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Issue #254

Weekly Newsletter

by Liya Swift

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Student Successes
 

Film Connection student edits film
that wins at Cannes Global Short Film Awards!

  
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Film Connection mentor Bayou Bennett and recent graduate Isabella Jones

As a student in , Isabella Jones did not shy away from the challenges presented to her by mentors Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir of Dream Team Directors (Los Angeles). What’d she do? She leaned in! Even though she had never edited a short film, when her mentors tapped her as the editor, the twenty year old nabbed the opportunity and kept on forging ahead.   “I opened my eyes one day and we were done with the film, and I was just like ‘Wow!’ It was kind of a whirlwind…It’s definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me. I am still thankful that it happened so young. [That] I can build my portfolio at such a young age is just really awesome.”   Now that very same film, Tombstone Pillow, has won for Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay at ! We caught up with the recent graduate to talk about the win, hear what she’s doing now, and to garner a bit of advice to share with Film Connection students and fellow creatives who are looking to build their careers in film.   So how do you feel about the big win?   “It’s gratifying just to know that all the hard work you put into something has some sort of payoff. It isn’t about the awards to me personally but it’s nice to just feel like, ‘Okay, we did something.’ People like it. It’s well received and you don’t feel like you did all that work for no reason…It’s just nice and I really think it was well deserved for cinematography. He [Cinematographer, Mycko David] is just absolutely amazing. I mean, every shot looks like a painting.”   And what does your family think?   “They still think I’m lame. Just kidding…I’m very closed off with my work. It’s really weird. I’m okay with the world seeing it but when it comes to my family, I just don’t like it. Funny enough, my dad is the only one who’s seen it. He’s the only one who’s allowed to see it. And he loved it. My younger brother, he’s amazing, he’s very supportive…He thinks it’s super cool. I actually told him yesterday about the win and he was so excited for me, which is funny. I think he was a little bit more excited than I was. But it’s great. They’re awesome. I have an amazing support system just because they’re amazing people.”   Prior to you landing the position of Lead Editor on Tombstone Pillow, you were assistant editing to a well-known editor who left the project due to differences in the creative vision of the film. Did you ever have an inkling Daniel and Bayou were eyeing you for the job?   “Well, kind of yes and kind of no. [I was] editing it for myself. I wanted to do the intro, see if it was something I even liked. And I did. So I sent it to them…They were really excited about it. And so they asked me to do more. And at that point, I kind of was like, ‘Okay, I kind of see me editing this film if they like it and we continue on this path.’ It was just more of a matter of could I do it, could I do something on that scale? And I was able to, with help. So, yeah, it was learning my way throughout the process. I think that putting that pressure on yourself is good in terms of growing, you know, unless you really can’t do it. But if you think that you could just learn how to do it, then I think you should just try doing it. So, I did it.”   What are you working on now?  Slashing Silverlake, another film by Bayou and Daniel. It’s a comedic film that takes a look into the world of Echo Park and Silverlake [two eastside Los Angeles neighborhoods] which uses satire to dramatize the presence of hipster culture.”   How has your Film Connection experience changed you?   “Wow, there are so many things, I can’t even think of them all. For me, I think the biggest thing was confidence. You can only be so confident about your work if no one’s ever seen [it], you know?…   If you don’t have confidence and if you don’t try to apply yourself and just put yourself out there, then you’re not going to get anywhere. You could have the greatest work but no one will know about it.   And efficiency, going in knowing what I’m going to do, getting it done, and just being able to finish it. I think for me, I’m a little bit scattered. I have a chaotic mind. So, I tend to do things kind of jumbled. I think this gave me more of a structure of how to go in, and [achieve a] good workflow…Knowing to set up a project correctly, knowing how to export it correctly, there’s a lot of technical stuff that’s important [to know].   And then collaboration. It wasn’t something I thought I was going to really learn getting into this program…but it’s so far from that. You collaborate with your mentors and you collaborate with different students. I mean, for me that was probably the biggest thing that came out of it—the relationships I got from this program; with Daniel and Bayou, but [also] with other students in general. One of the other students, he and I are close friends and work really well together in terms of our creative work….We mesh well together. So we actually wanted to start doing some stuff, like, our own short films….It’s the connections you get throughout, I mean [it’s called], Film Connection, but it’s the connections you grow, you know, throughout this program.”   Learn more about , and more!  
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Mentor News
   

Recording Connection mentor G.W. Childs on Passion-fueled Songwriting,
Ableton, and Tapping into Your Superpower

  
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Recording Connection mentor G.W. Childs

Recording Connection mentor G.W. Childs has a multifaceted career spanning decades. A songwriter, artist, and keyboardist with Soil & Eclipse, he’s also published books on Ableton, Propellerhead’s Reason and served as the sound designer on Reason. Additionally, G.W. enjoys a successful career as a sound designer, composer, and voice editor on an array of video games including Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords, Star Wars: Battlefront, and LucasArts’ The Force Unleashed. As a remix artist he’s remixed major acts like Gene Loves Jezebel, Ray Charles, James Brown, and more.   We recently connected with G.W. to learn more about his approach to songwriting and the forthcoming Ableton program he’s co-authored which is geared towards showing today’s artist how to chart the depths of the songwriting process with purpose, more fully realize and develop their songs, and make the most of their passion.   The new, upcoming Ableton program you co-authored starts out with the student building on their own musical ideas and seeing their song(s) through from concept to full-fledged completion. What’s the thought behind structuring it that way?   “I feel like you’ve got to have some kind of identity in it first before you even want to learn the fundamentals of sound. If not, why would you care? We’re a two-minute society right now, for the most part. And so I think everybody wants to be able to come into it and get into the emotional side first. You know, identify with it, build something that’s a part of our own identity. Then see how we can extrapolate everything else and grow with it…   [There’s] certain things that you have to have within a song, just the same way there’s certain things you have to have in a haiku, or in a poem, or even in a paragraph, or even in an essay. You got to have an intro, you got to have the meat of it, and you have to have the ending. And that’s just the basic form of it. And everybody wants those parts of it, but how do you do it well?   But the million dollar question is this: I’m sitting at a park bench, and I’m having a wonderful moment with a daughter or a son, and suddenly I have a melody pop up in my head and I just want to see that song through. How do I capture that so that I still feel that same joy that I felt on that park bench, and so that someone else can feel it as well? And how do I do it in a way that’s congruent to the original memory?…   Everybody knows how to capture something with a voice recorder, right? Everybody understands that aspect of it. Everybody has voice recordings of themselves in the shower or at park benches, or of them when they’re in the car, probably tons of those. Now, the difference between an artist, and someone who just has a voice recorder, is that the artist will go back and voice record it. That’s the painful part right there. It’s painful creatively. It’s painful aesthetically, absolutely. And it’s also painful… to relate to yourself when you’re, like, crying in the shower over something. You know? And to be able to say, ‘Okay, look past that’ is crucial.”   Working on and coming up against areas where we’re less than perfect takes courage. Nevertheless, it’s a key component in going from a novice to a professional.   “That’s where your superpower comes from. I’ve taken some of those horrible recordings before and I’ve ended up Melodyne-ing them, pitch correcting them, and fixing them. And I’ve had some amazing moments out of those. I’ve created some amazing blueprints for sounds….   Pitch correction gets a lot of flack, you know. Especially if you watch some of the new stuff on the Billie Eilish. Stuff [that says] ‘Oh, we never use Melodyne or Auto-Tune.’ Okay, yeah, that’s cool. And if it’s all over your album and it’s that blatant, okay, whatever. But, it’s an effect at the same time too. And it’s also a way where you can set up a really great example in pitch-perfect condition of what it could sound like, that you could go back to and sing with later. Learn it for real, and then record it.”   What’s your advice for students on how they can excel in Recording Connection?   “Really take advantage of the lessons….The more time you put into the course, the more content it’s possible for you to create. That really is [building] your own brand. You know? So that’s the first thing is the more you put into it, the more that you’ll get back from it. I’m not just talking about the education you get. Literally, what you walk away with is part of your discography now. That’s huge. ….It’s something that goes on the resume now. So if you have the opportunity to make five song sketches that week that you could use for the entirety of the course, do the five sketches.”   Learn more about Recording Connection for Music Production in Ableton, Advanced Ableton, Audio Engineering & Music Production, Beat Making, DJing, Music Business, and more!  
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