or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #267

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Film Connection grads Carter Rutledge & Zack Wilson Parrish
Make Short Horror Movie & Get Going in Film.


Film Connection graduates Zack Wilson Parrish and Carter Rutledge on the set of “A Good Mother”

Film Connection graduates Carter Rutledge and Zack Wilson Parrish did their externship training with mentor and Emmy winner, Zac Adams, producer, director, and CEO of Skydive Films in Nashville, Tennessee. Aside from working on commercial shoots, music videos, and more, all three came together to write, produce, and edit the short horror film, “A Good Mother” which is currently being submitted to film festivals. We recently spoke with the filmmakers to learn more about the making of “A Good Mother,” their experiences in our 6–9-month Film Production & Editing Program, and more.   What brought you to Film Connection in the first place?   Zack: “I’ve always been interested in film and things like that…. I woke up one day nearing 30 and realizing that I hadn’t done something that I know that I love. Just a quick Google search for film schools in Nashville, you know, something I could do close to home [led me to] Film Connection [which] had the best reviews, and it seemed like a program I could get into pretty quick.”   Carter: “I had always been interested in film and video and kind of narrative storytelling through that…. A friend of a friend had done Film Connection… and I heard about it just like a two-sentence version of what it is, and I was like, ‘Woah, wait, that sounds perfect for me.’ So, right out of high school I looked into it and got involved and was paired with Zac [Adams, mentor].”   What was your knowledge of filmmaking prior to starting the program?   Carter: “I had been making short films with iPhones and DSLRs for, like, five years before just for fun and with friends and family…. I had watched a lot of movies and learned a lot about history and the Golden Age of Hollywood and all of those techniques, and how they came forth, and the innovation. But I didn’t know anything about what the industry functions like. Like, I didn’t know the job of a producer, you know. …   And then, like, instantly, a month after working with Zac, it’s, like, ‘Oh, this is how clients pay. This is how these different documents have to be set up before you shoot. This is what pre-production looks like. This is how long post-production takes.’ All of that, I didn’t really have a grasp on even though I had a grasp on, like, aperture and ISO and stuff before.”   Zack: “A lot of it was stuff that I thought I knew. You know, watching movies and kind of learning how they get made. But when I came in here, I didn’t realize how much work actually goes into it. I had made a couple short films when I was younger, but never really got into the guts of it and stuff. Anything with cameras was never my forte. [I had done] a lot of writing.”  

Actor Leslie Mills and Carter Rutledge on set of “A Good Mother”

So, how did “A Good Mother,” the short horror film the three of you wrote and made come about?   Zac Adams (mentor): “I had the basic idea in my head for 15 years…. I pitched the guys back in the fall and they liked it. I said, ‘Y’all want to make it?’… Well, let’s flesh it out.’” … Zack: “Yeah, the ending was the hook and what convinced Carter and I, like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s it. We can do that.’” …   Zac Adams (mentor): “And then the three of us literally sat in my house for a couple days and ordered some pizza and just fleshed it out… over a day or two…. We all three got writing credit. And it’s on my IMDb now. We filmed at his [Zack’s] aunt and uncle’s house in Hendersonville… and we shot on the RED Epic, [with an] all-professional crew, friends of mine. And then we all did the editing at my house.”   Carter: “Yeah, and the screenwriting mentor, Paul Guay that I got paired with by Film Connection… in one of our meetings, I gave him the ‘A Good Mother’ script to read and he gave us notes on it and we took that feedback and changed some things about it.” Learn more about the shoot and Carter & Zack’s experiences in our Straight Talk video below!   Zack: “When we got… [to] shooting “A Good Mother,” I realized, like, ‘Oh, there’s a lot to this. There’s so many moving parts.’ And we had a lot of great people work on that, and they all are amazing at what they do. And I didn’t realize how much talent goes into something like that. And watching Zac keep his cool while running around doing a thousand different things is pretty awesome to see.” Read more about Emmy-winner & mentor Zac Adams who’s known for getting his externs in the driver’s seat!   So Carter, considering you don’t regard writing as a particular interest of yours, was training with screenwriter Paul Guay (Liar, Liar, Heartbreakers, The Little Rascals) beneficial to you?  “He was great…. After Film Connection, I have a much better grasp and maybe confidence in writing. Like, I feel like if I needed to write something, I could do it now.” [Carter earned both a writing and editing credit on “A Good Mother.”]  

“A Good Mother” shoot: Josh Shreve (DP), Corey Allen (AC), and
Chris Dyer, gaffer

What are your plans going forward?   Carter: “I think I’m definitely leaning towards being a freelance DP to just get hired on anything that I can. And then, hopefully, make enough money to just do passion projects and direct. Hopefully, write and direct and shoot those. But yeah, as of right now, it’s just four days a week-ish, [that] I’ve got someone calling me for something to either shoot it or just be… a camera op [camera operator] or something along those lines. I really, really enjoy the shooting of things more than the writing. That’s why Zack and I work well together… because he loves writing and I like everything except writing.”   Zack: “We definitely all worked on the script for “Good Mother,” but seeing my name on it for the first time, especially when we made the poster, was the coolest thing ever. I want to keep doing that as long as I can.”… I’m really glad I did it [Film Connection] and was able to make the connections I made and learn as much as I’ve learned. And I kind of can’t wait to get started on the next thing. Before, I had things I wanted to do, but didn’t have the spark of inspiration, as corny as that sounds. But now, after working on all of these projects, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s all I want to do now.’”  

Carter Rutledge on the set of “A Good Mother”

Carter, now that you’ve completed the Film Production program do you have a better understanding of what a DP does and what’s required to do the job?   “Definitely, because everything that I did before Film Connection was just kind of, like, I’d do everything. And it didn’t always work out, you know? And so, seeing how a DP [cinematographer] can work with a director and they’re not the same person, is very interesting. And I’ve really enjoyed stepping into the DP role and having someone to bounce ideas off of, and talk through things with, and stuff like that.”   Have anything to say about your parents and their reactions to you doing the program?   Zack: “They are, it seems at times, more excited than I am. You know, when I’m worn out from doing something, they’re always, like, ‘What are you doing next? What’s the next project? Have you started writing this?’ Like, ‘Talk to Zac, maybe there’s something you guys can work on together. Talk to Carter, maybe you guys can start working on something.’ So, yeah, 100% support. Like I said, almost more excited than I am.”   Carter: “My parents were very supportive and my grandfather helped me pay for it. My parents made sure to communicate to him that although it wasn’t a traditional program I was going into, it was what I really wanted to do. I have a very sporadic personality and I don’t want to be tied down. I like that the schedule is always new and there’s always something different on the horizon. I have found that to be really good and it helped my parents see that this program was great for me. Being able to come home after a shoot and just be able to have dinner and share with them what I’ve been doing has been great. Though they may not know the particulars of what I’m talking about, they can see that Film Connection was right for me.”   Zac Adams, what did Carter and Zack do right during their time under your mentorship? What qualities stand out to you?   “Well, they’re both very reliable, which is, believe it or not, tough to find these days with people [not] being on time and things like that…. They seem to work together nicely. Filmmaking is all about collaborating, in my opinion, with ideas, and on set. And they hopefully learned that when we did “A Good Mother” because they learned from pre-production, production and post, just the whole teamwork aspect…. It takes a full crew to really make a film. It’s not just one person. They both excelled in that…. And hopefully, what they’ve learned in the past seven, eight, nine months, whatever it’s been, they can take with them onto their own endeavors. Whether it’s their passion projects or client shoots.”   Learn more about Film Connection for film production & editing, cinematography, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Student Successes

How CASA graduate Josmira Batista Got Hired
at the High-End Restaurant Where She Trained!


CASA graduate Josmira Batista on the line at Sandbar

  CASA graduate Josmira Batista was on her way to becoming a nurse when she had the realization that nursing, as noble a career as it is, just wasn’t for her. Since then, Josmira’s love of food has grown, leading her to new awakenings and a whole new career path that’s full of promise, exploration, and discovery.   Before finding CASA and getting trained in the culinary arts, you were on the path to become a nurse. What led you from nursing to food?   “When you’re a little kid, you don’t think being a chef can help people. So, I went into nursing. And then I stuck with nursing because nurses help people. Doctors help people. Then I remember doing clinicals because I was doing a certified nursing assistant program, and I was like, ‘Yeah, this isn’t for me.’ Then I got my first job in a restaurant, an Italian restaurant…. I basically grew up there, from 17 to 25…. That’s when I started loving food more, and then I started traveling.   My first ever trip was to France. Like I always would vacation to Dominican Republic with my parents, but my first official adult trip was to France. And that’s when I bit into a croissant and I was like, ‘Wow, this is such a buttery, flaky, amazing croissant.’   Then I went to Italy, Greece, Amsterdam, England, Jamaica [and] I immersed myself in the food. When I traveled, I would just book an Airbnb instead of a hotel to really become a local. And that’s when I really started falling in love with food and culture.”   You were matched with Chef Amanda Mathosian at Sandbar. How did that first meeting go?   “I knew I had to interview with someone. And interviews, obviously, make people nervous. So, I was really anxious and nervous…. And I remember [her] just walking in…. And, yeah, we just vibed from the first interview, like I really liked her, [and] I hoped she liked me…. I left there hoping that I did a good job…. I hoped that she [had] liked me enough to like choose me.”   When did you get word that Chef Mathosian wanted you to train with her?   “Literally that same day…. I was driving and I forgot who called me…. He told me what Chef Amanda thought about me. And I remember crying, like to myself, tears of joy…. The only thing that was stopping me was obviously finances but I was like, ‘You know what, if it was meant to be, it’s meant to be’ and I just went for it. I took out a loan and I was like, ‘I want to do it.’” Learn more about Josmira’s CASA experience and get her advice on how to make the most of CASA in our Straight Talk video below!   Did it take time for you to become accustomed to being a culinary extern at Sandbar? How did it feel to be a newbie in a professional kitchen environment?   “I thought I knew how to hold a knife right, but I guess I didn’t. And [Chef Mathosian] showed me how and I remember my wrist hurting from cutting so many vegetables. But I was like, ‘Okay, so this is what it’s going to be like.’ And ever since then, she would challenge me and just be like, ‘All right, we’re going to do this, this, this.’   And I remember the first few weeks I was just quite nervous because I was feeling everybody out, I didn’t know what to expect… Then I got more comfortable. [When I started], I didn’t know how to stand when cutting. I would lean to one side, [and] cross my legs and she [Chef] fixed that for me. Then I started catching it myself. So now, I’m much better with that too. She helped me improve in a lot, a lot of things…. I learned a lot, even like coming in and looking at the prep list and seeing what we had to do. I love that I knew what to do and how to make things, and [was always] writing things down in my little notebook of recipes…. And so… I became part of the team in a way, which was really cool to feel.”  

Chef Amanda Mathosian and Josmira Batista at Sandbar

Then you really became part of the team, permanently! Give us the scoop on how you got hired.   “So, I had been working really hard, like so hard to prove to Chef Amanda that I had what it took to work there…. Months before she hired me… she asked me what I wanted to do… and I said, ‘I want to be in the kitchen either prepping or maybe eventually being on the line, but I want to be very versatile. Like, if you need me somewhere, I can work there. If you need me in another place, I can work there too.’ So, the day she spoke to me about hiring me, I remember telling the sous chef, it was a Friday, and I remember telling him, I was like, ‘Today is going to be a great day. I feel it in my bones,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, yeah?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’   And then hours later, Chef Amanda [said], ‘I’m going to need you in my office, like around this time.’ … Then she brought me in the office, and told me… ‘You’ve become such an asset to the team… how would you feel if you picked up some hours?’ I was just really excited because I wasn’t expecting to get hired. I really wasn’t. I didn’t see it coming… I was just so speechless because it felt like my hard work really did pay off.”   You’ve also started working on your own food blog. What’s it about?   It’s called “A Twist in Thyme” with thyme spelled like the herb…. I first started posting about my days in school [CASA]. Now to see where I was and then and where I am now, it’s kind of funny… because now I have more confidence. Before, I would stress and be like, ‘Oh my god, I did this wrong.’ Now… I’m more like, ‘Nah, you got this girl. You can do it.’   Learn more about CASA Schools, for Chef-led training in the culinary arts in months, not years, and for thousands less!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Who He Hires, Having Effective Songwriting & Pre-Production Sessions &
More with Recording Connection mentor Ryan Conway.


