or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #264

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

How Zach Eaton Got Audio Skills
& Hired at Premier Recording Studio in One Year


Recording Connection grad Zach Eaton working at Enviyon Entertainment Studios

In a little over one year, Recording Connection graduate Zach Eaton went from first semester college student to Recording Connection student extern, to audio engineer at Enviyon Entertainment Recording Studios. Read on to see how he did it and tune into our Straight Talk video with Zach below!   Where were you at in school or college when you found us?   “I was doing my first semester of junior college, actually, when I found out about you guys…. Actually because of that, ended up just dropping out of college completely after that first semester. And then, what would have been my second semester became my first semester—really only semester—I guess, with you guys at the Recording Connection.”   Turns out, you had an ally in your decision to drop out of conventional junior college and enroll in our 6-to-9-month Audio Engineering & Music Production Program:   “My mom. She knew how much I liked making music and just being around the music…. She actually pushed me towards dropping out in the first place and going and doing something that I really wanted to do. So, that’s what she did. She did a lot of research into different schools, different things, to see what they did, what was different about each one. And we found Recording Connection and thought, like, ‘Wow, it gets them hands on, it puts them in the studio.’ And, you know, that’s the kind of learning that I am best with, when I can actually sit down, and see things, and, you know, play around with them.”   What was it like training with Recording Connection mentor engineer/producer Joe Delfino at Miller Street Studios?   “It was a really good time. He’s very smart, he knows what he’s doing…. The way I am, it’s kind of like, I have to warm up to people, warm up just kind of being in a certain environment. And after we had our little interview where my parents came in as well, and we were talking, just see if I’d be a good fit there, I actually felt comfortable relatively quickly…. He taught me really well in aspects of, you know, just like learning the basics of Pro Tools, and… building on that…. he teaches you, like, the personability of being in the studio, of being the person in the chair, sitting down, being the engineer.   And then, just sitting in on sessions with him, you know, you get to see how he acts with his clients and everything. So you have a better idea as to how to go about certain things when, you know, you’re in certain situations and things like that…. So it was pretty easy just to kind of get in there. And then kind of learn from him, watch what he’s doing.” See what else Zach learned by training remotely with his Academic Facilitator in the Straight Talk video below!   How did you land the audio engineering job at Enviyon?   “So, Gervais [in Recording Connection’s Career Services Department], he sent me an email, basically just saying that Enviyon had reached out to the school, and they were looking for some engineers, just to come onto the team…. And, I mean, within 15 minutes of me getting that email, I had already finished the application, because I figured, like, this opportunity just got handed to me on a silver platter. How can I not take that? That was just my whole thought process, that you gotta beat everybody to it, and I did.   They called me back pretty quickly to set up that whole interview. And, yeah, we set up the interview. [I] got in, sat down, talked with them, and it went really well…. I think it took maybe a week, week and a half. They called me back and offered me the job.”   What’s your advice on how Recording Connection students can make the most of the program?   “I would say definitely take advantage of the fact that you have all the resources you need on your computer, essentially, because, like, that is your textbook. You know? And, I mean, you guys…you actually did a lot for, like, I don’t know if it was, like, six extra months or if it was just that full year, where I was able to keep looking into old chapters [of the eBook curriculum] and things that I had already learned, just to go back [and review]. I would say definitely take advantage of things like that.   Take advantage of the people that you work with on…you know, through the computer [the Academic Facilitators] who will help you kind of point things out, because I actually did get a really good connection [with AJ]. We would make beats, and he taught me more about the engineering aspect, the mixing. Yeah, he would just show me a lot of different stuff. Just a lot of different creativity, you know, aspects.” There’s more on this in the video below!   And we actually still do keep in touch. I told him about the job and everything. He was super excited for me. So, I mean, yeah, just being, you know, very personable, looking back on old chapters, learning new things just continuously.”   So let’s go back to your parents. Your mom helped you find Recording Connection? How are they feeling about this choice you’ve made for your career?   “They’re beyond proud…. And I told them too, even if I wasn’t to get the job… I would go back or I would go find another studio. I feel like them knowing that I’m actually doing something with it, makes them feel a lot better… because now I’m going to be making money that these kids in college are losing, essentially. I think that was definitely the best route for me. I know that they’re glad I took it. So it’s all good vibes over here.”   Learn more about Recording Connection, for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Hip Hop Production, Beat Making, DJing, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Special Feature

