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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER March 5, 2018 by Liya Swift


Black Panther and Ant Man 2: How One Film Connection
Student Got Working on Both!

Film Connection grad Black Panther The same month Film Connection graduate Jason Reinhardt was finishing his externship with film mentor Steve Carmichael at RITE Media Group, he got hired as a PA on the Black Panther production while they were was doing reshoots in the heart of rural Georgia. So, how did it happen?   We’re big believers in making connections. We say it constantly and consistently and the word is even in our name. So how did Jason get hired on as a PA on the big budget, box-office breaking action movie that’s changing the film business?   Take a guess.   Jason explains, it happened through the connection he made with a friend of his mentor, just one in “the long line of friends that I’ve made through Steve Carmichael.” This connection in particular “has been working on The Walking Dead…and she’s been a key source of a lot of my big jobs, or at least getting me connected with a lot of big employers.”   But working the big productions isn’t all Jason is focused on. He’s invested in working as much as possible and on a variety of different projects. To say he’s being proactive is almost an understatement. He’s attending workshops, working on local and commercial shoots, and basically immersing himself in the process every chance he gets. And yes, he’s got a screenplay in the works too!   Jason has seen, firsthand, how jumping in on one industry event can yield numerous opportunities. When a local networking film group had a meeting at a well-known film equipment rental house, Jason made it a point connect with not only the professional and aspiring filmmakers in the group, but also the people who work at the rental house.   In other words, he was super smart about connecting with the very people who are on the frontlines of making film, TV, and media in the greater Atlanta area. Shaking hands and getting to know numerous people involved in the day-to-day business, yielded great results.   When a volunteer gig for Rise Against Hunger came up, Jason jumped on it. That further solidified some of the relationships he’d built with people at the equipment rental house, including a manager who asked him to work the 48 Hour Film Fest. He ended the 48 saying, “You guys ever need a PA again, please feel free to reach out.” And sure enough, a few weeks later, they started reaching out.   The connections he made on 48 led to a series of smaller jobs including a photography assistant gig, and then Ant Man 2! Yes, that’s right, Ant-Man and the Wasp!   On that production, when things stalled due to trucking problems, Jason didn’t stay idle. He picked up a broom “and started sweeping the entire stage…a 5,000 square foot stage that we had, and I was just sweeping for an hour, just waiting for the truck…From there the shoot went on, [and I] met a bunch of the cast.”   Jason takes what he does seriously. On the set of Black Panther, when he wasn’t running to assist with something, he was working as the self-described “water boy” handing out cold or room temperature water, according to cast and crew’s preference, and making a positive impression wherever possible.   “I got on good terms with the main villain when he needed cough drops and I was there with a handful. I actually met large majority of the cast including…all of the warriors who protect the king, the main villain, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman himself, all of the stunt doubles and all of the stand-ins…Overall, the days where a blast. I learned a lot and met a lot of amazing people!”   But so far, the most magical of moment for Jason happened the in the morning as he was driving up to work the Black Panther shoot, located somewhere in the Georgia boondocks.   “No street lights, nothing. It was just straight road and the deep forest as far as the eye can see. The first day that I arrived there was foggy and hazy. As you drove up the mile-long gravel road to the parking lot that they had, you just caught glimpses of props and sets from previous scenes, then you’d see massive cranes moving in the haze. I just kind of got goosebumps while I was driving in, just a giant smile on my face.”    
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Why Recording Connection mentor Michael Cancel says Keeping an Innovative Mindset is Vital

Recording Connection mentor Michael Cancel With six engineers working at his recording studio, Mixed Wave Labs, Recording Connection mentor Michael Cancel (Chicago, IL) is doing what he loves, making music and teaching tomorrow’s audio engineers and producers the skills they need to get their own careers off on the right track.     But Michael’s professional life wasn’t always so rewarding. There was a time when he had to think long and hard, devise a game plan that worked for him, one that would enable him to achieve his own personal vision of success and fulfillment.   In a recent conversation with Michael we spoke with him about his journey into audio, his belief in staying agile and keeping an innovative mindset in today’s music industry, and why he chooses to mentor with Recording Connection.  
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    RRFC: So what got you interested in audio engineering in the first place?   Michael: I was doing open mics and stage shows by the time I was 15, 16. I got signed to an independent record label when I was 19, and I stayed in it long enough to produce one album project. The independent record label fell apart by the time I was 21, and then I went on hiatus and swore off music for about a solid 10 years. I came back to it … [and] knowing how to rap and knowing a little bit about beatmaking, I had to be more career oriented, ‘What would be a safety net for me?’…   In my mind, today you can be a hot rapper and tomorrow someone newer or younger will come out and take the spotlight. And I feel like it’s the same way for beatmaking. So those two careers, not to take anything away from them, they’re very hard and very competitive, whereas engineering, all rappers and beatmakers always need to go to an engineer to clean up their work. So there will always be a job for engineers. And I said, ‘Okay, that sounds more secure to me. I’m going to pursue it.’   Having to scrub all through YouTube and all through Google, I learned as much as I could. When I started understanding this reoccurring or repeating theme of how this super elite circle of folks only get in by this kind of networking, I said, ‘Okay, I need to get certified, and I think this is how I want to get my approach.’   RRFC: What was it about the Recording Connection that stood out to you as a student?   Michael: Honestly, it was the externship, like the idea of getting in and getting hands-on. I had two buddies of mine who went to two separate schools, and they told me their experience of what it was like to be in a classroom with classmates and a professor giving lectures. When I compared it to my experience when I was active as a student, it was nothing the same. I was getting in there every day and getting hands-on experience with all the gear…   RRFC: Joe ‘Dante’ Delfino was your mentor. Can you tell us a few details about your time with him?   Michael: Upon meeting Joe, we were sort of both, I guess, the right fit in the sense that he was sort of semi-impressed that I was already self-educated… I tried my best right off the bat to clear out all the basics so that I could take advantage of the extras. So we really gelled well in that sense.   …It’s definitely Joe’s fault that I’ve gotten addicted to analog gear… One of the things he was impressed by is I have a software that does ear training, and I would put myself through this ear training 20 minutes before jumping into any sessions at all, to help just level me out. I still practice that religiously every day.   So he was able to use that as a launch pad to go even further…show me what processing would sound like with analog gear…Whenever sound goes through any kind of processor that you’re using, there’s a lot of detail, a lot of menial things that change the gathering of all of that. And for me, having built my studio up and opening up my own business and picking and choosing my arsenal for whatever processors I like to use, I now understand how to listen for that detail and how to use tools for what they are versus just marketing gimmicks and saying, ‘Look what I have.’   RRFC: How does keeping an innovative mindset help you make good choices for yourself as both an engineer and a business owner?   Michael: So I don’t pick a side when it comes to analog or digital, big house production or home studios, or remote engineers or established engineers. What I do is I ask myself, ‘Where is music headed and what’s becoming old? What old models still work? What’s dying out?’ That’s where the real innovative space comes in. You can take time to either ask yourself questions to create a new space that solves problems or you can roll with the punches…Having a vantage point of seeing what’s happening, that’s just a beautiful thing.   RRFC: So you’re busy with a studio that’s open 24/7, why do you choose to teach students as a Recording Connection mentor?    Michael: Something about the saying, ‘If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for the day, but if you teach him how to fish, he can eat for life.’… As a teacher I can help change the face of music by raising up a bunch of students to take a different outlook and be courageous in how they approach music. I want to have that impact.    
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

  Cinequest 2018 Film Connection mentor Sean McCarthy of Guerilla Wanderers (Bay Area), wrote in to update us on the work our students did on the Cinequest 2018 Festival Trailer, conceptualized and created by the Guerilla Wanderers & Digital Wanderers team!   Sean reports that two Film Connection students Nika Finch and Alex Geranios were “involved as part of our brain trust to show storyboards and animatics where they developed their skills as storytellers and contributed to the piece as it developed and evolved.”   And…   Eric Whitehead who just graduated from the program, and who we brought back as an associate producer, post production coordinator and animator (he drew one of the robots) — From his training and experience level growing with us, we were able to entrust him with a bigger responsibility…Elizabeth [the producer] and I would both concur he was an essential part of the leadership team and the shining star.   He went from a student we were training early 2017 to a key creative collaborator on this project after he had just received his certification and completed his time in the program.”   
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