2015 Recording Arts Alumnus
- Program: Recording Arts
- Employer: Rentex
- Position: Warehouse Technician
Where are you currently employed and what is your role there?
Currently I am working multiple gigs. My full time-job is working as a Warehouse Technician at Rentex in Bensenville, IL. There, I work in quality control for one of the fastest growing AV rental companies in the United States. Outside of that I wear a lot of different hats. I am a producer at FVTV Public Access in Aurora, IL where I produce and host a film criticism talk show called The Fox Valley Film Critics. I’m a regular blogger writing film criticism and i’m currently petitioning for a position writing for the geek culture website Geeks Under Grace as a contributor. On weekends I occasionally offer my hand to Center Stage Theater in Naperville, IL where I serve as one of the company’s regular AV technicians for children’s musicals. In my spare time outside of this, I host a podcast called the GroupThink Podcast and I write and direct films. My last feature, City of Lights, is currently contesting for multiple film festivals and my next film entitled The Audition, will be shooting this September.
What do you like most about working in your current role?
What I like most about my current station in life is the variety and breadth of work I’m able to do professionally and for fun. I graduated from Tribeca Flashpoint College with a degree in Recording Arts/Sound Design and while I still pursue working within my major, I’m regularly opening myself up to different creative avenues, which has offered me some incredible opportunities as an artist and an adult with bills to pay.
What piece of advice do you have for TFC candidates currently job searching?
The best advice I can offer people coming straight out of college is to be open minded. The entertainment industry can be a brutal and unrelenting one with long hours and ridiculous hoops to jump through just to get your foot in the door. You may send out a hundred resumes this year and get one reply. I’ve taken dozens of opportunities to work and learn in aspects of the industry that don’t have anything to do with my major and I was able to develop my skills significantly farther than I would’ve had if I had focused entirely on sound design. If you have to take a job that isn’t exactly what you want it to be to fund your dream projects, then do it. There is no shame and you have more time than you think you do.
How did your experience at TFC help you join your industry?
Tribeca Flashpoint College does an excellent job imparting the two most important qualities a person needs when entering the industry:
Communication and Professionalism. If you lack these two things you will not get your foot in anywhere. Most companies understand that if you’re straight out of college you have much to learn and they will take the time to sit down with you and give you what you need to succeed. In order to do that though, you have to have a strong work ethic, a good attitude and the ability to put your best self out there. Learn the best ways to talk with people. Don’t hold back when you have a problem. I’ve seen utter train wrecks occur when one person doesn’t relay the smallest bits of information to the appropriate people who need to hear it.
What would you look for if an opportunity to potentially hire TFC graduates come along?
I’ve worked with numerous fellow graduates of TFC at various companies and through various projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on. Most recently this past February, students from Paul Rodger’s Client Services class were able to assist with the sound design for my feature City of Lights. The number one thing I look for beyond talent, which is quite common from TFC students, is the ability to communicate. As I said before, don’t be the person who doesn’t communicate.
What was your favorite thing about TFC?
The experience of learning at Tribeca Flashpoint is one of trial by fire. You’re learning on the job with some of the best equipment money can buy at your finger tips. In my final month at school I got together with a huge group of over a dozen fellow students and collaborated on a sound design/redub on an eight minute segment of DragonBall Z (featuring the voices of Paul Rodgers and Jeff Kliment brilliantly enough.) It was an enormous undertaking on my own time that was done in addition to all of my finals and major sound design projects. Of everything I’ve worked on, work done while at school is what I’ve always felt most proud of because of how much passion and work went into it. TFC offers you many insane opportunities and if you can put your passion into your work, you can create some amazing stuff. You just need to take the initiative.
Name one thing that made you choose TFC over other colleges?
I was first introduced to TFC through my wonderful High School Choir director over four years ago. Upon my first visit and interview at TFC, I was immediately impressed by everything I saw. Though relatively unsure of how I wanted to pursue my future, but sporting a solid affinity towards audio production through my High School Drama Club days, I jumped in feet first and utterly fell in love with sound design. Through two years of hard work I developed my ear into something I could present professionally and here I am now!
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I could go back into the past to tell myself one thing (that would likely be ignored by my younger self) I would tell him rather uncontroversially that I should read more. Not to sound cliché, but reading has come to be the greatest influence I’ve come to recognize as a filmmaker, film writer and a human being. Find things you like to read. Read comics, thrillers and whatever else grabs your eye. After that, jump into your tech manuals and theory books. As an artist, these are your best friends and you’ll learn more than you realize just by reading about your craft. I can’t tell you how influenced I was reading David Yewdall’s Practical Art of the Motion Picture Soundtrack as he described his in-depth process working as John Carpenter’s sound designer. After that, read and analyze the classics. Dig into Dostoyevsky, Hemingway, Twain, Dickens and Shakespeare. Read about art, science, religion, philosophy, history, politics and anything you can get your hands on. The wider your range of knowledge and literary reference, the stronger your work will be.
As I always say, Joss Whedon didn’t become a good enough writer to write The Avengers until he was smart enough to understand Shakespeare.