Spotlight On… Carolina Groppa of Angle on Producers!


producer Carolina Groppa (Miss Virginia, Autism in Love)

Angle on Producers is a weekly podcast which shines a light on producers from all corners of the entertainment industry. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube, tune into the show for real, intimate conversations on the many facets and experiences of producing, and a window into the day-to-day lives of working producers.   What was your inspiration for starting Angle on Producers?   “I just felt like there wasn’t a place where you could hear producers talk about their lives from a producer-perspective to another producer that wasn’t the few iotas of press some producers get around their projects. And so, I created the show I wish existed when I started… I wanted to shine a light on these incredible producers, predominantly women, who have walked all sorts of different paths and really help people understand the realities of what it takes to do this work and to live this life, and more importantly, to sustain this career that is riddled with so many ups and downs because… in the age of social media, this impression that what we do is easy and it’s just going to red carpets and hanging out with celebrities, and that’s like 1% of the time, if you’re lucky enough…. And so, I just wanted to kind of lift the veil, show people as a way to inform them, not to discourage them, from getting in and rolling up their sleeves.”   Film Connection students often get the opportunity to PA (production assist) on film sets. Some have seen that as their moment to shine. Could you share with us your view on what makes a good PA?   “I think that everything about storytelling and production, specifically is a team effort. It’s a collaboration and not one can exist without the other, right? So when you are starting from the ground up and you’re a PA and it’s your first time on set, the best thing you can do is show up on time, show up rested, don’t show up, hungover or whatever….   Be available and willing to help. And there is an energy to every set that you just have to inherently learn. And once you’re on the ground and you can start to see how things happen and unfold, you can start to find the moments when it’s appropriate to ask questions, to kind of like stand around and see what’s going on. But generally speaking, you have to constantly be of value and assisting. You’re a production assistant—assisting the production. That’s what you’re there to do. And everybody’s always watching….   So, the conversations you have in the bathroom when you’re on your break, you know, with your fellow PAs, like all of that stuff, people are constantly watching and the seasoned people can see it from a mile away. So if you’re showing up to set thinking, ‘I’m going to be a certain way and maybe be discovered, and be next year directing my first feature,’ you’re in for a rude awakening.”   Learn about Film Connection for film production, cinematography, editing, screenwriting, and more!       
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or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Chef Kristin Beringson on Out-of-the-Box Thinking,
The Bad Boy Chef Stereotype & Why She Mentors for CASA


CASA mentor Chef Kristin Beringson, Executive Chef, The Fairlane Hotel & former Chopped champion

