Film Connection Students Get Hired

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!

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Get Educated,
Get Access,
Get Hired.

With the right experience and connections, you can jumpstart your career in the film industry.

Film Connection student Steven Deleonardis works himself into paid gigs for his mentor’s studio

It took very little time for Film Connection student Steven Deleonardis to begin to feel part of the community at EQ Studios in San Diego, where he has been apprenticing under Film Connection mentor Hector Ramos. “It’s really laid back, everyone there,” he says. “All the guys there are really helpful. They know a lot […]

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For Film Connection grad Rob Chiola, on-the-job training turns into a full-time career

“When I meet other filmmakers and we talk,” says Film Connection grad Rob Chiola (Orlando, Florida), “you always come up with, ‘Where did you go to school?’ And they don’t believe that I went through a mentorship program…They’re like, ‘Wait, you learned all that in 9 months?…You only spent that much?…Where was this when I […]

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Film Connection student Michael Jessop works himself into a job

From his early teens, Michael Jessop knew he wanted a career in film and media, especially in video editing. But as he attended courses at a local community college in his home town of Colorado Springs, CO, he discovered a serious gap between getting his education and actually landing a job. “Through the traditional system, […]

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Real-World Training Pays Off: Film Connection Grad Noah Dekel lands job at 21st Century Fox!

Almost immediately after Noah Dekel enrolled in a local community college in SoCal to study film, he knew he wasn’t going to get the experience or connections he needed in order to actually land a job in the film industry. “I just really just wanted to start getting working on film,” he says. So he […]

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Film Connection student Suzanne Nichols gets interest in her script!

By the time Suzanne Nichols found the Film Connection, she’d already had lots of life experience, including a degree from Brown University and several published books to her credit.  But as she began pondering her next book, she had an epiphany and decided it needed to be a screenplay instead. “I went down to the […]

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Film Apprentice Keith Huff Is Done Playing It Safe

Nearing age 30, Keith Huff enrolled in the Film Connection because he was tired of playing it safe with his career. “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 […]

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

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 […]

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Matthew Gibson: Building a film career around a job

“I’m still working full time 40 hours a week just to pay bills and stuff,” says Film Connection apprentice Matthew Gibson, “but on my off days I’m doing stuff like this.” But for Matthew, “stuff like this” is the real stuff, not the full-time job he mentioned. A committed Film Connection apprentice at Skydive Films […]

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For Film Connection grad Rocky Shore, connections mean everything.

“It’s all about making those connections. You can’t be in your shell if you’re going to be in this industry.” 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 […]

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

When Steve Pitts first enrolled in the Film Connection in Atlanta, GA in 2011, the first sign of serendipity he noticed with his mentor was the similarity between their names . “My mentor’s name [is] Steve Carmichael, and my name is Steven Carmichael Pitts!” he says. “[And] we’re both from Alabama, which is kind of […]

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

“[Alfred Hitchcock said], ‘It’s not in the bang, but the anticipation of the bang,’” says Film Connection graduate Mark Doster. “People don’t really get that anymore, and I want to, try to bring that back. I don’t like jump scares. Instead of having a clown pop in front of my face, I would love to […]

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

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”) […]

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Gordon Maniskas Lands Film Industry Work in L.A!

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 […]

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Film Connection apprentice Youp Zondag: from Holland to LA and beyond!

Film Connection apprentice 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 […]

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

As part of their apprenticeship (externship) experience, Film Connection students are often given the unique opportunity to pitch their own film ideas and scripts to Hollywood film executives at the conclusion of the program. When Aaron Patrick Lenyear from Atlanta, GA came to Los Angeles to pitch his script “Sideline,” Hollywood wanted to hear more! […]

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"It's a great story that keeps on getting better."

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 […]

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Student Shameka Cole Directs Her First Music Video

Dreams are quickly becoming a reality just a few months into the film program for Atlanta based film student Shameka Cole. “I love it. I’ve never been through a program, even in college, that has opened up so many doors for me.” Cole said. During the month of June, Cole was able to direct her […]

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Future Showrunner… Grant Gilbert!

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.” While visiting Film Connection in Los Angeles, Grant pitched his wholesome TV series “Small Town Blues” — a coming of age story similar […]

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From mentor to manager… Ian McCamant shares his experience having a manager in LA!

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 […]

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Dreams become reality at Dolce for Mike Dusenka

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 […]

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Madi Erion’s LA experience!

