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Issue #97

Weekly Newsletter

by L. Swift and Jeff McQ

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Student Successes


When Jimi and Brian get you learning on the job, you’re able to build your resume with real work experience you’d never get in a classroom. Read below about a Film Connection grad whose on-the-job experience as a student helped to land him a job at a major film studio!

Student Successes Student Successes

Film Connection graduate Noah Dekel lands job at 21st Century Fox within months after graduating!

   
Noah Dekel

Film Connection graduate
Noah Dekel

It’s the dream, isn’t it? Go to film school, graduate, get a job in the film industry. That dream recently became reality for Film Connection graduate Noah Dekel, who landed a job in the post-production department at 21st Century Fox within months of completing his apprenticeship!   But things didn’t look so promising at the start. When Noah enrolled in the film program at a local community college in southern California, he was quickly disillusioned with the classroom requirements, and he wasn’t getting the work experience he knew he needed. “I just really just wanted to start getting working on film,” he says.   He started looking for an alternative, and came across the Film Connection’s on-the-job training approach. “My father found it for me,” he says, “and I was really excited about it…It was pretty much, ‘Yes’ when he told me about it.”   Noah began his apprenticeship with Los Angeles film producer Daniel Sollinger, where he was launched into the production environment right away, often spending as much as 5 days a week at the studio. Almost immediately after starting, Noah understood the difference. “It’s not in a classroom, and you just get right to work,” he says. “It’s actual work. You’re not just working in the classroom and using your own equipment and making low-budget stuff. You just get in the industry and just see how it’s done in the real world.”   Noah Dekel Noah was particularly interested in post-production and editing, so he spent the last part of his apprenticeship working with post-production expert David Parke at Make It Happen Productions in Sherman Oaks, CA. “That was also a great experience,” says Noah. “There was a lot of work to be done. I have learned so much there, I’m kind of amazed.”   Upon graduating, Noah wasted no time working his connections to try to land a job in post-production. The job at 21st-Century Fox, he says, transpired “pretty much through connections.”   “I was able to meet with Fox on multiple occasions,” he says. “I went into these meetings not thinking I’d get a job. I approached them just like I’d like to meet with them and get some more insight about the whole studio industry and how things work in a major studio. And then after a few meetings, I casually brought up, ‘I’d love an entry level job at a studio if you guys could help me out with that.’…I just kinda consistently followed up with them, seeing if there were any openings for a job. And then, one day, I got a call and they said they had an opening.”   Noah says it was the on-the-job experience he’d received at the Film Connection that helped him land the job at Fox. “It was basically all the projects I was able to get on through Film Connection to build a kickass resume that eventually found me this job,” he says. “I haven’t done anything else…just stuff I’ve done through Film Connection. So everything on my resume happened through Film Connection. And the experience you guys were able to provide through your mentors was enough for a big studio to let me work for them.”   So what is he up to these days? Noah tells us he’s working in post-production for a remake of the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, and loving his job. “The people I work with are really awesome. Everyone on the show is very experienced and really enjoys what they do,” he says. “I’ve met tons of people on this job. There is the post crew, of course, the writers who work just upstairs from us, there is a lot of interaction with them, and a few people on the executive side of things, the list goes on and on. I meet someone new almost every day.”   He says he also understands firsthand the power of connections in the film industry. “My perspective on the industry has changed a lot,” he says. “It’s not as big as an industry as I think people would imagine, at least on the production side of things…When we were getting started and everyone was getting to know one another, I couldn’t tell you the amount of times people were like, ‘Hey, didn’t we work on such and such together?’ or ‘Oh you worked with them on this!? I worked with them on that!’ Everyone seems to know each other through at least one mutual connection.”   Having now gone through the process from graduating to landing a job in film, Noah offers some advice for other students: “Get on whatever [project] you can,” he says. Build up that resume as much as possible. And even if it’s not a paying job, the people you’re working with could know somebody at a big studio—you never know. So my key advice is talk to everyone you’re working with, figure out what they’ve worked on, see if there’s any opportunities there in that relationship to progress your career.”   Noah adds that ultimately, getting the job is up to you. “After film school, if you don’t have a gig lined up, consider yourself unemployed,” he says, “because nothing’s going to show up unless you look for it.”    
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Mentor News
Mentor News
 

NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Veteran music producer Steve Addabbo talks about
his path to success and the importance of mentoring

    A music industry veteran with more than 4 decades of experience, producer/engineer Steve Addabbo has worked on Grammy-winning records and had a hand in launching the careers of Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega (including the latter’s worldwide hit “Luka”). He’s also worked on projects the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Olivia Newton-John, Bob Dylan and others. As the owner of Shelter Island Sound in Manhattan, New York, Steve also happens to be one of the Recording Connection’s most noteworthy mentors and loves passing his wisdom and experience on to his students. In a recent conversation with us, Steve had some great things to say about how he got into the business, high points of his career, and insights about the mentoring process. We’ve mined some of the best nuggets of that conversation below. Enjoy!  
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RC mentor Steve Addabbo

ON HOW HE BECAME A PRODUCER/ENGINEER:   “I was a musician, a guitar player. I had my small, I guess at that time, 4-track system at home. And making that jump to a big recording studio was…I mean, I had no idea how to do it. I mean, I had no idea how to even make that…How do you even get to work in this field? Finally, I had been on the road and I was in my mid to late twenties, I was kinda getting frustrated being away from home. I loved playing, but I felt like I wanted to make records…The band I was with had actually done a session at Hit Factory so I got…We had done some sessions and I was just like, Man, I love being in the studio, and these guys get to go home at night and I’m going off on the road so let me figure out how I can do this. So, I called the engineer up at Hit Factory who we had worked with and I go, ‘How do you get a job there?’ He said, ‘Well, you gotta know something.’ I said, ‘Well, I happen to have an electrical engineering degree and I’m a musician.’ I went down, and they basically hired me on the spot…I basically learned studios from the ground up, how to fix them, how to build them, how to wire them…It was an invaluable experience, those years, working at Hit Factory. Then, I moved over to Sterling Sound and I learned how to maintain a mastering studio and how to cut records, vinyl records. Then I started to put my foot in production and engineering myself, and started working at this little studio called Celestial Sounds where I was kind of trading them my maintenance skills for empty studio time. That’s when I really started to become a producer and learn what I was doing.”   ON THE “GLORY DAYS” OF ANALOG RECORDING, AND WHY HE LIKES THE NEW TECHNOLOGY:   “Having gone through all that, you realize what a nightmare it used to be. The glory days of analog, especially hooking up two 24-track machines at 3 o’clock in the morning, one’s refusing to lock up and…It’s crazy. It was a crazy time, but we got through it and we were able to make records without an undo button, we were able to make records without Auto-Tune, we were able to make records without a grid. How did we do that?…I have no interest in going back, believe me. It’s so much easier now. I’m glad I went there. I’m glad I grew up through it and learned how to record that way. I see a lot of younger people don’t…They really appreciate it, but they don’t really understand it when they’re just faced with the workstation.”   ON WHAT HE’S BEEN WORKING ON IN THE STUDIO:   “The Bob Dylan box set that’s out right now, The Cutting Edge, we mixed the entire thing here all summer. It’s like 450 Bob Dylan takes and outtakes and everything else. It’s gotten great response. In March, a record I did…Well, it’s not really a record, but a recording session I did with Jeff Buckley called “You and I” is now gonna be released. We did it 22 years ago. It’s just Jeff Buckley live in the studio without any production, just him doing whatever the hell he wants. They finally put it together to release to release it. So that’s another one that’s coming out in March. I’m having a good year right now.”   ON HOW IT FEELS TO BE MIXING OR REMIXING BOB DYLAN SONGS:   It definitely trips you out. It’s still intimidating in a way because you’re f**king with history. You don’t want to screw it up, and you want to present it in…You’re not trying to reinvent it, either. I’m not trying to make it better than it was. I’m just trying to present it in a true fashion…  
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