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Issue #129

Weekly Newsletter

by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


Pensado Awards Nominates Recording Connection’s
Learn From Legends Program
for Excellence in Education!

   We are truly honored that our Learn from Legends Program has been nominated for The Excellence in Education Award by the 3rd Annual Pensado Awards.   We work to make dreams the reality for our students by enabling them to connect and make the most of opportunity. We believe in hard work, persistence, and maintaining a positive mindset. In the recording arts, learning is a lifelong pursuit that engages, inspires and informs the music we love. Real learning is nothing short of revolutionary. Recording Connection is proud to be on the forefront of that revolution.   This year’s Pensado Awards will take place at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA on August 20th. More than 800 of the recording industry’s biggest and brightest will be in attendance including a number of our great mentors. CEO Jimi Petulla and Consultant Brian Kraft will also be in attendance to represent our one of a kind program that connects aspiring audio pros with audio legends for matchless, learning, experience and opportunity.   Thank you to our close friends and colleagues for helping us with the launch and implementation of this special, one of a kind program:
  • Chris Lord-Alge
  • Bob Bullock
  • Adam Moseley
  • Vance Powell
  • Steve Genewick
  • Rafa Sardina
  • Patrick Doyle
  • Steve Marcantonio
  • F. Reid Shippen
  • Carmen Rizzo
  • John Greenham
  • Michael James
  • Michael Wagener
  • Nick Raskulinecz
  • Conway Recording
  • Ross Hogarth
  • Matt Linesch
  • Gary Wright
  • David Huff
  • Rahki
  • Jeff Balding
  • Jacquire King
  • EastWest Studios
  • Warren Huart
  • Al Schmitt
  • Bil VornDick
  • Ryan Hewitt
  • Niko Bolas
  • Jimmy Douglass
  • Detail
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Student Successes

In the chair: Recording student Darren Fewins
hones his skills with the master’s program!

Darren Fewins and Mark Christensen (seated) at Engine Room Audio

Darren Fewins and Mark Christensen at Engine Room Audio

Darren Fewins describes what it was like to recently sit at the helm in the control room of the world-renowned Engine Room Audio in New York City. His task: tracking a 5-piece band as part of his apprenticeship in the Recording Connection master’s program.   “I got to sit at that big desk and act like I was in control,” he quips. “That was amazing feeling.”   As his pronounced Australian accent reveals, Darren has traveled further than most to sit at that desk. He hails from Sydney. “My wife is from New York,” he says. “I could have had the opportunity to do the Recording Connection in Australia…I just chose to come here and do it.”   Like many who find their way into music production, Darren says he started his musical journey on the performance side of the glass, an accomplished vocalist since the age of 12. “I saw this opportunity a little later in life,” he says. “I felt the switch, like I wanted to switch to being behind the scenes and more in creativity, of songwriting…and creating music from behind the glass. And so I read about Recording Connection.”   Darren says the in-depth nature of the master’s program is really deepening his understanding of the craft of audio engineering and producing. “Everything that I thought I knew is now put under a microscope,” says Darren. “Everything that I thought I was doing correctly, I’m kind of learning maybe it wasn’t correct, or maybe I’m learning why that was correct…my horizon is just so widened.”   The master’s program isn’t just about running the board, either. Darren says he even had to find the band for his recent tracking project.   “I did it from scratch,” he says. “I didn’t know anybody in this country or city except my wife…So I went and found a band on the Internet, checked them out, went to see them, said, ‘Hey, I’m a student, and I need a band for a project, how would you like to be involved?’ Like old school.”   Darren’s mentor, Grammy-winning producer/engineer Mark Christensen, elaborates on the in-depth nature of the master’s program, and how Engine Room utilizes it to prepare students for the “real world,” from finding the band to tracking and fine-tuning the mix.   “The master’s program is pretty open ended in a way in terms of the curriculum, which is a good thing,” he says. “At Engine Room, we’ve taken that stance of trying to walk the students through the entire process, from finding the band—an A&R capacity—then doing good pre-production in terms of talking about song structure and all that, and then actually tracking them. So we’re interpreting the program in that way of trying to be very hands-on with the student, and then try to have the student really go through all of those steps in the process, because when you’re making a record, that’s all part of it.”   Darren sees his apprenticeship as a stepping stone for some big future plans. “I want to get a job as a producer,” he says. “I want to have a hand in the writing process, I’d like to bring in clients to wherever I am, and I want to bring in clients and maybe even help them go through a writing process and record…I want to be in that creative environment…eventually I’d like to have my own studio, whether that was something for myself, or something as big as [Engine Room]. I mean, that’s a huge, huge goal to have, obviously, but why not?”   Wherever the journey takes him from here, Darren believes he’s in the right place to make it happen.   “The point of Recording Connection is that you are in a real studio,” he says. “I figure you’re in the environment, you’re already getting the next step than you would in a school, you’re getting to meet people, you’re talking with people in the industry right at the very start of your course, you’re meeting people, you’re getting in that circle…I’m very lucky to be here.”   
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Apprentices in Action

