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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER January 30, 2017 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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Student Successes, Part I


Film Connection grad Ofu Obekpa lands WWE wrestler Kevin Nash and other pros for his upcoming film “Klippers!”

Film Connection grad Ofu Obekpa

Film Connection grad Ofu Obekpa

Film Connection grad Ofu Obekpa has plenty to be proud of these days. As a prime example of what sheer will and determination can accomplish in today’s DIY film market, Ofu wrote, directed and stars in his upcoming action/thriller film Klippers, acting alongside none other than wrestling icon Kevin Nash (formerly known as Diesel), as well as other seasoned actors!   Although he’d already had a couple noteworthy pitches, Ofu explains the idea and execution of his film grew out of the frustration he had while trying to get a full-length into production. “I was just tired of waiting for people to, you know, give me a handout,” he says. “That’s why I just went out and wrote a good screenplay that attracted celebrities and actors, and we ended up with Kevin Nash and, yeah, and we did the movie…It was a good process.” See Klippers on IMDB.   So how does an unknown like Ofu land a major celebrity like Nash for his indie project? He says he first got the attention of Nash’s manager after posting his project on the website Actor’s Access.   “His manager reached out to us because they saw the posting online about Klippers,” he says. “So we connected with the manager, and they were like down to earth and very easy to work with.”   At the manager’s request, Ofu sent the screenplay to Nash, who loved it. Ofu recalls the experience of connecting with him. “It’s like, wow, this is Big Diesel,” he marvels. “He’s really humble…We’d go on the phone, we’d talk with them, it’s like well, he’s normal…He was like, ‘Yeah, I want to be a part of this,’ and once a celebrity, an actor says they want to be a part of your project because they liked your screenplay, that’s a person you go with.”   Ofu’s project attracted some other significant talent as well, including his producer Conphidence (who acted in American Gods and Six), and actors like Robert Pralgo (Furious 7, Sully) and Francine Locke (Nashville, Risky Business)! “We were looking for actors, and actors were looking for us,” he says. “It goes both ways.”   All through the process of writing, casting and shooting the film, Ofu says he has drawn heavily from what he learned in the Film Connection from his mentor, Kevin Christopher of Rite Media in Atlanta. “I actually have to go back to my notebook and look at like little technical stuff,” he says. “The thing about me and my mentor is we still have relationship. This movie, he’s going to be a part of it too, you know? I go back to him, I consult him, and we go back and forth, and he’s going to be like maybe the co-supervisor…he’s going to be credited…After you graduate, you know, you still have the relationship with your mentor that he can still help you.”  

On the set of Klippers

With the film currently in post-production, Ofu is continuing to go the full DIY route for the release and distribution of Klippers, leveraging his existing connections and social media to generate buzz for the film.   “It’s just connecting, sending emails, Tweeting, sending back and forth, just staying connected to the audience and the people,” he says. “We’re just being smart about it…you know, from the views and feedback, and social media, we have quite the following. So you know, we are treating this movie like we’re going to distribute it ourselves. So that’s the energy we’re putting into it right now.”   Ofu’s proactive stance, determination and go-getter attitude have a lot to do with his current success, and no doubt his future successes.   “You have to go get it,” he says. “You’re not looking for a handout, you know? You have to go out and get it with anything in this life…You could be the best thing in whatever field you’re doing, but people don’t really know, or hear about you, you’re just as good as doing nothing. So you have to go out there.”   Ofu says his training with the Film Connection also has a lot to do with his success. “My education—you can’t put a price on it,” says Ofu. “You cannot put a price on what I learned from Kevin. I’m sure they don’t teach that in film school, the things he taught.”   Klippers, the movie on FB. Klippers, the movie on Instagram.   Watch the teaser for Klippers in the Student Media section below!   
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RRFC INTERVIEW: Recording Connection grad Edgar Vazquez develops a clientele in his home studio!

Recording Connection grad Edgar Vazquez of Denver, Colorado is staying busy these days. Since completing both the basic and the master’s apprenticeship programs with Ryan Conway of Conway Sound, he’s been working on building up his own home studio and is now taking clients of his own! We caught up with Edgar recently to see how he was doing, and he was more than willing to share what was happening, talk about his experiences apprenticing with Ryan, and even offer some helpful advice for others coming into the program. Enjoy!  
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  RRFC: Edgar, we hear you’re recording local clients at your home studio. Is that correct?  