  Kristin Beringson, Executive Chef of The Fairlane Hotel in Nashville, and former Chopped champion has a passion for the culinary arts, a fierce work ethic, and a tendency to think outside of the box. We recently caught up with the busy chef to hear what she has to say about our culture’s perception of chefs as “Billy Bad-Asses” thinking beyond the norms, and setting oneself up for success at learning the many facets of the craft.   You’re a proponent of out-of-the-box thinking and pushing beyond traditional notions of “fine dining.” You encourage others to do the same.   “Most students come in and they tell me that they want to do fine dining. I’m like, ‘Okay, well, what is it about that, that you like?’ ‘Well, it’s what I see on TV and it’s beautiful. And I like plating.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay.’ But it’s about, like, this whole thing, like, you can do quick-service breakfast, you can do fast-casual. Like, there’s food trucks. I think there are so many different kinds of dining. To just associate being a chef with this one type of cuisine, and not just cuisine but service style, I guess what I’m saying is it’s very narrow-minded.   It’s what TV has done to us. Like, we’re all [on] Top Chef and we’re all doing the exact same thing…. But the business side of it is that you could make money in so many different avenues of cuisine. And understanding that maybe the guy with the food truck on the corner is maybe making more of a profit margin than me up here on the fourth floor of this hotel, like, it’s all in how we handle our business. And that’s where the business side of [being] a chef is from, instead of just me with my tweezers placing little, tiny bits of food on a plate.” Watch our Straight Talk video with Chef Beringson below for more insight into what being a chef really entails!   What are the qualities and behaviors of a CASA student who does well in our gourmet chef program?   “The students that are the most impactful to me as a mentor are the ones that have the desire to learn everything. Like, it’s not just the ones that want to learn how to cook. It’s the ones that learned that a truck has to be put away. They learned that, you know, they’ve got to be the best at salad before they can be the best at fry…. They understand the different components and how they work together in a kitchen. Like, understanding that a brigade system exists for a reason…. It’s just like this whole piece that I think the best students have to understand that, you know, it’s not just learning from me, it’s learning from everybody in the kitchen, and the culmination of all of those experiences, and all of those job duties, and all of the everything that exists in a kitchen, [who] make the best students in this program.”   Do you have anything to say about the hip bad boy/bad girl chef stereotype? What’s the reality of it? What’s maybe misunderstood?   “A lot of the television programs and reality shows, they’ve taken a working-class blue-collar human and made it this, like, hip cool thing. So now we’re perceived as hip and cool, but we’re still like this working-class blue-collar thing. I always joke around when I’m in the dish pit, spraying off pans, covered in muck, I’m like, ‘Hey, take a picture. Let’s show them what it’s really about.’ Like, let’s show them how glamorous being a chef really is.   I mean, I have “salt” tattooed on my seasoning finger…. Like, we do like the bad boy vibe…. The field itself attracts a certain genre of human which is kind of what I like about it. You know, I can be grouped together with like-minded individuals from all different backgrounds, but we do have a common kind of thread, and that’s our love for food and that we’re kind of like odd ducks. So, I think that’s a beautiful thing. It’s like food is our language and it connects us.” Get more in our Straight Talk video below!   Have you had any star students you’d like to tell us about?   “Cody Woodside he’s wonderful. He’s amazing.”   What was good about him as a student?   “Honestly, Cody was a really solid self-learner, like he was hungry for information. And it didn’t matter who he got it from, whether it was myself or the girl that baked bread for me, or the pastry chef, or the prep cook. He would go out and get the information out of whoever had it in their brain…. I think the people that are most successful with this program are the people that are hungry for information…. I’ve had a few that just stand next to me and look at me like they’re going to learn my brain info from osmosis. And I’m like, ‘You’re never going to make it in this industry if you think staring at a chef is going to make you one.’ Like, you have to want the information and you have to want to go get it….   My first student, his name was Chase Greenhalgh. He was just like this quiet guy and I didn’t know much about him. He really would just come in and start chopping brussels sprouts every day. And, like, he just was really sweet. And I ended up opening a new restaurant, the Green Pheasant, it’s a Japanese joint downtown. It’s since closed due to COVID. But he came on as one of my employees. And I swear, he started on little sushi station and then he’d go over to walk and learn some [new] things. And then the next thing, he would go over and learn sauté. And the next thing, he would go learn grill.   And he just kind of did it on his own until he was the best cook in the whole kitchen all by himself. And I can’t say enough good things…. I wish I would have known how good and how motivated he was. But he didn’t have that communication piece to that thing that we do. But as a whole, he’s probably one of my greatest students just from, like, a well-rounded, lovely cook standpoint.”   Why do you choose to mentor for CASA?   “I’ve always liked teaching. When I went to The Art Institute here in Nashville, I did like a sous chef, like, internship mentorship program through them. So I was one of the chef instructors’ sous-chefs. And I really enjoyed teaching and I really enjoyed interacting with the students…. You can learn a lot from a culinary instructor, but you can learn more from a true culinary worker, which is what I enjoy about the CASA program.   In culinary school, if you break hollandaise, the chef is going to yell at you and say, ‘Start again. It’s trash. Throw it away. Start again.’ But I think, as a culinary worker, I’m going to say, ‘Okay, it’s trash, but this is how you fix it.’ So, it’s two different perspectives. And it’s two different kinds of realities. Like, culinary school isn’t a realistic approach to learning as opposed to like real kitchen learning experience, which is what CASA offers.”   Want to get going in the culinary arts? Learn more about CASA and how we do culinary education differently.  
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