“A French horn player of [Cline’s] level should be playing, and not working a day job as a waiter,” said Maki. The Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University, coupled with the low cost of living in the Mahoning Valley, are the two main reasons for the area’s wealth of classical musicians. Maki passes on the savings to his clients. Almost all of the musicians in the YSS are professionals, working as music teachers, members of regional orchestras, or as otherwise paid performers. The YSS is producing three to five scores per year at this time, while building its reputation among filmmakers. It is kept on pace largely through the efforts of four key people: Mariana Szalaj, administrative director; concert master Natalie Sahyoun, who handles stylistic expresssions between Maki and the orchestra; engineer Mike Talanca, owner of Tune Town recording studio in Newton Falls; and recordist Jack Ciarnello, who manages all takes and records them. Maki works full time as a composer, and does not take pay for his work as director and conductor of the YSS. His clients are mainly indie filmmakers with modest budgets. Contracts are obtained through his film industry connections. Work begins with Maki reading the script and watching the film to determine the best way to handle the music. “I’m more interested in seeing the film than the script,” he said. “There can be pacing issues. For example, a script might simply say ‘car chase’ but in the film they might do it in slow motion for artistic reasons.” There is a lot of back-and-forth between Maki and the director as the score is fine-tuned. it requires a high degree of cooperation and often results in repeat business. “When a director finds a composer that he can work with, he will continue to do so,” said Maki. “It has to be someone who doesn’t take offense at being told to make changes, who wants the film to be as good as it can be. “There is a lot of give and take. Sometimes I have to start over.” The goal is to make music that enhances the film, seamlessly and unobtrusively. Maki gave an example: “When you hear the score of ‘Rocky,’ it makes you go ‘yay, Rocky,’ not ‘yay, music.’”

Las Cruces – Dominic Brown, 23, a senior at New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute, is directing a film called “Knock ‘Em Dead.” It’s a short film about a mortuary assistant who dreams of becoming a comedian, but lacks comic timing.
“He’s not very funny, so he practices comedy in front of the dead as he puts makeup on them,” Brown said. “It’s a heartwarming story as we follow him and he tries to follow his dream.”The film is part of Brown’s senior project, which includes a crew of about 20 people and a cast of at least 11 main characters, including other NMSU students and recently graduated students.Once the project is finished, Brown said the group plans to try to have a public showing at Rio Grande Theatre. They will also try to enter the short in film festivals, he said.After Brown graduates, he plans to continue to work on independent film projects and apply for internships.While Brown said he would enjoy taking on an internship in Las Cruces, there aren’t many film internships offered locally, so finding work elsewhere may be the best option for now. However, Brown said he thinks the film scene is on the rise in the state and that Las Cruces may turn out more opportunities in the future.”(Las Cruces) has a lot of space to really film and be free… and a lot of people are willing to work with students,” he said. “I think as time goes on, New Mexico might be one of the top places for filming.”With two movie studios in Santa Fe and two studios in Albuquerque, Brown may not be wrong about the future of the film industry in the state.And while Las Cruces has some catching up to do, the local film scene, including the rise of independent films and media production companies, have been budding over the last few years.”We’ve got two great film schools here,” said Mark Vasconcellos, local filmmaker, actor and former Creative Media Technology professor at Doña Ana Community College. “We’ve got a city that’s pretty pro-film now and we have a lot of businesses that can help the filmmakers here, so we’re ready to go. We just need to do it properly.”Last year, the New Mexico state legislature appropriated $555,000 for the construction of a backlot, or outdoor set, at Corralitos Ranch, west of Las Cruces near the airport, which would attract more big-name movies to the area. However, that money may be reappropriated to build a soundstage (a sound-controlled building) first, Vasconcellos said.One of the benefits of bringing bigger films to Las Cruces is that it will create more jobs for students graduating from college, giving them an opportunity to get their foot in the door to what is a highly competitive, unionized industry, he said.”At this point in time, most of the young filmmakers end up leaving Las Cruces and that’s what we don’t want,” Vasconcellos said. “We want to bring the industry here, so people can get hired on legitimate films and stay here. And then when they have money in their pockets, they turn around and make their own movies, so the industry kind of feeds itself.”Preparing studentsAlong with Brown, about 325 students have majors in Digital Filmmaking and Animation and Visual Effects in the CMI program at NMSU — a program that started about eight years ago, said Phil Lewis, Ph.D., NMSU cinema professor and former CMI department head.At one point, the program was up to about 425 students, Lewis said. The high interest created a need for an application process to keep the numbers manageable, due to a lack of faculty and small facilities. Currently, the program can comfortably accommodate about 300 students.Students who are admitted to the program depend on the number of students already enrolled, how many applications are submitted and the applicants’ filmmaking experience. Lewis said since he began serving as department head five years ago, three faculty members have been added to the program. Whether faculty may expand in the near future is unknown, Lewis said. But the construction of a studio in Las Cruces may provide another facility for CMI students to take classes and learn the trade.http://newsok.com/local-media-programs-prepare-students-for-a-future-in-film/article/feed/804430

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