A Day in the Life of Our Students

   William Wright Recording Connection student William Wright (Omaha, NB) who apprentices at Make Believe Studios with mentor Rick Carson shared his experiences on day one: “[It’s] the first day and things are different. It’s not like a normal school. I am having a personal one-on-one conversation with people. We are going through the lessons in a more hands on way then I have ever experienced before. Millions of questions run through my head at once but I’m certain that we will get to all of them in the next upcoming weeks.”   
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Mentor News

Why Film Connection mentor Bayou Bennett can’t help bragging on her students

Film Connection mentors Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett with apprentice Kim Ferrari

Film Connection mentors Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett with apprentice Kim Ferrari

Film Connection mentor Bayou Bennett, who forms one-half of the award-winning Dream Team Directors with husband Daniel Lir, is not only a top-notch director, but a true mentor who is passionate about seeing her students succeed. Case in point: when we caught up with her recently, she couldn’t help but start the conversation off by bragging on one of her star apprentices, Kim Ferrari.   “As we were developing her as an artist, she realized that she wanted to do documentary filmmaking,” says Bayou. “And that’s perfect, because part of what our production company does are documentaries. We put her on the camera, gave her some tips, and we noticed her natural ability as cinematographer. For one of her projects with us, we had her interview me on camera. As we were working with her, she was interviewing me about one of our how to videos, “How to go Viral,” I recognized she was particularly talented in drawing out the information she wanted to get. That’s one of the most important skills of being a good documentary filmmaker, as well as making the interviewees feel comfortable in front the camera when answering questions. Kim was a natural.”   Under their Hollywood-based production company banner, Dream Team Directors, Bennett and Lir have established themselves as a powerhouse husband and wife writer/director team. They are currently partnering with E.J. Johnson, the Executive Producer of NBC’s “Fashion Star” on a new project called “The Baron Of Beverly Hills” about the the life and times of one-of-a-kind Beverly Hills concierge to the elite. Kim has been a regular with Bayou and Daniel on numerous film shoots, including the TV pilot, filming a certain artist at the legendary EastWest Studios, and doing documentary work for Write Girl, an organization that empowers young female writers.   “Write Girl—is an organization dedicated to helping young women to create their own voice in writing,” Bayou explains. “We do most of their videos…They had TV stars come and perform with the young girls who were writing on stage, in front of a huge crowd. Daniel trusted her so much that he put her on one camera, and then he was on the other camera. So that night, she filmed the actual theater events, and also the red carpet interviews, and kind of got a sense for on-the-fly documentary filmmaking.”   Kim isn’t the only Film Connection student making progress under Bayou and Daniel’s mentoring. Along with making a positive mention of several other students, Bayou made a point of highlighting Charles Dauwalter’s talents as an up-and-coming film editor.   “Charles represents the youngest generation who’s breaking into the creative work force,” she says, “He edits with a fresh perspective. Sometimes I end up telling him, ‘I would have never have thought to do it like that, but it really works.’ It speaks to his generation. With all the different types of editing jobs you can get in this industry: feature films, commercials, music videos, and now, editing specifically for one minute Instagram videos which are videos we also do for our brands, there are a lot of different kinds of projects you can find editing work for. Finding out what areas you want to focus on and developing your style knowing who your audience will be can help you get the kind of work you’re after.”   Bayou’s passion for mentoring new filmmakers comes in part from her experience as a film teacher.   “I was a professor of filmmaking for a total of six years at top schools like Parsons New School in New York, New York Institute of Technology, and the San Francisco Academy of Art,” she says. “I loved teaching there. But one of the best things about the Film Connection is the 1 to 1 ratio, student to teacher. We also interview and hand pick our students with the Film Connection staff to make sure they are a perfect fit. Every student that has come to us has advanced their career. We really take the time to help and guide them to reach their ultimate goals. I also love bringing them on our film sets and enabling them to experience hands-on learning from within an actual working production environment.”   To that end, Bayou has some key advice for students coming into the Film Connection program:   “Don’t just go and learn from the book, that type of thing,” she says. “Make yourself available, and be willing to do anything…Take advantage of the fact that you are learning from professionals and just always have your ears open. Because I know Daniel and I will be in the office and our students will be editing, and I hope that they’ll take off their headphones sometimes and just listen to how we sell ourselves, how we get the job, and things like that…We’re artists, obviously, writers, directors, producers. But there’s another side, which a lot of schools don’t teach, which is the business side. You have to know how to sell yourself. You have to know how to close the job, how to get the job. So…if they’re in the office with their mentor, listen, watch what they do, watch how they dress, watch how they act, and see how they sell themselves.”   
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