or call (800) 755-7597

Issue #270

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

Special Feature

Lessons from the Frontlines… Recording Connection grad & mentor DAWSØN Records Kanye West!

  August 5th, 2021, Kanye West live-streams the release of his new album Donda, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Recording Connection graduate Dawsøn is the engineer there to catch it all.    

Dawsøn with Wanya Morris of BIIMen at Junxion Sound

Sometimes it isn’t ready, go, jump, it’s just jump! When Recording Connection graduate and now mentor, Dawsøn, got the call, he had to act fast. That’s exactly what he and his team at Junxion Sound did.   What’d you do when you got the call that Kanye and his people needed your services?   “I got a call to bring myself, two other engineers, and three studio setups for each engineer. So, they called us in, and we came through immediately. We dropped everything we were doing and got there as quick as possible.” Follow Dawsøn @SoundbyDawsøn on Instagram.   How do you keep it cool when you’re working with really big artists?   “I feel like when you’re in situations like that, it’s actually really easy because you’re there to be the engineer and they’re already aware of that…. You’re going to have that one on one with the artist. And if you’re a good engineer, they’re most likely going to take note of that…. Then they’ll just make note of how quick I am, and whatever they asked for—I’m on it immediately —and then they’ll start to talk to me…. They’ll ask me questions like, ‘Oh, and where are you from?’ And all that stuff. So, it’s like you’ll get your one on one with the artists. You don’t have to force that.”   The fact that you were the one who got the call was no accident. You’ve built a longtime relationship with the artist producer who was instrumental in you getting the call. Tell us about him.   “The one person who actually linked me with Kanye, his name is Fya Man. We’ve been working together since 2017 since I opened up the studio. He’s from Chicago. Before I met him, he had already done a lot of major things of like working with Pharrell and Jay-Z and a bunch of really big-name people. And yeah, he was the one who brought me into the Kanye situation.” Read/watch more with Dawsøn.   Why do you choose to mentor for Recording Connection?   “I just wanted to help more people like me…. Because it was such a success for me, I felt like becoming a mentor was something that I just really wanted to do…. For me, in particular, I was able to pay off my student loan through the profession. I paid everything off through audio engineering. And that’s something I take pride in…. I just want to help other people do the same.”   Learn about Recording Connection for audio engineering, music production, beat making, EDM, music business, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Student Successes

Recording Connection grad Caleb Ostermann Gets (Unexpectedly) Hired
to Take His Mentor’s Place.


Recording Connection graduate Caleb Ostermann

When Caleb Ostermann finally made the crucial decision to follow his bliss and build a professional career in music, he’d already taken a couple different educational paths only to find he just couldn’t commit do doing something he didn’t love. But when he aligned his love of music with his fierce work ethic and, in his words, “dropped into something better,” a whole new future emerged, along with one singularly golden opportunity. Read on to learn how Caleb went from ho-hum to full throttle in just a matter of months!   You pursued a couple of different educational paths before you decided to enroll in Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production. Please tell us more about that.   “So, I started out just… being, like, ‘Well, I got to do something in college. And so, I decided to go into physical therapy, did that for a year. And then decided to go into PE teaching, for some reason. And about a week and a half into that is when I got the call, just with some information about an audio engineering program. And I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ School has never been my favorite thing and learning inside of that kind of context has never been… something that I’ve done well with. It’s more of the hands-on stuff that I do better with anyway. And so, within a week and a half ‘I dropped in,’ is what I like to say, ‘to something better.’” Learn more about Caleb’s journey in our Straight Talk video with him below!   It turned out that during your months externing at Forte Studios, your mentor Caleb Kuennen had been quietly assessing you to see if you’d be able to step up to the challenge of replacing him at Forte. Tell us all about that.   “I was talking to him one day… [and] asked him, ‘Is there anything that I can help you guys out with after I’m done with my program?… And he was like, ‘Actually, about that, I’m resigning at the end of this program. And so, I’m going to recommend you as my replacement.’ And so, he didn’t hire me per se. But… through the externship, he was able to kind of see my work and how I did. And so, [it was] a long-form interview almost and, yeah, and then the owner of the studio [Joshua Jacobson] was the one that hired me.   Before I had been… watching YouTube videos or trying to figure these things out on my own. And the way that I learn, it’s almost like I needed someone to just… directly show me how they work, exactly what they do. And so, getting that nice base structure put in really helped me build up from there. And now I can watch, you know, the YouTube videos and actually understand, ‘Okay, I can apply this to this,’ and understand that that will work well.   But yeah, before then, I was just kind of flying in with a blind eye, trying to apply all these tips and tricks to my music and it wouldn’t work because it’s all circumstantial, really.”   So, what, in your opinion, did you do right? What enabled Caleb to say, “Hey, you’re going to take my place when I’m gone.”   “It’s just kind of amazing how God worked out the whole situation, just in the way that He led me here…. Also just always showing up. That’s a big part, just showing up, being there, being attentive, seeing the clients’ needs, and really going after helping them as much as you can. Always ask[ing] him [the mentor] questions, being interested in learning. And I’m very thankful for Josh and how he is in support of me as a learner, [who is] still learning…. The biggest thing was just being there and ready to learn.”   What’s your advice to current Recording Connection students? How can they make the most of it while they’re in it?   “I think definitely meeting your mentor halfway, or even three-fourths of the way, really putting in that extra mile just to learn and understand the concepts and make it easier for them. Because that’ll make you more attractive for them to either recommend to another studio or to the studio that you’re at. Yeah, just really wanting to learn and get better. And yeah, definitely engaging in all the content that is put forth by the Recording Connection. And, yeah, looking into things that you’re unsure of; don’t just kind of brush them off. Really get to know your material and get to know it well. Get to know your studio, get to know all of the analog and digital gear that you have, and get to know Pro Tools because it’s huge in the music industry.”   Learn more about Recording Connection, for Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beat Making, EDM, Live Sound, Music Business, DJing, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Student Successes

Radio Connection grad Jeff Malinoff Elevates His Radio Skills
by Training with mentor Craig Larson, COO of Gow Media!


Radio Connection graduate Jeff Malinoff

When Jeff Malinoff enrolled in Radio Connection, he’d recently graduated from college with plans of launching a career in radio. The Covid-19 pandemic led to him reassessing his gameplan. See how Jeff found his footing and elevated his radio skills fast, thanks to our no-nonsense approach to radio broadcasting education and the expert mentorship of Gow Media COO, Craig Larson.   What led you to Radio Connection in the first place?   “Well, kind of have to thank COVID for that one. I was actually working for a news station in Nashville, Tennessee called Nashville Sports Radio. I was working for them for two months, and then COVID happened. And they had to let people go just because there were too many people there…. And so, I found jobs after that, working 9 to 5s and things like that. And then once I go to a point where I really didn’t want to do 9 to 5s anymore, I was like, ‘I want to get back into sports broadcasting, sports radio,’ whatever have you. …   My mom was like, ‘Just find a broadcasting school. Let’s just have you go back to school. You’re just staying at home while on lockdown. Why not go for that?’ And so, during that process, we were looking at things and my mom found Radio Connection…. We made a call to the Admissions Advisor… and we went from there.” Jeff explains the difference between Radio Connection and his college experience, interviewing Miss America, and more in our Straight Talk video below!   What was it like training with longtime radio pro, Craig Larson, COO of Gow Media?   “He was like, ‘Yeah. I already see you have a background, a resume, if you will, of radio in the past, in sports radio. We really don’t need to talk about the smaller things. We can get right to just doing recordings and working on what you say on air and doing co-host with some of the people I work with.’   I really started on the ground running…. He was just like, ‘All right. I know your background. Let’s not dillydally and get right into it.’ I think that was a huge help from Craig. I really appreciate that from him.”   How did Craig give you direct input and advice on the content for your sports radio podcast?   “What I’ve learned so much from him is that first five minutes is so crucial to really get that audience in. Because, like everyone knows, everyone’s attention span is so miniscule when it comes to, like, podcasts…. If they’re uninterested in it, they’re not going to listen to it. …   He helped me really put in perspective what to talk about, how to talk the right way, get the audience hooked right away. He gave me, like, a tree, if you will, of, like, ‘Okay. Once you talk about this subject, you got to go into these other sub-subjects about that subject, so you can go into more detail and have your show become longer. So, it’s not just a five-minute show. You can extend it to a 30-minute show.’…   Craig has been nothing but a true help. I’ve talked with him constantly…. He let me get in contact with other people, and I’ve gotten advice from his people he’s worked with down there in Houston. And it’s just been great connection after great connection I’ve had with Craig. And I think that’s what’s so huge about Radio Connection is who you get to talk to and who’s already involved in the business you want to be in. And they let you get connected from there. So, you have this whole line of connections … and that’s been a huge help.”   What, in your opinion, does it take to be a pro in the industry?  

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

“I think it really goes on in terms of how you treat your fellow coworkers, especially, and how you treat others around you. Because if you become… self-oriented, people are going to feel that a mile away and almost drift away from you, especially when you’re first starting. You got to be a team player. You got to be understanding. You got to be like, ‘Okay. I got to do this stuff that I don’t want to do right away.’ You got to just get down and dirty. You got to get your feet wet right away, and you got to just start from the bottom, work your way up. I think that’s a huge part [of] starting in this business.”   It’s great to see how inspired Craig gets mentoring his students. Have you seen that yourself?   “You can feel that a mile away from Craig. He’s just that kind of guy that wants to help the people starting today to make sure there is a business in the future…. He’s a very unselfish guy, and you can just [sense that] right off the bat when you talk to him.”   Learn more about Radio Connection for training in radio broadcasting, sportscasting, podcasting, announcing, and more!  
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or call (800) 755-7597

Mentor News

Bayou Bennett & Daniel Lir Get Multiple Film Connection
students & grads on Fantasy Film!

If you’ve subscribed to our newsletter for any length of time, you’re already familiar with Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir, the powerhouse duo behind Dream Team Directors (P. Diddy, Adidas, Chrome Hearts) in Los Angeles, CA. We recently connected to hear how they got not one, not two but rather, five Film Connection students/grads in crew positions right alongside seasoned pros on the short fantasy film “Time is Eternal,” starring Berite Labelle!   How did the film “Time is Eternal” come about?   Daniel: “So, we got an email from Berite Labelle, a fashion influencer and model. She sent us this concept and storyboard and we’re like, ‘Wow, what is this?’ So, that was the beginning of this short film called ‘Time is Eternal’ and it was really a dream come true project, right, Bayou?”   Bayou: “We always have a message in our films, so, on this one it’s women’s empowerment. And then I love the fantasy aspect of it…. After the pandemic I just wanted to create art that just makes people just think, ‘Wow!’ Like they see something so beautiful and so well done and so aesthetic … [that] could uplift and take them out of what they just went through…   And so, this was the perfect project for that. We were able to do some underwater scenes, we were able to shoot in an incredible, top location that… I mean, like, top location and… what I loved about it is that every job was filled, and so we had, like, incredible art designer, like, with the set, and an incredible cinematographer. And then we used quite a few people from the Film Connection.”   Learn more about the “Time is Eternal” shoot in the Straight Talk video below!  

on location BTS of “Time is Eternal” crewed by multiple Film Connection students/grads & film pros

  Yes, you did! Spill the beans on all the Film Connection grads and students who worked on “Time is Eternal.”   Daniel: “Our script supervisor was Terence [Baker], who was an editing mentee of ours, and he was an amazing script supervisor and just so positive to have on the set.”…   Bayou: “We were also able to work with Bella [Jones] again as our editor…. We keep using her on our short films, and so… we hired her, paid her a great fee. That was really fun. She did excellent again. We’re super proud of her.”   Daniel: “She helped us win over 30 awards on our last film, ‘Tombstone Pillow,’ and go all over the world with it…. With her we got in 50 film festivals during the pandemic, played all over the world… We’re just super proud and love working with her. Her edit was amazing…. With this film, ‘Time is Eternal,’ I felt like she actually expressed herself fully because she grew up with period dramas, and that’s the genre that she really loves. …   I’ve always wanted a really, really good assistant and Beni [Robert Benicio Ponce], our [current Film Connection] mentee, he just stepped up and he was an awesome…   ‘Beni, we need to figure out what kind of camera housing we need underwater.’ Done.   ‘Beni, we need a backup location.’ Done.   ‘Beni, we need to figure out what’s going on with insurance.’ Done.”   Bayou: “‘Beni, you got to go get some mermaid tales.’”   Daniel: “’Like, an hour and a half away.’   He worked on this so incredibly well, we just gave him Associate Producer credit.” …   And [graduate] Chris Maltese is an amazing photographer and videographer. He came on shoot with us for four days during the shoot and documented the whole process.” …   Bayou: “We had him do all the behind-the-scenes. He’s a professional photographer but he wanted to learn how to do behind-the-scenes documentaries, so we had him on the set doing that. …   We had the whole group, it seemed like a lot of ‘film connections.’ So, our best friend and producer in New York City, Zef Cota, who is also a Film Connection mentor, we brought him in as a producer as well. So we flew him in from New York. And that was really wonderful.”  

Mentor Daniel Lir, grad Ramone Wilkinson, mentor Zef Cota, student Beni Ponce, grad Terence Baker

  Wow, that’s a lot of Film Connection people indeed! One recent graduate, Ramone Wilkinson, was able to use his skills as a choreographer as well. What can you tell us about that?   Daniel: “Bayou used her New York underground performance art background to do the choreography and… Ramone Wilkinson actually came into the program as a choreographer, and so they collaborated. The dance is, like, unbelievable. It’s just truly incredible in the film.”   Bayou: “We really bonded on the fact that we both were professional dancers, and then turned filmmakers. So, I was able to show Ramone how you can take the previous art, which is dance and choreography, and then turn it into… not only [being] a choreographer on set, but also a director. So, I was able to… take him under my wing.”   Daniel: “It was just so absolutely creative. In addition to that, Ramone Wilkinson actually also produced a commercial for his portfolio for Kangol in the program, and I think that commercial is really wonderful. Bayou did a lot of the pre-production and development on it with him.   It’s a really, really remarkable portfolio piece, which really shows his ability to portray the culture that he comes from…. I think he’s definitely going to get work and break his career open, wide open, with this commercial.”   Learn more about Film Connection for film production & editing, cinematography, and more!    
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