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Issue #252

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

X
Student Successes
 

Recording Connection graduate Taylor Crommie talks
Money, Passion & Future Goals.

  

Recording Connection graduate Taylor Crommie

Over the past 12 months, artists Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Taylor Crommie has engineered and/or mixed for include DJ Paul (of Three 6 Mafia), Kembe X, Jay Rock, Wifi Funeral, YelaWolf, Lance Skiiwalker, Eric Hudson, Reddish Blu, and Rob Vicious, just to name a few.   We recently caught up with the powerhouse graduate to talk about his recent work with DJ Paul (mixing Power, Pleasure & Painful Things), and to discuss making a living in music, setting future goals, and crafting a passion-fueled career.   So how did the DJ Paul mixing gig come to be?   “This last year…I was able to start a relationship with TDE. So I was fortunate enough to do some mixing for them back then. Then heading into March of 2019, my first big thing was I met DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, and we hit it off on the first session….I was leaving my house and got a call, ‘Paul’s engineer isn’t picking up his phone.’ And this is at Donny’s, by the way, at ES Audio [Tyler’s former Recording Connection mentor], so Donny called me like… ‘Can you do this session?’ Because I had let Donny know if Paul ever needs an engineer, let me know…   I pulled up…I thought we were just cutting vocals and stuff like that. And turns out it was a mixing session. He’s like, ‘Can you mix?’….Usually that’s the next level. You have to gain the person’s trust and make those rough tracking mixes really great before they’re like, ‘Hey, you want to do the mix?’ But no, it was just straight up, ‘Hey, I’m mixing my EP. Can you mix? Okay, let me hear what you’ve mixed.’ So I played him something I actually hadn’t even tested in the studio yet. I’d just finished it, I think, the night before. I’d been working on this artist, Reddish Blu. So I played it….He liked it. So for the next few months, we mixed his EP. Now, he’s a close friend….It was a lot of fun.”   You’ve definitely worked very hard to get to the level you’re at right now in your career. What can you tell us about the realities of making a living in today’s gig economy?   “It’s all relationships. Knowing Pro Tools is like 50% to 40% of the game, and then just being a good person, and aware, and a friend in the studio and helping all the madness make sense and make it look like it’s not madness to an artist is the most beneficial thing.   If you can get somebody to trust you with their baby, which is their music, then you’re going to have a job. There’s so much work out here in L.A. We’re in the mecca of creativity. Here [Los Angeles], New York, Nashville, Florida. Shoot, from what I’ve heard Florida still doesn’t even have big studios. So to me, that’s an open market for anybody to go down there…   For younger engineers, don’t look at it like a money game right off the bat, because there’s a lot that goes into it. For one, we’re working…You have to be okay, like an actor, to be on set for 15 hours. You have to be okay to sit in that chair for 15 hours straight, like I did for the last two days…   A lot of people don’t see their shine until 10 years down the road. That’s a long time for a career, for my father to be in construction. None of my parents or relatives, except for my cousin, are creative. They were like, ‘You’ve been at this for five years and what’s your rate?’ But now my rate’s like double of what they were making when they were my age. So [now] they’re understanding [that] one year can really change the whole thing. But yeah, you have to love it.”   Let’s talk about future goals. What are you focusing on in 2020?   “Time to really develop artists…I feel like it’s time to maybe help somebody get to the next level of their career. I want to see if I can do that, because I know I’m a decent engineer and I can make stuff sound really good really quickly. I can make music, too….I really want to see if I can get an artist in a position that just changes their life.”   Where does passion come into it for you?   “I’ve learned you have to love this more than, or just as much as, a girlfriend or a kid or a dog…You have to love it…Like for me, if I’m sitting in the room [and] the producers are just producing, and they don’t need me, and that’s fine. You’ve got to know when to direct your energy and just be low key….But then as soon as I sit on that chair and there’s a vocalist in the booth, it’s like I just took 10 shots of espresso. That’s immediate stimulation for me, and I think that’s how I know I like this job because I’m immediately turned on, in a weird way…   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 get paid to make feeling out of thin air. Literally, I’ve been in sessions where after the whole session, after the song is done, cut, arranged, we’re listening to that 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.”   Learn more about Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beat Making, Logic, Ableton Live, Live Sound, and more!      
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Mentor News
   

Film Connection mentor Rogelio Zamora Chávez
on Delving in & Doing It.

  

Owner and director of Rogy Productions, Rogelio Zamora Chavez and assistant on film shoot.

We recently caught up with Rogelio Zamora Chávez, who is the founder, owner, and director of Rogy Productions as well as a dedicated Film Connection mentor. During our conversation we asked Rogelio to tell us a bit more about his commercial film and video production company and asked him what he believes it takes to make it in today’s fast-paced industry.   What kinds of projects do you specialize in at Rogy Productions?   “We focus a lot on commercial and corporate, but we do a lot of short films as well. So we have had several students simultaneously. So we bring them into, if it’s a commercial shoot we’ll bring them to a commercial shoot. If it’s a corporate shoot, we’ll bring them into that. If it’s editing, we’ll bring them into that, too. And if it’s a short film, we’ll bring them into that aspect, too. And they really learn about the real-world experience with real-world equipment and dealing with real clients. I think it’s a benefit over other kinds of learning procedures or learning academies…just because they’re getting hands-on and more experience right off the bat.”   How do you prepare students for going into a professional production environment?   “A lot of times we have training that we do so they can start learning about the gear, learning about the equipment [but] there have been times where they shadow us straight-off-the-bat, on a shoot. So from there, they start learning how it works. And I always explain to them how everybody is going to do things differently. All productions are going to vary. Some people storyboard things, some people don’t. Some people, depending on clients or depending on the project, they’ll have a lot more preproduction done and some others won’t.”   Let’s say there’s someone out there who’s really interested in working in the film industry but they don’t know where they belong or what they should focus on. What’s your advice to them?   “The key to success is just doing things over and over, and that’s where they learn what they like the most. If they don’t like screenwriting, they’ll learn by doing it, even if it’s a smaller scale project. Or if they really like it, they’ll learn that. If they really want to be a director, you know, a lot of people talk about wanting to be directors, but not many people know what it means to be a director. And so I think that if they kind of jump in a little bit for themselves and try to make a project by themselves at first, they’ll understand a lot, even if they have minimal equipment….the only person that really holds you back is yourself, because people have done great feature films through using simple equipment. So at the end of the day it’s just doing it over and over, and then learning from what you did wrong the first time to fix it on your next film…   Some of the Film Connection students that we have actually shoot projects by themselves and they bring it to me, and I just dissect everything of the film or the project [from] what they did wrong, the cuts, etc., or whether they broke the 180 degree rule or they’re breaking some lighting scenarios or how to make their film better. And I feel like that’s been really working with them just because they really learn to go out there, do something by themselves, and then [they] come back and [I] just completely critique it. And you know, it’s done in a healthy environment to where I’m not discouraging them but just telling them, ‘The reason why we don’t do this is because of this,’ or etcetera….Just keep shooting films and keep doing their own videos so they can establish what they really like to do in that project or in the film industry.”   What is, in your opinion, the reality of working in commercial production today?   “It’s a very interesting world right now just because we have so many different streaming services. But that’s actually a good thing. We have Netflix, we have Amazon Prime, we have HBO, Starz, all of these different companies that are now building their own content. And because of this, there’s so much demand for crew members that…it’s just a matter of knocking on the right doors. It’s really going to help grow the job opportunities for all these people, because again, the demand is there, the demand’s growing, people want to have better films than other people and they’re competing with each other, and the biggest thing you need is [have] a good team, [a] good crew. And again, if you put Film Connection students with a good mentor and with good connections, they can definitely succeed in that, in one of those companies.”   Learn more about Film Connection for Film Production & Editing, Cinematography, and more!
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