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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER April 30, 2018 by Liya Swift


Film Connection student Jacob Sizemore Gets in, Gets Working in Film and Video

film student

Film Connection graduate Jacob Sizemore (Dallas, TX)

During his senior year of high school Jacob Sizemore (Dallas, TX) started thinking seriously about a career in film, TV, and video production. He wanted to set himself on the path to earning a living doing commercial jobs by building his own production company with the ultimate goal of making his own movies.   First Jacob first needed a film school he could afford, one “that had a primary focus on film school or just film in general,” he says, and when he found Film Connection online, “it looked like it was going to send me right into the field of film, and that’s why I joined. Thankfully, that’s exactly what I got out of it.”   In his student blog, Jacob talks about how busy he’s been since starting his externship with Film Connection mentor Deen Olatunji: “I went from casually messing with a RED camera to directing, acting, editing, and writing several films, music videos and TV series in the span of about 3 months. In short, this is the most intense, stressful, and fun time I’ve ever had making films.”   In fact, when we caught up with Jacob, he was still going strong and was right in the midst of capturing some B footage for his mentor’s TV show pilot, a comedy he describes as dealing with “Nigerian culture integrating into America and how the two different cultures collide.”   Speaking of the project, Jacob says, “We’re almost done shooting it. We got done with the primary shoots. We’re doing some B footage right now are starting the editing process.”   Having already completed a “nostalgia-based music video” which was shot, directed, and edited by Jacob himself, prior to coming to Film Connection, he came in ready to hit the ground running. Thanks to our flexible approach, that’s exactly what happened. Jacob’s first days in the program were spent assisting his mentor Deen and the crew on wrapping up a commercial project for a local church, shot on RED cameras. Once that was completed, he assumed the post of co-director and camera operator on the TV series. And, as is the way in film, coming up with solutions on-the-fly was a skill he had the chance to sharpen, day after day. He and the DP, Film Connection graduate Noah Cook soon came up with a system for making sure they could get their shots without running behind schedule:   “When we were on set we would come across camera angles that are really awkward or the location wasn’t as visually appealing as we thought. So the DP and I had to get really creative with the environments…We would get on set early, and say, ‘Okay, this isn’t going to work, this isn’t going to work, this isn’t going to work,’ and we would light them a certain way…The entire experience of shooting was incredibly exhausting…but it was fun.”   And that’s not all. Jacob recently completed his own short film, These Lost Souls, which Deen helped him produce. Described as a “post-apocalyptic mystery adventure suspense thriller” Jacob says he wrote the script without paying much attention to budgetary concerns. So when Deen greenlit the project, Jacob had to find creative ways to make his movie for a fraction of the cost he’d laid out in his original budget. He, Noah, and a number of Film Connection students got super creative, quick:   “We filmed at Noah’s parents’ house, which is basically just hundreds and hundreds of acres of land with several large houses we could use, and it makes the whole entire film look incredibly expensive when it really [didn’t cost] too much…I hired and interviewed several actors, one of which actually was in Black Panther recently.”   Jacob says directing on such a large project really pushed him to get out of his comfort zone and step up to the plate:   “The entire shooting experience was above and beyond anything I’ve ever done before. I was used to directing [on a] very small budget with very few people…but this film required a lot of people on set and required two camera operators and several other people who had control of lighting, sound, and I had never, ever attempted to control that many people before, including the actors who were basically all relying on me to get my crap together.   Despite the challenges Jacob and the crew pushed on:   “Weather was crappy, stuff went missing, actors showed up late. But we all got it done, and I am very, very, very proud of the final product that we finally shot. I’m actually editing it right now, and it’s looking really, really good.”   Now, having recently completed Film Connection, Jacob is the proud owner of his own production company and already has a number of projects on the slate, including another music video and a commercial for a local business. He’s also in the process of writing his next screenplay.   With his ultimate goal of owning his own production company and making his own movies fast coming into focus, Jacob is glad he made the choice to expand his filmmaking knowhow in a hands-on, industry-oriented manner:   “Joining this program has basically gotten me very, very comfortable with working with a large group of people, with getting familiar with the delicacy of shooting a scene…Basically the Film Connection opened a ‘crapton’ of doors for me and I’m infinitely better than what I was. I’m not saying I was pitiful or anything, but compared to what I was, I am immensely more well-educated in the filmmaking process. It’s been extremely, extremely helpful.”  
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Audio Innovator Brian Frederick Helps Driven
Creatives Launch Careers in Music

