or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #268

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Student Successes

Recording Connection grad K Campbell Gets Hired &
On-Path in Beat Making, Audio Engineering & More.


Recording Connection graduate K Campbell

  By the time K Campbell enrolled in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production, he’d embarked on a couple of different career paths and found that they just didn’t fit nor inspire him. We connected with K to talk about getting on-path, quickly elevating his skills, and working his way into a paid position at the studio where he externed. We also got K’s advice on how others can make the most of their time in Recording Connection, and more!   Even though you’d always loved music, you were on a couple of different career paths prior to finding Recording Connection.   “I was going to school for nursing at first. And I did that in high school, and I did that first year of college. And then I quit doing that… and went on to Owens Community College, and I took classes there under a fellowship… becoming a [mechanical] engineer in that fashion… but… the factory atmosphere wasn’t fitting with my inner feelings. Then my last-ditch attempt [to make music] was actually something somebody special to me told me, and she was just like, ‘You could do it if you really wanted to.’”   That someone special inspired you to start making your own music. What then prompted you to sign up with us?   “I was just in a spot where I felt like I was trying so, so hard to grow my skills and become better. And I was just falling short, and I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand what was missing. So, I was hoping that through Recording Connection, I would find that. It seemed, like being able to work in an establishment with people who are making money doing this, and this is their life, that I would get the best shot at that, and I did.” Watch our Straight Talk video with K below for more about his journey.   What, exactly, were you creating on your own?   “At that time, I was making a lot of beats and trying to mix and engineering my own music that I was making. And between the beat making and the mixing, I just felt like I was improving, but not the way I wanted…. I felt like I was so lost as far as where to start on things.”   Learning on one’s own is a great thing to do but without a solid foundation, it can be a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.   “That’s exactly where I was. [I] was in a spot of not knowing, like I can look up a thousand tricks to do one thing…. Where I was getting at was, like, ‘Okay, I learned how to do this one thing for this specific time and for the specific manner, but, like, how do I actually use a compressor all the time?’ Not just, ‘How do I use it one spot,’ and that’s what I was falling into.”   You made it a point to show your drive and commitment during your externship at Clear Track Studios and worked your way into a paid position. How did you do it?   “Initially, I saw that there were people helping out around the studio…. They would come in on different days as I was coming in to sit in on a session or help somebody out with a drum set up or whatever. And then I had noticed that there was nobody all of a sudden…. then I asked around, you know, the studio thinking that that was going to get me, you know, super close to getting the job that I wanted…. They asked me how many days I wanted. I asked for all of them… And she was, like, ‘Well, we have three available, but we don’t start anybody off, like with more than a day.’ And I was, like, ‘Okay.’”   How did that voluntary position turn into a paid job?   “They had one job that… they just needed somebody who knew how to work the board and knew how to set them up and patch them in. So, they hired me on for that…. From there, just being around enough sessions and helping out, they were, like, ‘Basically, you already do the job.’” Note: K has since left Clear Track and taken a post at YSE Loft Studio, a new studio where he says he can be “a part of it… from the ground up.”   Has doing Recording Connection shaped your goals and ambitions going forward?   “I love music…. At first, I thought I was just going to make my own music and be happy with that. And then it was, like, ‘Actually, I could really fall in love with engineering even for other people.’ And then it was, like, ‘I could really love producing for everybody.’ So now, it’s just so much further than what I could have ever imagined, the more and more I learn….   I’m learning how to play the piano right now. I just picked up drums. My goal is to be able to produce with actual instruments by the end of the year, not just using MIDI and plugging in stuff…. I just started a producer group, Antidote. And right now, we’re trying to build up packs and figure out the right communities to be involved in.   Long-term, I want to drop… the I’m Not Okay EP…. I took a break just to focus in on learning how to mix and learning how to make beats and mix beats, stuff like that. And I want to get back into training my voice.”   What’s your advice to current and upcoming Recording Connection students? How can they make the most of their time in the program?   “Relax. Just breathe. And if you’re wanting it bad enough, you’ll know when to look up. You’ll know when it’s like, ‘Yo, I need a break,’ and give yourself that break. Give yourself that ease. If it feels too easy, then you’ll know… that’s when you got to turn it up, but just trust that inner voice. But there’s nothing anybody on the outside should be able to say that boosts your confidence or deters you unless you let them. So just be very controlling of the energy you allow around you…. And remember that it gets better. You can only get better, as long as you keep trying, you’ll only get better.”   You’ve come far, fast.   “Thank you. I feel like I want to be humble about that so much, but then again, I also… really want to let people know that any of this is possible. I didn’t do anything crazy… I look around me, and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to be outworked.’ And it doesn’t come down to anything more than just being consistent, keep doing it every day… and just keep on just trying to get better…. You can do whatever you want. And if this is what you want, you just got to figure out how to make it happen. Everybody’s story is different, but you can figure it out.”   Learn more about Recording Connection, for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beat Making, Live Sound, DJing, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Student Successes

Film Connection grad Shaylah Conley Works Horror Feature Film
& Launches Her Own Production Company.


Film Connection graduate Shaylah Conley

Film Connection graduate Shaylah Conley did her externship training with mentor Christine Chen, the producer/director and founder of Moth to Flame Films. We connected with Shaylah to talk about her experience working as part of the crew of the upcoming feature film, Room 203, and the connections she made on-set, discuss her future goals, the short film she wrapped after graduating, and more!   You researched your options prior to enrolling in Film Connection. What did you like about us in the first place?   “It was online, so I didn’t have to go anywhere… then you’re set up with a mentor who brings you into the field. So, it’s not like you have to start from the bottom of the food chain and beg your way in. You get brought in and then you can move up depending on you, depending on everything about yourself.”   Take us back to your interview with Christine Chen, how did it go?   “I believe it was in the middle of that first week [after applying]…. [Admissions] set us up and then we had our Zoom call. And what’s funny is that before we had our call, I had to go search her because I wanted to know more. I went and looked at her Moth to Flame website…. I just was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this woman is living my goals of having my own production company, being just the most awesome entrepreneur I’ve ever seen.’   So, then it finally came time for our Zoom call, and it went super well. It was just so chill…. We were just talking about… our goals and aspirations. And she basically was like, ‘I can see it. I see the fire in you. I see that this is the drive that you have.’…   And so, I think maybe one or two days go by and I got a call and they said, ‘Christine has accepted you as her mentee.”… And then it just took off.”   You did several film projects with Christine, including 2 features. The first project you worked on as an extern was a 31-day shoot for the feature horror film, Room 203. What do you consider your biggest takeaway from working on that film?  

Shaylah Conley on the set of Room 203

  “The biggest thing that I learned… [in] that first feature is what people actually do in their role because I feel like there’s such an illusion when you think of, ‘What does a director do?’ or ‘What does the 1st AD do?’ or ‘What does a grip do?’ And so being able to work on that feature… I was really able to have a better grasp on, ‘Okay, these are your responsibilities. Oh, okay, those are your responsibilities. Oh, this is what a 2nd AD does. Oh, this is what a DP does.’” Hear what Shaylah says it really takes to make the most of Film Connection in our Straight Talk video below!     Did you make many industry connections while working Room 203?   “Quite a few actually, because I got to talk to a couple of people about the script that I’m writing right now, the feature film. The sound person that I met on that film [Room 203] said yes, they would come from L.A. to make my movie. The camera crew from that film who lives in New York, they said yes, they would come from New York to make my movie…. And honestly, they told me that they were interested before I even asked them, so that made me feel very happy.”    

Shaylah Conley (lower left) with cast and crew of “First Impressions”

A lot of people have the idea that filmmaking is glamorous. Is it glamorous?   “Yes and no. It’s beautifully brutal…. The time I had to be on set was about 2:30 p.m. And usually, a shift is 12 hours. And so, 12 hours would be 2:30 a.m. However, because we were a horror film, most of our stuff was happening at night. And so, there were many, many nights where usually we wouldn’t wrap or end the day until about 5:30 a.m., 7:00 a.m. and then go home, go to sleep, wake up with enough time to maybe eat something, and do it all again. …   It is a grind, but it’s worth it because of the people that you’re with, and it’s worth it whenever you get that one moment to stand in video village and see the monitor and see what the camera is capturing on the monitor and just feel the excitement, just the joy [that] what you’re watching on screen right now will soon be edited into a movie, into a short film, into a documentary. And that feeling that you get, that’s what pushes you through the entire process.”   Just after graduating from Film Connection, you went on to do “First Impressions,” a short film of your own. How did the education you obtained through our program inform your shoot?   “I had downloaded this call sheet program and so [I] got to make us a legit call sheet and that felt so cool. And then I got to take the script… [and] make our shot list…. it was the full experience of, ‘Okay. This is the first setup. Okay. This is the new deal. Okay. We’re going to flip the world. Okay. Now we’re going to POV. Okay, now we’re going to over-the-shoulder.’ … I got to, use all of my film lingo that I had gathered and that it really made [the crew] feel like they were on a legit set because, you know, we were doing the things the way that the industry does them.”  

Film Connection grad Shaylah Conley (center, with camera) & crew of Sisters’ Productions submission to The 48 Hour Film Project

You’ve already started fulfilling your goal of having your own production company. Tell us about what you’re currently doing and your vision for its future.   “Our name is Sisters’ Productions and, honestly, we want to make everything. We don’t want to limit ourselves…. We want to do everything. We want to do anything that interests us…. Our biggest goal, in the end, is that we want to create media that makes you think…. Definitely, we want to create things that if you go back and watch it again, you get to enjoy it all over again.   Since my production company is just my sister and I, we wear all the hats. So we are the writers, we are the directors, we are the DPs… the 1st AC and the 2nd AC…the 1st AD the 2nd AD. And we’ve begun to have people join us. We have someone who… we can turn to for sound because that is its own beast. …   [Another] big goal for me and my sister is that we want to be able to be a resource for artists who feel like they don’t have any resources…. If someone comes to us and they say, ‘Hey, here’s my script, I want to direct it,’ then we want to be able to help them achieve that.”   What do people coming into Film Connection need to do to make the most of their time and experience?   “The thing about Film Connection is, yes, they do say, ‘Hey, you’re falling behind,’ or, ‘Hey, you’re not going to graduate in the six-month period if you don’t catch up on your chapters.’… They do give that kind of push, but they aren’t there to monitor you…. So, if you don’t already come in with some self-drive, with some motivation, you aren’t going to get what you need to get out of this program. And what you need to get out of this program is kind of a tough love, ‘Are you going to push yourself?’ A tough love, ‘Are you going to keep moving forward because you want to?’ ‘Are you going to keep asking to go onto set? Are you going to keep talking to your mentor?’ Because your mentor has a life. They have a career. They aren’t going to baby you either. …   And so, to me, you will find out real fast if this just isn’t the kind of… hard work that you want to do for the rest of your life. If this isn’t the self-motivation you want to have. If this isn’t the thing that is going to drive you… no matter what’s going on outside of you, no matter what’s going on in the world.”  

Shaylah Conley (in green) and crew of “Sweet Lemonade”

Update: Shaylah has just completed the 48 Hour Film Project. Here’s what she wrote about that.   “My sister and I got together a small crew of our close film friends and we competed in our very first film competition!… [We] had a ton of fun writing the script and we really let the elements tell the story. The logline for our short is: The fabric between reality and imagination rip at the seams when Diana Ruiz, an amateur cosplayer finally gets to meet her idol Estrella Linda, a famous online cosplayer.   We had a team of 9, not including our wonderful parents who let us film a scene in their hotel room! My sister and I stayed up all night Friday writing and then stayed awake all day Saturday filming. It wasn’t until about 1 a.m. Saturday that we finally went to sleep. Then Sunday we woke up at about 10 a.m. and started editing around noon. We exported our film and submitted it with about 4 minutes to spare to the deadline! It was SUPER nerve-wracking! My sister and I didn’t even get to watch the film before we submitted it. So, when we finally did watch it back, honestly I was so proud of the story that we created that I started crying. Then my sister started crying and our poor sound guy, Preston Bounds, who was the only person who stuck around past Sunday morning, had two crying women on his hands! But we told him they were tears of joy. Of course, there were some boo-boos, like some cuts that could’ve been better and some sound silence, but we made a finished product and submitted it on time! A few days later I… [went] back and fixed all the mistakes. I’m so happy and still SO proud of our team and we were able to create in 48 hours!”   That’s not all! Shaylah also wrapped her first production working as 1st AD. The short film is named “Sweet Lemonade.”   Learn more about Film Connection for film production & editing, cinematography, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Radio Connection mentor Craig Larson on Gow Media,
Training Tomorrow’s Radio Pros & More!


Craig Larson, COO (right), Esmeralda Perez, Office Manager & Continuity, and David Gow, owner & CEO of Gow Media

    Radio Connection mentor Craig Larson is the Chief Operations Operator of Programming and Affiliate Relations at Gow Media. Run by CEO David Gow, Gow Media owns and manages several sports radio networks and media news outlets including SportsMap Radio Network, ESPN 97.5 FM (KFNC) and ESPN 92.5 (KFNC), Culture Map, Innovation Map, and more.   Starting in radio in 1990, over the past few decades Craig has accumulated the insight and knowledge that comes from having done nearly all of it. From reporting from the field as a sports reporter, to producing and hosting radio shows and segments, to station programming, liaising with affiliates, and more, the powerhouse mentor and COO has a wealth of experience, perspective, and knowhow to share with those who train with him.   What led you into radio in the first place?   “It started at a very young age… at the age of, you know, 9, 10, 11, in that range. There was a program in Chicago, the Larry Lujack Show, and every afternoon he had a segment called, ‘Animal Stories,’ …he had character voices and all of these sound effects, and I never missed that segment. Pretty much since that moment, I just got hooked on radio, hooked on the medium. I love the spontaneous and entertaining aspects of it and have been hooked ever since.”   As Chief Operations Officer of Gow Media, what does your job entail?   “Given the day, given the hour, given the week, there’s a fluctuation of duties. Candidly, I think that’s what I enjoy the most about the opportunity here at Gow Media. It could be guest booking, it could be looking at budgets, it could be profit and loss margins, and sheets, and analysis there, it could be building out a host schedule, or reacting to a sports story and trying to get content on the air. So, it is very fluid. There are a lot of moving parts and components to it, and the pacing of it is somewhat extraordinary, at least on certain days, to be sure.” Learn how Craig trains tomorrow’s radio pros in our Straight Talk video below!   While different students’ experiences vary, how do you enable students to gain a real-world understanding of what it takes to work in radio?   “So, across the hall right now, we’re doing a simulated show with one of our individuals that wants to ultimately be a sportscaster. So, he is actually paired up right now with our afternoon host, and they are doing a mock version of a show, where they are establishing the topics, [and] they’re going through how to transition from the topics.   Prior to that, there was a whole day yesterday of how to identify the topics, prepare the topics, incorporate the audio to enhance the stories or arguments or the debates…. And so, for that particular individual, in addition to the program with Radio Connection, here at Gow Media, we bring it to life…. I think one of the great things about this particular program is the accelerated nature of it, but just the fact that every week, you’re getting that hands-on tutelage and experience from one of the many resources that we have here in the radio division at Gow Media.”   Who tends to do well in radio?   “I think everyone comes in at a certain level, you know. Some individuals are more advanced or developed… they just need the repetition and the formatics around it…. It’s kind of that old adage if you’re interested in it… whatever you put into it, you’re going to get out of the program. So, it’s been just my experience of my association that everyone has ability. The program is designed to really hone-in and identify those talents and abilities, and then, scale it and polish it upwards.”   Learn more about 6-9 month mentored-externship programs and remote online one-on-one training with Radio Connection.  
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