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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER May 13, 2019 by Liya Swift


Film Connection grad Joe Paciotti
Connects in Today’s Gig Economy

Joe Paciotti (in striped shirt) with Noah Cappe, host of Carnival Eats

Joe Paciotti (in striped shirt) with Noah Cappe, host of Carnival Eats

We believe through and through that making it in the industry requires tireless dedication and serious passion. Being able to take initiative and do the work, even when you’re your own boss, is actually a rarer quality than some might think. Persistence is key, as is learning how to push past moments when you’d rather spend some quality time vegging out on the couch.   Film Connection graduate Joe Paciotti of JPac Productions has been his own boss since graduating Film Connection for Film Production & Editing in 2016. And he’s definitely learned how to push past moments of inertia, channel his energy into working gigs, going after opportunities, and building his clientele and credits, every step of the way. We recently connected with Joe to talk about the nitty-gritty of the work he’s doing and learn more about how he manages to continually get hired for work on commercials, reality TV, and new media.   Joe recently shot and interviewed two different multiple-Grammy-winners, James Mtume and Joe Nicolo. He’s worked Miss America, “Chopped” on the Food Network, The World Poker Tour, and “Food Paradise” on the Travel Channel, just to name a few. And, he even worked as camera PA on two different comedy specials with comedy dynamos, D.L. Hughley and Howie Mandel, both shot in Atlantic City. The D.L. Hughley comedy special was later released on Netflix. Howie Mandel’s was released on Showtime). The list goes on from there.   Tell us more about the corporate work you’re doing.  

Grammy winner James Mtume

“A company called ‘Market Scale’ based out of Texas. They give me a lot of corporate gigs…Sometimes it’s just me, and then there’s a lot of times where they’ll hire two camera operators. And I am usually the lead for the most part. They’ll have a lead camera and then they’ll have camera B. So it’s kind of like a team type of thing. They send us out to the client, they give us a list of everything they want shot, and we just go in there follow the schedule and get everything done for them, and then we just come home, we drop all the footage on a hard drive and we ship it out to Texas, and then they do all the editing on their end.   But I have many companies I work with. Some are more consistent than others. I have one that I might get a couple gigs a month here and there. And they’ve got me some pretty big shoots. I got to interview a nine time Grammy winner and then another second Grammy winner. So that was cool.”   So on these shoots, what shots are you getting? How are they handled?   ““They send us a style guide and we frame it up how they want it. They usually do a medium and then a medium close-up. It’s just a two camera setup. Usually the lead will get the medium/wide shot, and then camera B will get that closer, tighter shot, and then they’ll sync them up in post.”   The more connections you build, the more your name gets mentioned or emailed around, all of which gets you work. Have you found that to be true?   “Yeah, exactly. 100%. Every shoot I’m on, I see and meet at least one person that I get along well with, if not the entire crew, normally. I’ve gotten so many gigs from that. Just people I’ve worked with that, it might be like, ‘Oh, I can’t do this shoot day. Can you cover for me? Or whatever the case may be…I also got to camera op and do some B roll for ‘Deadliest Catch’ on the Discovery Channel. That was at the U.S. Coast Guard base in Atlantic City, NJ. So that was really cool.”  

BTS on “Food Paradise” (Travel Channel)

  Having the right connections also got you hired to do Miss America.   “A friend of mine whom I work with on the World Poker Tour, she was working with Miss America for the last three or four years, and she got me on the crew. When the production manager called me, he said they were looking for somebody with camera op experience to film the prelims. Simple as that, I was there.”   How are you building your future? What goals are you working towards?   “For me it’s [been] about just constantly reinvesting a lot of the money I’ve made. In the last few years I bought a new camera and I have C stands and really good lighting and all that now… I want to continue my corporate stuff and then also eventually get into doing TV shows. That’s my main goal, TV, corporate, and commercial-type stuff. I just have to work my way up to that.”   When you have your own company, it can take a lot of work to keep on getting work.   “If I’m not on a shoot, I’m normally home upgrading my website, upgrading my credits, reaching out to cold leads, and I also have this website that I apply to gigs on. So I’m constantly applying to things and reaching out to people.”   So what’s your advice to people like you, who are self-starters and want to have their own company?   “I would definitely say you can’t expect it to be easy, because to me this is one of the hardest industries to get into. So don’t expect it to be easy… Just keep growing connections and just keep going at it every day.”   So, now that you’re living it, what do you have to say about the experience you had with RRFC and Film Connection?   “The Film Connection gave me the hands-on experience I was looking for. After only 8 months, I had come a such a long way that I built up the credits which have helped me get all of the consistent gigs that I’m currently getting now. I highly recommend Film Connection to anyone looking to dive into the professional film industry.”   Connect with JPac Productions on Instagram.   Learn more about Film Connection’s in-industry programs.      
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Spotlight On… Star Student Jordan Schuh


Recent Recording Connection grad Jordan Schuh with Helen

Jordan Schuh took to the Recording Connection for Ableton Electronic Music Production program like a fish to water. Already the owner of his own studio, Jordan got proactive about building up his skillset by training one-on-one with mentor Steve Catizone at Infinite Music, located just outside of Boston.   What’s it like learning from Steve?   “Learning from Steve Catizone was a breeze. The world of digital music is often daunting and any DAW can be visually overwhelming at first, but after just a little while, the things that seem too complicated to grasp turn into much simpler entities. As somebody just getting into the recording business, having a mentor that has had decades of experience recording clients gave me the opportunity to ask questions that Google couldn’t answer.”   What do you think students need to do in order to perform well as externs in the studio?   “My advice would be to make sure you ask the questions that come to you as you read the chapter, as well as the ones you’ve already encountered while making your own music. Make music with your mentors, your peers, and make sure to spare some time to continue producing on your own. If you plan on starting your own recording business like I have, it’s important to understand what your clients are looking for, whether that’s a mic setup for a full band, or vocal tracks over a beat…Knowing what I was looking for in terms of education played a large part in my confidence in taking on clients today.”   What else do you want to tell us about Recording Connection and your experience?   “I guess the best thing I can say about Recording Connection is that it proves its name. In other words, what I valued most about the experience was the connections with real people in the recording industry.”      
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Recording Connection mentor Joey Gurwin
on Analog vs. Digital and Making Music that Shines Through.


Recording Connection mentor Joey Gurwin

Recording Connection mentor, producer Joey Gurwin of Oranjudio Recording Studios is known for his ability to capture the magic that’s found on old school records through his synthesis of today’s digital, new school technology and conventional analog recording techniques. From working with multiple Grammy winning artists and chart-toppers, to local, national and even international bands and artists, Joey’s all about making the music shine through.   So what kinds of projects do you do at Oranjudio Recording Studio?   “O.A.R. is a great Ohio band I’ve worked with. And the students tend to really like the A$AP Ferg thing and the Mac Miller stuff who are two pop/hip hop artists that we’ve worked with as well as Flo Rida.   My personal highlight is Seun Kuti, who’s Fela Kuti’s youngest son. We got to do a record with him and Fela’s band, Egypt 80, which was an amazing experience for me…I was honored to have Carlos Santana add a bunch of guitar tracks to that record. He just released it. It’s called ‘Black Times’ and it’s the title track of that record. It’s quite spectacular. Yeah, and we get a lot of really, really great artists here. I’m just as proud of the stuff that we do for local independent artists as we do for the O.A.R.s or the Seun Kuti’s. It’s just all really exciting.”   Do you record in analog or digital?   “Probably 9 times out of 10, I’m recording in digital, but that being said, I try to approach it in an analog fashion. I try to get the various tones as much as I can with using different mic techniques and different, preamps and microphone feels. A, because it feels more real to me, and B, because the client often wants to hear it sound good right away…They want it to sound like how they imagine it to sound.   I find that relying a bunch on digital postproduction tends to turn into a situation where it’s like, ‘Oh, well, we’ll fix that in the mix. We’ll fix that in post.’ And that’s not the best way to do things. So, I try not to digital, or have it too available as a crutch, because I also find that it gets the best performance from a performer.”   So in these hybrid sessions, you’re keeping the artist inspired because what they’re hearing in the playback is something that they like, right?   “Yeah, exactly, exactly. Digital has impacted everything, from the workflow to the ability to try things out without having to worry about the amount of tape you’re burning through.  

