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Issue #233

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Film Connection grad Steven Hadrych III
Says Yes to Challenge at Roland!

Film Connection graduate Steven Hadrych III on Roland set

Film Connection graduate Steven Hadrych III

In 2017, Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduate Steven Hadrych III volunteered to work an RRFC shoot at Roland’s Artist Relations Office in Burbank, CA. That gig led to him getting hired by Roland after their Video Production Manager, Marc Esquivel casually mentioned that a paid entry-level position was opening up. Steven walked his resume into Roland’s offices and was put on the payroll soon after that. Since that time, he’s taken every opportunity to work hard, learn, and say yes to the challenges that come his way. It’s paid off. He’s moved up to a fulltime position in Roland’s Video/Marketing Department where he’s producing, assistant directing, editing, and running the camera on studio shoots and live-streams.   So tell us about the killer exhibit you worked at NAMM this year.   “[At Roland] they knew I had a video switching background… … Because whether there are internal sales webinars or there are webcasts, [over time] I’ve gotten a more involved role doing video switching which entails me communicating with the team and calling out which shots to get… So at The NAMM Show this year, Marc cast me to run point on full Pro AV video setup. So that meant taking care of all of the plugins that go from our control room to the two LED screens. So, we had a front main stage LED screen and then we had one on the back that was outside the booth so people could see what was going on and could come in. So Marc would video switch the outside screen and I would switch the main stage LED screen. We had to run two video switchers so we could have independent control of each screen and make sure all the cables run to the rack that splits the signal out to both of those. I’ve had experience running video switching before, but never have I been tapped to basically do it from a ground-up design…That was an awesome opportunity that was given to me. I’m super grateful for that because not only did that go off without a hitch, thankfully, but I also learned a whole lot more about our Pro AV products.”   So it was a super technical job which had to be done on a very large scale which you had never done before. Were you nervous when asked you to do the project?   “When it came around to me, [I said, ‘Oh yes, I’ll do it.’ Then in the back of my mind, I’m like, “Holy cow, you haven’t done this before.’… I knew what needed to happen, since I’ve had experience with each of the video components in separate situations… I just had to make sure that we had the right amount of cabling… I made sure I planned everything out on a spreadsheet, and I had my inputs written down. There was going to be no questions asked on where is something going. As long as I had everything written down on the spreadsheet, it was one to one, and we didn’t have any issues.”   What’s another recent Roland project you’re proud of?   “One that I’m really proud of is the GO:MIXER PRO video because that one was a continuous 360° shot that involved three different locations. Ryan Rundle [the director] wanted to give a full scope of the product being in use in three different locations. So each location takes place in a half circle. Then it’ll wipe across the screen, then it goes into another setting. And getting the wipes right was key. You really had to have the camera in the right spot and communicate that properly to the crew so they knew that we had all the pieces in the right place…That one really pushed the limits of my knowledge of assistant directing, but at the same time, I grew from it. So I know I said this with you last time that we interviewed. I’ll say it again. The Film Connection really did give me the essential foundation that I needed to make it in the studio industry.”   So what are your long term goals? When you look ahead, where is it you want to go?   “Within the next few years, I want to make that step to being more of a DP (Director of Photography), shooting material more, and potentially, down the line becoming an assistant director or director. I’ve picked up producing, which I didn’t think I was interested in. And I even said it when I was in [Film Connection] but producing is a very interesting beast. You’ve got to manage the budget. You’ve got to find the right locations in the right time that hit the visual look the director is looking for. And you’ve got to get those call sheets out, make sure everyone responds back, knows where they’re going. Handle the invoices, close the budget, and so on. Of course, it’s easier said than done.”   So what enabled you to move up at Roland? How did it happen?   “The marketing team was going from national, in the U.S., to global. There was a need. They were already looking at the possibility to bring me on fulltime. It was just a matter of working certain details out. I was able to video switch, run a second cam [and] I had already done some assistant directing with Ryan a couple times. [Plus, they needed] an additional in-house studio editor to edit these in-house videos that were being shot about their new products and what their features were. They needed to have another person manage those shoots when they happened. And thankfully enough, I was around and was totally down to stay.”   It’s another classic case of opportunity meeting preparedness. What can Film Connection students do now to make the most of their externships? What’s your advice?   “When you go into it, really soak up all of that information because it’s the foundation of what you need to know in the industry. You guys cover all the assets of cinematography, lighting, different lighting styles and how to use those lighting styles to convey emotion or character traits and personalities. And then the three phases of production, what each role is responsible for. If it’s a bigger crew, you can have tiers of assistant directors and tiers of producers, and knowing how to generate a call sheet, shot list, a storyboard, scripts, outlines. The Film Connection sets the fundamentals up for us. As students, we’ve got to obtain and just soak up all that information because it lays the groundwork for what we’re able to do for the rest of our careers.”   View Film Connection’s in-industry programs.      
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Mentor News

