We love writing about audio graduates who are making waves in the industry, and Sam Wickens is doing just that.
The up-and-coming producer graduated from our London campus in January 2016, and now works for Capital FM as part of the Audio Production team.
“I’m the Audio Production Assistant. It’s basically a starter role to become an Audio Producer creating all the audio content that you hear on Capital FM and Capital XTRA” Sam told SAE.
“So all the promos that you hear, sweepers, top of hours, the branded intros - all of that content is made by six people.”
Becoming one of those six people was no easy feat, with Sam doing a three month unpaid internship before he secured his spot at Capital.
"If I didn’t have the acquired Pro Tools skills that SAE taught me, I wouldn’t be where I am. I would have found it so difficult to impress during my internship. I use Pro Tools all day everyday and many of the skills and techniques I use are based on things I’ve learned at SAE."
“After graduating I volunteered at a lot of places and tried my hand at various audio roles from live sound to post production. I wanted to get an idea of what I'd like to do for a career - so work experience was a great way for me to figure that out. When it got to the summer, I still didn’t have a job so I picked up a sales position at a music magazine. It wasn’t really what I wanted to do, but it paid the bills and I thought it would be a good way to make some connections. After two months, I couldn’t give up my dream making my passion my career, so I left and decided to take a new approach. I did some research and found key contacts at the biggest radio and television companies. I wanted to catch people’s attention, so I wrote letters instead of sending generic emails.”
To ensure the letters didn’t get tossed aside, Sam also did something a little out of the ordinary.
“Thinking I was going to have to be a tea boy, I wrote “By the way, I make a great cup of tea” and then I put a teabag in the letter.”
It seems the English do really love a nice cuppa, as not long after Sam received an influx of responses and following a meeting with Capital was offered an internship.
“I did a three month internship, all unpaid. It was two days a week, however after the first week I wanted to do three days and then from week three to week twelve I asked to do five days a week unpaid. I loved the work and it was free education. I never wanted to leave. Plus, I never actually had to make a cup of tea for anyone. I was thrown straight in the driving seat with production on air after the first week. I did offer though.”
“Then a few days before Christmas my boss called me into the studio and said they wanted to offer me a job, and that was it. I was astonished and obviously very happy.”
Sam is now based at Capital’s Leicester Square office, creating audio content for over eight million listeners every day and working with some of the biggest brands in commercial deals.
“There’s plenty of perks with the job. I get to work at the Jingle Bell Ball and the Summertime Ball - the concerts at Wembley and the O2. We are the guys back stage editing the audio, editing the interviews and we put it all out on air. The pressure can be intense though, sometimes we’ll receive raw audio and then have two minutes to edit it and get it out on air. It’s such a rush.”
He said his training at SAE prepared him for the industry and is still relevant in his workplace today.
“If I didn’t have the acquired Pro Tools skills that SAE taught me, I wouldn’t be where I am. I would have found it so difficult to impress during my internship. I use Pro Tools all day everyday and many of the skills and techniques I use are based on things I’ve learned at SAE. I remember once that I failed an assignment at SAE because I didn’t label something right. I learned a harsh lesson that day about the importance of attention to detail. Now, if I don’t label a piece of audio correctly, that could be the difference between over eight million people hearing it or not.”
SAE would like to wish Sam every success with his future endeavours. To listen to Sam’s work, check out his showreel on Soundcloud.