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Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Job Opportunities & Student Success Stories Issue #87 Author Credits: Liya Swift & Jeff McQ

JIMI PETULLA, C.E.O., and BRIAN KRAFT, C.O.O. and Chief Academic Officer of RRFC,

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


  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 Jimi and Brian get you working on the job, life changing collaborations can happen! Below, meet two Film Connection students learning under the same mentor whose mutual passions have turned into a powerful partnership (resulting in multiple films)!

Student Successes orlando-header

Blake Laitner and Hakym Reagan: Collaborating to achieve “The American Dream”

    How did two Film Connection students with the same mentor wind up making multiple films under their own production company moniker? It started with a dream. More specifically, a script called The American Dream.  
Hakym Reagan and Blake Laitner

Hakym Reagan and Blake Laitner at The American Dream private premiere at Cinetopia Theatre, Beaverton, OR

Blake Laitner and Hakym Reagan were both apprenticing with Lisa Sherman of MediaFX, located in the Portland, Oregon area. During a conversation one day over lunch in a nearby restaurant, the two began talking about an idea to bring local filmmakers together to collaborate on their projects.   “I was thinking we would be like a bunch of Joe Schmo’s if we didn’t bring a project to the table,” says Blake. “So I came up with the story The American Dream.” That’s when everything changed.   The concept of the film rang true and deep with Hakym. “I believe a lot of people have a misconception of the destination of the American dream,” he says, “as far as people thinking, ‘Oh, the American dream is just making it, just being able to buy cars, buy new houses.’ But then they forget the aspect of what it took to get there, and a tremendous amount of work. So that’s basically the idea we went for.”   The script started at 15 pages, but the pair decided to cut it down to 7 minutes to make it more affordable and simple to produce. Almost instinctively, Hakym went into producer mode.   Blake picks up the story. “I told him, ‘We have the script. Let’s set up this meeting in the library, and let’s see what happens.’ And he’s like, ‘I have a whole cast and crew ready to go.’ It sounded too good to be true. It sounded intangible until we had our first meeting at the Punch Bowl Social in downtown Portland…I met a composer, I met actors, I met makeup artists. Once I met these people face to face, it became a reality that we were making a film.”   The collaboration between the two filmmakers, and their respective roles in the process, fell into place naturally. “[Blake’s] passion is to write, and my passion was to shoot,” says Hakym. “So it was obvious, I guess. We’d never really said, ‘Oh, you do this,’ or ‘You do that.’…I told him how to capture shots and everything, and he was like, ‘Oh, I like that. That really relates to what I had in mind’ and ‘Oh, we think the same. Okay, great. Let’s do it.’ And then I directed it, and he was helping producing…and yeah, we made it work.”  
Cast and Crew of The American Dream

