or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #241

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Recording Connection student Joe Dancsak
Ups his Engineering Skills in the Advanced Audio Program


Recording Connection student, producer Joe Dancsak at ES Audio

L.A-based guitarist, producer, and composer Joe Dancsak came back to Recording Connection more than a decade after completing Recording Connection for Audio Engineering and Music Production. When he’d first enrolled, Joe was finding his way. Cooling his heels after being on the road as the lead guitarist in a rock band poised to go big, Joe’s early experiences in Recording Connection enabled him to learn the ins-and-outs of working inside of a professional recording studio environment. Since that time, Joe’s built himself an enviably good career. When he isn’t working with bands and artists, he’s getting his music placed in film, television, and commercials. When he isn’t doing that, he’s writing his own music, laying down beats and creating backdrops, melodies, and hooks to add to an already vast catalog of work.   Naturally, we wanted to garner some of the insights Joe has to share as an established professional who’s come back to Recording Connection with a clear view of his goals in mind.   So what led you back to us the second time? What were your specific goals?   “I’d been doing a lot of film and TV, a lot of sync placements but when I was doing major label pitches and label pitches in general, I was definitely getting a lot of notes back that the production needed to amp up a little bit…The mixing and mastering needed to modernize…Now that I’m listening back to it, I can hear where I was doing things right and where I was doing things wrong. So I decided to up my game as an engineer and add it to everything I already know as a producer. Really, I felt like I was at 80% in my engineering. I’m getting a lot closer to 100% now. So that was really what made me want to go back into a program…   One of my other goals is to be a project manager or in A&R at some of the labels or publishers and licensing companies here in Los Angeles. Getting a bit of experience under the roof at a place like ES Audio is just absolutely invaluable because you’re seeing it in action… you’re realizing what you need to do to be a part of the team and [understand] how the machine is moving.”   You’re also collaborating with your mentor Donny Baker and Recording Connection graduate Uriel Soto Jr. How’d that come about?  

Uriel Soto “Junior,” Joe Dancsak, and mentor Donny Baker at ES Audio

“From the very first week that I was there, you know, I had come in with my own [music]…[Donny] started hearing my work and thought it was really good, and we just all started talking right away about collaborating on stuff that we could pitch to major artists, pitch to labels, pitch for film and TV and K-pop and all that kind of stuff. We’re all on the same page in that we all want to do really great work and have that stuff get out there…Donny’s at the top of the food chain as far as someone who can mix and master, and Junior [Uriel] is one of the most skilled engineer/producer’s I’ve ever seen. So I’m thinking to myself, ‘If I can combine what I already know with the exceptional skillset that they have… while I’m there anyway, because I’m being taught, who knows? I can make a big hit out of the place.”   It seems like you always have your eyes open, looking for opportunities. Is that fair to say about you?   “In a place like Los Angeles, you should always have your eyes open because it’s a small town and a small number of people that all kind of know each other, but it’s a very big machine…It’s its own universe, especially in pop. They’re just pumping out songs and there’s always a need for great music—always. So your job is to always be making it, which I’ve become accustomed to because I’ve been at it a long time. So, then when I wind up in a collaboration like this and they say, ‘What have you got?’ I’ve got stuff stacked. I’ve got 12 songs deep that I can show people. And then they can move really quickly because once we get into the mixing process of a song, it doesn’t take very long because they’re doing it all the time.”   What can students do to make the most of their externship experiences when they’re in one of the Recording Connection programs?   “The first time I did it, I was there quite a bit, but I probably wasn’t at 100% because, you know, you’re thinking of it like it’s school. And you go to school and you try to get your work done and go home and go have fun with your friends, right? And this isn’t that. This is more like you’ve made a decision to make an entire lifestyle change. You’re going to spend way more time in the studio than you would at some job, and you should be doing that because you really love it, you know? You really, really have to make records all the time, or you have to work in post, or you have to write songs, like you don’t have any choice. If you’re that kind of a person, then all of that time just flies right by. I’m there sometimes seven or eight hours, and I look up and I haven’t eaten. I’m like, ‘I’ve got to go eat, I’ve got to go home,’ you know what I mean? It’ll whip right by you.   So I would say for the young guys and girls coming in, tell them to really plan on digging in and being around their mentor as much as they can without being a hindrance. Knowing when to be there, too, like you know when times are a little slower and the mentor can have time for you, will help you have more hours there. Then other times, when they’re very busy and have clients, ask if you can shadow the work. I think those are all things that will help people really understand what they need to do in a recording studio.”   Learn more about Recording Connection’s programs in audio engineering and music production, beat making, hip hop, and more.      
 *  *  *  *  *  

or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Roundtable with Film Connection mentors Daniel Lir
and Bayou Bennett of Dream Team Directors, Los Angeles.


Film Connection mentors Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir of Dream Team Directors in Los Angeles, CA

Providing great, real-world education, opportunities, and support is something we take very seriously at RRFC. In order to ensure we continually set our students and mentors up for success, we recently started having bi-monthly meetings in which RRFC mentors come into our “headquarters” in Los Angeles for a roundtable conversation with our Admissions and Academic Facilitators team members. Here are a few informative excerpts from our conversation with the super-dedicated, power-duo Film Connection mentors, Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett of Dream Team Directors (Coldplay, P. Diddy, Mark Ruffalo, Bella Hadid, Adidas, Atlantic Records, Chrome Hearts).   Wanna learn something? Read on!   RRFC Team: How far and how soon do you delve into the business-side of the film business with the students you mentor?   Daniel: “I went to a school that was one of the top film schools but they were not completely open about what it takes to succeed in this industry. The business side is about 80% of it, to be honest. You can’t make a film if you can’t convince an investor to give you money. You can’t go to a distributor with a film and when they say, ‘Great, do you have this, this, and this on the list?’ If you don’t have that, then you don’t get your film distributed.   So I tell them right up front, the way that we’re different from most programs is the one-on-one and the staff. You guys really care about them and are there for them. Another thing is that we teach you the skills you really need to actually make money in this industry. Not just to get a degree, but to actually be working in it. So I tell them upfront, ‘This is what it’s going to involve. You’re going to learn about this, this, and this. You’re going to learn about marketing, how to build your brand as a filmmaker, all these things.   Basically I tell them that it’s an awesome program, but the more they put into it, the more they’re going to get out of it.”   Bayou: “To answer more of your question, for example, we had a student, Katz [Carter]. He wanted to direct his own film. So I showed him all of the things that we had done before, like all of our business plans. [As a result], he got his film funded and did a one-take feature film… It’s amazing because he literally took our materials and just duplicated them. Then, he went out and got the funding. Now he’s talking to the camera department about helping promote it even more. Right now, I’m showing him the next level, which is film festivals (learn more). So it kind of depends on the student and where we are and what we’re doing. Sometimes we’ll be like, ‘Are you interested in learning how to do a contract? Come on in the office. We’re doing one right now for a commercial.’”   RRFC Team: Your recently graduated extern, Isabella “Bella” Jones, got hired by you, is that correct?   Daniel: We’re working with her almost on a daily basis. We’ve hired her and she’s getting paid work.   Bayou: We just did a commercial with her. (More on Isabella’s amazing, career-building experience.)   RRFC Team: What are you looking for in the students you accept as externs?   Daniel: “[We’re] looking for really good communication skills, a willingness to learn. [We ask them] what they want to get out of the program, like what would make it a homerun for them, and whether they have previous experience. This is just my personal viewpoint. I might be completely wrong, but I feel like it can be a very strong shift in reality when you have this one idea of what it is to be a filmmaker or making films, it could be very romantic, looking at movies and watching movies and watching the credits and hearing directors talk. Then, when you actually go to work on a set, when you actually go on a production, it can be a shock like it was for me when I first did it in 1998. It’s tough… It’s a journey and that you have to be willing to go on the journey and you have to be willing to find what your voice is and what you really want to do in this industry. And it might not come right away, and so we just prepare them [for that].”   Bayou: “So Daniel does that side and then I do the other side, like we tag team. I [remind] them that it’s the most exhilarating thing to see your film on a screen, and people are actually laughing when you want them to laugh or crying when you want them to cry. So, then I give them that side, too. All that hard work, like I got chills talking about it, it’s the best paid job in the world.”   Learn more about Film Connection for filmmaking, editing, cinematography, and more!    
 *  *  *  *  *  

or call (800) 755-7597

Special Feature

Spotlight On… Kaylee Kainrad, Audio Solutions Specialist at Audio-Technica.


Kaylee Kainrad, Audio Solutions Specialist, Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.

  What do you do as an Audio Solutions Specialist at Audio-Technica?   “In Audio Solutions, we specialize in product knowledge. For any Audio-Technica product, we are the go-to people to answer questions about how to use [a specific] product or maybe if you might be experiencing an issue with the product or anything like that. We provide tech support, application support, and general product knowledge for anything Audio-Technica. So that entails us answering phone calls, answering emails, answering customer questions on our website, things like that. Just anything to help our customers answer their questions about our products.”   How did you get hired at A-T? What did you do?   “Honestly, I just kind of inquired. I called and I emailed a few people here in the building, made some conversation and really showed my interest, my knowledge and my passion for the products and for the industry. So, it’s really something as simple as that. As long as you’re really making that initiation of the contact, you really can’t go wrong.”   What’s your advice for those looking to find their path or get that first job?   “Look out there and be willing to strive and jump and make that leap for it. As long as you’re passionate about it, you can definitely make it happen. I kind of ran through the same thing where I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do back when I was in high school or even in my first year at Kent State, you know, I really wasn’t sure that I was going to end up here, and look what happened.”   When it comes to versatile A-T microphones, what do you recommend?   “If you haven’t really checked out any of our 40 series, I highly recommend checking out the AT4050 microphone. You could put it on just about any instrument…It’s a staple microphone in studios all over the world, mainly used for vocals, especially also for drum overheads, like above your cymbal. It’s very good for bringing out cymbal crashes or, on acoustic instruments, guitars or mandolins, very nice and crisp sounding strings. Even on a guitar cabinet for an electric guitar. It’s a very versatile microphone. [On a budget], check out the AT2035. That’s a great microphone. Very versatile. Great for vocals, but you could really use it on just about anything: guitars, overheads, stuff like that.”   What’s one piece of A-T gear you’re really excited about?   “The AT-LP1240 DJ Turntable…It’s a great turntable. If anybody’s an aspiring DJ it’s very nice quality. It sounds fantastic, even just for casual listening, too…This company started off making phono cartridges for turntables. So that’s really where we came from and what we also strive in. We make very nice turntables, we make very nice-sounding cartridges, needles, and styli to use on the turntables. That’s what I’ve been excited about a lot lately.”       
 *  *  *  *  *  

or call (800) 755-7597

Apprentices in Action

A Day in the Life of Our Students


Film Connection student Riley N. Day

Congrats to Film Connection for Film Production & Editing student Riley N. Day on getting hired as a producer at Combat Films in Salt Lake City, Utah! Riley’s hands-on education put her in prime position for getting hired and getting going:   “I’ve been learning a lot about producing and how different working on a documentary is compared to a narrative films. This really helped me understand that movies take a lot more then meets the eye…I started to work at Combat Films since the company started a new project and was looking to hire another person for it. Since I was already familiar with the team and project, they decided to hire me on.”    

Radio Connection student Larry Grant

Shout out to Radio Connection for Radio Broadcasting student Larry Grant, who just started his own show just weeks into the program!   “During the past week, my mentor and I focused on getting me a monthly show started on his station….Focused on House and electronic dance music (EDM), it will allow me to focus on honing my skills not only as a ‘DJ’ but as a presenter and talent [and give] me a monthly avenue to practice the skills that I’m learning…I am very excited for this opportunity to have a real world outlet to practice on.”   Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe!  

or call (800) 755-7597