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Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Issue #83 Author Credits: Liya Swift & Jeff McQ

BRIAN KRAFT, C.O.O. and Chief Academic Officer of RRFC, can HELP YOU LAND A JOB

  Here are just a few of the latest jobs & opportunities for RRFC students & graduates this week:     


  • P/T EVENT DJ NEEDED – Temecula, CA
  Click here to see full details on the jobs currently available. Visit the official RRFC Job Board for more opportunities, and check the RRFC Blog for news & updates!   Contact Student Services for more information on logging in.  
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When RRFC gets you learning on the job, the experience you can gain in a short time is far more valuable than anything you learn in a classroom. Read below about a Film Connection apprentice who learned how to think on his feet, overcoming challenges while shooting his first short film!

Student Successes

Lessons learned: Keith Huff gets a crash course
in location filmmaking with his debut short

FC apprentice Keith Huff (left)

FC apprentice Keith Huff (left)
and mentor Herschel Zahnd (right)

When we caught up recently with Film Connection apprentice Keith Huff in Louisville, KY, he was just putting the finishing touches on his debut short film, For Sale By Owner. To hear him tell it, the film shoot was a major learning experience because it was something of a crash course in Murphy’s Law.   But more on that in a moment.   While Keith always had an interest in movies and photography, he says his passion to pursue filmmaking as a career was sparked by picking up a camera for a friend in 2009.   “He was going to school,” says Keith. “He was doing a project where he had to prove a point, and we had to use the medium of film to do it. And when we did it, I just fell in love with it. I love the idea of telling a story with a camera…Me and my friend were both like, ‘This is amazing. I want to do this more and more and more.’”   After that experience, however, the dream went on the back burner until for a few years, until Keith says his wife helped to rekindle the dream.   “I just kind of forgot about making films as a career,” he says. “My wife has been my biggest cheerleader. She’s the one who’s really pushed me into doing something because she just sees the talent in me. She was like, ‘Why are you wasting your talent? You should be doing something that you love, that you’re good at.’”   Keith began scoping out film schools, but nearing age 30 by that time, he was dismayed by the expense and the time commitment involved for most of them. Then he discovered that the Film Connection could train him on-the-job in 6-8 months. To him, it made more sense.   Keith Huff “I do a lot of research,” he says. “I listen to a lot of my favorite directors [tell] how they got started. So many of them were, ‘I dropped out of film school.’ And I’m like, ‘Should I even go to film school?’…You can get a camera with all the technology stuff you have today. Hollywood is in your backyard. You don’t have to go out Hollywood anymore to do this…And I just kind of felt like that’s what Film Connection was. I don’t feel like I’m going to school. I feel like they’ve hired me, if that makes sense.”   The Film Connection placed Keith as an apprentice with Herschel Zahnd of American Recording Co. in Louisville, KY. He and his mentor hit it off well, and since that time not only has Keith has been able to play an integral role helping his mentor on film projects, but Herschel has also played a major role in helping Keith with his first self-directed short film!   Speaking of which—let’s get back to that story.   Keith says the script for For Sale By Owner was born because he actually needed to downsize his ideas for a Film Connection assignment.   “All my ideas were huge. I had all these big, epic story ideas,” says Keith. “I wrote a screenplay for the Film Connection to take out with me to Los Angeles called Two Steps from Hell. Part of the assignment in the book was you had to direct the first ten pages of it. And Herschel was like, ‘Yeah, that’s going to cost us $100,000 for the first ten pages.’ Okay, I got it. I need to write something else because we can’t do that…Herschel gave me an idea like, ‘Why don’t you just write a ten-page story? Just from beginning to end, just go write a story, something small. Think about what we have available to us.’”   DSC_0080 The result was For Sale By Owner. Keith wrote and directed the film, and his mentor acted as director of photography. Keith says that during shooting, he learned firsthand how many things can go wrong on a film set, from losing filming locations to losing (and firing) actors, to weather nightmares. It forced Keith to think on his feet.   “It was mid-July, 100-degree weather,” he says. “Thunderstorms every single day would just come in right at the end. We would finish a scene and then dark clouds: something out of Poltergeist or Ghost Busters came out of nowhere and destroyed our set. We actually lost our set on the third day…But we just kind of rolled with it and made it work…Herschel told me, ‘I can’t believe this. You’re probably getting 10 years’ worth of experience just in three days!’ Just because of all the crazy stuff we had.”   It was a hard-won victory but the eye-opening experiences Keith gained while doing his first short haven’t diminished his passion in the least. For Sale By Owner will be released shortly. Furthermore, Keith just completed a job with Fox Studios and is currently production assisting for Master Chef. And…he’s booked airline tickets and is coming out to Los Angeles to complete his final step in the Film Connection program, he’s pitching to a major film producer or film executive, one-on-one. Even as Keith’s apprenticeship comes to a close, the productive working relationship Keith has with mentor Herschel Zahnd is one that’s going to continue.   “You couldn’t ask for a better mentor,” says Keith. “He really knows his stuff…We’ve already forged a friendship, and I’ve already got plans to be working with him on future projects. So it’s not just like, ‘Hey, your program is over. Goodbye.’ I feel like we are going to be working together for a while.”   Is there risk involved in this career path? Certainly. But Keith says he’s done playing it safe. “I’m kind of at the stage and part of my life where I’m like, ‘Okay, I really want a good career,” he says. “I really want to do something that I love. I’m tired of doing jobs that I don’t like…Even though I was playing it safe, I could still fail. So why not go after what I want?”    
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  #83 – Apprentices in Action

Here’s what some RRFC Apprentices
have been up to!

FC graduate Noah Dekel

FC graduate Noah Dekel

Congratulations to recent Film Connection grad Noah Dekel (Los Angeles, CA) for recently landing a job at 21st Century Fox! Noah took the initiative to submit his resume which had gotten the final go-over from our pros in Career Services. He heard nothing for a few weeks. Then the phone rang. Noah got the call telling him there was a position available if he wanted it. Well… just months out of the program, Noah is now working full-time as a post-production assistant for one of the biggest names in film and media worldwide. Good things happen when you’re persistent and put yourself out there! Go Noah go!   
Bryan Burkett

Bryan Burkett

Recording Connection apprentice Bryan Burkett (Phoenix, AZ) got to bring in his own track to the studio for some hands-on work. Not only is Bryan is learning the ropes, he’s getting first-rate guidance, the how’s and why’s of adding EQ, compression and dry mixing on his own original material!   
RC apprentice J.C. Bellina with Baby Bash

RC apprentice J.C. Bellina with Baby Bash

J.C. Bellina, Recording Connection apprentice at Omina Laboratories (Sacramento, CA) recently got to assist his mentor J-Intell on a session with rapper, lyricist and collaborator Baby Bash!   


Dr. Drew endorses the Recording, Radio & Film Connection, and CASA The Culinary Apprenticeship School of the Arts.
Issue #83


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  #83 – Mentor News
Producer/engineer Mike Landau shares the secrets
to becoming a successful engineer
  If there’s anyone who has the credibility to talk about what goes into being a successful producer/engineer or building a great studio, it’s Recording Connection mentor Mike Landau. On his watch, the studio he co-founded, Phat Buddha Productions in St. Louis, MO, has grown and expanded to become St. Louis’ premier “go-to” recording studio, servicing major label clients such as Ludacris, Waka Flocka, Lil Wayne, Panic! at the Disco, Sade, Wale, Black Eyed Peas and many others. In a recent conversation with us, Mike shared some nuggets of wisdom as to what he looks for in his apprentices, how he gets them involved in the studio, and most importantly, what he believes are the three keys to succeeding in this business. We’ve shared the best excerpts of this conversation with you below.  
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  MIKE’S FEELINGS ABOUT THE MENTOR-APPRENTICE APPROACH, AND HOW IT PLAYS OUT IN HIS STUDIO:   “We definitely enjoy it… Our goal is to really develop professional engineers. And that’s more than just cleaning up around the studio. That’s, ‘Okay, let’s start burning out a track, let’s start burning out a mix”–basic things. I might have an in-house project like a commercial that I might want to blow, just blast throughout the Internet. Well, that’s a great project for somebody who’s just starting out. And I can give him a bunch of content and let him edit it together and develop a piece that we can use. That’s just an example of something that we would try and throw on these guys to get them on the gear, really utilizing what they’re learning in a real-world situation, and then actually seeing it being utilized. And then all the way up to, ‘Okay, this guy knows how to track drums now. Okay, go mic that drum kit,’…Sometimes it’s challenging, but at the end of the day it’s worth it, you know?”   ON WHAT HE LOOKS FOR IN AN APPRENTICE:  
Studio A - The Dhyana Room

Studio A in Phat Buddha Productions

“Obviously some of the normal things: intelligence, drive, and all of that good stuff. But I’d say the most important thing, really, is just to really have that passion. The ones who make it really exhibit that willingness to spend extra time in the studio, to go above and beyond what’s asked of them, just do things that they see need to be done, and having that intuition. So that’s sort of what we’re looking for. We’re looking for people that we can turn into professional engineers.”   ON THE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE TO APPRENTICES WHO ARE WILLING TO PUT IN THE EFFORT:   “We have an open door policy here [in the studio]. So if you’re a student, you’re welcome to be here as long as you maintain proper studio etiquette and all of that good stuff. You’re welcome to be here as long as you want, whenever you want.”   ON THE KIND OF PROJECTS THAT COME THROUGH THE STUDIO:   “We do everything, you know…We’ve done audio for business. We’ve done cleanup for lawyers. We’ve done bands that have never been in the studio. We do all the top local acts. We do national acts. We just had, not too long ago, Lil Wayne was in the studio…We have a lot of national talent that comes through, a lot of hip-hop, a lot of rock. Eighty percent of what we do here is hip-hop and R&B just because that’s what the market dictates, but if there is a national artist that’s coming through Saint Louis, we’re pretty much the first one they’re gonna call… From Panic! at the Disco, to Travis Barker, to the Black Eyed Peas, to Rick Ross, to Sade, to Chuck Berry, so quite an extensive list of clients, and you never know what’s gonna happen on what day. That’s part of the excitement of working in this business.”  

will.i.am, Mike Landau, Stevie Stone and Jaden Smith at Phat Buddha Productions

ON THE DEFINING MOMENT WHEN PHAT BUDDHA PRODUCTIONS BEGAN EXPANDING TO HANDLE NATIONAL CLIENTS:   “For the studio, I would say when Nelly first came in, when that happened, it sort of really opened the eyes of some of the labels around town. And, there was a lot of energy in town at that time also because of Nelly…That sort of opened the doors, and at that point we realized, ‘Hey, we’re developing these connections with the major labels. Starting to really understand how the game works. And, yeah, we can do this. We can do this on a major, major level.’..That’s when we decided, “Okay, let’s expand. Let’s build this other, our studio A. And let’s buy this console. And let’s get a real analog console in here and build a world class suite.’ And that’s what we did.”   ON WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL STUDIO:   “There’s a lot that goes into it, you know. It’s like, there’s many spokes to the wheel. One spoke, of course, is taking a risk. Another spoke is gonna be your drive and sacrificing and a lot of other things to focus on this and push it forward. And another spoke would be, who you know, networking, connections.”   ON WHAT HE TEACHES HIS STUDENTS IN ORDER TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL:  
Studio B in Phat Buddha Productions

Studio B in Phat Buddha Productions

“There are three parts to really being a successful engineer. The first is obviously, understanding the technology…Go home, get on your Pro Tools system. Come here [to the studio], get on the Pro Tools system. Push yourself. Don’t just do what’s within the lesson. Go beyond that.   “The second is really understanding the social aspect of how to communicate with a client, how to bring out the best performance of the client. That has nothing to do with technology: that has everything to do with you as person, you being able to connect with the client, making them feel comfortable in the environment and bringing out the best performance in them.   “And then thirdly is the business aspect of it. Picking up on the business, being a businessman. Go get a business card, maybe even write a business plan for yourself as an independent engineer. Go to clubs. Go to bars. Don’t get drunk. Hand out your business card. Do business things where you develop clientele, where these people start to know who you are, where you’re working at, what your skill sets are. That’s so important. A lot of people just think, ‘Oh, man, all I need to do is have a good year and learn the technology.’ No, there’s much more to it than that. And so, that’s what I tell them: [If] you want to be successful, you need to learn these three components. You need to focus on these three components, and really throw away everything else in your life in the next year and a half if you’re serious about it.”   
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Want to Improve your Performanceship?

Get Onstage Success!
Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson

Live music producer Tom Jackson has worked with artists including Sean Mendes, Taylor Swift, LeCrae, Magic!, The Tenors, Gloriana, Francesca Battistelli and hundreds more to transform their performances. Crafting a compelling show is all about learning the language and connecting with the audience in a way they’ll understand. Tom teaches these skills to artists of every level, style, and genre.    “Tom makes a major impact… he is a true creative partner who helps realize the artist’s full performance potential.”Matt Serletic, Producer Santana, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Matchbox Twenty, Rob Thomas   “Tom Jackson is a jaw-droppingly outstanding live music producer. A true master, and I don’t mean that lightly! I’m recommending him to every serious performing artist I know.”Derek Sivers, Founder CD Baby and HostBaby  

Come to Nashville! Tom Jackson’s 2-Day Live Performance Bootcamp takes place on
Friday-Saturday, September 25-26th, 2015.

  Included are two full days of fun and enlightening instruction and a chance to play for music industry pros at the evening Showcase!   We’re happy to offer this intensive 2-Day Live Performance Bootcamp for only $299. Seating is limited so act quickly!   **Hotel arrangements, lodging, food and travel are not included.  

Follow the link here, then click on the “workshops” tab and scroll down to “Tom Jackson Bootcamp.”

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CASA The Culinary Apprenticeship School of the Arts can get you learning one-on-one
from an award-winning chef in a real restaurant!

For more information, Click here!

Check out this work by RRFC apprentices!

Apprentice Media



Quotes from Students: