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Issue #78

Weekly Newsletter

by L. Swift and Jeff McQ

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Student Successes


When RRFC gets you learning on the job, you never know what opportunities will come your way, especially when you’re open to anything! Read below about a Film Connection grad who started the program with an open mind, and soon found himself casting major motion pictures (and even getting acting roles himself)!

Student Successes
 

Film Connection graduate Huan Tran finds his way into a casting career!

    Many students who enroll in the Film Connection already have a good idea what they want to do in film—many want to direct, some want to produce or edit, some are interested in cinematography, etc. Sometimes, when our students get on the set and start experiencing the filmmaking process hands-on, they discover their true passion is different than what they originally thought.   Films in MotionWhen Film Connection graduate Huan Tran first showed up for his apprenticeship with Jason Hewitt of Films in Motion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he was a completely open book. He didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do. He just knew he wanted to work in film.   “I jumped around a lot,” he says. “Honestly, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So Jason basically was like, ‘You know what? Try out everything and see what fits you best.’ And that was the best thing to do.”   That’s exactly what Huan did. “Jason put me [first] into post production—editing and coloring,” says Huan. “Editing is—either you have it or you don’t….It was fun, but it just wasn’t for me. So I went from that to set designing, which is the art department. I had a blast there, but I just didn’t see myself doing this.”   That’s about the time Huan met Jason’s fiancee, Lisa Marie Dupree, who was doing casting for the company. Almost immediately, things clicked into place.   “She was looking for a casting assistant because she was casting Left Behind. Each day, actually four days straight, she was casting 200 people per day,” says Huan. “So basically I helped her pick up the phone and start casting people, by phone and by email. And she was like, ‘Wow, you’re actually pretty good at this.’…I’m a people person. I’m very social, so I mean, it’s a skill that I have that I can read people pretty well.”  
"Huan

Huan Tran working on Proof of The Devil 2,
directed by Jason Hewitt

As is turned out, Huan worked so well with Lisa Marie that she became his mentor as he continued to work through the program. He jumped into casting with both feet, helping to cast not only Left Behind, but also several other major feature films.   And that’s not the only door that opened for Huan: having an acting background himself, he found himself getting cast in some of the movies as well!   “At the same time Lisa became mentor to me,” says Huan, “she had this role for this movie, and she was like, ‘Hey Huan, you’d be perfect for this role.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, fine. I’ll read for it.’ And I read for it, and booked it.”   Since then, thanks to the connections he’s made in casting, Huan has landed roles in several features, including the upcoming Lionsgate films Extraction starring Bruce Willis, and Bus 657 starring Robert De Niro!   “You wouldn’t believe the people I’ve met on set; it’s really ridiculous,” he says. “I wasn’t in a scene with [De Niro], but I was in a scene with Gina Carano (from Haywire and Dead Pool), and also I did I scene with Dave Bautista [from Guardians of the Galaxy]….I became really good friends with Dave Bautista and Gina Carano because I was on set with them for two weeks, so we basically bonded. We still get in touch.”   Huan’s acting career has taken off too! Credited as “Hawn Tran,” his acting name, Huan is in season 1 of the HBO TV series “Quarry.” So far Huan’s career is turning out to be the perfect example of what happens when you’re ready and are in the right place at the right time.   “You’ve got to put yourself where there are opportunities,” he says. “Honestly, thanks to Film Connection, like I wouldn’t have met Jason [without them]. And if I wouldn’t have met Jason, I wouldn’t have met Lisa Marie.”   His long-term goal? Huan says once he’s gained more experience and finds a good script, he’d like to produce films.   “As long as it’s a good script, I’m going to find a way to produce it,” he says. “And now that I’ve got the connections, you know, honestly, right now, I could write a script and pitch it to Lionsgate.”    

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Apprentices in Action
Juan Tarula

Juan Tarula

Recording Connection student Juan Tarula (Portland, OR) just assisted his mentor on a new jingle for a mattress company based in the northwest. “I got a lot of hands on experience from that,” he says. “It felt so cool to sit and record something that I will be hearing on the radio soon.”    Seth Brickler, Film Connection apprentice in Lafayette, IN, just worked a large commercial shoot under the direction of his mentor, Andy Lake of Forward Motion Entertainment.   [gmedia id=10]    Recording Connection apprentice Wes Hawkins has been jet-setting between San Diego (where he’s tracking his band DETHSURF’s demo) and Las Vegas (where he’s getting serious with the mix). Along the way, mentor Josh Connolly at Audio Mix House has been teaching him the finer points of micing the drums!   [gmedia id=8]   

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Mentor News
RC Mentor Larry Luther

RC Mentor Larry Luther

Music industry veteran Larry Luther is the studio owner and Chief Engineer at Mr Smalls Recording Studios in Pittsburgh, PA, the origin point for what has grown into a multi-venue and restaurant complex known as Mr. Smalls Funhouse. While the original studio has changed locations, Mr. Smalls continues to be an in-demand facility within the industry itself, working with clients such as Ryan Adams, Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent, GWAR, Rusted Root, Anti-Flag and many others.   As it turns out, Larry Luther is also a top Recording Connection mentor, teaching our students the ropes and giving them a hands-on introduction to the music industry. Larry recently talked with RRFC about what’s happening at Mr. Smalls (including some interesting projects with mono-analog recording), what he looks for in apprentices, and how some of his students are doing.     RRFC: How did you end up at Mr. Smalls Funhouse?   Larry Luther: I started with Mr. Smalls a few years after it was created. It started in ’98, and I joined up probably in about 2000. But it started as a recording studio, and then about 2000 or 2001, we got the church property which we converted into a concert venue, and we put in a couple more studios up there. And again the studio moved in 2006 to another location, but we still have the concert venue. We just run it as two separate things at this point.   RRFC: Do you have any projects that you want to mention that you just worked on or might be coming out soon?  
Mr. Smalls Recording - Live Room

Mr. Smalls Recording – Live Room

Larry: I’m going to start in two weeks with a band called Dream Death. It’s a metal record and they’re with a European label called Rise Above Records, but that’s going to do pretty well, I think. What else did we just have in here recently? There’s a band called Wooly Woman that I didn’t do personally, one of my engineers did, but it’s making a lot of waves in Pittsburgh right now. There’s a lot of people that really like it. It’s really old school. It’s mixed in mono. They really wanted to make it sound like it’s 1960. It was a very unique project, but it came out really well and a lot of people really like it…He wanted to do as much with analog as we could and stuff. I don’t even have a 24-track anymore, but we have a couple 2-tracks around and some different analog gear. So we were using it like crazy, doing all of these very unique things with varispeeding it and just doing really unique things that most people just don’t do.   RRFC: Do you think that one day there is going to be a perfect marriage of analog and digital? Are we already there?   Larry: I think we’re pretty close. I think analog tape, there’s something to be said for analog tape, but I’ll tell you what, some of the simulators that I’ve just recently used are really good. They sound like tape, and at this point recording the analog tape I think for a lot of people is more of a coolness factor than really even a sound thing because, I don’t know, at least in my experience, a lot of the people who want to record analog tape couldn’t tell the difference sound wise at least. They just wanted to say that they recorded analog tape.   RRFC: What was it about the program that made you come on board? Did you like the one-on-one aspect of it?   control-roomLarry: The one-on-one is great. I think it gives people a good opportunity. It is affordable for a lot of people that couldn’t afford to go to a more traditional school…I like that.   RRFC: Can you tell us a little bit about some of your apprentices? How is Anne Jacobs doing?   Larry: Yeah, Annie, she’s with me right now. She’s about halfway through. She’s doing really good. She’s a little different than a lot of the students I get…She never recorded anything in her life, so she’s been different that way where most people coming in have at least done some home studio stuff, have at least played around with it. She came from more of a theatre background and was just looking for other career opportunities, and came into it that way, and so it’s been a lot of fun with Annie. It’s been challenging at the same time just because everything is from scratch, even like what a microphone is. She really had no idea…She gets along with the clients really well.   RRFC: What qualities are you looking for in apprentices before you allow them to work with clients?   Larry: Just their personalities, for one. Working with clients, they have to be pretty personable and be able to work with people, a lot of dedication, which is the hardest thing that I’ve been able to find. It’s people that they say they want to do it, and then actually stick to it.   RRFC: Do you think that’s because a lot of people don’t understand that this is a service industry? You’re catering to clients constantly?   Larry: I think that’s part of it. I think some people have the wrong idea coming in that it’s just gonna be like hanging out with rock stars all the time and stuff like that, and it’s not really work, that kind of thing. The more that people are around clients, and they see how sessions really go and how much work it really is…Whenever I do the interviews, I try and talk very candidly and very directly with them and let them know what they’re getting into as far as the amount of work it is and how they have to be dedicated…I try to give it to them as straight as I can so they’re going to make a decision that this is going to be something that they’re going to stick to and really want to do because if they’re not dedicated or if they do come at it half-assed, they’re not going to succeed. I make them very aware of that.    

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Apprentice Media
   

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