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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER November 12, 2018 by Liya Swift


Recording Connection grad
Collin Jacka Gets in, Get’s Hired!


Recording Connection grad Collin Jacka

Recording Connection graduate Collin Jacka (Sacramento, CA) completed both the Audio Engineering and Music Production program with mentor Matt Young at The Press Recording Studio (Stockton, CA) and the Advanced Audio and Music Production program with Shane Anderson at Unique Recording Studios (Sacramento, CA). Now, Collin’s making a name for himself as the new hire at Unique.   We recently touched base with him to learn more about how he’s building his future, and how he secured his first in-industry job.   What got you interested in Recording Connection in the first place?   “I was in bands and I was always the sound guy. Eventually I just realized that it was a lot more fun…My goal was just to be a recording engineer just so I could be around music all the time.”   Has your goal changed now that you’ve completed the programs?   “Yeah, it has quite a bit. Right now my plan is to focus more on producing, both making beats and producing artists. And then also mixing confidently and creatively, which is something I’ve been working on lately. So I’ll be testing mixes and Shane will tell me how I could do better. I’m also getting the opportunity to help around the Instagram page and take photos and promote the studio. So it’s cool to get a bunch of different experiences.”   So let’s go back to when you first interviewed with Shane to do the advanced program. Were you nervous, excited?   “I was definitely nervous because I was changing studios from the one in Stockton, and I hadn’t planned to move up here. But within a few minutes I was feeling completely comfortable with Shane. We ended up spending an extra hour and a half just talking about music and stuff. But it was a really good interview. It was more like hanging out than an interview.”   When it comes to mixing, what was it like learning how not one, but two different mentors, two different pros handle the mix?  
Collin Jacka and Shane Anderson at Unique Recording Studios

Collin Jacka and Shane Anderson at Unique Recording Studios

“So there’s two different approaches from the two different studios. When I’d watch Matt mix, it’d be fast and on the fly, because he’s always very sure. When I watched Shane mix, he mixes very creatively, but while still keeping the artist’s vision for it. Both experiences were very, very beneficial.”   What have been the highpoints of training with Shane?   “Since I’ve been with Shane here at Unique Recording Studios, I’ve really learned how to listen, without just revealing too much of Shane’s mixing stuff, you know, like search and destroy. You just narrow it down and you find that one little noise that’s bringing the mix down, and you find it. And it’s surprising, like, one little cut can make the whole track a lot better.”   So how’d you get hired at Unique? What led up to it?   “The first time I came in for an interview, Shane asked what my intentions were. And I told him my intention was to earn a position here at the studio by the end of my externship. So I put 200% in for my externship, and Shane followed through.”   Have your parents been supportive of what you’re doing?   “100%. They’re all for it.”   Are there any projects you’d like to tell us about?   “Two different artists, Hunnit F. Roundz and Fresh B (Spotify). I engineered their sessions. Two hours recording with me, then Shane comes in and does the mix and master so they leave with a completed song. Also, when I first started the program, Shane set up this project for me to work on with this artist named Era…So I’ve been working on that project at the studio, and I’ve been cataloging my own beats that I make at home. And then I have a few songs that I’ve been messing around with that may see the light of day sometime soon.”   What’s your advice to other Recording Connection students on how can they make the most of the program while they’re in it?   “Definitely take a bunch of notes, because you could always refer back to them. Even if you don’t know what you’re writing down, it will make sense someday and it will keep your head in the game. And also, I know a lot of students can’t afford all of this analog gear that the big studios have. Something that Shane taught me was that mixing in the box doesn’t mean you have to think in the box. So it just helps for you to be creative so no robot could take my place in 20 years, because a robot can’t feel that emotion.”   Learn more about the Recording Connection for Audio Engineering & Music Production Program.    
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Film Connection mentor Wayne Thompson
on the Business of Making Films


Film Connection mentor Wayne Thompson

Toronto-based Film Connection mentor Wayne Thompson (Ving Rhames, Steven Seagal) is a film and television producer with dozens of credits to his name, two Gemini Awards, and two Director’s Guild of Canada Awards including Best Picture. An ally for artists and investors, he’s a consummate filmmaking professional who helps serious students find their way in the industry. We recently caught up with Wayne to learn more about one recent student’s success and to discuss the business side of making films.   Have some recent projects you’d like to tell us about?   “I just got back from Washington. I was up in Anacortes, and I was filming killer whales in their natural habitat. I went up toward Canada… It was like 68 degrees and clear in August and the water was calm and it was just gorgeous. We got to learn a lot about the orcas and the community of people that basically live with these magnificent creatures. I mean literally, there are hundreds and hundreds of people on a daily basis that are in boats or walking along the shore, and giant killer whales, maybe 6 or 8 of them will just swim by, you know? And it’s just part of their everyday life. I’m going to be sending a proposal to National Geographic, who’s very, very interested in these types of subject matters. It’s very much their focus. There’s a big story to be told about the Wildlife and people in those regions”   As a Film Connection mentor, you’ve helped a number of our students find their way and discover what they really want to do in the industry, including recent graduate Josh Eastman:   “Most students want…to be the producer, they want to be the director. They might even want to star in their own film. And yet they don’t know about the importance of being an editor or a UPM…And through them working in the field, they understand that either they have abilities in an area or not…   Now, Josh Eastman had made a few small films with very, very little money, and he had shot the film, wrote the film, edited the film, done everything. And from that, he got a few other very small jobs, like very small paying, but like any filmmaker, you want to just work. A, you want cash, but B, you want to develop your craft…   So when Josh came to me he was convinced that he was going to be a writer or a director…Well, I worked with Josh and mentored Josh for probably the belter part of a year, and he did a myriad of jobs with me and worked with me on a variety of programs, and no matter what, he had this incredible talent for editing, video editing…He had a great eye…You put him in front of an edit screen and he would create magic…   Through his own initiative he started editing a few test cases, and he did a pilot for Honda, which was very successful, and now he’s the senior editor at Honda for North America… now he’s stepped out in the world, he’s traveled, because with Honda he’s been around the world with them now and he’s shot a commercial just recently… He was not the DP, but he was there when it was being done so he could compile the dailies and all that. And he’s just a wonderful young man who really found his niche and is doing a superb job.”   There seem to be many different kinds of film producers, from the person who secures funding to line producers and UPMs who sometimes get producer credit.   “I’m really more of an executive producer…I’m always involved in raising the money. I’ve been successful at doing it and I’ve got good relationships from my past. So, executive producers are normally involved in the raising of the money and the securing of the funds. A producer to me, whether or not it’s a line producer who gets a producer title because they’re so pivotal to the creation of the movie, the producer works with me. I won’t say under me, but certainly I consider us to be equals. We both have an opinion, and it’s my investors’ money, so therefore I’m very concerned about being on time and on budget. I think that’s where a lot of producers make a mistake in not being on time and not being on budget.   So I think that the producers are often the ones that have actually worked with me to make the movie. Then, of course, distributors come in today, they want a producer title. Sometimes the investor wants a producer title instead of an executive producer title, especially on smaller films.”   When it comes to raising money for a film, how do you approach that and where do you go?   “When you’re producing a film, like an independent film, you have to analyze who is your market. So first of all who are you going to sell the movie to, but who also might put up some funding for it or where can you get some support…   I reside in Canada. We have a tremendous tax credit system here. So I can get approximately 30%, I’ll just use that as a general number, of the overall budget back in tax credits. So that gives me 100% of the budget is already guaranteed back 30% of the budget.   Then with a Canadian distribution sale, some foreign interest, because I don’t believe in presales, and of course the U.S. being your major market, I just started by putting together a pro forma that showed these people that I felt that they could make their money back. And I’ve been very fortunate that…11 of the 13 [projects] I produced between film and television have made money, and I think that’s an enviable track record.”   Should someone who’s a writer/director who wants to get a movie made consider the marketplace before they write a screenplay   “In my opinion, yes they should… Because if you can’t sell your movie, you’re not doing yourself a service as well as a writer or a director, because you’ve got this piece of art that you’ve created that no one will see. [But] if you start to build a reputation of making profitable movies as a writer, as a director, as a producer, as a DP, an editor, whatever you are, then that builds your resume, I think, in a far more logical manner, because it is a business. Yes, it’s creative and the crux of it is that creative juice, and it all comes back to the written word–the script is paramount…   You could go to AFM every November and figure out what’s hot, so that then you just put together a production deal, and you do whatever genre is needed by the distributors. ”   Let’s say someone just knows they want to produce films. What’s your advice to them? Where should they start?   “I think that they should learn about the business of film. What I mean by that is that you make a film for X dollars and you need to get that money back. However, whether it’s in tax credits, presales, sales, however it is, but you have an obligation to get that money back to the investor, hopefully with a return, but if not, you at least have to get that back. So inexperienced producers, it has nothing to do with age, I’m talking about in terms of experience. They just want to make their movie. They don’t think it through as to the ramification of what if no one sees this movie or what if the investor loses money. So I would say to a young producer that they should learn the business of the movie business.”     Learn more about Film Connection’s programs and workshops in filmmaking, cinematography, screenwriting, and more!    
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

Recording Connection students and grads with Chris Lord-Alge

Recording Connection students/grads & Chris Lord-Alge

  Five-time GRAMMY® Award-winning mix engineer CHRIS LORD-ALGE (Rage Against the Machine, Pink, Linkin Park, Madonna, Lady Antebellum, Krewella, Green Day, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood) directed the 2nd Annual CSABA PETOCZ MASTER CLASS WORKSHOP at MIX L.A. Studios in Los Angeles!   Take a look inside in our Media section below!  
Film Connection grad Cecelia Sayler

Film Connection grad Cecelia Sayler

After Film Connection student Cecelia Sayler pitched her screenplay to filmmaker Lenny Shapiro, he invited her to attend AFM (American Film Market)! When Cecelia sent him an email to express her thanks, he just had to share the news with our team. Here’s an excerpt:  
Filmmaker Lenny Shapiro and Cecelia Sayler

Filmmaker Lenny Shapiro and Cecelia Sayler

“Thank you so much for such a fantastic opportunity and learning experience. AFM was such an eye opening and helpful place to learn and grow and I just wanted to reach out and extend my gratitude… I learned not only about the industry and what’s popular and trending, but I also learned a lot about networking and what to say and do, and what not to say and do. I learned a lot about my own writing style and how to adapt my script to fit what’s trending.   Thank you for inspiring me. You pushed me to work harder and think smarter. You taught me things that no textbook could have. These are the lessons that will stay with me as I continue to grow, not only a writer but a person too…   Thank you so much for all of your time and energy invested in me…I’ll be in touch!”   *FYI, gratitude never goes out of style. Find out more about learning in-industry from a professional filmmaker.    

Jose Castrejon (center) with band at Maximus Music

Already a graduate of a conventional audio engineering school, Jose Castrejon got a lot out of the one-on-one approach of our Advanced Audio and Music Production program. Speaking of this time with Recording Connection mentor Ira Parker at Maximus Music, he says:   “Whatever comes to your mind, you just ask it and he’ll answer for you. When I was asking him about certain instruments, like, ‘Hey, boss, how would I set up a mic for an accordion?’…It’s like learning that certain position for a microphone and watching him do it, and then he makes you redo it. It’s definitely that one-on-one learning experience that I was looking forward to.”       
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Check Out Our Students’ Work

    Heard our Student Music Mixtape yet? In partnership with Symphonic Distribution, we’re excited to help our students get their music out to the world!     The Recording Connection is now offering this great opportunity for our students to broaden their understanding of the new role digital distribution companies like Symphonic Distribution can play in helping release their tracks and propel their careers forward!       


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