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WEEKLY NEWSLETTER November 28, 2016 by L. Swift and Jeff McQ


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Reality Check: Film Connection screenwriting grad
Mark Salcido hones his craft

  
Mark Salcido Film Connection screenwriting graduate Mark Salcido reflects on a key moment when he first discovered his desire to be a screenwriter.   “I think it’s kind of funny, because a lot of people…say like these big epic movies that got them into writing,” he says. “But I saw the movie La Bamba, the Ritchie Valens story…I don’t know why, but I was hooked on that. I thought, ‘Wow, that is freaking fantastic writing.” And right there I was just like, okay, I want to do that, I want to like write for film…I think I was probably like seven or eight.”   After taking some screenwriting classes at a local community college in Los Angeles, Mark says he was drawn to the Film Connection for its one-on-one apprentice approach. “[In class,] there is you and like however many students, and the teacher is kind of generalizing a lot of stuff,” he says. “In a way, you kind of don’t feel like you want to have to keep raising your hand, because you’re taking up everybody’s time. So, the whole one-on-one process is definitely helpful.”   When Mark first met with Film Connection screenwriting mentor Peter Foldy, he says they hit it off right away. “We just started talking like we were just two fans of film,” says Mark, “just regular guys, just having a conversation…I guess he liked what I had to say and saw the passion that I have for writing, and he thought, ‘Okay. I’m going to take him under my wing.’”   When it came time for Mark to turn in the first few pages of a script to his mentor, however, the tone changed. Peter didn’t mince words, and Mark faced a wake-up call. “He was just like, ‘What is this that you just gave me?’ I said, ‘This is my script.’ He goes like, ‘Is it…? I know it’s supposed to be a comedy, but I don’t think this was funny. You got your format wrong. You’re doing this wrong.’… I’m not going to lie, I was a little hurt, because I was just like, ‘Man! I thought I had been doing this right.’ But it helped. He was being blunt with me, and I took that and I thought, I’ve got to step up my game.”   After the initial wake-up call, Mark took his mentor’s words to heart, and he says his screenwriting improved immensely. “He taught me how to pace my stories correctly,” he says. “There is a lot of things he actually helped me with in my writing but the biggest thing is that he told me, ‘If you want to go for broke, go for it.’ I know there are writers who tend to hold back…He’s the guy, he’d say like, ‘If you want to push more, do it. You can always edit it later and something good might come out [of it].’   Since graduating the program, while he works on getting his first script picked up, Mark has been putting his writing skills to work in other ways, picking up blogging and other writing gigs for sites like Screengeek.net. Coincidentally, while working his own connections, he also landed a writing gig for Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett of The Dream Team, who also happen to be Film Connection mentors!   Mark is also working on a script for a wellknown, established production company but can’t tell us much more about the confidential project. He’s also working on several other scripts to shop to other production companies. “I’ve met somebody who’s actually my writing partner and we’re working on another film,” he says. “So, I’m working on two scripts…Completed one script, and I’m already on another script.”   Besides honing his skills, Mark says the Film Connection program has given him perspective on the career he’s currently pursing as a screenwriter.   “I kind of had this whole fantasy world before I took the course, about how screenwriting was in Hollywood,” he says. “Taking the course kind of helped me lure myself back into reality and see how much of a competitive world it is.”   That being said, Mark also says he has a newfound confidence in his craft. “My writing has almost come to be like second nature,” he says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I go like, ‘Give me a laptop, give me an idea, and I’ll give something to you in like 20 minutes.’”   
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Jam In The Van gives nationwide opportunities for RRFC students! A special RRFC interview

  
Jam In The Van is a unique mobile recording studio that records both well-known and undiscovered acts live on-location at festivals and other events nationwide. As a partner with RRFC, Jam In The Van has been providing opportunities for RRFC students across the nation to work with the film and audio teams at many of their sessions! We recently caught up with Jack Higgins of JITV to get some backstory about this exciting project and learn more about how RRFC students and graduates are getting involved.  
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  jack RRFC: Can you tell us a little bit about what Jam In The Van is, and how it came to be?   Jack Higgins: So basically, Jam In The Van, we are a mobile solar panel recording studio/YouTube channel. We travel around the country going to different music festivals and events, different locations in different cities and making live music videos with bands performing inside of our van, which then we upload to YouTube. The van is solar powered: we have about four large panels on top of the van. And what’s great about that is we can kind of pull up anywhere. We could pull up on the side of the road, in the middle of the desert, and film really high-quality music videos as well as high-quality audio recordings without having to plug in. So we are totally mobile and can go just about anywhere and do our thing.   RRFC: Okay, so here’s the big question: Why? What was the impetus for this?   Jack: Our founders, Jake Cotler and David Bell, they used to go to Bonnaroo every year…They went to that festival for years and years and always had a really good time. And at the time…they were both working really boring office jobs…They rented an RV to take to the festival to kind of just camp in, and so they came up with the idea, by asking themselves, “How can we do this all the time?”…So they came up with the idea, they put a lot of money into it to get it started. And then for a long time, we were just filming sessions in Jake’s backyard in Venice, in a very old van. The first van was very, you know, kind of broken down, wouldn’t start a lot of the time, but we were able to go to a bunch of cool events like South by Southwest as well as Bonnaroo and mostly just filming around Los Angeles and in, you know, Venice in Jake’s backyard…Then other events like Bonnaroo we actually partnered with the festival, and they paid us to go and create content there. Now other events, different music festivals will reach out to us or we’ll reach out to different music festivals or different brands…Nowadays, our crew is much bigger, our operation is much more dialed-in.   RRFC: How do you guys know where you are headed next? What takes you to a certain area?   Jack: So a lot of planning goes into it, but we’ll go all over the country for different events like for South by Southwest. We partner with GQ magazine, and we have an artist house there where over the course of the week we film about 40 bands and invite them to hang out at our kind of artist getaway. We had a big mansion on a lake with a swimming pool and boats and stuff like that so the bands could come and just kind of hang out. So, yeah, we do all sorts of events. There is a lot of different type of planning that goes into each one, and we have a lot of different companies and people that we are working with to make it happen.   RRFC: So who are some of the artists you’ve worked with on the van?   Jack: Some of the bigger names that have jammed in the van include Blues Traveler, Gary Clark Jr., Cody Simpson, The Black Lips, Wyclef Jean…Ziggy Marley, MisterWives, Elle King, who is actually very big right now…We release a new band Monday through Friday, five days a week. So we are always pushing out new content…We [also] tend to do a lot of undiscovered bands as well as a lot of big-name acts who kind of heard of what we do and want to be involved.   RRFC: Can you tell us about some of the RRFC students and graduates who have been working with you? How are they doing?   Jack: Yeah. So Anthony [Montejo] has been with us the longest. He actually has traveled with us. He joined us in Colorado—he got a full, all-expense-paid trip to join us at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado. And he’s been in the van helping Ethan, our sound engineer, set up microphones, run cords, mix the live sessions, set up the speakers and work with the bands to make sure that they’re set up and that they are liking their sound. Anthony’s been great. He came to all sorts of different events with us…And then as we traveled across the country, we went to North Carolina and Cleveland as well, and in each of those stops we had a Recording Connection student and a Film Connection student who helped us out…Sean Miller was really cool…Super engaged, super helpful, and we’re super excited to have him on board. And that’s what’s really cool. As you know, Recording Connection is this big national entity, and because we’re Jam in the Van, because we travel, it gives a bunch of different students the opportunity to experience what we do.   RRFC: What made you guys want to partner with us? Any thoughts about our programs thus far?   Jack: I think it’s awesome. I went to a typical four-year bachelor’s degree college…[and] I feel like I learned a lot more out in the field, working for Jam In The Van and working on a few different projects, you know, filming, editing, than I actually did during my entire four years at school. They taught you a lot of, you know, analytical, how to analyze movies that you watch, stuff like that, but not a lot of real-life experience. So leaving school is where I actually made most of my connections and skills. So when I heard about Recording Connection and Film Connection, I think that’s a great way to get your feet wet in the industry, save a lot of money, and you know, do what you really want to do.   Check out Jam In The Van’s YouTube channel and subscribe.   
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A Day in the Life of Our Students

   david-gourdine Recording Connection grad David Gourdine (left) recently landed great gig running live sound for Howard University’s Annual Homecoming in Washington, D.C. David wrote in to tell us about the experience: “This is by far the biggest gig that I have ever done. As you can see, one of the subwoofers alone was larger than me. Not only was the sound system insane, but the performers who attended put on a great show; Common, Faith Evans, Lil Uzi Vert, Fabolous and Wale, all made an appearance. It was an honor to do sound for them and watch them do their thing.”    tim-barry Recording Connection student Tim Barry checks in with some great news and a new track: “I’m nearing the end of my Masters Course which is bitter sweet…A lot of great things have happened in the past year, and I’m excited to tell you all about it. I’m getting together with my mentor shortly so for now I’m just going to leave you with a new song that I produced, recorded, mixed and mastered. It’s the latest release from my hip-hop duo The Hashassins, which consists of myself and William Wallace.” (Check out the track below!)  
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