Issue: March 1, 2008


In January, I wrote about Escape Studios in London and how — through Sohonet — the training facility is able to connect its eager student body with post houses that allow them to work on real jobs, and even get paid.

This “Building a Farm Team” piece resonated with some of our readers, including Kevin Seguin-Scollin, who is director of placement at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Detroit. The school has been around for 38 years and has a history of teaching radio and television broadcast skills, and more recently has gotten into video editing, graphics and the Web, offering training on Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition.

Seguin-Scollin says internships are incredibly important to building a farm team, particularly in markets such as Detroit, where a studio’s success often hinges upon the local economy. He’s found that in his market, the farm team — those with 1-3 years of experience — has dried up and he’s hoping to work with local facilities to help redevelop it. “We have entry level people galore,” he says, “people coming out of school and out of college, wanting to get into the business. What [studios] are looking for is people with 1-3 years worth of experience.”

Specs Howard does not mandate that students participate in an internship, but Seguin-Scollin says he’s found that 85 percent of the students that do “are able to turn that into some sort of a paying job,” either at the place where they interned or place they found because of their internship. “I don’t think our interns go and get coffee and donuts, and that’s all they do. A lot of stations expose the interns to as much of the business as they possibly can and allow them to grow and get some experience.”

In a perfect world, Seguin-Scollin says he’d like to see studios commit to a three-month internship, then offer paid, part-time positions that could be as little as 10 hours a week. “If they give them more duties, there would be your farm club. They’d never have to worry about how they are they going to fill this next position.”

And to get students to buy into the volunteer-first mentality, he’ll use the popular MasterCard analogy: experience = priceless.