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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER July 25, 2016 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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‘What is a Grind Opp?,’ you ask? It is a job opportunity. A help wanted ad.
    

Headed for the Big Screen: Film Connection grad Victor Cobb gets his screenplay optioned!

  
Victor Cobb When you’re working on breaking into film, you never know what’s going to connect and resonate with someone important. Just ask Film Connection grad Victor Cobb, who recently signed a contract to have his first screenplay optioned!   The script is called “Misguided Behavior,” which covers the subject of bullying. By “first screenplay,” we don’t just mean it’s the first script of Victor’s that will be made into a movie. Victor tells us it also happens to be the first script he ever wrote.   “I wrote [it] about five or six years ago,” he says. “I’ve probably rewritten it about six or seven times. And I thought it was a pretty good script, but I didn’t think it was my best work. I think I’ve gotten better with my other scripts as time moved on.”   Nevertheless, when he met and began working with film producer Sharon Tomlinson of Studio 11 Films in Atlanta, GA… “She asked me to send her some of my scripts,” says Victor, “and I forwarded her two or three. And the one that she ended up picking was the very first script that I wrote…She immediately liked it, she connected with it…We signed the option agreement about two or three weeks ago to finalize the deal.”   Victor’s recent success is also a lesson in patience. He first enrolled in the Film Connection about three years ago, apprenticing under filmmaker Steve Carmichael at Radiant3 Productions in Atlanta, and also studying screenwriting with writer/producer Richard Brandes via Skype. Victor says he drew upon their advice to polish his writing.   “A lot of the things that I learned from Richard [Brandes] and Steve Carmichael aided me when I was going to rewrite the script,” he says. “I rewrote it six or seven times during my time in the program…I had a lot of people just read it and give me their perspective on it, and from there, my creative juices just got going, I just kept rewriting it until I just thought I had given it all I had and I thought it was done.”   After graduating, Victor says he kept working on whatever film gigs he could find (often as a PA) while looking for his break, and continued to write screenplays in the meantime. After working on some projects with Sharon Tomlinson, when she offered to read his work, he was ready with several screenplays to give her. Even so, it took several months before she actually had time to read them. Sharon (who is now a Film Connection mentor herself) tells us she resonated with one in particular—specifically, the first script Victor had written.   “I could not put it down,” says Sharon. “I mean, literally, the script was so good… “It was so refreshing to get a well written script that moved so good and read so well, that hit me, and [I] sent that script to a couple of people, and they all said the exact same thing. The story, it’s a great message about bullying…we wanted a movie with a message. So it has a great message about gun violence, dysfunctional families, bullying, a great story, and it involves youth.”   Now, with his first screenplay officially optioned, Victor continues to look to the future. “I still want to write, direct, and co-produce my own projects,” he says. “As of late, my focus has been on writing. I think I’m getting very good at writing. I’ve recently written a play…I wanted to challenge myself and venture outside of specifically screenplays, so I wrote a play, that I think is a pretty good play. I’m going to see if I can direct it and co-produce it myself within the next year or so.”   In the meantime—be on the lookout for a new film called Misguided Behavior, written by Victor Cobb. Congratulations, Victor!   
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‘What is a Grind Opp?,’ you ask? It is a job opportunity. A help wanted ad.
    

CASA grad Francisco Ahn: Building a future in the culinary arts!

  
Francisco Ahn Even in the field of the culinary arts, there’s something about learning on the job that can open the door to getting hired more quickly. Just ask CASA graduate Francisco Ahn, who got hired by mentor Chef Ken Takayama to work at Mélisse, a world-renowned fine dining restaurant in L.A., within a month of starting his apprenticeship!   “I was looking at Le Cordon Bleu,” he says, “and I was looking into the other culinary programs, but the price was pretty high. And then when I fell upon CASA…the price was a lot cheaper, and we got to get real experience in the restaurant. And so what drew me was the experience in the restaurant and I thought that that could help me get a job.”   That expectation definitely paid off.   “Chef Ken saw that I did my tests really fast,” says Francisco, “and so he asked me if I wanted to work at Mélisse a month in…He put me in the morning prep job.”   It gets even better. Before he had even completed his apprenticeship on the job at Mélisse, Francisco was approached by Chef Ken again, who offered him a promotion as a chef garde manger, or pantry chef!   “He said that for my experience I was one of the top,” says Francisco. “They needed someone to fill in the garde manger position, and so he said that he could get someone else, but he wanted to go with me.”   Now graduated from the program, Francisco continues to move forward with his career. His work experience at Mélisse continues to serve him well, enabling him to get hired on at Terranea, an oceanfront resort in Palos Verdes, close to where he lives. He credits CASA and his experience with Chef Ken with putting him on the fast track to a career in fine dining.   “They taught me everything I needed,” says Francisco. “It gave me a good first-hand experience of how a top-notch restaurant works…it gave me a certain expectation of how things should be done, and that things should be done in a certain way to bring out the best results…You work with a lot of top-tier chefs, so it helps you, it pushes you to do better.”   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   Mary Mau and DJ Maleko Radio Connection student Mary Mau is getting the inside 411 on what it takes to work in radio, straight from her mentor DJ Maleko, digital program director and on-air personality at Star 101.9 (Honolulu, HI): “I’m very excited to be working with Maleko…He has a very calm and clear demeanor while still being lighthearted which made it easy to communicate…He said ‘Unlike others who apply at the radio [station] for a job, I’m going to help you learn how to use the equipment and control and harness your voice so you will have experience which will help you land a job’ which made me feel more confident about my future voice work under his leadership. I’m excited to see how far I can propel myself into the radio community of Honolulu!”    Khori Brown Just weeks into the program, Recording Connection student Khori Brown, apprentice at ACME Recording Company (Rochester, NY) shares a bit of the perspective he’s gained when it comes to setting up and establishing the right tone in the room: “Today I had a sit in at the studio my mentor, he was recording a new song for a group…I watched as my mentor warmly welcomed all of the artists as they came into the studio. I felt that was very valuable for me to see how the engineer sets the mood and gets everyone ready to work…Can’t wait to get back!”   
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NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor Donny Baker on what it takes to make it in recording

  
Donny Baker of ES Audio in Glendale, CA, has been a Recording Connection mentor for the past 15 years. Prior to that, he was a live sound engineer who toured with some very big names, including Madonna, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Al Di Meola, Aerosmith and REO Speedwagon among others. Besides music, Donny has a real knack for helping dedicated students find their place in the business and go on to launch thriving careers. We recently connected with the star mentor to talk about what led him into engineering, garner some key insights, and talk about a few of his former apprentices who are blazing trails in the industry today.  
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  ON HOW HE GOT INTO AUDIO ENGINEERING:  
Recording Connection mentor Donny Baker

Recording Connection mentor Donny Baker

“In my hometown as a kid (in southern Louisiana), there was a local bar, and bands would play the bar, and friends from high school and middle school and high school who had formed bands, and then we all played at the local club. And that’s where the whole sound guy thing started. It just escalated from there… After college, I just packed the truck, kissed momma goodbye and came out to L.A. I made it happen.”   ON THE SUCCESSESS OF A FEW OF HIS FORMER APPRENTICES:   [On Skyler Felix] “He left here and went to work at Disney, and he worked on Shake It Up for a long time. And now he’s working on a VH1 show, and he’s just doing all this cool stuff. He had a top-10 record on the dance charts in the U.K. a couple of years ago with this kid named Adam Tyler. I mean, this kid’s killing it.”   [On introducing former apprentice Morning Estrada to artist Trinidad James] “I brought Morning into the studio, and then he and Trinidad just hit it off. And now any time Trinidad goes anywhere, he brings Morning with him. He brings Morning to New York and Atlanta. That’s his dude. He’s killing the urban scene right now… A song that he was involved with won Record of the Year last time in the Grammys… And it’s just that kind of relationship that Morning has built with his clients, as being an awesome engineer. And I got to say that he got all his experience and jobs from me. I don’t mind saying that at all. I mean, he’ll tell you. He’ll say that I’ve taught him everything he knows. I actually talked that kid into quitting his day job. I don’t normally do that. I don’t normally do that, but I saw the potential that this guy had.”   [On what made former apprentice Uriel Soto the person he wanted to hire] “He’s been with me almost two years, I guess, since he finished the program. He was in a position in his life where he was available to spend more time with doing this program, learning what he wanted to learn. And then I saw his potential, asked him to stay, and then just started using him for sessions, sitting in on sessions. He did work as a producer as well. He’s a great keyboard player and guitar player and bass player. He really understands music. He’s been playing music most of his life. He’s just really good at what he does… He’s just kind of subdued. He’s not an angry guy. I guess that’s a big thing in being an engineer. You’re the guy that everybody in the session is looking for to be the steady guy. So when things get tough, when things get hard, when things get funny, you’re the guy that everybody looks at. If the computer crashes, they’re all going to look at you. If their headphone mix isn’t correct, they’re all going to look at you. So you’re the guy. To be able to handle that is, it takes a special person, for sure.”   ADVICE ON HOW TO APPROACH YOUR MENTOR WHEN YOU JUST DON’T GET IT:   “You have to be engaged with your mentor. You have to trust your mentor. You also have to be…you have to talk to him. If you feel that you’re having trouble, talk to the guy. That’s why he’s there, seriously. I mean, say, ‘Hey, listen. I don’t really understand EQ. Can we not move on until I fully understand this stuff?’ Or, ‘Let me take an extra week and practice. Can you show me some stuff? Maybe let me sit in on some sessions,’ or whatever. But dedicate your time. Be there as much as possible.”   ON WHAT IT TAKES TO WORK IN RECORDING:   “You have to have a passion for it. You have to want to do this. I mean, if somebody’s doing this just because their mom says, ‘Get a job, go to school, or get out of my house,’ so they chose the go-to-school part, and they do this because they thought it would be cool, they’re not going to make it. It takes a little more dedication than that, than just not wanting to leave your mom’s house…You’ve got to dedicate the time. You can’t just come here once a week and take your quiz and go home and think that you’re going to become an engineer when you get your certificate. It’s not going to happen. It’s a matter of being in it and being on it all the time, every day… Be the pain in the ass for the guy. Have the guy get angry with you. ‘Uh, can you leave? Damn.’ That’s the guy I want. That’s the person I want to be my engineer. That’s the person I want work with— the person I can’t get rid of.”   
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Note: If you are serious about learning real-world audio production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world radio production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world film production the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

Note: If you are serious about learning real-world culinary skills the way we teach it, answer the following questions to expedite your admissions process.

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