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Issue #251

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Special Feature | Student Successes

IN 2019…


Recording Connection graduate Morning Estrada

Recording Connection graduate Morning Estrada went on European tour with Aminé, Won Latin Grammy, and more!

  To say 2019 has been a busy year for Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Morning Estrada would be an understatement. In just the past year he’s gone on tour as Aminé’s own engineer, (he’s currently engineering the artist’s forthcoming album), he received a Grammy nomination for for Camila Cabello’s debut solo album Camila, he’s won a Latin Grammy for a track on Rosalía’s smashing crossover album Con Altura and recorded tracks on Brandy and Daniel Caesar’s newly released album Case Study 01, produced by Camper, which is nominated for a Grammy in 2020. Get the (full scoop).   Despite all of his success, Morning remains grounded and stresses the fact that he’s worked hard, very hard for years prior to “making it.” He’s got straightforward advice for anyone wanting to work in audio:   “In the beginning of Recording Connection, you want to go from learning how to push the Record button to, ‘Now I want to record the top artists.’…It doesn’t work like that. You have to really, truly fall in love with the process. I think that’s why Recording Connection works so well, because it’s not like, ‘Hey, you can do all your lessons in one day.’ You kind of go at your own pace instead of it being like, ‘Okay, you’re going to go to school for the next five days, then you get two days off, then you come to school again for the next five days.’ So you can kind of sit back and read the material or go over whatever you learn and practice it because you have access to the studio as well with the program. So yeah, I think it’s just falling in love with the process, really.”     

Film Connection grad David Presto

Film Connection grad David Presto won an Emmy!

  In 2019, David Presto, graduate of Film Connection for Film Production & Editing, won his first Emmy Award for his work on the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon. Prior to enrolling in RRFC, David had been on the periphery of the industry for years, trying to find his “in.” Thanks to his own persistence and the connections he made during his externship, David has gone on to work on literally dozens of productions in film and television.   “If you want to make it, you have to be the one that is willing to go that extra mile to get to where you want to go….You have to always work at your craft consistently, and you consistently have to network with people. That’s the most important thing I could tell anyone, any student that wants to make it in this business, to do that. Never give up on your dream.”   Read our interview with David Presto.   

CASA grad Justin Zhao (center) with Chef Iñaki Aizpitarte (right) and sous chef Antonio.

CASA graduate Justin Zhao Connected with World-Renowned Chefs and Got Several Job Offers!

  When CASA grad Justin Zhao got an offer from our Career Services department to volunteer at the 2019 All Star Chefs Classic in Los Angeles, he jumped on the opportunity to put his newly acquired culinary skills to work. During the four day culinary event, Justin connected with two world-renowned chefs and secured a few job offers along the way (including one from a personal hero of his). In a recent interview, Justin told us how his externship in CASA has helped him improve in a number of areas:   “I think [in] pretty much everything, to be honest. You know, my confidence level, my knife skills, my drive, and, even more⁠—my passion for food….Before this program started, I didn’t know where I would be, where I would belong. I didn’t know what I could do….   But afterwards now, growing and learning on the line, just doing all the certain things that I’ve done already, it certainly has improved my confidence. It validates that this is really what I want to do. This is what I love.”   Learn more about CASA, The Chef Apprentice School of the Arts.   

Recording Connection graduate Taylor Crommie

Recording Connection grad Taylor Crommie kicked his career into high gear!

  Taylor Crommie, graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, has had a jam-packed 2019. This past year he mixed DJ Paul’s, of Three 6 Mafia’s, Power, Pleasure & Painful Things. Other artists he mixed include Kembe X, Jay Rock, Wifi Funeral, YelaWolf, Lance Skiiiwalker, Reddish Blue, and Rob Vicious, just to name a few.   So what’s Taylor’s advice for those looking to work in audio and music production?   “[A] question that kids need to ask themselves is, if the music doesn’t genuinely excite you, and you’re just looking at engineering as a day job, let’s get it straight, it is a day job but if you’re going to look at it that way, then it’s not the right one, because I wake up and I get paid to make feeling out of thin air. Literally, I’ve been in sessions where after the song is done, cut, arranged, we’re doing the final listen back, and everybody’s crying in the studio. Like, if you’re not out there for that, then I don’t know. Because that’s what I do, that’s what I like to do.” Read the exclusive with Taylor.   