RC grad Edgar Vazquez and artist Kyle Abraham aka LINI-G

Edgar Vazquez: Yes, I’m actually trying to start my own little home studio…Everyone that I have worked with so far, we’ve made great sounds out of like just being in an apartment. And even that so, like I would like to get to the point where I would have enough clientele, from the people I’m working with now…to where it demands a need to move out and like go to a studio and like actually, you know, put my studio in there.   RRFC: Can you tell us a little bit about the projects you’ve been working on there?   Edgar: I just released a song recently that I did with a friend that is on SoundCloud, and that one, we actually recorded maybe like about two weeks ago…I kind of felt like it had been amazing to me that I’ve gotten this song done in like a week, because I’ve had songs that had taken me like a month, and a few of that had even taken me years to like complete…I have this guy with at least over 50 songs right now, but I’m aiming to go for like more than like 5,000. I want to do something where it’s every day like writing and creating.   RRFC: So what first got you interested in recording?   Edgar: I, myself, am a performer and a musician, and I kind of felt that, it was one of these things where I hated having to go to so many different middle men, of having to create a product for what would be my music. So I had first primarily done it for myself, in being able to make my music, in the easiest way and getting it out in my own house. But then I kind of realized that it was also something that a lot of people were looking for too. So I thought that it would be a cool idea to maybe do it as a business.   RRFC: So what made you decide on studying with the Recording Connection?   Edgar: One of the biggest things that brought me to Recording Connection was like kind of not knowing where to go in life…I ended up looking up at it in Google, and falling in love with everything that was being said and all the testimonials and everything. And so at that point, you know, I just said, “Let’s do it.”…It was definitely nice to choose Recording Connection because it was a lot more feasible, but I think it’s nice the way that you guys do your programs, and especially with being able to be with someone within the studio.   RRFC: You apprenticed with Ryan Conway at Conway Sound. What were impressions when you met your mentor?   Edgar: I like really, really enjoyed Ryan’s energy. He was a very open guy…We got that one-on-one talk, and he was super open to me about talking about all the things that he wanted to show me, and he was very excited about having someone under his wing, and that’s really what invited me in, is it almost inspired me to be like that, you know, and it had given me that incentive to even want to get into teaching it as well. So one of the biggest things that we had talked about in that first day was, him just kind of explaining to me like what he wanted to do and how the scenarios would go, but he also kept reminding me to have fun, you know.   RRFC: So going through the program itself, are there any highlights you can think of? Any eureka moments that you had about something you didn’t understand before?   Edgar: I think personally, like the technological side, you know, working with all the technical stuff, there was a lot of things that I wasn’t understanding. Decibels, frequencies, you know, the way that compressors and equalizers work, and all these different things…I think one of the biggest things for me was microphones…I kept thinking about microphones, specifically where they should be put in all these different matters, and like I was trying to think it right out like, “Oh, well, this needs to be angled in this way because this and this and this.”…One of the biggest things that Ryan taught me, which I thought was funny though he would do it, would just be like, “You know, I think you’re thinking about this too hard. Let’s just place it here and then we’ll place it over here, and then we’ll compare sounds, you know.”   RRFC: So in way is the Edgar today different than who you were prior to starting the program?   Edgar: One of those things that I think it has taught me is the way to look at my music and the way to look at other people’s music. I think the me from the past before the program would not be as diverse and open-minded…I think that one of the biggest things I learned within the program was that there’s a lot of different ways to look at these things…One of the biggest things that I’m doing now that I wasn’t doing before was definitely taking time with my music and taking time with people and taking time with myself, you know, in just like everything that I would do. So being patient I think is definitely something that’s made me change.   RRFC: Now that you’ve been through the program, any advice for others who might be enrolling in the Recording Connection? What would you tell them?   Edgar: One the biggest things I think I could recommend to people is to definitely stick with what your dream is, but also basically make yourself prepared to be able to kind of be flexible with that dream… I think one of the best things as a student is to be asking questions…Be interactive and be interested as much as you can be, because I mean, it’s something that you love, you know, and this is someone that knows what you’re wanting to do. I think you really need to respect what they’re doing and also let them do their work. [Then] after the session you could ask them like all the questions that you need…You need to take that chance when you have it.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   Just weeks into the program, guitarist and Recording Connection student Vinay Lobo (Vancouver, BC, Canada) is  having fun with the new skills he’s learning: “Drum Recording Day! Was a great day today. We recorded drum tracks for awesome artist Penan Brae. His music is good old honest Rock n’ roll with punchy guitar rhythms, slinky lines, and solid but interesting backbeats. Edward Whelan was the drummer on this session.   I learned to create an input/output/wiring map, some interesting new techniques on how to mic the drums, which mics work well for the sound we are going for, how to patch these mics into the control room and route them through outboard gear and into Pro Tools. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in studios recording guitars but this was the first time I actually used a patch bay! I’ve always used good engineers while producing records and now I’m learning to be the good engineer which is fantastic. Loving these new skills I’m learning.”  
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