmer. For me, Zimmer is the standard for music in Hollywood right now, and I believe Remote Control Productions is an important part of the future of film music. So once RCP offered me the position as a studio intern, there was no question in my mind about whether or not I would go. As cliche as it may sound, the opportunity to work for RCP and under my favorite composer was a dream come true.
Emily: I know you were a summer scholar last summer. How did this experience help you to land the internship?
Christian: The summer scholar program at Gardner-Webb is incredible, and it furthered my knowledge of the skills, equipment, and industry that I was a part of this summer. It gave me the opportunity for scholarships and awards, and provided me with the time and funding to do serious research in my field, which I would have been unable to do otherwise. That being said, RCP was less interested in my resume and more interested in my work ethic. This internship was all because of God's provision - He put people in my life at the right place and the right time to help me get the position.
Emily: Describe the internship. What were some of the main things you did and people you worked with on a daily basis?
Christian: I was placed on the front desk for the majority of my time at RCP, which consisted of standard administrative tasks and gave me lots of communication with employees. In addition, interns are allotted a weekly amount of "sit-ins," in which composers, mixers, and arrangers allow you to watch them work, oftentimes explaining their process as they do so. Before I started working at RCP I signed a non disclosure agreement, so there are certain things I'm unable to discuss, including the composers and employees I personally worked with. However, the composers that work there are public knowledge, and they include Henry Jackman, Geoff Zanelli, Lorne Balfe, and Rupert Gregson-Williams (to name a few). And, of course, Hans! As you can imagine, front desk work put me in contact with many of the composers here, as did my sit-ins.
Emily: What was your favorite part of the experience? Any highlights or special opportunities?
Christian: My favorite part of the experience was the opportunity to observe some of the best film composers in the world. It was incredibly insightful to see their equipment and methods, and it really taught me a lot, as well as showed me what I need to spend more time on in my own composition. Two special opportunities stand out from my time there. One was a composer masterclass. One of the RCP composers told us about his life as a composer and showed us scenes from an upcoming film that he had scored. The other opportunity was when I was a part of a recording session in the studio. My main role was to get the musicians and producers coffee and water, but when I wasn't doing that, I got a copy of the score and was allowed to sit and watch the session. Both opportunities were priceless, and I'll never forget those days.
Emily: What was the hardest part of the experience?
Christian: Personally, the hardest part was always keeping busy. There were many slow days at the studio, and it was tempting to sit down and just relax on a couch, and my supervisors would have been perfectly fine with that. But I knew if I kept working, even on small tasks like cleaning or preparing coffee, I would get the chance to interact with more people, so that's exactly what I did, and I think it paid off.
Emily: What are your plans for the future, and how will the internship help you in your future academic and professional endeavors?
Christian: My plans for the future are to complete my undergraduate degree and get a job in the film music industry. I would love to return to Remote Control Productions if there's a job opening! The internship provided me with valuable job experience. Additionally, Hans is a huge name in the industry, and to list his studio as job experience is invaluable. I believe that the knowledge I took away from the internship will help me as I pursue my career, and just as importantly, the experience pointed out my weaknesses, so I know what to improve upon before I graduate.
Emily: What is the main thing you took away from the internship?
Christian: It was eye-opening to see how these guys work, and it definitely showed me which skills I need to work on. Their efficiency in writing music is unbelievable because of their knowledge of the softwares they use, and I'd love to spend the next year learning those computer programs inside and out so that I can work just as efficiently.