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Issue #70

Weekly Newsletter

by L. Swift and Jeff McQ

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Student Successes


When RRFC gets you learning on the job, you not only make important connections and learn skills you won’t learn any other way—you also experience the power of collaborating with others! Read below about a Film Connection apprentice who is discovering firsthand what can happen when passionate, creative people work together for a common goal.

Student Successes
 

Film Connection apprentice Ron Reid: Finding the magic in collaboration

    Ron Reid and Film Connection mentor Steve CarmichaelAnyone who’s been around a film production realizes that the filmmaking process is a unique blend of creativity and collaboration. Films don’t magically appear from the figments of someone’s imagination: it takes a whole team of talented people working together to turn an imagined story into something that others can watch and relate to. One might say that the real magic of filmmaking, then, is in the teamwork.   For Film Connection apprentice Ron Reid, these two things—creative expression and collaboration—are perhaps the two things that have drawn him the most toward pursing a career as a filmmaker.   Regarding creative expression: “I think for the most part, I just want to have an outlet to take what’s internal to your own imagination and share that with others,” Ron says. “Film, particularly, is that instrument or that tool you can use for that…I think filmmaking can be like a painter illustrating themselves on to a canvas. For me, it’s part of inviting others into my own world.”   As for the collaboration part, Ron developed his appreciation for teamwork from an interesting place. “I served as a U.S. Army officer for eight years specializing in training and resource management,” he says. “One of my greatest treasured skills from service is that I maintained a strong desire to contribute as part of a team…It’s more than about oneself.”   When Ron decided to go to school to become a filmmaker and discovered he could learn on-the-job at the Film Connection, it was soon clear that this was a great fit for him. His first clue that he was in the right place was during his initial interview with Film Connection mentor Steve Carmichael, who teaches at RiTE Media in Atlanta, Georgia. “He’s very cordial, and he’s able to capture you into his own world,” he says. “Very intelligent, very inspiring.”   Shot from "Pride" by TOTEMAs Ron started his apprenticeship and began gaining experience through the various projects at RiTE Media, he saw firsthand the power of collaboration at work during the filmmaking process—most notably during a prolonged video shoot on New Year’s Eve for “Pride,” a song by up-and-coming artist TOTEM. (Check out the video here.)   “It was very long, it was very cold, it was outdoors,” Ron recalls. “It was like 50 people, just crew, and 50 extras, I don’t know, it was a massive amount of people. Everybody was just out there, had their own departments, grip and gaff and art department, extras and so forth, and everybody was just in tune to get their most creative process that they could…I was with them doing that one for 22 hours, which through all the different projects I’ve worked on, that’s been the longest. But people stuck around because they had vested interest, not just on making money, but they were involved in that collaborative process.”   Perhaps even more poignant for Ron was seeing the finished product, the results of their efforts. “Just to see that entire piece come together when they had the release party and the actual viewing and showing of the video itself,” he says, “—You know, we’re out there 22 hours doing it, just on the grind, getting it done, and [to] see what it came into—It was almost like the power of human spirit, I guess. We’re not existing alone, we’re of one mind type of thing.”   Shot from "Pride" by TOTEMAs Ron continues to work through his Film Connection apprenticeship, he continues to marvel at the experience he’s gained, and the power of collaboration on projects. “Over the past few months, I’ve been able to receive work on various commercial, music, and television productions,” says Ron. “The best [thing] is the experience of working with highly dedicated professionals that have fun at what they do. I’ve also had the pleasure of assisting in a few independent projects…A few I’ve participated in, I’ve had a prominent role, and seen firsthand how passionate a collective group can work even when there seems to be no real compensation other than fulfilling the expectations to imprint oneself into a collective creative project.”   Talking with Ron about his experiences, it’s also apparent that the relationship he maintains with his mentor, Steve, is a key to his success.   “We talk in depth about a lot of things,” he says. “I went to college and got a degree in business management, which is fine—a lot of Americans do that. But I wish that everything was designed after an apprenticeship kind of approach. You get that one-on-one, you’re not just out there learning things as you go alone. You have somebody kind of guide and walk you through it.   “I think in a classroom setting, if you can equate it,” Ron continues, “it’s almost like…’Well, I’m here because I’m making somebody else’s paycheck’—whether it’s the professor in front of me, or it’s the school in general, or it’s something that will go back into the industry. With a mentor, while a mentor has to be paid, obviously, you feel more that it’s a direct relationship between the two, like the mentor actually has a vested interest in you learning and growing versus somebody’s getting paid at the ending of the day…Steve’s kind of a family member in some aspects, like an uncle that I would know. ‘Oh yeah, I’ll teach you that,’ that type of thing. He’s passing on his years into you, he’s feeding it into you.”   It was a desire for creative expression that first convinced Ron Reid to study filmmaking, but it’s apparently the magic of collaboration, which he discovered in learning on-the-job, that’s keeping him in it for the long haul.   “I’m very much interested in the shared vision of a director,” he says. “You look at a child that has an imaginary world. He’s playing with his toys or something like that, and everything in his world is in vibrant colors, but they can only exist within [that world]…For me, [film] is kind of the same experience, though you can share that imaginative process with others. It’s not just your vision alone; it’s shared between all the persons involved, and the audience as well.”   And does Ron Reid feel he has a story to tell through film?   “Thousands,” he replies.  

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Apprentices in Action
20somethingRadioRadio Connection apprentice Kristen Musser is getting read to launch her own podcast radio show “20Something Radio,” which caters to young adults who “aren’t quite teens, but refuse to believe they are adults either, particularly the childless and wandering.”    Saturday In the ParkFilm Connection apprentice Joe Paciotti (Philadelphia) just wrapped working on a shoot in New York for Saturday In the Park, written and directed by actor Larry Romano, known for TV’s King of Queens and films Donnie Brasco and Lock Up. The film hits theatres September 2016!    Audible ImagesNick Dawson, Recording Connection apprentice at Audible Images in Pittsburgh, PA, got the skinny on micing drums from mentor Hollis Greathouse so they “sounded just right.” Then they got down to working on a mix. Nick says, “Putting practical use to it was helpful.”   



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Mentor News
Mentor Joe "Dante" DelfinoThanks to his talent, passion and years of experience as a producer/engineer, Recording Connection engineer Joe “Dante” Delfino has earned a reputation as one of the “go-to” guys in Chicago and beyond. As manager and chief engineer of Miller Street Studios in Chicago, Dante has worked with a long list of notable artists, including Wu-Tang Clan, Lecrae, Vic Mensa, and more recently, rising star Ta’Rhonda Jones, (i.e., Porsha Taylor on the Fox hit TV series Empire), whom he mentions in the conversation below.   As it turns out, Dante is also a huge advocate for the Recording Connection’s on-the-job mentoring approach, and he takes great pleasure in passing his expertise to passionate individuals who want to learn the craft. He’s already hired two Recording Connection apprentices after training them, and he sees his studio as a place of opportunity for up-and-comers and passionate individuals. In a recent conversation with RRFC, Dante talked about the advantages of on-the-job mentoring, the importance of having a go-getter mindset in this business, what he looks for in his students, and what he appreciates about the former students he’s hired. Below are just a few of the nuggets we mined from that conversation.     ON THE ADVANTAGES OF MENTORING AND ON-THE-JOB TRAINING: “Out here in Chicago, we have Columbia College which is a big music school. I’ve had interns that have gone four years there, and they came in here and didn’t even know how to basically run a Pro Tools session. It’s a big difference when you’re learning with somebody who is actually doing this for a living and in the industry right now versus in a classroom where it may be somebody that doesn’t have that much real world experience or has been out of it for a number of years. Definitely more beneficial that you’re learning with somebody that’s actually doing it.”   ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICING YOUR CRAFT (EVEN WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN THE STUDIO): “What I always encourage [my students] is that you have to be proactive. When you get off work, even if you can’t come into the studio, at least spend at least an hour, two hours doing something on Pro Tools. I give my students sessions that they can work on and give them tests, and stuff to do, stuff to look up and stuff to really keep them busy while they’re not here at the studio.”   ON SOME OF HIS MORE MEMORABLE CLIENTS: “I’m lucky [that] I’m able to work with a lot of really good clients. I think one that really sticks out to me was working on Trip Lee’s album with Lecrae on Reach Records…Ta’Rhonda Jones, who’s Porsha in Empire, she’s a client of mine. So she’s working on a project as well, too. I mean, she’s still flying back and forth between LA for the filming and doing all that with the show. But she’s working on a project as well, so we should be having that out soon.”   Recording Connection apprentice John HillON WHY HE LIKES TO HIRE FROM WITHIN (i.e., HIS APPRENTICES): There’s a lot of opportunity for engineers to basically bring them on staff here…I think having the ability to even—I’m sure there’s other mentors out there like me as well that are looking at it that way—the ability to be able to teach these guys exactly the way you run your business and the tools that you’re using in the studio is really key, because that’s not really something you can teach in a classroom…I’ve already hired a couple people, students that have gone through the Recording Connection…I think one of the advantages is when I have my apprentices or anybody that’s doing a session out of here, I’m confident that they are going to be able to do it just as good as me. I think that definitely gives us an edge, where other places I’ve seen and heard, you’ve got guys that have never been in that real world experience, so they’re taking their time, going slow, and essentially going to end up losing the client because their client is paying good money, and they’re not getting anything done because this guy is not prepared to be taking on the session.”   Recording Connection grad Robert ClarkON WHAT HE LIKES ABOUT THE APPRENTICES HE’S HIRED: “One of the guys that’s working on staff here, Rob [Clark], he’s been really impressive. He graduated I believe about a year ago. He’s a very good learner, fast learner and he’s got that go-getter mentality. He’s not going to sit back and wait for me to book him sessions. He can go out and promote himself. He’s definitely a go-getter…He was bringing in business before he even graduated. I’ve got another guy, John Hill…he’s also at that point where he’s starting to bring clients in too. Those two guys have really shown their passion for engineering and making the most out of this opportunity that they’re given through the Recording Connection and myself, here at the studio.”   ON HAVING A BUSINESS MINDSET AND STANDING OUT FROM YOUR COMPETITION: “One of the most important things I try and teach my apprentices [is] you can’t rely on anybody to give you clients. There’s tons of engineers graduating from all sorts of programs all the time. There’s thousands of guys that are not going to be doing this full time for that simple fact. They’re just sitting back, waiting for clients to find them, where it’s almost like a sales job. You got to get out there, hit the pavement and shake hands, hand out business cards and get people talking about you. That’s one of the things I really kind of push these guys on is, don’t just rely on me to give you sessions; do some of the footwork yourself too. That’ll speed up the process…That is how I really was able to start my own business, because I had gone out, done the footwork, promoted myself and gotten clients that wanted to work with me.”  

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Announcement
Matthew TempleWe’re very happy to announce Matthew Temple, V.P. of Production and Development, for Mili Pictures, has agreed to hear pitches from some of our Film Connection students and to potentially mentor apprentices looking to develop family entertainment projects, stories about kids for kids, and animated projects. Temple describes what he does the following way: “My job is to find projects, develop projects, and bring them into the pipeline.”   Matthew Temple also believes in the process of mentored apprenticeship for the practical, hands-on experience it affords individuals.   “Even still in Europe there’s a very strong apprenticeship tradition, whether it’s woodworking or baking, you know, to really be able to get your hands dirty and right into the work is really important, take a step out of the academic and realize at some point that your work needs to be practical, the work needs to be done.”   The “work” Temple speaks of transcends simply making money. It’s about social awareness and responsibility and it’s on this point that Matthew Temple says he and C.O.O Brian Kraft really connected on a deeper level. “We share a real symbiotic understanding of why we do what we do. We have an obligation and a responsibility to do our job and do it well because our stories speak to humanity… The work we do has an impact.”   We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We send a warm welcome to you Matthew Temple! We are elated to know your talent and vision will play a role in helping our apprentices launch their careers and maybe even get their films on the big screen!  



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