Recording Connection mentor Ryan Conway at ConwaySound Production-Recording

    Recording Connection mentor Ryan Conway (Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah, Bubba Sparxxx) of ConwaySound Production-Recording has been a mentor for more than ten years. We connected with Ryan to get his input on fostering fruitful songwriting and preproduction sessions, discuss who he hires, and get his take on how students can maximize building highly relevant, useful skills during Recording Connection.   What’s the objective of a songwriting session? How do you keep the creativity flowing and everyone on point?   “When you look at most of the stuff that’s on the radio today, you tend to see a lot of writers on it. So, there’s, generally a lot of people in the room…. The main objective is to write songs… and ultimately have the best songs that we can have. [So, I] get as many different inputs from different people so that we can balance those things out as fast as possible and everybody can grow, both individually, as well as [as] a group. …   And I think keeping it on track isn’t usually too difficult. I mean, I think in general, you want to just get a good start with communicating the goals with everybody and make sure that everyone’s engaged and feels comfortable that they can bring their ideas to the table without being kind of shut down before they get a chance to put them out there a little bit. And usually, once you set up that expectation with everybody, it goes pretty smoothly.”   Having bands into the studio for a pre-production session is something you often recommend. How do you approach those sessions and what’s the benefit of having them?   “I think that having a pre-production session is a great idea. One of the cool things we can do in this studio is we have a computer workstation in the big room here. So that enables us to do a rehearsal, setup simple mic’ing…. That way, everybody can go home with an idea of what these things are going to sound like. I think that a lot of times, people think that things are going to work, and then they get into the studio and find out that they don’t. And sometimes that can be a difficult emotional process to let go of like, ‘But I really wanted this samba breakdown bridge on this rock song,’ and everybody hears it and is like, ‘Yeah, it just isn’t fitting.’ …   There’s a Jerry Garcia quote that ‘Playing live is like sailing a ship on the ocean and recording in the studio is like building a ship in a bottle.’ I think that there’s truth to that. [Recording in studio] can be difficult. You have to be prepared for it…. If people do the pre-production sessions, they can hear it back without having to get so deep into the project. And that can make changes a lot less painful and open up people’s mindset to be willing to make changes and not get too caught up in those things from the beginning.”   You hired Josh Denhardt, a former Recording Connection student who has been at ConwaySound for approximately 5 years. What did Josh do right?   “He was the guy that just he slept on the floor in the studio for a while and he moved up from the Springs [Colorado Springs] and would roll up a little mat every day and just do pretty much everything that he could do to get things going and just didn’t give up…. He’s been a real asset because of that kind of mindset…. I guess it’s almost like a cliché sleeping on the floor in the studio. But, you know, sometimes that’s literally what happens.” Get more on what Ryan considers a winning mindset in our Straight Talk video below!   Two recent graduates have also impressed you with their proactive attitudes. Tell us about them.   “Gavin Hislop and John Hann… both of those guys have really impressed me, especially during COVID. I mean, it’s really hard to get out and find new artists and get the ball rolling on things. And both of them have been online a lot, really pushing to get new clients and figure out ways to keep the ball going. And I think that’s been a little tough…. Hopefully, [as] things settle down they can actually go out again. …   They’re both really working on their speed. I think that oftentimes, one of the things that separates a professional engineer from a really good amateur engineer is just being fast. [If] somebody’s hiring you, they don’t want to sit there and watch you fumble through Pro Tools or whatever. Like, you got to have your key commands and… if you only use thirty plugins but you can use them well, that’s going to matter a lot more than dinking around a lot. Both of them have been in [at ConwaySound] a lot and really worked a lot on learning more of the plugins that we have, and learning more of the hardware that we have, and, you know, being fast. And so, those kinds of things, I think, are all really good signs that they’re going to be able to continue to grow.”   How can students make the most of their time in the program?   “It really doesn’t matter what you’re working on, or whether it’s good or not. If you don’t have somebody to play guitar but you can fumble around a little bit and record yourself, then edit it, you know—do that! Because if you can edit a poor recording into a decent one, that’s the skills you want to learn. And I think, oftentimes, that’s what makes people the most employable. So, if you have anything or even a friend who is a poor guitar player and a bad singer, bring them over [LOL!]. You don’t have to try to get your Grammy while you’re in school, just keep working. …   Nowadays with the internet, you can download so many sessions. Like the Telefunken website, for instance, it’s like a demo for their mics, but they have hundreds of different sessions multitracks that you can download and mix and work on. So, we’re always trying to encourage them [Recording Connection students] to do a lot of that stuff because there’s a million little unique problems that you encounter in recording, and mixing, and working on records.”   Learn more about 6-9 month mentored-externship programs and remote online one-on-one training with Recording Connection.  
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