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Issue #75

Weekly Newsletter

by L. Swift and Jeff McQ

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Student Successes


When RRFC gets you learning on the job, you’re not limited by your work schedule. If you’re willing to put in the time, the results will follow! Read below about a Film Connection student who is building a solid film credit list while working his schedule around his day job!

Student Successes
 

Film Connection apprentice Matthew Gibson: Building his resume, pursuing the dream

    Skydive FilmsWhen it comes to establishing a career in the film industry, Film Connection apprentice Matthew Gibson understands the work ethic and the dedication to the craft probably more than most. Only several months into his apprenticeship with mentor Zac Adams of Skydive Films in Nashville, TN, he’s already building his list of film credits. In his words, “The more you can do, the more you can sell yourself, and I’d like to learn as much of it as I can.”  
FC apprentice Matthew Gibson

FC apprentice Matthew Gibson

Thus far, with the hands-on training he’s getting with Zac, Matthew has already earned several film credits for his work on Zac’s recently-released documentary Autism In America (narrated by Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson), including Assistant to the Director, Sound Recorder and Assistant Editor; he’s also earning Assistant to the Director credits on at least two other of Zac’s upcoming films, and multiple assistant, lighting and camera credits on several music videos. Not to mention his own upcoming projects in the works, which he will direct himself!   To those who understand the work ethic involved with a film career, this might seem like all in a day’s work. But what’s remarkable about Matthew is that at age 31, he’s juggling all these projects around a full-time job.   “I’m still working full time 40 hours a week just to pay bills and stuff,” says Matthew, “but on my off days I’m doing stuff like this. The hope is to get into a place where I can do this all the time…I would be a lot happier doing this than a nine-to-five sort of job.”   How does he pull it off? He admits it’s not easy. “Sunday was my day off and I just wanted to crash,” he recalls about one instance. “But [Zac was] like, ‘Well, we gotta shoot. We need you. It would be beneficial for you to be on set can you be there?’…I was at a shoot at 8 o’clock on Sunday morning.”  
Zac Adams

FC mentor Zac Adams

Even so, and even when fighting exhaustion, Matthew is able to stay motivated because he’s not watching the clock when on the set. “I’m more project focused than I am day-after-day sort of focused,” he says. “I don’t mind working hard as long as I can pace myself, and that’s why I like working on projects…And there’s a sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.”   But make no mistake: even though he’s working his education around a full-time job, for Matthew, film is not a side-project: it’s his real career. He tells us the main reason he chose the Film Connection was because of the on-set training and the job preparation.   “They are very willing to help you with job placement, which is really the ultimate goal of any program,” he says. “That very much appealed to me…So I thought, ‘I will take the risk because it’s something I want to learn and to do and love’…Film Connection appealed to me because I still need to work 40 hours a week to pay my bills and keep my apartment and car and stuff, but I also have to buy my equipment, film equipment. And I’m doing that piece by piece, and it’s coming together. But it’s a lot less taxing money-wise, as well as time-wise, because they are willing to work with you.”   Meanwhile, as Matthew works through his apprenticeship, he’s also working on his own script as part of the Film Connection course, a combination action/western film (“I’m pitching it as Unforgiven-meets-Three Days of the Condor,” he says). He has a long-term goal of working steadily in the Hollywood film industry. For Matthew, though, his greatest motivation isn’t so much the money, but in doing what he loves to do.   “I know a lot of people say, ‘I want to do this and make a million dollars,” says Matthew, “but it’s more about doing what you love and being satisfied with what you’re doing. And if you do that, money’s nice, fame is nice, but really, you just want to do what you love. I’ve worked enough crappy jobs to know that you should focus. You’re going to be more successful doing something that you like doing. That’s why I’m doing this.”   With that attitude, along with his work ethic and dedication, we’ve got little doubt that Matthew will get exactly what he wants.    

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Apprentices in Action
Andrew Aceves

Andrew Aceves

Recording Connection apprentice Andrew Aceves of Camarillo, CA is getting solid hands-on experience in the studio with his mentor, Michael Blum, who took the opportunity in a session with a female vocalist to give him a hands-on lesson in using AutoTune, and even spent extra time to resolve his confusion about how the patch bay worked by taking him “step by step” through the signal flow!   
Joe Paciotti on Set

Joe Paciotti on the set of But Deliver Us From Evil

Joe Paciotti, Film Connection apprentice at Backseat Conceptions in Philadelphia, PA, just returned from a shoot in Camden, NJ for the upcoming feature film But Deliver Us From Evil. They were picking up a few shots needed for final completion while also working on a behind-the-scenes video documenting the project.   
band Scorpion Child

band Scorpion Child

Lindsey Kappa, Recording Connection student in Austin, TX, just earned an engineering credit on Scorpion Child’s upcoming album through the Nuclear Blast record label. She says, “On this project I comb filtered the toms and edited those tracks. I will be doing more editing work for the other engineers as well.” You go, Lindsey!   
Tyler Brabec

Tyler Brabec

Radio Connection apprentice Tyler Brabec of Billings, MT, recently went in to the radio station to record his first news broadcast assignment under the direction of his mentor, Shawn Wilson. Tyler got some great, constructive criticism and guidance from his mentor on his breathing techniques and using the mic to capture the right sound. “He has been really impressed with my work,” says Tyler. “I had a lot of fun recording in the station and look forward to doing it again soon.”   