Recording Connection mentor Brian Frederick

Recording Connection mentor Brian Frederick

Driven by a passion to innovate and enrich the world through sound, Recording Connection mentor Brian Frederick is the co-owner of Hybrid Studios in Santa Ana, CA and teaches the Ableton and Pro Tools programs, both beginning and advanced.   Brian stays busy helping great sounding music become realized as an audio engineer, mixing engineer, music producer, and artist. Along with business partner Miguel A. Vasquez, Brian is also the co-owner of Stacks FX, a pedal-based boutique effects company. Speaking of the vision behind the venture, he says, “What we’re trying to do is create unique pedals, unique effects that people haven’t done yet.”   Stacks FX pedals, featuring effects like overdrive and temelo, have caught on with a number of artists. Stack FX Fuzz Gazer pedal can even be heard on the Foo Fighters’ Grammy-winning single “Run” and appears elsewhere on the same album (Concrete and Gold).   Brian’s path of coming up in the industry as an audio engineer is one he strongly recommends for those with the right temperament. After spending a number of years recording local bands he landed a position at a very wellknown Los Angeles recording studio where he worked with artists like DJ Quik, 2 Chainz, WG, DJ Mustard. That also led to work with Isabella Summers, better known as Machine of Florence and the Machine.   Brian says the time he spent as an audio engineer helped him to learn a lot, simply by being in the room with some of today’s biggest producers:   “Because I was an engineer, I got to see behind the curtain how these guys worked and their approaches, then adapt[ed] that to the way I produce. It increased my efficiency and my skillset as a producer exponentially to be in a room, not with someone thinking I was competing or trying to steal their tricks, but instead, I was there to help support whatever it was that they were doing.”   Brian believes putting oneself in service of the producer, the artist, and the song is paramount. For him, when it comes to engineering, there’s no room for ego, or looking to put one’s mark on a track. Instead, he advises newcomers to listen, deeply, to the song at hand, saying, “Just shut your brain up and listen with your earballs, and feel. What is it telling you? Then ask [yourself], ‘What does the song need?’”   A number of the apprentices/externs whom Brian has mentored are hard at work building their careers. Recent graduate Luke Davies and his band Of Limbo got signed to a management deal and are going on tour throughout much of the U.S. and Canada. Matthew Serafino, who started Recording Connection “not really having many production chops” just finished an EP. Recording Connection grad Mike Wiener also just released a couple of eclectic sounding EP’s and is now delving deeper into vocals. And aspiring music producer Matthew Barth, a graduate of both the Pro Tools program and the Ableton program, regularly comes to Brian with “six to eight beats a week.”   With so many of Brian’s former externs actively making their ways in the world of music, it’s no surprise when Brian tells us growth comes in the doing: “For every two hours you spend with your mentor, you should be spending 20 hours at home every week. Go to the open mics, go to the bars, go find shi_ty musicians and make shi_ty recordings.”   For those willing to go the distance, Brian says he’s right there to help them grow and realize their goals:   “I take very seriously when someone comes to me and says, ‘I want to do this now.’ If you’ve decided to make that decision and you’ve committed financially to go and take the time to learn this, then I am going to match you and exceed your passion for this to help drive you and motivate you. That may be by pushing you to practice more at home or giving you extra assignments that might not necessarily be in the curriculum, but will help you achieve what you want to do…   If this is what you want to be and there’s nothing else you want, then there shouldn’t be anything else you’re doing… Your dream is to be an engineer or producer. So live and breathe being that until you are that.”  
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   Doucheaholics Film Connection   We’re proud to announce the award-winning digital web-series Doucheaholics is now streaming on iTunes where it’s topping the charts in 4 categories!   Written and directed by Film Connection mentor Sean McCarthy of Guerilla Wanderers (SF Bay Area), the comedic web-series has enabled a number of our students to build their real world filmmaking knowhow, hands-on.      
Film Connection grad Alex Geranios Doucheaholics Premiere

Alex Geranios, Doucheaholics premiere

Alex Geranios worked on production on-set and served as assistant editor in post-production. Alex also produced & edited over 35+ spots & promotional materials for Doucheaholics.   Eric Whitehead worked on promotional trailers and produced behind the scenes segments and the event video of the Doucheaholics premiere.   Nika Finch got going on the social media and served as PA on behind the scenes for “Laura,” and worked as well as editing extern for “Laura” and other promos.         Fay Garrison As the recipient of the 360° Fender Brand Experience, Recording Connection grad Fay Garrison (Los Angeles, CA) is learning straight from producer/mixer/engineer Adam Moseley at Fender’s corporate offices. A classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist, Fay defies categorization. Led by a deep love for guitar, EDM production, and film scoring, she’s making the most of the opportunity to delve in deep and learn from one of music’s greats:   “I am so thankful to be participating with Fender whose creative efforts have impacted people in profound and meaningful ways…I feel so happy to be able to have the in-depth music discussions that I can’t have with most people who might not understand because they haven’t had the same exposure and learning experience I have had. Recording Connection, in that sense, is awesome because it provides people with the opportunities to be involved with electronic music at whatever level a person might be at.”     
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Check Out Our Students’ Work

    Heard our Student Music Mixtape yet? In partnership with Symphonic Distribution, we’re excited to help our students get their music out to the world!   The Recording Connection is now offering this great opportunity for our students to broaden their understanding of the new role digital distribution companies like Symphonic Distribution can play in helping release their tracks and propel their careers forward!       


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