Film Connection grad Madi Erion got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the world of set-design here in Los Angeles – headquarter 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 […]

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A Note from Dominic Matich, Film Connection Graduate

Tim, Hey brother, it’s Dominic Matich. We’ve corresponded many times throughout these past two years. I’m emailing you today to tell you that Britney Tobin is excellent at her job. She might be my favorite employee. She has gone out of her way on every occasion to oversee, setup, and deliver to me opportunities that […]

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

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.
 “The transition from nursing to directing, for me […]

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Zombie Madness! Graduate Ian McCamant Pitches his Movie

January 2014 will be bringing big things to the table for Ian McCamant of Elkton, Maryland. Just after the winter holidays, Ian will be making his big trip to Los Angeles to pitch his zombie flick to producer Evan Astrowsky (Cabin Fever). In the beginning phases of Ian’s apprenticeship (externship), he helped a previous apprentice […]

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Brian Kemppainen: Writing a Successful Future

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 […]

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Peter Chapman - Lights, Camera, Chapman!

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 […]

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Dallas Film Student’s Dreams Quickly Becoming Reality

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 […]

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Sarah Birk: Focus, Dedication, Success

Sarah is a newer student to the Film Connection but she is making tremendous strides towards her goals. So I decided it was time to have a chat with her to discuss what she has been working on and what she is planning next. Elly Neubert: Sarah, you have been incredibly busy planning projects and […]

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Film Student Sean Chou Is Going Places Thanks To His Mentor, Mars Callahan

When Film Connection student Sean Chou signed up for the program, he had confidence that it would lead him to a film career — he just had no concept of how quickly it could happen! Sean was invited into our Film School by Film Director Mars Callahan, a writer/director whose latest project — "Pool Hall […]

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Entertainment Connection Student Jay William Bruce Works With Will Farrell And Ed Harris

  Jay with Will Ferrill Budding playwright Jay William Bruce ran across an ad for Entertainment Connection on the Web, and was intrigued.   "Even though I was working in the theater business, I didn't know how to cross over to the film industry," he explains. "Entertainment Connection seemed like a terrific way to do […]

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Film Student Works On Historic Gospel Documentary!

From "A Series of Small Things," the short film shot in Chicago, including Doug Jones (Hellboy). Alex is in the red hat, Steve is in the white hat. When Entertainment Connection Film Division graduate Alex Lee was searching the Internet last year, he had no idea how quickly he would become immersed in the film […]

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Film Connection Graduate Trey Alexander Working For E!

Growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Trey Alexander always wanted to be in radio, and later, in TV. In fact, he wanted it enough to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career. That's where he met Film Connection president James Petulla Along the way Trey did go to college — but going to college […]

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Andre Perry

When Andre Perry entered the Film Connection, he had no idea he’d be working both behind and in front of the camera! “Nice, who is the casting director for Benny Boom’s Gorilla Flix production company, saw my potential and hired me for three videos,” Perry recounts. The first video, Clipse, Rosoe and Pharrell’s song “Hot […]

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Jorge Ruiz - Film Student (Assistant Directing) Success Story

  This week I learned more about the stedi-cam and actually started practicing. My mentor set up some obstacles for me to practice filming with the steadi-cam. Later we looked at some more techniques for sound editing. ON Friday my mentors old intern came in who is now a director at the local channel 2 […]

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Devin Connelly - Film Connection Student (Camera) Success Story

Recently, I have begun working the camera for a few live interview shoots. This has involved basic camera operation, microphone checks, and carrying out instructions on setting up the shot. This has been a great experience being involved in the fast-paced and time sensitive action that a live shoot entails. _____________ Lesson two gave me […]

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Our Film Students’ Past Success Stories!

"Travis King is already working in pre-production for an upcoming US $15 million motion picture with Mariah Carey and Mirna Sorvino," says Eric Bryce, CEO of Lions Share Pictures in Los Angeles. "The project is called 'Wise Girls,' and is being produced by Richard Donner along with our company."   "Mike Croos has been hired […]

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Film Student Brett Taylor Climbs Ladder of Success!

When apprentice (extern) Brett Taylor enrolled in Entertainment Connection's film program, he had no idea how high he would go — literally! Luckily he rose to the challenge . . . After signing up with Entertainment Connection, Brett was serving his apprenticeship (externship) at Crossing Studios, one of western Canada's largest film and video production […]

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Jesse Valdez - Graduate Success Story

My name is Jesse Valdez and I was born and raised in Riverside County, Los Angeles.  I began my filmmaking career in High School, documenting several student activities leading up until the end of the year. After High School, I joined the Marine Corps Reserve and served for five years. Initially after graduating from the […]

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Trent Jones - Film Connection Graduate

Film has been a part of my life since I was born. When we lived in Italy all we had was Italian TV so my parents would go on base and we would gather as many movies as we could to help pass the time. By the time we moved back to the states our […]

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Gerald Vogt - Film Connection Graduate

Before I enrolled into the Film Connection program I was involved with a grant that I got in a disability, as I was a professional scuba diver. So, not being able to do my career anymore, I had worked on a couple of film sets before, as well as having friends in the industry. From […]

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Derek Sorenson - Film Connection Graduate

My name is Derek Sorenson and I have been cultivating my talents within the film industry by working behind the camera for almost half a year now. Almost 3 years ago I relocated from South Florida and began as a student at the University of New Mexico. I took a leave of absence to travel […]

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Charla Mascagni - Film Connection Graduate

As I grew up I spent most of my high school years working hard, long hours, in my family’s restaurant. A couple years after my graduation I found myself still in the food industry, working as a sushi chef in uptown New Orleans. I did this for 5 years, occasionally having the opportunity to do […]

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Quotes from Our Students

Student Quotes

Day 1

“I learned more about the history of film today and how people used to film videos and movies and clips with still photography. I met some more filmmakers and editors who were really nice and fun to be around”

Thanks Jesse Zesbaugh, RRFC and Victory studios.

“Today I decided to go forth with the last two chapters in this program. I am excited to say a lot of hard work and a long process of getting something right has finally paid off. I will present my script with a proud voice representing the school of Film Connection. I am currently waiting to hear back from the school letting me know who and when I will do this. Thanks Jesse Zesbaugh, RRFC and Victory studios.”


Real Projects, Real People

“I just finish working on the third interview with Henry Kissinger, Thanks to my mentor!”

Leagues Ahead

“I’m going to be going to a college university soon and because of The Film Connection I’ll be leagues ahead of my studies for the first two years.”


Awesome Mentor

“It has been pleasure working and learning with Deen, he is an awesome mentor, and teacher. I’ve learned many of the techniques using the RED CINEMA VIDEO CAMERA.”


Home Stretch

“I’m on my last pieces of editing the script and jotting down notes on where I want to extend which Eric has incredibly helpful, in fact, he even read through both of my short screenplays and gave a few pointers.”


Observing Real Studio Sessions

Observing Real Studio Sessions

I am learning a bunch and having tons of fun observing studio sessions with my mentor!

Work with your mentor on your own projects.

“Ron Peterson was awesome! He taught me a lot! Same with Rocco. He and I worked on my short film and it’s going to be posted on his website soon! I had a great time and learned a lot.”

Connections are Everything

“I just had a stroke of luck meeting up with a small production company who wants to make my movie :). Gear, editing, even actors. All for free, yo! One of the guys is a former RRFC student too.”

Experience Leads to Jobs

“Since my set experience, I’ve gotten a series of jobs that have led to opportunities to pitch my ideas for potential reality series. This wouldn’t have been possible without Richard and the Film Connection.”

Just got a great Screenwriting Mentor

Just got a great Screenwriting Mentor

“Thank you Elliot (Student Services Advisor) I’m excited to get started!”

Setting you up for success.

“This program has been absolutely great in setting me up and I managed to have the experience to qualify me for graduate school (which was the reason I joined the program) and also find some employment.”

Update from Will Newell

“I am working with [my mentor] on the post production of a film right now.”

Happy to be a part of the Film Connection

“I am so happy to be a part of the Film Connection, I learn so many things working with my mentor Sean McCarthy (writer and Director) from Guerilla Wandarers”

Interested, Motivated, and Excited

“I don’t consider the quizzes, blogging or writing assignments are tasks. Probably because I am truly interesting in what I am learning, motivated and excited.”

My apprenticeship so far

“I has so much fun working in media management as a PA for RITE Media on Ushers music video. I started working around 9:00 am and had a huge smile on my face the entire time working on set”


Excited to Learn Premiere

“Tomorrow Jason is going to help me with Adobe Premiere and how to use it, I am very excited about that.'”

Unlimited Tutoring

“This (tutoring session) was extremely helpful! Yes, thank you. This will definitely help me get my screenplay underway.”


My mentors and student advisor

“My mentors and student advisor are very supportive and knowledgeable, and don’t tear me down if I mess up.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”

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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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 and Culinary 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.