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Mentor News
When Recording Connection mentor Kelly Jones is interviewing prospective students, he doesn’t mince words about what to expect.   “I try to kind of give it to them straight,” he says. “I want to let them know right upfront that it’s not going to be fun and games…If they don’t, they are going to get a rude awakening when they first come into the program…So, I want to let them know, and I don’t mind telling them, ‘Look, if you are in here just for the dream and you think you are just going to be star right off the top, then you might want to rethink that, maybe to think of another hobby. Try bowling or something, because it takes a while.’”   Da Spot Recording StudioKelly ought to know. As co-founder of Da Spot Recording Studio in Richmond, Virginia, he’s spent many years forging a solid career as a producer/engineer while helping to establish Da Spot as one of the premier urban recording studios in Richmond, Virginia, servicing such clients as Ashanti, Rick Ross, Audra the Rapper, Tyrese and Def Jam Records, among others. For Kelly, the secret to success is not really a secret at all. It’s just working hard and putting out good music.   “We’ve done quite a few people over years that have some major names,” says Kelly, “but there was no particular artist that gave us a break. It was just steady, constant, doing good work. It was nothing more than that. ‘Hey, these guys are good, go see them.’ That’s it.”   To earn that kind of reputation, sometimes it requires thinking outside the box, sometimes quite literally—things you wouldn’t learn in textbooks or in trade schools. Kelly recalls one story in particular:   “Early on, when I was first learning to record, I’m at another studio and the engineer is there—this studio was just amazing. Like every mic you can think of on the planet, you know what I mean? They had it…We’re working on something, and the guy, he’s like, ‘Man, I just can’t get it to sound like I want it to sound.’ He’s like, ‘Yo, Kells, go in the back and get me a cardboard box out of the trash.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’ I don’t know, I’m just learning the process.  
Da Spot Recording Studio

Control Room in Da Spot Recording Studio

“So I grab the cardboard box, and he takes some tape, and tapes it up in a cone, and puts it in front of the freaking mic and guitar amp, and there is the sound— perfect. And I’m amazed because at this million dollar facility, this [guy’s] using a cardboard box!…In a lot of ways, it’s really not about the gear, it’s about knowing how to achieve that sound with the gear you’ve got.”   Kelly says part of the learning process is also learning from others in the studio. “The funny thing is that I share mostly with my students more of my mistakes than any of my successes, because that’s how I learned. I learned from my mistakes,” he says. “I’ll give you one more [story]…I’m in a session, and I had this really dynamic singer in there like the Patti LaBelle type… I’m using this mic, and she goes from ‘La’ to ‘RAAH!’ She’s clipping at that point, and I’m like, ‘Okay, what the heck do I do?’ So I’m riding the fader, it’s not working. Nothing is working….So after the session, I kind of hide it a little bit with some delays or reverbs or whatever. But I know it’s there…At that point, I’m like, ‘Why couldn’t I figure this out?’ So I called the guy [who] actually did it with the cone, with the pizza box. I was like, ‘Look, man, I had a session the other day, and this is what happened.’ He [said], ‘Why didn’t you just use a dynamic mic as well as the condenser mic at the same time, and fade one in and one out?’ I’m like, ‘That would have been so simple.’”   At Da Spot, Kelly says that same willingness to share ideas is part of what has led to the studio’s overall success. “One of the things that ticks me off about a lot of engineers [is] they’ll tell you that THIS is the way it needs to be done,” he says. “Maybe it’s an ego thing, I don’t know. Fortunately for us here, we’ve got a lot of engineers here, and we all kind of feed off of each other and learn as we go along.”   Talking with Kelly, it’s apparent that these two things—work ethic and an openness to learn—are the two things he most tries to impart to his students. “One thing we try to stress is there really are no overnight sensations,” he says, “and even if it appears that way, there is usually years and years, if not decades, of hard work that came right before that [success].   “There is new gear coming out every day,” Kelly continues. “New plug-ins, new techniques coming out every day. Just be open to learn…I’ll tell the students, I’ll learn stuff from the students, because it forces me to do something that maybe I didn’t think about doing…In this business, you’ll never know it all.”   

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Announcement
A great time was had by all at the 2015 Recording Industry Golf Tournament™ which took place on Monday, June 29th at the beautiful MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles! We were truly honored to co-sponsor this important event along with so many of our recording industry friends and colleagues. The funds raised will help maintain the music and arts programs offered at A Place Called Home, a community center in South Central Los Angeles. Together we’re helping today’s youth and young adults express themselves and take ownership in their lives through music, the arts, and education. We are very proud to show our support for APCH Program and its participants!   Players could feel the love from us at the RRF Hole! All thanks to Anzu, a truly gifted and wonderful masseuse!  
C.O.O. Brian Kraft gets a much-deserved back massage from RRF masseuse Anzu.

C.O.O. Brian Kraft gets a much-deserved back massage
from RRF masseuse Anzu.

Recording industry giants Al Schmitt and Ed Cherney served as co-chairs of the 2015 Recording Industry Golf Tournament. Fellow sponsors include: the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Absolute Live Productions, Audio-Technica, Barefoot Sound, Bob Hodas Acoustic Analysis, Clyne Media, Guitar Center Professional, Hotel Angeleno, Hyundai, Icebox Water, JBL, NAMM, Record Plant, The Recording Studio Insurance Program, Sterling Audio, Slate Digital, studioexpresso.com, Transaudiogroup, Westlake Recording Studios, United Recording Studios, Vintage King and more!  



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