Cast and Crew of The American Dream

So with Blake and Hakym collaborating on the script and production, and Hakym directing and editing, The American Dream became a reality. The pair held two premieres for the film: a private screening at Cinetopia in Beaverton, OR, and a public one at 5th Avenue Cinema in Portland.   “[We] got to meet a lot of people and talk,” says Hakym. “We had a Q & A on the private premiere and even the public one. People asking questions, like how long it took and how hard it was…It went wonderful.”   “It was an amazing experience just to accomplish making that first short film,” Blake adds. “It’s one of those things like if I never made this short film, I would have hated myself the rest of my life because of going to Film Connection and then not even making a film at the end.”   And the story doesn’t end there. The pair is in the process of forming their own company, Braunbauer Studios, and even when Hakym made the move to Los Angeles, the collaboration continued. As of the end of September, the two just wrapped shooting on their second short film, titled The Stairs. Co-produced by Blake and Hakym, directed by Hakym, the story is based on the book A Hebraic Obsession, written by Blake’s father. “It’s really close to me because it is the true story about my grandfather and the experience that he had in the Holocaust,” says Blake.   With the wrapping of the second film, and despite the current distance between the collaborators (Hakym in L.A., Blake in Eugene, OR), it’s clear that the two are settling into a good workflow together.   “[Hakym] lets me take on the writing role because he knows I’m a writer and he loves my stories that I tell,” says Blake, “and we do contribute on future stories that we do want to work on. He likes my style of writing, and the role was he wanted me to write the script and he said he’d go out and find the right people…I trust him. He wants the same thing out of life that I want. I saw something in him that I knew wasn’t going to stop until he got what he wanted, which was directing a film.”   And so, from their collaboration birthed from being students together at the Film Connection, Blake and Hakym are in a real way living their own version of “The American Dream,” which to them isn’t so much about cars, houses and money as it is in pursuing their own dreams.   “Most of the time when people want to be filmmakers or want to make it in the film industry,” says Hakym, “it’s mostly like, ‘Oh, how am I going to make it big? How am I going to do the big break?’…My focus is more, ‘How am I going to create more and great content?’ I want people to enjoy what I make. I don’t care how it comes to success and all that, because success is in the mind for me…Eventually it will happen with time and everything, but it is not the main focus for me right now. For me right now, it’s more about making as many films as possible… it’s just a great feeling to me to be behind the camera and creating emotions and just making a story come to life on the screen.”   Blake agrees. “Now that we’ve got the ball rolling, I just feel like once we stop making films, it’s over. And as long as we continue making films, we will get to that goal…Fellow students need to know that no one is going to hold your hand to make a film; that’s life.”    
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  #87 – Apprentices in Action

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

Alan Wayne

Alan Wayne

Radio Connection grad Alan Wayne (Desert Center, CA), founder of Indie Star Radio (also on iTunes) recently interviewed L.A. radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly! One of the most recognizable voices in radio, Shotgun is an industry legend with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is a recipient of the prestigious Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters’ Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award. Hear Alan interview Shotgun about his career in radio in the Apprentice Media section below!   
Tim Barry

Tim Barry

Recording Connection student and “Hip-Hop Scholar” Tim Barry (Westfield, MA) just completed a performing a whirlwind run of shows as one-half of the hip-hop duo, The Hashassins. The guys had a great time connecting with lots of aficionados of the New Hampshire & Mass hip-hop scene. Highlights include performing at the hip-hop festival in Somerville, the Opus in Salem, a show thrown by hip hop collective Wreck Shop, and connecting with label/hip-hop movement Vatican Life Music Group out of New Hampshire. More shows to come!   
Joe Capilli

Joe Capilli

Film Connection student Joe Capilli (Seattle, WA) at Seattle Videography has been helping gather footage for the pilot for Operation Eco Renovation, part of a broader program by the Zakyla Foundation to help homeless and disabled veterans! The experience has taught him how to use various camera angles and views, ensuring there’s enough b-roll for the final edit.   


Watch us on Larry King here:
Issue #87


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  #87 – Mentor News
NUGGETS OF TRUTH: Recording Connection mentor Jesse Clark on real world experience, qualities of a good apprentice,
and loving the work
Recording Connection mentor Jesse Clark

Recording Connection mentor Jesse Clark

Owner and chief engineer of Evenform Recording Studio in Raleigh, NC, Recording Connection mentor Jesse Clark has years of experience both in the studio and running live sound. Jesse has worked with such names as The Outlaws, French Montana, Young Buck, Alesana and even superstar EDM/dubstep producer Skrillex. Suffice it to say he brings a lot to the table when mentoring Recording Connection students.   In a recent conversation with RRFC, Jesse weighed in on such topics as the value of gaining real-world experience over classroom training, what he looks for in an apprentice, how he got his start, and why he loves being an audio engineer. Some of the best excerpts from that conversation are below.  
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  ON HOW HE DECIDED TO PURSUE RECORDING AND MIXING AS A CAREER:   “I used to play in a band, and the last big show that my band played…we played with a band called Third Day, which was like a Christian rock band. We opened up for them, and after that we kind of talked to some small labels and stuff, and we quickly determined that weren’t ready to take that big leap…So when that happened, I was like, ‘Okay, well I’m just kind of going to learn how to record and focus my time on that.’ And that’s when I took a step forward as far as that goes.”   ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LEARNING TO PRODUCE/RECORD IN SCHOOL VERSUS LEARNING IN THE “REAL WORLD”:   I feel like when [people] go to a normal school or they’re taught in a classroom, and they’re taught these textbook ideas—and they’re great, don’t get me wrong… [but] the stuff that you hear like Chris Lord-Alge does or these big time producers, man, they are not afraid to put their hand on things, and they’re not afraid to push the buttons…that’s what I’ve done from the get go. And I try to teach any student that comes in with me, too: It’s like, ‘Look, you’re going to see these things in books, and they tell you to do this, but those aren’t a lot of times real world things to do.’”   FAVORITE MENTORS WHO HELPED HIM ALONG THE WAY:   “In the live [sound] department, a guy named Brad from the Lincoln Theater. He taught a lot about EQing and making drums sound good—a lot of that kind of stuff, and about the delays and compression, how to use a compressor…A guy name Jamie King, he’s probably my biggest mentors as far as the recording aspect goes. He’s a guy who records a lot of metal bands out in Winston-Salem area… I could send him stuff, and he would listen to it and he would give me positive feedback, and he was never negative but he would still tell me things that I could do…but he was always super positive about it, and any time I wrote him, he was quick to respond. He was just a great mentor, man.”   SHOUT OUT TO ONE OF HIS STAR APPRENTICES:   “Dustin [Bolanz]…he’s picking up things pretty fast. He’s kind into the punk rock scene…he’s just like a really laid back guy, easy to work with, and like I’ve actually put him in front of my clients, which I usually don’t do right away.”   ON WHAT HE LOOKS FOR IN AN APPRENTICE:   cables “I’m looking for somebody that really wants to learn…In order to get to where I’m at, I wanted to be [like] Michael Jordan . . . as Michael Jordan is to basketball, that’s how I wanted to be with recording. I wanted to be the best, and I find that a lot of people lack that. I find that they don’t really want it: they’re just like, ‘Oh, you know, I play in a band and we really want get into learning to record for ourselves.’ That’s not why I got in recording…In this business, if you’re on the right track and your mind is in the place of the artists, then I think that it is going to reward you. So I would just love to see the [student] want it as bad as I do, and if they do, man, they are going to shine, and there’s no secrets that I’m here to keep from any of them.”   ON WHY HE LOVES WHAT HE DOES:   “Once I started initially recording people and they were happy with their sound and they were stoked, that’s what made me happy. I love it when people come in…I had this one guy named Corey Thompson that came in, and this guy sings for the Apollo, and he is just local here. He came in and he recorded with me, and the guy almost . . . I mean, the guy was literally in tears. He was like, ‘Man, I’ve been in so many studios and I’ve never sounded like this before…Dude, I’m never going to anyone else.’ I really love hearing people’s reactions like that. I love those kinds of things, and if some of these [students] get to see that, I mean, I think that’s epic, like a great way to really see what this job has to offer.”   
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  Information Kit – Where You Learn v2

We place you in a real studio from day one.

Warren Huart

“The Recording Connection puts students into a real world work place. Students learn first hand what it means to be in a recording session with Producers, Engineers, Musicians and Songwriters, it’s on the job career training! You learn the practical, technical and people skills that cannot be found in any classroom. I highly recommend the Recording Connection.”


Warren Huart, producer for Aerosmith, Better Than Ezra, The Killers, The Fray, James Blunt.

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!
  Chef Daniel Fitzgerald“I believe CASA Schools provides a cutting-edge approach to culinary education. Real world experience is what students need. With the number of students enrolling in traditional culinary schools, the ratio of students to instructors is being stretched to the point of reduced efficiency. One can learn from books, but real experience is gained through hands-on work.”     Daniel Fitzgerald, Culinary Arts Instructor at Los Angeles Unified School District 2000-Present, Former Sous Chef at the Marriott Marquis, New York City  


Check out this work by RRFC apprentices!

Apprentice Media



Quotes from Students: