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Every week, the Film Connection Film School receives dozens of honest reviews from our current film students and graduates. Regardless of location, one thing is consistent: our film students are getting what they paid for.

We understand that many of you want to be the next big film director or screenwriter. Make no mistake: that comes with time. The Film Connection is the perfect launching pad to help you realize your bigger dreams for filmmaking. You have to start somewhere. Why not start working where you live in a film company as a film apprentice (extern) today?

Our student success stories are indicative of the primary goal of the Film Connection Film Institute: the success of our students. Here’s to your success!

Film Connection student Suzanne Nichols gets interest in her script!

Film Connection student Suzanne Nichols gets interest in her script!

Suzanne Nichols, Portland, OR
For Suzanne, the hard work paid off in a big way. When her script was ready, the Film Connection set up a meeting for her with noted film producer Aimee Schoof. Even before she had a chance to do her pitch, Suzanne says Aimee (who had already looked at the script) told her she liked the story very much, and walked away from the table with the script in her hand! “She had some excellent feedback for me,” says Suzanne, “which I will implement should I have to pitch it again. Which maybe I won’t: she said they may be interested…She likes the story very much.”
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Film Apprentice Keith Huff Is Done Playing It Safe

Film Apprentice Keith Huff Is Done Playing It Safe

Keith Huff, Louisville, KY
When Keith was placed as an apprentice with filmmaker Herschel Zahnd of American Recording Co. in Louisville, KY, he found himself immersed in the filmmaking process almost immediately, and ended up being integrally involved in several of Herschel’s film projects. But the real education, Keith says, came when he wrote and directed his first short film under Herschel’s guidance—a project that turned into something of a crash course in problem-solving on the fly.
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Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens mixes business and pleasure with his own film company.

Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens mixes business and pleasure with his own film company

Taylor Giddens, Atlanta, GA
If you need proof of how effective on-the-job training, really is, just ask Film Connection graduate Taylor Giddens. Enrolling in the program in his late 20s, Taylor had absolutely no experience—only a dream of being a filmmaker. A few short years later, he runs his own film production company, where he not only pays the bills with commercial film work, but also has been able to write and direct his own films…
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Matthew Gibson: Building a film career around a job

Matthew Gibson: Building a film career around a job

Matthew Gibson, Nashville, TN
As grueling as it can be to work an apprenticeship around a full-time job, Matthew wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s grateful that the Film Connection gives him the opportunity to learn, and grateful that Zac gives him the opportunity to build his resume. “The more you can do, the more you can sell yourself,” he says. “I’d like to learn as much of it as I can.” And for Matthew, the payoff of building a film career is worth the extra effort.
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For Film Connection grad Rocky Shore, connections mean everything.

For Film Connection grad Rocky Shore, connections mean everything.

Rocky Shore, Miami, FL
Film Connection graduate first got hold of this concept while on-set as an extra in Robert Redford’s film The Conspirator (Rocky says he got the opportunity because his mustache and beard fit the Civil War theme), and everyone on the set was talking about the importance of knowing people in film. So when Rocky decided to get serious about a filmmaking career, he decided on the Film Connection because of our name!
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Film Connection apprentice Ron Reid learns the shared expression of filmmaking

Film Connection apprentice Ron Reid learns the shared expression of filmmaking

Ron Reid, Atlanta, GA
When Ron enrolled in the Film Connection to learn filmmaking on-the-job, he says he was looking for a creative outlet to express himself. But when he began apprenticing with Film Connection mentor Steve Carmichael at the RiTE Media Group in Atlanta, GA, Ron says he experienced firsthand what the collaborative filmmaking process looks like—and he was blown away by what he saw. Perhaps the most notable example was…
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Film Connection Graduate Steve Pitts on the Grassroots Level of Atlanta’s Burgeoning Film Scene

Film Connection Graduate Steve Pitts on the Grassroots Level of Atlanta's Burgeoning Film Scene

Steve Pitts, Atlanta, GA
Not only is Steve Pitts’ story a perfect example of how learning on-the-job can connect you with the industry—it’s also a perfect example of how those connections can continue working for you long after graduate, and even end up helping others in the future! In Atlanta, a mentor and apprentice who share the same name now work together in training future filmmakers with the Film Connection.
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Film Connection grad Mark Doster wins an Accolade Award, pursues feature film!

Film Connection grad Mark Doster wins an Accolade Award, pursues feature film!

Mark Doster, Denver, CO
When Mark came across the Film Connection, he was already studying film in a film school in Denver, Colorado, but he felt he was missing something. “I don’t really do well in a giant class setting,” he told us. By contrast, the one-on-one training and practical instruction he received with his mentors, Johnny Fisher in Denver and Richard Brandes in Los Angeles, really helped give him perspective on the business of film.
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Film Connection apprentice Nelson Kelkar learns documentary filmmaking on location—IN THE PHILIPPINES!

Film Connection apprentice Nelson Kelkar learns documentary filmmaking on location—IN THE PHILIPPINES!

Nelson Kelkar, Los Angeles, CA
When you’re learning filmmaking on-the-job, you never know where it will take you. Nelson Kelkar recently learned this firsthand when he had the opportunity to go to the Philippines to shoot a documentary film with his mentors! Based in Los Angeles, husband-wife directing duo Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir (who call themselves the “Dream Team”) bring their apprentices aboard a wide range of projects, from local productions and music videos to location documentary shoots. Nelson signed on with the Film Connection just as the “Dream Team” were preparing to shoot overseas. Since that’s where the action was happening—Nelson went along!
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Gordon Maniskas Lands Film Industry Work in L.A!

Gordon Maniskas: Making that Break Happen in Film

Gordon Maniskas, Manchester, MA
Graduate Gordon Maniskas completed the Film Connection while living in Boston, Massachusetts and upon finishing the program and his spec screenplay, the aspiring filmmaker made the move to Los Angeles to pitch his film concept and jump into the film industry with both feet! Gordon’s screenwriting mentor, Peter Foldy, was impressed with Gordon’s script and his strong work ethic, so upon Gordon relocating to L.A., Foldy took Gordon to a couple of networking events and introduced him to a number of producers, screenwriters and directors.
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Youp Zondag: from Holland to LA and beyond!

Youp Zondag: from Holland to LA and beyond!

Youp Zondag, Austin, TX
Film Connection apprentice (extern) Youp Zondag first came in contact with the Film Connection in Austin, Texas, by way of Holland: his family moved to the U.S. so Youp could pursue his dreams of a film career. After starting classes at The Art Institute of Houston, Youp soon left disillusioned because of the cost and the overall lack of direction he felt. Read More

 
Aaron Patrick Lenyear’s Pitch to Hollywood is a Success!

Aaron Patrick Lenyear’s Pitch to Hollywood is a Success!

Aaron Patrick Lenyear, Atlanta, GA
The next day at Los Angeles Center Studios, Lenyear met with producer Evan Astrowsky (Cabin Fever, Fanboys), script in hand, to talk about his film. During the meeting, Astrowsky gave Lenyear helpful advice and opinions about the tone of the script and possible markets where it might play well. They agreed together that “Sideline” would work well as a dark indie drama. Read More

 
“It’s a great story that keeps on getting better.” – Fabrice Murgia

Fabrice Murgia: It's a great story that keeps on getting better.

Fabrice Murgia, San Diego, CA
“At the studio, Horacio (my mentor) is now assigning me the entire raw footage and trusting me with full content editing, selecting and adding soundtrack, and video editing (of course). I edit, generate, export, and send to clients (after he’s approved it). I have also put together some promotional videos for his company to market services like aerial videography and corporate videos… good stuff!” Read More

 
Shameka Cole Directs Her First Music Video

Shameka Cole Directs Her First Music Video

Shameka Cole, Atlanta, GA
Dreams are quickly becoming a reality just a few months into the film program for Atlanta based film student Shameka Cole. During the month of June, Cole was able to direct her first music video in the great Atlanta area for local artist Tracy T of Maybach Music Group. Read More

 
Future Showrunner… Grant Gilbert!

Future Showrunner… Grant Gilbert!

Grant Gilbert, Raleigh, NC
Since he started his apprentice (extern) program with Uptone Pictures in Raleigh, NC, Grant Gilbert has been taking charge running cameras and helping out where ever needed on the television lifestyle show “Loving Life.” Grant is already taking on the next big steps of his career after visiting LA by tightening up his scripts and looking for the right investors for his show. Way to go Grant! Read More

 
Ian McCamant shares his experience having a manager in LA!

Ian McCamant shares his experience having a manager in LA!

Ian McCamant, Los Angeles, CA
This year has been an exciting one for Film Connection alumnus Ian McCamant. Not only did Ian relocate from the East Coast early in the year, but in his first week he was able to find a manager and score a sweet apartment in West Hollywood! For those unfamiliar with LA, that’s where Quentin Tarantino got his start. Since February, Ian has been working with his new manager on preparing his scripts to pitch (and hopefully sell!) to Hollywood. Read More

 
Dreams become reality at Dolce for Mike Dusenka

Dreams become reality at Dolce for Mike Dusenka

Mike Dusenka, Los Angeles, CA
After taking on multiple positions for Dolce Film’s latest music video “Take Me There” by Olivia Ooms, Film Connection apprentice (extern) Mike Dusenka had yet another great opportunity to assist on a behind-the-scenes documentary for mentors Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett. He was even hired on as a lead editor! Mike moved to Los Angeles all the way from Minneapolis, MN in 2013! Since settling in, Mike has been offered a surplus of opportunities through both his mentors and through career services at Film Connection. Learn More

 
Madi Erion’s LA Experience!

Madi Erion's LA Experience!

Madi Erion, Washougal, WA
Film Connection grad Madi Erion got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the world of set-design here in Los Angeles, the headquarters of the Film Connection. Madi is an aspiring designer with a special concentration in the art of building sets. With the guiding hand of Mr. Jeff Kushon (set designer for Dexter, Showtime) Madi was granted an awesome behind the scenes tour of some of Hollywood’s most famous prop houses as well as the Warner Bros. back lot. Read More

 
A Note from Dominic Matich, Film Connection Graduate

A Note from Dominic Matich, Film Connection Graduate

Dominic Matich, Rochester Hills, MI
As always, Film Connection delivers on its promise to give the student an experience they won’t forget. I wanted to let you know about Britney Tobin because I have written you emails praising other employees and she definitely deserves one. Because of her, I was able to travel to New York, work with top filmmakers on three movies, gain editing experience along with promotional, production, finance, and basically any other experience you can have working with the director of the films. Read More

 
Former Nurse Takes Advantage of Film Connection’s Hands-On Approach

Former Nurse Takes Advantage of Film Connection’s Hands-On Approach

Amie Austin, Dallas, TX
Perhaps seeing open wounds isn’t commonplace for the average American, but for Amie Austin, that experience has followed her as she traversed career paths. A former nurse, Austin often found herself dealing with traumatic injuries; but now she finds herself creating them – for the silver screen. Read More

Writing a Successful Future

Lights, Camera, Chapman!

Brian Kemppainen, Atlanta, GA
Screenwriting is the first step to bringing any story to the film screen. Oftentimes the task of writing your first feature length screenplay can appear daunting! Film Connection student Brian Kemppainen had the opportunity to study under Ron Osborn, a professional Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include the Brad Pitt film Meet Joe Black and television credits such as The West Wing. Read More

 
Lights, Camera, Chapman!

Lights, Camera, Chapman!Peter Chapman, Atlanta, GA
What does it take to become a working industry director? Film Connection student Peter Chapman knows if you can envision a story, then you hold the power to manifest it on the screen. However, there is one attribute that all films share, and that’s the passion of their creator to bring a dream into a reality. Peter was about to find out nothing worth accomplishing is ever easy… Read More

 
Tyler Sloan – Dallas Film Student’s Dreams Quickly Becoming Reality

Tyler Sloan - Dallas Film Student’s Dreams Quickly Becoming RealityTyler Sloan, Dallas, TX
A few months ago, Tyler Sloan was watching YouTube videos, using PVC piping to build homemade film equipment and shooting homemade music videos. Fast-forward a couple months, and he is directing music videos for local rap artists and rock bands. Tyler has combined his own hard work and creative ability with the connections and one on one education the Film Connection…Read More

 
Zombie Madness! Graduate Ian McCamant Pitches his Movie

Zombie Madness! Graduate Ian McCamant Pitches his Movie

Ian McCamant, Elkton, MD
In his overall experience working with his mentors, Ian has learned everything about film theory tempered with the tangible, hands-on aspects and technical camera work. Together, they have taken on all of the business aspects of putting together a feature film down to the budgeting of his zombie film. Check out a scene from Ian’s movie, “The End of History.” Read More

 
Sarah Birk: Focus, Dedication, Success

Sarah Birk: Focus, Dedication, SuccessSarah Birk, Nashville, TN
Sarah is a newer student to the Film Connection, but she is making tremendous strides towards her goals. So we decided it was time to have a chat with her to discuss what she has been working on and what she is planning next. Read More

 
Learn on the Job While Working with Real Professionals

Chelsy Jensen - Film Connection GraduateChelsy Jensen, New York, NY
"The first couple weeks, he (my mentor) had me right away building my website, getting business cards, connecting me with some people through email so that was a great opportunity and then he had me reading scripts, and then once I found the script that I felt really strongly about, I contacted Tom, my mentor, we wrote up an auction, we had a couple of writers sign up, and then from there I was posting jobs on Craigslist, on any website that I could find, and he actually had another director that he had worked with so we interviewed with a couple directors…” Read More

 
Checking in with Graduate Korey Hehn

Korey Hehn - Film Connection GraduateKorey Hehn, Princeville, OR
“Right after I graduated from the Film Connection, I went to Colorado to work on a series a web series. I was the script supervisor for that and I did hair and makeup as well. It was a pretty small crew and small cast, but it was super fun, and I got a feel for what it was like to be on a film or on a TV series…” Read More

 
Find Work After Graduating

Stephen Blanquie - Film Connection GraduateStephen Blanquie, Portland, OR
We asked Stephen Blanquie, a recent graduate of the Film Connection in Portland, OR, to share what he is doing now that his lessons in the studio are over. Read More

 
Learn Hands On From the People who Do the Hiring

Celisa Meals - Film Connection GraduateCelisa Meals, Denton, TX
Congratulations to Celisa Meals! After completing her apprenticeship (externship) with the Film Connection, her mentor hired her to join a project with his production company! Read in her own words about her experience and the steps she took to secure this opportunity. Read More

 
Put What you Learn into Practice

Korey Hehn - Film Connection GraduateKorey Hehn, Princeville, Oregon
“As a young girl, I have also always wanted to be a writer. So as I worked my way through high school, I really tried to figure out what I was going to do with my life, coming to the realization that I really wanted to be a part of making movies. You see, films have such a profound impact on the people who watch them: Even if a person does not like the movie they happen to watch, they will always remember at least little pieces of it because of the undeniable ability of moving pictures to permeate thoughts.” Read More

 
Build your resume as you learn on the job!

Janna Russell - Film Connection GraduateJanna Russell, Atlanta, Georgia
“Once I joined the Film Connection program, everything for me really took off. Before I knew it, and was even a graduate of the program, I had already begun building my resume filled with production experience for several music videos, as well as actually have been paid for my work as a production coordinator! The exposure during the Film Connection course of the apprenticeship (externship) and the knowledge I acquired is invaluable. I would not have had the same experience in the classroom alone.” Read More

 
Some students get paid work right after graduation!

Austin Willard - Film Connection GraduateAustin Willard, Brooklyn, New York
“The studio hired me after I graduated the Film Connection. I was hired on as Production Manager/Studio Manager. I work every day and was fortunate enough to work many more shoots. I am booking green screen rentals and showing our facilities to clients. I also work as a Producer on two commercial short films, along with Production Manager for many others. I am still with the studio, and also doing freelance work as a Production Manager and as a Grip.” Read More

 
Work with your mentor around your busy schedule:

Charla Mascagni - Film Connection GraduateCharla Mascagni, New Orleans, LA
“The Film Connection provides me an affordable opportunity to work in a hands-on environment with my very own MENTOR, while offering me the flexibility to work around my job schedule! I have to admit at first, I was a little skeptical because I didn’t know what to expect. However, after meeting my mentor and going to my first television series film shoot, I knew I was on the right track and had made the right decision for my career.” Read More

 
Learn Camera and Lighting on the Job

Derek Sorenson - Film Connection GraduateDerek Sorenson, Albuquerque, New Mexico
“I have learned a multitude of skills while under my mentor’s tutelage. It started with how to utilize lighting and work a studio camera. I moved on to understanding how to set up and take the correct shots. I have also been honing my editing skills with Final Cut Pro under a professional whose expertise is editing. My mentor and I have developed a positive relationship in and outside of work. Not only have I gone on several shoots with my mentor, but he also has me actively working in his video business.” Read More

 
Graduate Gerald Vogt now works on feature films

Gerald Vogt - Film Connection GraduateGerald Vogt, Colorado Springs, Colorado
“Once I made the decision to the join the Film Connection, I jumped right on in. The first course I took within the Film Connection was specifically to focus on editing. My training really developed my skills in both sides of the production by tying both pre-production and post-production together. As the course continued, I began to see my skills really start to take shape, with my mentor pushing me in directions that made me stronger. Also, on the places where I was weaker, they really helped me out. Anytime I had questions, I would go back to my curriculum assigned through the program, and there the answer was…” Read More

 
Trent's mentor offered him a position at his studio:

Trent Jones - Film Connection GraduateTrent Jones, Austin, Texas
“While in the Film Connection program, I have had some great help from my mentor to get me through all of the assignments, and being able to work in a real studio has been amazing. Each lesson was easy to understand, and I was also given many different books so if I couldn’t figure out the answer in my workbook, I had a variety of resources to help me study. One of my favorite books that I was given was a Brief History Of Film. I was fascinated by how far the world of filming has progressed over the years, and it really has opened my eyes to all of the different genres I had been missing out on for so very long. I began to learn the inner workings of an office and also started to get hands on experience with many different kinds of editing software.” Read More

 

 

More Student Success Stories

Methods for Writing

“Today I met with Aimee and she looked over lesson 2 as well as the progression of my story. Right now I’m bouncing off of a lot of ideas. It’s very loose and my characters aren’t very well developed. Aimee gave some great insight on what needs to be developed more and shared with me to look at the book Story by Robert McKee. It is an awesome book! He is thorough on what elements are needed to make a story work. He also outlines that the structure of the story is very important. It gives great examples of excerpts from scripts that don’t work and why. For next week I am to work on some sample coverages. This is to help me breakdown a script and become comfortable enough with them to know why it does or doesn’t work. I will be reading The Shining and a script from a project that Aimee is working on right now and then breaking them down. I am also working on developing my character’s backgrounds in more detail and the structure of the story.”

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A priceless learning experience.

“So today was the day for editing my video. I went into it very nervous and anxious because I never had any experience in this area at all and anything to do with the working of electronics is definitely not my forte in the least. Mr. Triscari had made sure to stress to me that in the real world, to work with an editor is VERY expensive and so it is an absolute must that when you go into edit, you have done all the necessary preparation. So after coming up with the idea, writing the synopsis, storyboarding everything, shooting the actual interviews and B roll, this was going to be the final step in bringing the image I had in my head into a tangible film.

I remember when we first starting prep for doing the editing, I was a little shocked and overwhelmed with the amount of the decisions that needed to be made every step of the way. What’s the audio? What’s the visual? Is there a better shot that could be used? Should sound effects be added? It literally is a blank canvas and as the producer you are brushing on every stroke. But, the second time around, it dawned on me that this whole “editing thing” could be really fun. This is where your creativity could kick into full speed and the sky is the limit. My feelings towards editing and my perspective on it took a total 180 degree turn.

Myself, Mr. Triscari, and Ryan, a staff member at the studio, sat down for a little over 4 hours and went step by step through the whole video and put together a rough cut. I definitely saw firsthand how time consuming it is but how absolutely VITAL this step of the process is as well. It was a priceless experience to have to be put on the spot like that about making decisions for what I wanted and to really be forced to step up to the plate and not sit back and let someone else make the decisions for me. I also saw that even when you do wear the “hat” of the producer, it definitely does not mean you know everything and can’t take someone else’s advice. If you are working with good people who you know you can trust, there needs to be some give and take as well in regards to the decisions that are made in the editing room. I felt like it was a priceless learning experience to see what it was like to be sitting in that position.”

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I was hired by Victory Studios!

“I was hired by Victory Studios and I am so excited. This studio is able to provide me with all the means to be a successful student coming from this school. I am going to be taught a lot to do with editing. This is the department I feel I can love and have so much room for improvement. Can’t wait to learn 3D animation and keep on learning filming. Thanks my mentor for going out of your way to accommodate me for bettering my education.”

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I did not expect it to be as fun as it actually was.

“In Chapter 2 I watched a lot of movies, not counting the twelve we had to watch and write about. I also got to experience and participate in the progress of doing a casting. it was very interesting seeing the steps that had to be taken for a casting. I did not expect it to be as fun as it actually was. The company that my mentor owns, got hired to do a shooting for a company named OPMA. In this shooting I got to experience what it takes to carry out a task, that when compared to a movie doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when compared to what other video production companies do, it was a very big deal. During this shooting I learned things such as, how to work a boom stick, how to bounce lights, what were the name of some of the camera shots we used, I even learned a little about makeup. Over all I learned a lot from the movies I watched, but I also learned a lot more from the hands on experience that was provided by my mentor.”

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New Year 2016, New Projects
New Year 2016, New Projects

“I returned from Christmas and New Year’s vacation with a fresh new perspective and outlook. My mentor Wes Cobb informed me that 3 new Film Connection students have joined our Charlotte team and we are all massively excited. I have also noticed that we, the original members of the Charlotte Film Connection, seemed to have grown significantly in both knowledge and skillset since we first started working together as a collaborative unit last year. When I first started in the program, I had this idea that I would try to learn it all and shoot my projects guerilla-style –and that was mainly because I didn’t really know anyone in the area to collaborate with. Now everything is different — we’ve all slightly matured as filmmakers and each of us seemed to have come into his or her own. I observed that each of us has our own strengths and abilities, and something unique to bring to the table. I no longer feel the need to do everything myself, and with that realization, comes the desire to become more specialized in my focus. I think I would really like to hone in on my screenwriting skills, and also work towards becoming an Independent Producer in the coming months. You would think that narrowing my focus would feel tight and restrictive but, in all honestly, I’ve never felt more free and inspired to pursue the filmmaking aspects that really interest me.

Our New Year is off with a bang — we have another exercise film project coming up on January 23rd. We’re currently having our pre-production meetings and trying our best to put all the elements together. Our first short film “Facade” is in post production. My team and my mentor are enthusiastic about (and actively encouraging) my passion for taking Behind the Scenes Still Photo Coverage, so I will continue to do that and will upload the files to my Student Blog, Dropbox Account, and Social Media Sites shortly after.”

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Results

“Productions have slowed down due to the winter season and holidays. The documentary has finished and it turned out so well. So happy I was a part of something that seems so big and important to me. Even just being slightly involved has made me very happy.”

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I was very excited to execute this job on my own
I was very excited to execute this job on my own

“I was able to set up an interview with one of the Artist Producer/ DJ. The goal of the this short interview was to get a tutorial of how this Artist produces his own music. I was lucky to get the interview done at his house. This was a new experience to me since I’ve never interview or film someone at their own house. The environment was slightly small but I had to get creative to the job done. I was able to film the footage and get the interview done within 45 minutes. In addition, it was my first time getting this kind of job done by myself. My mentor Anthony Barkdoll believed that it will be great experience to get this job done on my own since I’ve done it before with his assistance. I was very excited to execute this job on my own and get a feel of how I perform in this kind of assignments.

The equipment I use was a standard FS 100 Sony camera Manual Lens, Monopad, 2 batteries, 1 ARRI Light, wireless microphone. The interview and footage was successful and excited about next week interview. Next week interview is very important because this Artist/Event Coordinator, Producer, Graphic Designer, DJ is a very important piece to this project. It took a little bit of work to schedule this interview but got it done. I’ll be sharing with you on my next blog how this assignment went.”

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I’m looking forward to really get involved in production
I’m looking forward to really get involved in production

“The program has been great; I worked on Marjorie Prime as an office intern and got to see the ins and outs of pre-production. Accomodation search is incredibly difficult, especially when you’re trying to work within a budget but I got exactly what I wanted. Although I really want to invest myself in writing it was great to see the ins and outs of production. I finally know how it works and how every position forms intricately to create a masterpiece.”

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I must admit I am a little anxious
I must admit I am a little anxious

“I officially transferred to the Editing Concentration this week and I am looking forward to receiving my new textbook and a copy of Final Cut Pro X. I am finally getting into the swing of things as my Mentor, Wes, started to break down the neat building blocks of this powerful editing program. I must admit I am a little anxious as I feel that I still have so much to learn. I really want to learn most of the technical ins and outs of the software so that I can finally focus on what really matters — the creative storytelling process. I look forward to that moment when my knowledge will be enough to finally liberate me, and I can start creating works of art. Thank goodness my Mentor Wes Cobb has a very strong grasp of Final Cut Pro X.”

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Off to a great start.
Off to a great start.

“Today, Shaunn and I talked more in-depth into what his expectations were in how he expects me to come in. We discussed my three movie ideas, to which he gave instruction on how to make solid Log lines, and had me think which of my ideas were stronger than the others. We discussed our next meeting and what he will be doing and how I can learn.”

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Met up with Marcelo once more
Met up with Marcelo once more

“Met up with Marcelo once more, we’ve discussed about each other’s endeavors, I’ve shown him my storyboard, in addition to my screenplay to compliment it. He will read this and get some ord spread around about my HotSpot Underground Screenplay. I will hear him again in about a week to meetup up possibly at a newly established production office in Phoenix.”

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All I know for certain is that I’ll do everything I can to make my dad proud.
All I know for certain is that I’ll do everything I can to make my dad proud.

“I just finished chapter one of the textbook and completed the first chapter quiz. Excited is an understatement to describe how I feel to finally be in a film program and hone my skills. I start my apprenticeship this Wednesday and there’s a strong possibility that I’ll be moving to a new house that is only a twelve minute walking distance away from EQ Studios. Everything is starting to improve and I can’t wait for what the future holds. I feel as though this program is going to immensely help me get started in the industry.

The only downside is how difficult it is to do all of this without my dad, who was always my biggest supporter. He taught me film history from a young age and he gave me the confidence to chase after my dreams of being a director. All I know for certain is that I’ll do everything I can to make my dad proud.”

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You can feel the good vibes all around.
You can feel the good vibes all around.

“Last Tuesday was my first day. I was so excited to be there. Everyone is super nice and friendly. You can feel the good vibes all around. Hector let we work on some extra footage that they had, so I could get use to the editing program. Also, this helped them see how well I could work with documentary footage. Condensing a 15 minute interview to 3-5 mins. I must say that there was a ton of footage to go through”

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New Job for MasterChef!
New Job for MasterChef!

I did such an amazing job for MasterChef last week, that they have hired me to work 12 more hours. The time will be broken between this week and next. I have also been upgraded to the position of Production Assistant P.A., for the Open Call of Master Chef in two weeks. My first job in the film connection was with Fox studios, not bad given that I have not even graduated yet

This week I am planning out my trip to California to pitch my screenplay. Airline tickets have been purchased and hotels booked. It is a race against time to finish the text book, editing my short film, and preparing for my pitch. It’s all or nothing!

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Wedding stuff.
Wedding stuff.

“For this past week I’ve learned how to color a video, meaning add color, and brightness effects to it. I colored the wedding video my mentor has me working on, so if it looks O.K. I should be done, or very close to done with it! It’s amazing to me how different, and brighter, or dimmer, you can make a video look, just by editing it. I didn’t know you could make coloring effects, before I learned this. I’m going to meet her today, and I’ll see what she thinks about what I’ve colored.”

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Indian Wedding Day

“Yesterday I spent 4.5 hours filming one of the most colorful weddings I’ve ever been privileged enough to be able to be at. I used a portable/handheld digital Cannon to capture expressions on faces, the handoff from one family to the other of gifts to the bride and groom with a prayer at all exchanges. I know it’s a basic camera but it was a start. Using different angles to avoid light was crucial to get all 5-600 guests. I am so excited for day two of this wonderful celebration. Family from all corners of the world, dancing, food, laughter and love. Once again what a beautiful and colorful culture.”

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Meeting with my mentor Part 3

“On Tuesday, August 11th I met with my mentor Joe on a beautiful sunny day in Minnesota. We have both been crazy busy, me with my homework and him on some errands but we made the time to get together in spite of our schedules. That day we talked about my chapter 1 and 2 quizzes and also I had the chance to go to his studio to see where he does the editing for his projects. He uses the Apple program Final Cut and I find it similar to the Sony editing software I recently purchased. So we spent the majority of the time looking at and exploring the features of his editing software. It was eye opening to what you can do with the software. There are so many functions and even though he showed me a few of them such as putting footage on a timeline and then editing it by adding transition here and there and also looping the sound to match the footage made my mind swim. He made it look easy since he has been doing that for quite some time and I look forward to when I too can make it look easy…might take awhile but I will get there:). Joe also gave me a small project to work on with my new editing software – the footage we filmed at the White Bear Lake YMCA. He made a backup copy of some of the footage and tasked me with making a movie with the footage he gave me. It is quite the challenge but I feel I am up to the task. Like a rookie quarterback starting in place of an injured veteran player I must make my editing debut.Very excited to see what I can come up with! Stay tuned for more later…”

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Camera time!

“Today I met with Mr. Triscari after a longer than usual break in between our sessions. We spent some time going over the assignments that I had been working on for the curriculum and had some discussion about some of the points that we both thought were interesting.

In our first session, he asked me to write down three professional goals that I wanted to achieve for our time together. He was able to take a look at them and see what could be done in regards to making those goals a reality. One of the goals that I had written down was that I wanted to gain some experience in voice over work. I have always been fascinated with the work of Pixar movies, or just any animated movie in general, that mix the creativity of bringing imaginary characters to life through animation with the emotion and personality of someone’s voice. It’s the art of re-creating real life. I also feel like, when done properly, voice over work in a commercial or film production can add so much to a piece. Mr. Triscari was able to discuss with me some possible opportunities he had coming up to exploring that avenue, which left me feeling VERY excited. We then discussed some ideas for how I would go about shooting my documentary project about the boardwalk. He showed me a camera that he could lend out to me and gave me a basic overview of how it works. We talked about what would go into setting up the shots and what I need to keep in mind if I had the intention of interviewing people about their perspective of living in a beach town that is a popular tourist destination. We also discussed different ways that I could shoot it in his studio instead of doing it on location and how many potential problems it would cut down on if it was done in a controlled environment. It was incredibly informative to say the least to even discuss and see how practical the second option would be.

All in all, I left feeling very excited about what’s to come in the future and am feeling antsy about getting to get my hands dirty and do some hands on work. I will be going back Wednesday to meet with him again, primarily to get a better overview of how the camera works that he is going to lend me and to practice with it”

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I had my first session last week Friday. It was great!
I had my first session last week Friday. It was great!

“I had my first session last week Friday. It was great! My mentor is very knowledgeable and taught me so much within one day. He makes the environment very relaxed and comfortable. During our first session we went over the entire production and development of a movie. He taught me about a treatment and synopsis for a screenplay. Also, we went over the timeline and structure of how a movie is made, starting with the treatment. He showed me some of the programs he uses for editing and writing and showed me an example. I got to get a feel of Final Draft Pro. and Final Cut. Finally, we went over a film they are making. I got to see some of the script and what the directors treatment looks like.”

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It’s very exciting and hope to keep the energy and motivation going!
It’s very exciting and hope to keep the energy and motivation going!

“I was back in the now “official” production office for the film Last Seen in Idaho which will be shot by Fireshoe in just a few weeks! After talking about this history of film for a little bit (mainly how pacing is much faster now), we discussed the logistical things that I have been following up on. I also had the pleasure of meeting our UPM (Unit Production Manager) whom I will be working with and discussed how I will handle the start paperwork/releases/agreements and she will handle the checking in on people and get PAs to move things around, etc..
I definitely have great timing working with a mentor who is about to produce a feature film with some familiar folks from LA. It is a juggle with a day job and doing my assignments and family life, but it’s very exciting and I hope to keep the energy and motivation going!”

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Hands on…sorta..

“I was able to see how the footage looked after it was all done and get a general idea of what would need to be done to turn it into a final product. I feel like even that little bit of exposure to being “on set” and seeing one done in real time stimulated alot of thoughts about what it would be like for me to go through the creative process of creating a video on the same scale with the same type of equipment. I’m feeling excited and intimidated about the idea at the same time. It’s a scary thought to have to be the one who’s creating a story out of their own mind and trying to convey the same thoughts to others, but also one of the most REWARDING and unforgettable. I’m excited about the idea of having to create my own documentary and to experiment.”

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It all goes back to having a team.

“In this lesson I got to learn the stages of production and what they do. I learned development, financing, pre-production, production, post-production, and marketing and distribution. Another big thing that the chapter talked about was editing. You go from the director’s vision of a film on set to an editor’s vision on the computer. It all goes back to having a team. Without one you wouldn’t get far in the industry. When I was with Jason, we talked about my movie pitch and what I needed to work on. He saw that my script had paragraph’s that were too long so he suggested I make them shorter so people reading it wouldn’t get jammed up. He also taught me a way to make a shotlist. He drew a picture of a scene on paper and showed me where I needed to put each camera in order to have more options when editing. All I have to do now is work on my skit for this coming week as well as an updated shotlist in order to finish filming on time.”

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I learned the importance of having an epic second act.

“I have to keep the audience of the edge of their seat and make the characters go through so much problems that it almost seems impossible for them to escape. That’s how my movie or any other movie will gain attention. What is the character risking to achieve his goals? How can I build momentum or tension to the point where the audience feels like they’re there with my characters and make the audience feel what the characters’ feel? After reviewing the importance of a second act with Jason, we took off to film Dennis’s short silent film. We went through a lot of errors since it was his first time directing with us but we tried helping in any way we could. I saw that he felt the pressure of time and starting getting a little nervous. He reminded me of my first time because everything he went through and did I did myself. He was thinking more of shots for the editing instead of playing out the scene just like me. After watching Dennis perform, I had a better idea of what and what not to do on set. Can’t wait to see Dennis and Tal become one of the best!”

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And so it begins…
And so it begins…

“The history of film is really cool. I like learning about this stuff and the documentary is really good! The assignment was kinda hard just because I haven’t fully figured it out my movie but I think I got it. I still need to watch 12 movies though and the quiz but yah it’s pretty cool!”

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I have moved on to the next stage of the writing process!

“This week I was able to meet Eric and Hallie twice and I was able to start learning new editing software. I was able to get some information on the masters in screenwriting offered through the Film Connection. I am excited by this possibility and I am considering this as a next step. My meetings with Ron are going great. I have moved on to the next stage of the writing process!”

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STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT THE FILM INDUSTRY

Finding Success With The Film Connection

Brian Kraft

by Brian Kraft
Chief Academic Officer and COO
for Recording Radio Film Connection

The Film Connection was constructed for one purpose in mind. We want you to succeed. We want you to become a massive superstar. We want you to be able to be one of our mentors one day. We want you to enter our program as a nobody and then work you way to the top. We want you to be the next Kevin Smith or David Fincher or Charlie Kaufman.

The search for success is something that has been the undoing of many a great individual. Well, thankfully, due to the Film Connection, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. You can enroll in the Film Connection’s film school wherever you are and you’ll be able to access the entertainment industry instantly. We have film school locations all over the United States.

The end goal of our film school is to fly you out to Hollywood and have you pitch your movie to a real Hollywood agent. We help you develop whatever ideas you may have into a screenplay, we help you shoot some proof-of-concept films, and we introduce you to the agent. All you have to do is show up and be brilliant!

The Film Connection’s purpose is to connect you with people in the industry. That’s why you’ll be working in a real production company while you’re writing your script. You’ll be making connections with people from all areas of the industry. You’ll be meeting other writers, producers, grips, P.A.s and directors. You’ll be really sinking your teeth into the world of film while you’re in our school. You’ll be able to really immerse yourself in the industry.

The Film Connection is your best bet for getting your foot in the door. You’ll be working towards making your dreams come true with people who’ve already done exactly what you’re trying to do. You’ll be gaining traction in all areas of your career. Interpersonally, externally, and professionally. You’ll be making the connections you’ll need, you’ll be making the work that you’ll need show people, and you’ll be gaining the experience that will get you hired.

Apply Now

The Film Connection is where it all starts. We help make your dreams happen.
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