Recording Connection graduate Desiree Holiday

Recording Connection graduate Desirée Holiday Landed Job at BMI!

  As a graduate of both Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production and Recording Connection for Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production, Desirée Holiday does not shy away from a challenge. In 2019, Desirée’s desire to learn all she can about the music industry led her to BMI where she got hired as a Job Distribution & Administration Services Analyst and the performing rights giant. That’s not all. She’s just produced a track for artist Kiara featuring beat by Sonchild Beatz.   “I greatly appreciate everything Recording Connection has offered me, the skill set I’ve acquired thus far….The sky’s the limit from here!”   Learn more about Desirée Holiday’s adventures.   
Recording Connection grad Jason Abranches

Recording Connection grad Jason Abranches

Recording Connection grad Jason Abranches Did Live Sound for Rock Giants!

  Shortly after completing Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, graduate Jason Abranches made the move to the easygoing island of Maui. Thanks to his determination, it wasn’t long before he landed a job working with producer/engineer Lynn Petersen at Maui Recording. Since then, Jason has recorded and done live sound for rock’s most iconic names including Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Steven Tyler, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Sammy Hagar, George Clinton, and more!   “Recording Connection definitely helped me get my foot in the door….I hang my certificate in my home studio with pride. Not only does it instantly prove to potential employers that you know what you are doing, but also that you are dedicated and truly in this.…Audio engineering is a deep science and if you look at it as just setting up mics and turning up the volume…good luck to you. It is extremely hard work sometimes! It’s extremely stressful at times. But it is also an amazing life to live.”   Find out more about Recording Connection for Live Music.   

Arronn Lepperman with cast of Into the Haunt

Film Connection grad Arronn Lepperman Shot Feature Film in 16 Days!

  After years of thinking about enrolling in our Film Production & Editing program, Arronn Lepperman finally took the plunge. The result? Arronn got the real world filmmaking knowledge he needed to write, direct, and produce his own feature film, Into the Haunt, which was shot in just 16 days!   Arronn is deeply appreciative of the help Film Connection mentors Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett provided him along the way, helping him stay on-course and on-budget:   “It was amazing to go about this process with them in my back pocket, and any issues I ran into I would call them about and they would help me out….Without them to let me know that that’s not a good route to take….We probably wouldn’t even have been able to make the film. So that was just a huge blessing….   I mean, what else do you need, really, than that kind of mentorship? It was pretty phenomenal.”   Learn more about how Arronn shot his feature film in 16 days!   

Recording Connection grad William Reyes

Recording Connection graduate William Reyes Got Hired and On-Path!

  Not long ago William Reyes was trying to find his career path in life. Enrolling in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production enabled him to get on-path, get working on his own EP, and get hired by his mentor Rob Malloy at War Drum Mixing.   Here’s William’s advice for students who are serious about getting hired and getting ahead:   “If you want it, you have to go get it….If you really want to learn this, read the modules and then, of course, the mentor’s going to further [help you] do it….And help as much as possible in the studio sessions….The modules tell you [how to do it] but when you’re actually there yourself, it’s a lot different.”   Read our interview with William Reyes.   

Film Connection graduate Tyler McGraw

Film Connection grad Tyler McGraw got hired on Showtime’s Homeland!

  Tyler McGraw enrolled in Film Connection for Film Production & Editing after he’d spent years nearly getting a foothold in the industry. After a fateful pitch meeting at a Hollywood studio, Tyler was set on course to find us, get working in the industry, and ultimately get hired on Homeland.   “I’ve done a lot. I’ve probably done close to 20 Lifetime movies. I’ve done a handful of commercials, a small handful of music videos, and a couple TV series. I worked on the first season of Love/Sick, which was produced by Awesomeness TV and I think they went for a second season. And now, yeah, Homeland is added to the resume!”   

Recording Connection graduate Jamila Nicolas

Recording Connection grad Jamila Nicolas Found her Passion (by surprise) & Got Hired Doing What she Loves!

  Recording Connection for Live Music graduate Jamila Nicolas came to us for mentored externship with a very practical goal in mind: to learn how to run sound for her own event business. Training as an audio extern did far more than that:   “When I started taking the course at Recording Connection, I actually found a different passion. I realized how much I love live sound and audio….I think I really want to stick to live sound engineering and work different venues and do festivals and stuff like that.”   Now Jamila’s working at Buffalo State College as their A2 at the prestigious Rockwell Hall where she’s running state-of-the-art sound for a myriad of concerts, dance performances, lectures, films and more.   

Film Connection grads Noah Cook and Jacob Sizemore

Film Connection grads Jacob Sizemore, Noah Cook & Caitlin Cooke Won Film Awards!

  This trio of Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduates have not stopped for a moment when it comes to making their own indie films. In 2019 Jacob Sizemore, Noah Cook, and Caitlin Cooke (Skymore Productions) won numerous film festival awards for “Porcelains” directed by Jacob Sizemore. The short thriller nabbed Official Selection status in five festivals, and won “Best Film” at the Central Arts of Bedford Festival, and “Best Thriller” at the Fort Worth Indie Showcase (more). Their most recent film “Worms” won the Audience Choice Award at the PressPlay Festival. Jacob Sizemore values the education he was able to receive while in Film Connection (RRFC):   “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.”   
Recording Connection graduate Brian Piper in recording studio

Recording Connection grad Brian Piper

Recording Connection grad Brian Piper Moved Up at Audio-Technica!

    Brian Piper was two and a half years into his college education when he decided to finish off the semester and enroll in RRFC’s Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production program. Today, Brian has a rewarding job as a Sales Manager for Audio-Technica.   “Recording Connection gave me the tools to do what I do currently. It just so happens that the studio Recording Connection had me go to for school, their mic locker was 80% Audio-Technica microphones. It’s so interesting to me that I started learning the tonal quality and the sound of Audio-Technica microphones right out of the gate in school. Bringing that experience and knowledge with me to Audio-Technica as a sales person, I’ve been able to come up with a couple training seminars that we’ve done for our reps here and that I do with my accounts. In a roundabout way, Recording Connection gave me the tools to jump into a different part of the music industry that I never thought about as a career. It’s funny the way life takes you but I have really enjoyed the ride.”   Learn more about Brian’s journey to where he’s at today.   

Director/filmmaker Katz Carter with actor Ashley Eddy

Film Connection graduate Katz Carter Shot, Wrapped, and Premiered Suspense Thriller “#FullMethod”!

  In 2019 Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduate Katz Carter met one of his personal heros, Spike Lee, founded his own production company (Katz Carter Productions), and premiered his own film “#FullMethod” using the smarts and savvy he’d developed as an extern with Film Connection mentors Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir of Dream Team Directors, along with those he’s grown by being entrepreneurial in his approach.   “It has been a long journey but on the 19th (of November, the day of the premiere) all the hard work has paid off with my 1st passion project. With my mentors Daniel & Bayou, the Dream Team directors, I was able to organize and polish my film to be seen in theaters….   Even now, after graduating, they still answer my phone calls, answer my texts, help me out, and give me advice on a lot of things on the production side. So that’s really wonderful to have.”   See how you can learn filmmaking in months, not years, with Film Connection, a program area of RRFC.   

Recording Connection graduate, producer Joe Dancsak

Recording Connection grad Joe Dancsak Took his Production Skills to a Higher Level.

    After a ten year interim during which he built his career as a music producer, Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Joe Dancsak returned to RRFC and completed the Advanced Audio Engineering & Music Production program as a student extern to Donny Baker at ES Audio. As a result, Joe has seen his production skills improve resulting in some key placements on industry catalogs. We reached out to Joe, asking him to tell us what he considered his biggest win in 2019:   “As for what my biggest win of the year is, I’d say it’s the fact that I took a chance and decided to take a leap into the world of producing and engineering in a commercial recording studio environment. The RRFC helped me do that. What I’ve learned has helped me take my producing to the next level.”   Learn more about how this already-successful music producer has been able to elevate his game.   

CASA grad Joey Mendes with Chef Walter Cotta

CASA graduate Joey Mendes Found his Passion, Got Trained & Hired in Culinary!

  When Joey Mendes first came to us, he had little more than a newfound passion for cooking which had emerged only after he’d left home, moved in with roommates, and found himself manning the stove. As an extern to Chef Walter Cotta at the award-winning Italian restaurant L’Opera, Joey quickly discovered he was a natural in the kitchen. We touched base with him during the final weeks of his externship. During that conversation he told us about the game plan he had in place:   “[I want] to really get the menu down at L’Opera, like basically be able to cook everything with my eyes closed. Then, I’m going to apply to this fine dining Italian restaurant..then I’ll be in the fine dining industry, and just keep working my way up and around, and just try to get into different cuisines and really expand my knowledge.”   Weeks after graduating, Joey landed his first culinary job as a cook in a restaurant located close to where he lives.   Learn more about Joey’s experiences in CASA.   

Recording Connection graduate Gabby Kilgore

Recording Connection grad Gabby Kilgore Got Hired as 1st Assistant Engineer to her Mentor.

  When Gabby Kilgore started Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, she told her mentor, Seva Ball, what she wanted to achieve. After that, she got busy learning and proving her value on the job. When the time came, Seva hired her on as his 1st assistant engineer and more!   “I truly believe what led to my hire was the goal that I told Seva before I started the program….I said that I wanted to start my own publishing company, and really get into branding and promotion of new talent. Now, Sequoyah Studios has signed some of our own artists which we help with promotion, social media, and branding along with the recording, mixing, and mastering….Seva really listened to what I wanted to do with this experience and made it part of my work at Sequoyah Studios!”   

Recording Connection graduate Elijah Ibarra

Recording Connection graduate Elijah Ibarra Got Hired at Electric Feel Studios (Post Malone, Louis Bell, Camper) in Hollywood.

  Just weeks after graduating Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production program, Elijah Ibarra got hired at Electric Feel Studios, the studio home of Electric Feel Management whose roster includes some of today’s hottest music producers including Post Malone, Camper, Louis Bell, Brody Brown, and more.   So, what’s Elijah’s advice on how students can make the most of their time externships?   “Really, just pay attention and try to take up as much information [as possible] and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I feel like a lot of people get told it and they’re like, ‘All right, I don’t understand.’ And it’s okay to not understand it, because I remember when I first went in, I didn’t understand anything. And it could probably feel a little bit embarrassing, but it’s like, these people are here to help you understand it, because one day [in the past] even your mentor didn’t understand it, if that makes sense. So always ask questions, don’t be afraid. Even if you ask five times.”   View our Audio Engineering & Music Production Program.   

Film Connection graduate Isabella Jones

Film Connection graduate Isabella Jones edited an International Film & Got Hired by Mentors!

  As a student of the Film Connection for Film Production & Editing program Isabella Jones said yes to the many opportunities offered to her by mentors Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett of Dream Team Directors. When they asked if she’d like to edit interviews for their web series, she said yes. When she was invited to serve as Assistant Editor on Dream Team’s dramatic film Tombstone Pillow, she said yes again. And guess what she said when an even bigger opportunity was presented?   In our July interview with Isabella, she gave us the lowdown on how she landed the role of Editor on Tombstone Pillow:   “[The editor’s] style and what they wanted and whatnot…wasn’t meshing together…so they gave me the opportunity to do an opening scene for the film…I did a rough draft…They really liked it, and they had me do another…and they really liked it. So, very luckily for me they actually ended up having me be the main editor….It was my first time ever doing something on that scale. I was learning along the way…I opened my eyes one day and we were done with the film….It was just kind of a whirlwind….It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I am still thankful that it happened so young. [That] I can build my portfolio at such a young age, is just really awesome.”   Want to find out how Isabella got working as an editor in a matter of months? Read our interview with her here.   

Recording Connection grad Connor Donald

Recording Connection graduate Connor Donald Chose a Career that Fit!

  A lifelong musician, the then 20 year old Connor Donald was on an entirely different career path, when he got honest with himself and decided to double down on doing what he loved:   “I went to school for nursing, and I just…knew that five to 10 years from now I probably wasn’t going to stick with that….I looked at different schools and I kept seeing that I was going to have to move away to other places. Then I just happened to stumble upon Recording Connection. I found that I can stay home and find a studio near me, but I still get to learn and work with people that are good at what they do….I was able to get in and had the opportunity to work with Don Mosley …and it was awesome.”   Shortly after graduating RRFC, Connor got hired at global giant PSAV, one of the largest audio-visual production event and stage service companies worldwide.   

Ananth Agastya and cast members of “The Fallen”

Film Connection grad Ananth Agastya Completed Wartime Short Film, crewed by Grads and Students!

  Despite the fact that Ananth Agastya has a demanding career in the tech sector, he’s extremely committed to filmmaking. In fact, he schedules his shoots on off days and during vacation time, and spends weekends and a great many weeknights editing, writing, and producing various film projects. In 2019, Anath had the satisfaction of seeing his wartime short film “The Fallen” completed thanks, in part, to the connections Ananth was able to build with fellow Film Connection (RRFC) students and graduates. The finished project is downright breathtaking to behold.   “Noah Cook and Jacob Sizemore, were both my camera guys. My 1st AC’s were Caitlin Cooke and David Aguirre. And my first AD was Shaun Robertson. They’re all graduates of Film Connection.”   So what’s Anath’s advice for making the most of the program?   “Create good working relationships through your Film Connection mentor. It could be either with the other students coming in from Film Connection or the crew that your mentor’s already got. That’s the way you network. You work for them, they work for you. It goes both ways. When they need something, you try to be there. When you need something, they’ll pull their weight for you.”   Learn more about how Ananth made his award-winning short “The Fallen.”   

CASA graduate Cody Woodside

CASA graduate Cody Woodside Delved into Culinary & Came Out Winning!

  After years working as a key member of an internal producing team for Scripps Network, working on content for HGTV and Travel Channel, when Scripps was acquired by The Discovery Channel, Cody Woodside found himself merged out of a job.Rather than get down about it, Cody considered the forced hiatus an opportunity to delve into the culinary arts in CASA Schools’ Gourmet Chef program. Rather than leave television behind, now Cody’s focused on combining his two passions:   “Ideally, I would love to find a way to marry my food experience with my TV experience. So I’m really trying to shape my current path into working on food content. That would be overseeing shows, being a culinary producer for shows, making sure recipes make sense for viewers, making sure there’s innovative, fun content, shedding light on new cuisines, too.”   Since graduating, Cody got hired at Discovery where he’s helping to mastermind fun, innovative ideas for content in 2020. Sounds like Cody’s two worlds will combine sooner rather than later! Learn more about Cody’s experiences in CASA.   

Film Connection student Nate Crockett and Geno DiMaria on Hindsight which screened at Cannes Short Film Corner (Cannes Court Métrage)

Nate Crockett Got Hired on Crew of The Righteous Gemstones on HBO!

  This past summer, Film Connection for Film Production & Editing graduate Nate Crockett wrote in with some great news:   “I’m part of the crew on HBO’s new show called “The Righteous Gemstones,” which is Danny McBride’s new show….I finally got my foot in the door for what I’ve always wanted to do, which is be on a feature or TV show that’s narrative-based and with people that I’ve looked up to pretty much my whole life. John Goodman’s on the show. Being able to stand right next to him and help him with things, like get him water or food, just small things, but being able to do that is really surreal, and the fact that I’m getting paid for it is even more surreal, because I would definitely do this for free if I had to.”   Learn more about Nate’s in-industry training with RRFC.   

Recording Connection graduate Aqellezra “Echo” Gabriel

Recording Connection grad Echo Gabriel Didn’t Take ‘No’ for an Answer & Got Hired at Global Giant PSAV weeks after graduation!

  When Recording Connection for Audio engineering & Music Production graduate Aqellezra “Echo” Gabriel didn’t land the job after her first interview with worldwide audio visual company, PSAV, she called Career Services. The encouragement she got helped steel her resolve to get the job she was after:   “When I talked to Gervais [in Career Services] about it…he was like, ‘This is a male dominant industry right now. Don’t worry, there are other female students that have been able to do it. Do not let it discourage you.’   So I took his advice. I saw PSAV on LinkedIn and found that they had a hiring event in San Francisco, and I applied right away. Right when I got there, I got the job easily….Everyone has their different wants in an employee, and you just have to keep trying.”   Why Echo quit studying audio at San Francisco State and joined RRFC.   

Recording Connection graduate Alexis Schwarting

Recording Connection graduate Alexis Schwarting Got in, Got Hired, Got Going in Audio.

  When recent graduate of Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production Alexis Schwarting first came to us, she’d already completed several semesters at a traditional university. Nevertheless, her drive to get in and get going in music led her to Recording Connection, and consequently, to longtime mentor, Rick Rooney (Clay Aiken, Warner Bros, Interscope, Sony). The in-studio and one-on-one approach was just what she needed:   “[Rick] was very hands-on and wanted to make sure that you knew everything that he was trying to get into you. It wasn’t just about taking some quizzes like it would be a lot of times in schools. It was really about, you know, ‘I want to make sure that you understand this…that you’re understanding what you’re doing outside of the studio, and when you’re at home and working on this stuff.’ He wanted to really make sure that you grasped what you were learning, and not just reading a book and trying to get by….   [Now], I’m a lot more confident in what I can do in the studio and what I can bring to the industry.”   And it’s paid off! Alexis now works as a broadcast engineer at a large church and is freelancing at a local studio where she records rappers and hip hop artists (learn more).   

Recording Connection graduate Russell Dennis (at console)

Russell Dennis Jumped & Got Going on the Right Track.

  By many people’s standards, Russell Dennis had already attained success when he enrolled in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production. As an instructional designer and technical support specialist, he was making a good living and was right where he ought to be as a husband and father. Nevertheless, Russell yearned to get back to doing what he loved–making music. Opting to leave his good job in order to focus on training with his mentor and making his own music, Russell gave it his all and the payoff was sweet:   “I can’t even go in depth about the amount of hours [I spent] and my family. My daughter Deja, who was my motivating factor behind me doing all of this…she can tell you the times that I just kept playing a snippet of a song over and over and over because I was trying to EQ it the right way….My proudest moment was when I got hired on at Vision 3 Studios and I was able to bring her to the studio and let her record one of her favorite songs, by Billie Eilish. That was a special moment for me.”   Hear about the unexpected conversation that led Russell Dennis to change his course in life and join RRFC.   
Anthony Marks and Gabe Gottstein on the Doucheaholics set

Recording Connection grad Gabe Gottstein with actor Anthony Marks on Doucheaholics set

Film Connection student Gabe Gottstein Assistant Directed Pro Shoots, Worked 49ers Commercial!

  Gabe Gottstein enrolled in Film Connection for Film Production & Editing having made the promise to himself that he’d get the filmmaking knowhow he needed to get his passion project realized. From the moment Gabe connected with his mentor, Sean McCarthy of Guerilla Wanderers, he felt it was “just meant to be.”   Even though Gabe still had a full time job, he spent as much time as he could learning the many facets of production. Having earned his mentor’s trust, Gabe Assistant Directed numerous projects including a short film trailer for Cinequest, a couple of independent films, and an episode of Guerilla Wanderers’ comedic web-series “Doucheaholics.”   Working on a commercial shoot for the 49ers was a special highlight for Gabe:   “We did the San Francisco 49ers [featuring] Richard Sherman and a couple other 49ers…I key PA’d it. It was really cool working inside the locker room, meeting all the 49ers, working in a very professional environment.”   So what’s Gabe’s advice to people who want to learn film?   “My advice is, if you’re not already in Film Connection, sign up and get into Film Connection. But you don’t have to quit your life…Put in the work, read the course material, submit the quizzes, use your own voice, speak like you would speak, write like you would write. You do you, and that will come across….   Film Connection teaches me what I need to know, how to go about it, how to communicate, and then I go to set, and boom! And if I hadn’t done it that way, there’s no way I’d be where I am right now. There’s no way I’d be AD-ing. Not a chance.”   Find out more about Gabe’s many Film Connection experiences.   
Recording Connection grad audio engineer Frank Demilt

Recording Connection grad Frank Demilt

Recording Connection grad Frank Demilt Got hired as Head Engineer and A&R!

  Prior to enrolling in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Frank Demilt was no stranger to audio education. In fact, he’d already graduated from Ithaca College where, entering as a sophomore, he completed their 4 year program in just 2 years.   Being able to train with a professional at the top of their game, ask them questions and gain firsthand knowledge of how things worked, appealed to Frank. Externing with his mentor, renowned mastering engineer Mark Christensen at Engine Room Audio (The Killers, 50 Cent, Trey Songz, Dr. Dre, OK GO) enabled him to broaden his perspective of the many stages that go into producing high-quality, radio ready music:   “[I] got to see a side of the creation process that I was not previously given access to. Being able to gain the perspective of the producer (working before mixing) and learn from the last person to work on the song before it’s finalized (the mastering engineer), gave me an overall sense of what each individual is looking for when they get the tracks, and what they are doing to enhance the tracks. This made me be able to go more in-depth when talking to artists about the full process of their song creation.”   Frank’s education has served him well. He landed a job at Water Music Publishing, another Recording Connection mentor studio, where he works as Head Engineer and A&R.   

Recording Connection graduate Vic Castaldo

Recording Connection graduate Vic Castaldo Opened his own Recording Studio.

  When Vic Castaldo enrolled in Recording Studio in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production he’d already spent the past five years teaching himself music production. Getting his questions answered and improving his production game through training one-on-one, in-studio with a mentor just made sense to Vic. Even though he’s still in his early twenties, Vic was able to open his own studio Victory Recording Studios (VRS) just months after graduating and that’s just the beginning:   “I am looking at growing my business….So I’m hoping maybe within three years actually to start another studio, and we’re trying to grow it in other ways. We have somebody making merch [merchandise] for us, and we have our own press and we’re doing all that.”   Vic speaks highly of what Recording Connection (RRFC) is able to provide its students:   “I would suggest it over any other program for anybody interested in audio training….The studio time and being able to…watch how your mentor engages with the clients, and really learn how to do what you want to do, and see it hands-on is very important.”   Vic was smart and did his research prior to opening his recording studio.   Want to learn more about RRFC students and their many successes? Get that plus real industry advice from our mentors when you to the RRFC newsletter!   

or call (800) 755-7597

Special Feature

Audio-Technica, Recording Connection & Clyne Media Hosted 3rd Annual Csaba Petocz Master Class Workshop with four-time GRAMMY® Award Winner Chuck Ainlay.

  Since 2017, in partnership with Audio-Technica and Clyne Media, Recording Connection has presented the Csaba Master Class Audio Workshop to audio up-and-comers. Taught by audio greats who need no introduction, these intimate workshops enable attendees to interact with some of the best audio professionals in the industry and learn how they approach tracking, mixing, production, client interaction and other key aspects of the craft.  

Csaba Petocz in studio.

About the Csaba Petocz Master Class Workshop:

  Csaba was one of the greats. The three-time GRAMMY nominee with 37 number-one record credits and 32 platinum or multi-platinum albums, he split his time living and recording in Los Angeles and Nashville, working with bands and artists across the musical spectrum: Metallica to Larry Carlton, John Michael Montgomery to Alanis Morissette, Aretha Franklin to Elvis Costello and more.   Held on November 2, 2019, this year’s Third Annual Csaba Petocz Master Class Workshop was taught by Csaba’s friend, Chuck Ainlay, a four-time GRAMMY® Award-winning mix engineer. Held at Peter Frampton’s Phenix Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Ainlay focused on numerous aspects of being an engineer/producer in today’s industry. Topics he delved into include mixing, production, gear, the relationship between the artist and engineer, and how to get the best performance out of an artists and players. Attendees also got to dissect The Peter Frampton Band’s recent release of the Willie Dixon classic “I Just Wanna Make Love to You,” mixed and co-produced by Ainlay himself, who was glad to be able to pass on the knowledge to some of tomorrow’s pros in honor of his late friend and colleague:   “Csaba was a dear friend of mine, and I feel honored to have been chosen to teach this master class and help keep his legacy alive. I spent a good deal of time talking to the students and trying to emphasize the importance of interaction with the artist – a quality that Csaba always brought to his projects. I also want to thank Peter [Frampton] for donating the use of his studio for this worthwhile event and thank Audio-Technica and Recording Connection for putting this together.”   Pictured L-R, back row: Recording Connection mentor Sean Giovanni (The Record Shop), Roxanne Ricks (Audio-Technica Artist Relations Manager), Frank Wells (keynote speaker), Anthony Vaticalos (student), Alec Wingfield (student), Lisa Roy (Csaba’s wife), Jones Nelson (graduate), and Robert Clyne (Clyne Media). Front row: Chuck Ainlay and assistant engineer Todd Tidwell. [Photo credit: Corey Walthall, Clyne Media. © 2019.]:
  The workshop was attended by Recording Connection for Audio & Music Production graduate Jones Nelson who found it enriching to his production practices. “It’s an incredible experience to come here and get to see how Chuck does things behind the scenes. It was great to see how he’s able to go through and fatten-up vocals and piano and guitar tracks. He gave me a lot to think about, and I’ll be deconstructing a lot of the work I’ve done up to this point and re-thinking some of my habits.”   Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production student Alec Wingfield remarked, “Getting to spend time with an engineer of such high reputation as Chuck Ainlay was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of: getting to pick his brain and understand how he uses his gear and the musical touch he adds to the projects. I think it will help me forge my own identity and vision as an engineer moving forward.”   Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production student Anthony Vaticalos also took a lot away from the workshop. “I learned a lot about how to interact with the musical elements in the engineering process….Chuck gave us a lot to consider in what to expect in certain scenarios, different techniques to employ, and how to be a great engineer overall. I especially enjoyed getting some hands-on time on the SSL board.”   We send our deep appreciation to all of the professionals who attended and shared their knowledge and memories of Csaba, including Lisa Roy, Csaba’s wife; Roxanne Ricks, Audio-Technica Artist Relations Manager, Chuck Ainlay; Frank Wells; and Todd Tidwell.     
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