GMS Internship Pilot: Filipa Borges Interview
This month for our newsletter, we interviewed Filipa Borges who took part in the GMS Internship pilot, spending 6 months with the sync team at Globe, who financially supported the full 12 month term of the pilot at London Living Wage, before joining Leland Music for another 6 months.
She speaks to us about her involvement in the pilot, the differences between working for a major rights holder and a music supervision company, and her plans for the future.
What motivated you to apply for the GMS internship pilot?
I just had my daughter in January last year and so I was still in uni and juggling things, but I didn’t really enjoy my course and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do afterwards. Corporate is not really for me, I believe. So I gravitated towards the music industry, already having an interest because I went to ELAM. I was still getting emails from them as there’s an alumni email system where we still get job alerts.
And then this kind of popped up. I don’t know why it interested me, but then I did more research into it. I was like, “OK, this is something I can get behind”. I feel like my motivation was more so because I wanted to do something that I loved and not just for the sake of money or stability. I wanted to do something I was actually interested in.
Did you know much about sync before? Did you have any expectations?
The word kind of frightened me because I wasn’t aware of what it was. I knew of “synchronisation” but not much about the role at all. I guess going into it, not knowing too much about sync, I didn’t really have any [expectations]. I watched some videos on the role of a music supervisor, though a lot of them were based in America, but that kind of broke it down a bit more.
How did you find the application process?
It was hard finding the time to do it as my daughter was around so what was most difficult was just finding time to do it! I tried to get support from people around me that were more familiar with the process of applying for jobs like this. So I had people helping me, prep for interviews and stuff like that. It was my first proper industry role, I always just did retail before.
Did you find that your time in retail or other previous experience gave you skills that were transferable to sync? How did you think that helped you?
I was kind of shy then, so working in retail was initially hard for me but I learned a lot of things like paying attention to detail and I feel like my organisational skills improved. So in a way, I guess some of it helped.
We know that no two days are the same, but we’d love you to talk through your average day at Globe.
I would start my day by checking my emails and seeing what’s urgent, such as a music supervisor who needed audio ASAP, so I’d try to get the MP3s and the WAVs to them, whatever they needed. Replying to clients and telling them where the project is at in terms of approval. We’d also listen to new music on a Thursday and give feedback on what could work for certain projects. We’d also have social meetings on Wednesdays where we would discuss how to keep audience engagement with certain projects. There was also a lot of admin, like helping with licences and updating newsletters and calendars which I actually really enjoyed in the end.
How did your time at Leland compare to your time at Globe?
Initially there was a lot of training. It’s really focused on me being given an introduction to music supervision and giving me information that I may not have known before.
And DISCO. Oh my goodness, DISCO organisation can be overwhelming, but when the correct metadata and tags are added, playlists are easier to find and so it’s a bit less overwhelming. So whenever we had briefs, I’d help with the playlist and gather information on previous usage to make sure that the brands are happy.
We’d also have meetings to catch up on where we’re at and what we need more support on as a team. I’d also give my opinion on the newsletter content, helping to make sure that we have good reach with people and keep up a connection with clients. I really enjoyed seeing the way that everyone at Leland connects and builds relationships. There’s always a coffee in the calendar. You end up really personalising the relationships with the people that you work with.
What were some of the differences you observed between working for a rights holder and then working for a music supervisor?
[At Globe] I had to get used to being in such a big environment, especially after being in lockdown when I was a stay at home mum and not around a lot of people. I ended up speaking to people on different floors as well and there was lots of collaboration between different labels. At Leland, it was a smaller team but I really enjoyed that as well because I feel like you can get more 1:1 time with a lot of people, so it makes for a more personalised experience.
What have you found most challenging in terms of the work but also as part of the pilot as a whole?
It’s been very hard juggling it with being a new parent, but it’s been worth it at the same time. I’ve learned a lot about time management and just preparing myself for the work day. I’ve had really good conversations with everyone in terms of how they’ve been able to get through their challenges. So I haven’t had too many times where I’ve been without advice, I wasn’t left in the dark.
Sometimes I do get imposter syndrome and sometimes you really have to motivate yourself. I’ve started writing down the things that I’ve been able to do so far though which has helped me find the areas that I may have gaps in. You really have to be someone who’s proactive and driven.
What’s been the most rewarding part of this process?
I think finding people that I still talk to now. At Globe, there’s Renee (Creative Licensing Coordinator – Film, TV & Games) – she was amazing. She’d help me out even with minor things. So I think building connections that exist outside of work has been a highlight. I would also say a highlight at Leland has been me being able to bring my existing skill set over and develop it. They’re all super open with advice and keen to help me get further.
What are your views on diversity within the sync community? What do you think our community does well and what do you think could be better?
When I first did my interviews, I was really happy to see that two Black women were interviewing me because I’d never had that before. I was a bit scared going into it and I didn’t want to expect anything so I went in with an open mind. Seeing Renee and Ricole (Creative Sync – A&R Manager, Globe) on the team made me feel a lot more comfortable because I feel like seeing yourself in these spaces does really help. And not just that, but also being able to talk to them and share experiences. I definitely want to keep advocating for people who look like me to get into these spaces.
I do feel like there’s more that can be done for parents, especially younger ones. There are a lot of young parents who are put off from pursuing what they want to do because a lot of industries don’t really promote what support is available.
Do you have any general advice for future applicants?
Don’t think that you know everything based on the research you’ve done. I said it in my interview too – at all stages of your life, you’re a student and there’s nothing that you can’t learn. Be open to all the information that’s around you. What an exec says is not more important than what somebody beside you says – every point is valid. So be respectful to everybody at every level and network across.
Keep track of the things that you’re learning, it’s so important. But also keep track of what you have knowledge of. Ask all the questions that you need answers to, whether you think they’re silly or just blatantly obvious.
Lastly, I’d say, enjoy the internship and take advantage of your surroundings by putting yourself forward for opportunities.
What’s next on the cards for you?
I’m going to Manchester. I don’t necessarily have anything lined up yet, but I’m hoping to still be involved in music there. I’m hoping to connect more with people who are in and around the music community there. If something that I want to do is not available, I’ll not let that discourage me, but my aim is to just keep building community and helping in any way that I can.
What You Can Do
If you are a sync department or music supervisor and are interested in taking part in running a GMS Internship program or if you’d like to connect with Filipa, please email email@example.com
The UK and European Guild of Music Supervisors