Studio A Control Room, Oranjudio Recording Studios

Now we have terabytes and terabytes of data at our fingertips. And so we can record the amount that used to take rooms of tape to fill up. That’s a really positive thing, especially as far as people recording at home, for preproduction and stuff like that. Stuff that would have taken hours and hours and hours in the purely analog tape realm, I can do in minutes, with a mouse.   On the flip side of that coin is, sometimes, there’s just so many options! Sometimes we over-record, because we can, because data is so cheap. Back in the days of when we were using purely tape, you have to really, really know that you want to do another guitar take, because you’re erasing the last guitar take. As opposed to now, when I can just hit Command-Z and undo what you just did, or playlist it and comp up a take from 20 different takes.   The digital realm definitely allows for that flexibility, but it can also create almost like a mental roadblock with people, because you can do it so many times and you can overdo it. And, you know, perfect is often the enemy of really good. And specifically, with the editing process things like Melodyne, Auto-Tune, and Elastic Audio, and Beat Detective, all these things that are tools, can a lot of times create music that feels lifeless. I listen to old Stevie Wonder records or Miles Davis records and maybe there’s an error there, but there’s also a lot of feel and groove in that. So sometimes, you can edit the life out of a record really quickly in the digital realm.”   So what sparked your interest in audio in the first place?   “I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. You know, sneaking out late at night and stealing my dad’s records and making quick tape dubs of them so I could listen to them on my Walkman…I guess it started there. And I would just take all my allowance money and spend it on tapes and CDs, and whatever else when I was a kid. And then I started getting into live music when I was probably 14 or 15. We’re a college town and there was a band of older kids, and I would help them in some college bar, loading their gear every Tuesday when I was in high school. Then I learned to play and became very obsessed with recording stuff and dubbing tapes. I’d go out, record shows when I could, with just a little two-microphone setup or skewing audio from the soundboard and trading tapes with my friends. That’s where the whole thing started.”   What do you want to see in the students you choose to take on as externs? What kinds of qualities should they have?  “The word is self-motivated. I’m not here to remind them to do their homework or assignments. They should be all about that on their own. They should be downright passionate about what they’re getting to do which is really soak up how music gets made in a professional environment. And if somebody is looking for a basic nine-to-five, where you can just show up and phone it in for eight hours, clock in and clock out, then you’re in the wrong industry.”   Learn more about Recording Connection for audio engineering, music production, live sound, Ableton, beat making and more.    
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A Day in the Life of Our Students


Jones Nelson with Chris Lord-Alge

Congrats to Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production graduate Jones Nelson on his band Million Whispers’ latest rock release—Call to Me. We asked the Nashville-based artist to tell us what inspired the new album. What he said is best conveyed in his own words:  Call to Me takes an introspective look at where we are in society today. We’re all under so much pressure to perform at the top of our game professionally, spiritually, and emotionally without question. This E.P. was written to question some of these conventional norms, and to reassess what really matters in life. Where are we going? What are we truly passionate about?   I made the decision to follow my passion four years ago, when I first signed up for RRFC. This education gave me the skills and permission to dig deeper into making music and recording audio in a way I’d never done before. It allowed me to work with engineers and producers that I otherwise never would have had the opportunity to work with. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.”   The six-song E.P. was written/tracked/performed/mixed/mastered by RRFC grad Jones Nelson at Alien Sasquatch Studios in Nashville. Listen on Spotify.      

Recording Connection student Kay Witcher

Sometimes our students are downright surprised by just how enlivening they find our programs. It’s true! Learning can be fun and even life-changing.  Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production student Kay Witcher is enjoying the time she’s spending externing at Chaka Harley’s Playground Studios (Durham, NC). So much so, that she’s even getting into the homework!   “I’m now getting a better understanding of the curriculum and am beginning to enjoy all the reading that I normally hate.”     *Attention RRFC students: Would you like to be in our newsletter? Then, blog about your experiences. Tell us your story and be sure to subscribe!
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Special Interview: Barb Adams of SoundGirls on Women in Audio

SoundGirls’ Philadelphia chapter president Barb Adams

Check out the SoundGirls.Org website’s About Us page and you’ll see their unofficial mantra: “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See.” Founded in 2013, it’s the organization’s mission to “inspire and empower the next generation of women in audio” by shining a light on women who are doing it and living it, every single day. SoundGirls is dedicated to fostering community among women in the industry and their supporters and to providing tools, knowledge, and assistance to those who are actively building careers in audio, sound, and music production.   We recently connected with educator, live sound engineer and SoundGirls’ Philadelphia chapter president Barb Adams, to discuss how we can get more women in audio and to garner some helpful advice on how to best show support for women in the field.   Do you get asked what it’s like to be a woman in the industry all the time? Other women in audio have told us it’s often the first topic that comes up.   “It’s not usually the first topic of conversation…but I remember I was doing a festival, one that I still work today, actually, and there was a guy who was with one of the bands playing the festival, and he was very interested in women in audio, I think, in a positive way. But he was sort of annoying at it. It was sort of like this, ‘It’s really awesome that you’re a girl’ I was just really off put by it. He was pushing it to the point where I was just like, ‘You know what, I’m an engineer just like you. Stop trying to box me into this other thing.’ But that’s what it felt like to me at the time. I think his intentions were good. It just didn’t come across that way.”   Sometimes people don’t even realize they’re conditioned to expect the engineer to be male. It’s hardwired behavior.   “Most of the bands that come through the venues I work at, they know me. But occasionally I get these bands that I’ve never worked with before. So this one particular one, I’m on stage with five XLRs in one hand and some microphones in another, and the band walks up on stage and [one of them] was like, ‘Hey, can you point us to the sound engineer for today?’ And literally my eyes were just like, really? Hello? Mics, cables? And I’m like, ‘Hi, I’m Barb. I’m your sound engineer.’ And they were completely embarrassed. They knew their mistake right away, but it was just like one of those things, like they don’t expect to see a woman engineer. They have this disassociation, almost. They saw me on stage and they’re like, ‘She can’t be the engineer. So let me ask her where the engineer is.’ So I get that a lot…   [Nevertheless]I feel like there’s more [women] now than there were when I was coming up. I’m seeing a lot more out on tours, even just coming through venues, but it’s still a very small percentage.” (Check out SoundGirls.Org’s 1st of the 5% posts on Instagram.)   How can we get girls and young women interested in audio earlier in life? Do you think it’s something that maybe we should bring into the music curriculum in junior high?   “Absolutely, and I do that myself. With SoundGirls, I teach at one of their live sound camps for girls. I also do another very similar camp with the university I work at for high school students …The few girls that are in those camps have caught the bug already.   I didn’t discover this until I was in high school. I was not a musician. I knew nobody in the business. It was literally just a fascination. I knew I wanted to work with music, but I didn’t want to be an artist. And I really didn’t want to be in radio. So I was kind of researching it and was like, ‘Music production, what’s that?’ And I ended up going to school for it, because I’m just not good jumping into something that I don’t know. And I was shy and timid and thought I wasn’t going to get far.”   For those who are getting into a mentorship based program and find they’re the only woman in the studio, what’s your advice? Should they just become one of the guys and hang in there?   “I want to say yes, as bad as that sounds…I mean, it’s the same with any job. If you’re passionate about what you do and you really want to learn it, it doesn’t matter what obstacles get put in your path. You’re going to find a way to get through them. I think some things are easier than others, but persevere. And maybe that’s being a mom, too, like I’m trying to teach my son right now: it’s so easy to give up but you don’t get anywhere doing that.”     
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