Recording Connection mentor Danny Allen
on Mentoring, Working with Artists, and Active Listening


Recording Connection mentor Danny Allen at War Drum Mixing

Recording Connection mentor audio engineer Danny Allen (Eddie Money, Christopher Hopper, We Are Messengers, Derek Johnson – Jesus Culture) of War Drum Mixing, in Upstate New York, is big on sharing the knowledge he’s acquired during his years in the industry. He expects the students he trains as externs to be active listeners who are downright consumed by the need to do audio, rather than some desire to be a big shot.   So Danny, what made you want to be an audio engineer in the first place?   “I fell in love with music when I was about maybe five years old, when I first saw my grandfather, a big bluegrass musician. I mean, he can play almost anything. It’s incredible, and he used to play for hours and hours and hours, and I would just watch him. And he taught me to play the mandolin when I was six. And maybe six months or a year later I actually started performing on stages at bluegrass festivals. So my first genre that I got into was bluegrass. Which if you were to see me, I do not look like a bluegrass type of guy. But that was kind of where I got my start. From mandolin then I learned guitar and bass and piano, and then I started fiddling around with drums, and then just tried to get my hands on any instrument I could, and now I can dabble in just about anything with strings.   So that went on until I was about 16 or 17 or so. I went with a couple other musician friends down to Nashville, to a conference that had a lot of big name musicians and things like that, and there were workshops and that whole deal, and there was one class the whole week which was dedicated to audio engineering. I was like, you know, I’m eventually going to get into recording. I should at least see what the process is like. So I sat in on that class and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. The whole process, from setting up to how the audio engineer interacted with the musicians, and how they went over the tapes, just capturing those magic moments. It just captivated me. I left that conference thinking, ‘Well, this is it. This is what I’ve got to do. I don’t even care about my own music anymore. I want to be part of other people’s music.’”   Besides the education you got at Full Sail, who were the pros to mentor you when you were first starting out? What did they teach you?   “I got a job at a recording studio in Upstate New York, called Sprig Music where I got to work with the amazing Peter Hopper. This guy is incredible. He had been in the recording industry for 46 or 47 years, or something like that, worked with some huge names. He’s the most humble guy you’d ever meet. He doesn’t like to talk about the big names that he works with, but every now and again he’ll tell a story and you’ll say, ‘Wait, who were you working with here?’ and he might say it…I learned so much from him in a really short period of time. So he was a really big one for me.   Another one would have to be the guy who really gave me a chance and taught me some of the basics when I was 16, 17 years old. His name is David Woodkirk. He’s such a great guy. He was always excited about everything. It didn’t matter if the band sucked. It didn’t matter if everything was falling apart. He was just so happy to be there and so happy to mix. Learning from him, I got to see that what we do, it’s fun, it’s awesome! It’s so cool to be part of this. Why would I not be happy?   If I had learned from somebody with a snobby attitude or somebody who thought they were a hot shot, then that’s what I would have gotten. I would have thought, ‘Oh, everything has to be perfect, and if it’s not, then it sucks…so I don’t want to be part of it. That’s just totally the opposite of how it should be.”   So why do you choose to mentor for Recording Connection?   “I’ve found over the years that I just love teaching in general, basically sharing what knowledge and tricks that I have with other people. And when you see it click with somebody and you see them either get it or get better at it because of something that you showed them, it’s a really thrilling feeling for me…I really enjoy seeing people grow, because I genuinely care about people, and when I see somebody who is as excited as I am about something, I want to see them succeed.”   So let’s say you have a student who you’re letting sit in and observe during one of your recording sessions with an artist. How should they handle themselves?   “Obviously, they should be paying attention. There are a few things that, if I see them, I’m going to question how involved or interested they really are, how much they really want this. If your cellphone is out, you’re not paying attention to the session. You should be listening, and when you’re listening and paying attention, you’re totally consumed by it…   During actual red light recording, you’re hyper-focused. Sometimes you’re listening so hard that you notice other sounds and can tell me when the time is right, ‘Oh, shoot, a semi-truck with a diesel engine just drove by while he was saying that line. We might have to go back and fix that.’ That’s one thing that I try to really push and kind of expect from students. And ask questions. If the artist is not there or if there’s not something directly going on, questions are awesome. But preferably write them down and ask them all at the end, because during the moment, during the session, it’s all about the artist.”   Learn more about Recording Connection for audio engineering, music production, live sound, Ableton, beat making and more.    
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or call (800) 755-7597

Special Feature

Spotlight On… Sam Zulfer, Lead Academic Facilitator, RRFC.


Sam Zulfer, Lead Academic Facilitator, RRFC.

  So Sam, you went to Columbia College Chicago where you graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Audio Production. What led you there and what can you tell us about that experience?   “Columbia College Chicago offered what I perceived as a realistic approach to teaching the arts and after my first visit I knew it was right for me. The Audio Arts & Acoustics Department specifically blew me away with their studios, gear, and approach to teaching the art of engineering. It was a rigorous program and the excellent adjunct professors taught me things I doubt I would have learned in a traditional program. My last year of attendance, I was given the opportunity to be the Audio Production tutor for incoming students and help incoming students understand some of the difficult concepts of signal flow and Pro Tools. I have nothing but good things to say about that audio program and am thankful for all the connections I made there which I still take advantage of today!”   Could you explain what you do as an Academic Facilitator?   “As an Academic Facilitator for Recording Connection I provide several things. I’m assigned new incoming Audio Engineering & Music Production students as well as students enrolled in our Ableton Electronic Music Production program. I’m their main point of contact with our office throughout the duration of their enrollment. I reach out to them regularly to ensure they’re enjoying the program and make sure they’re understanding the lessons in the curriculum, and that they’re getting into the studio for the proper amount of hours.   My line is open to the students should any issue arise, so that I can resolve it in a timely and effective manner. On top of that, I offer one-on-one screen share tutoring sessions to help students with their music, review concepts in the curriculum, and sometimes even share my screen to show the students projects I’m working on to highlight techniques I use when creating music.”   What do you wish more people realized about our programs or offerings?   “RRFC gives a unique opportunity for students to get a direct link to an industry professional in their place of work as an extern. The “old fashioned” way of breaking into the audio engineering industry usually involved some form of schooling then interning at a recording studio. Internships can sometimes involve cleaning, grabbing coffee, making lunch runs, and answering calls for an extended period of time before even getting a chance to sit in on a recording session. Our students get into the studio day one with a professional engineer with an opportunity to start learning how the recording process is executed. After 6 months our students who fully take advantage of the program are set up to dive into the world of audio engineering head-first, prepared for situations most people who went the traditional route may not be able to handle!”   What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in audio or music?   “I would say from my experience that the best thing for anyone looking to work in audio or music is not to get tunnel vision on one aspect of the industry they dream of being a part of. The industry is massive but all elements are connected in some way. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way and NETWORK. I took advantage of the production tutor opportunity given to me at Columbia which made me realize I had a passion for education. Without that experience I would not have applied to work for RRFC. I was given the opportunity to work for RRFC and have made some great connections within our office that could lead to things down the road I’m not even aware of yet. You never know what tomorrow holds.”     
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Apprentices in Action

A Day in the Life of Our Students


Recording Connection student Lisa Del Bosque

Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production student Lisa Del Bosque is glad to have gotten herself on the right path headed towards the future she was meant to have:   “It has been nearly one year since I finished my undergrad… Although this was a huge milestone in my life, I did not necessarily feel accomplished. Instead, I found myself feeling lost… I constantly questioned what the point of getting my bachelors was if all I was doing was working part-time at a bakery and living paycheck to paycheck… During this time my passion for song writing was dead.   I kept seeing job openings for audio engineers and that’s when it hit me. How in the hell did I think I could get hired as an audio engineer if I had no experience in the field?! So I began to do research and found Recording Connection. Immediately after meeting Rick [my mentor], I knew he and I were meant to cross paths…   My heart and my soul finally felt at home…Everything I went though, the depression, finding myself again, was and is all a part of the process that has led me to this very moment. This is the start of forever!”        

Recording Connection grad Connor Donald

Congrats to Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Connor Donald for getting hired at global event production company PSAV, where he’s working as an audio/visual technician and he’s only 20 years old. We’ll have more on this in a coming newsletter, so be sure to subscribe !   *Attention RRFC students: Would you like to be in our newsletter? Then, blog about your experiences. Tell us your story!        

Aerial behind the scenes during the making of “The Fallen” | Film Connection grad, Ananth Agastya

Congrats to Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduate Ananth Agastya on the completion of his powerful, evocative wartime short film, “The Fallen.” The film crew consisted of Film Connection graduates and students. The up-and-coming director knows just how invaluable it is to have those connections:  

“The Fallen” by Ananth Agastya

“Create a good working relationship through your Film Connection mentor. It could be either with the other students coming in from Film Connection or the crew that he’s already got. That’s the way you network. You work for them, they work for you. It goes both ways. So, when they need something, you try to be there, and when you need something, they’ll pull their weight for you.”   Ananth’s film is downright riveting. We can’t wait to see it in festivals!   They’ll be more on Ananth and the cast and crews’ experiences in an upcoming issue of the newsletter, so stay tuned!      
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