June 9, 2015 at 7:51AM

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Warning about Frank Serafine's Sound Design Tour Revisited

This is in response to Josh Paul's rant about the MZed Frank Serafine Sound Design Tour, and I invite any attendees to respond to this thread about their experience - good or bad. Josh's original post can be seen here:

http://nofilmschool.com/boards/discussions/warning-mzed-sound-advice-tou...

Hey Josh. Mark Edward Lewis here. Thanks for your authentic and truthful response to our course. I'm going to respond to your post herein in the hopes a few things can be cleared up for those who are reading this and perhaps clear a few things up for you as well.

First, when someone has a health issue, there's nothing we can do. I apologize you feel like you were deceived, and I sympathize. And to that end, while Frank wasn't there, Mzed approached ME to design the course for Frank which I did. So, what you received from me (and what I have presented to all of the courses I've led) is EXACTLY what Frank would have brought to you - with the addition of all my experience as a filmmaker, editor, post production supervisor and composer for 25 years. So you got MORE than you paid for therein. Well, perhaps with the exception of a man with hair.
2. I'm not just an "additional/other sound guy." You might want to take a further look at my IMDB credits. Now, of course, I don't have the 40 years of experience that Frank has in sound. And of course, I'm sorry that you weren't able to meet Frank in person, as he's one of my closest friends and one of the most wonderful people on the planet. For that I'm sorry. However, I'm going to put myself on the level on which I belong in this conversation which IS one of wide and deep experience in just about every area of post and production. Please consider this when you reference me in the future.
3. I'm sorry that you didn't have the experience of value that 99.8% of the people who come to courses receive. In fact, I'm clear with attendees that if one is "awake," you'll have the opportunity to get 12 times your value. Most people walk out with so much knowledge they leave WITH THEIR LIVES CHANGED. I know for a fact that no one is speaking about the 3 aspects of music use, how to speak to a composer and know how to maximize your market penetration with audio, the nature of excellence in sound design, how to use RX for sound effects use, Looping vs. ADR, how to do foley yourself, demonstrating the various ways to use wind trapping devices on location, inverse square law, notch Eq-ing, dialogue syncing using Adobe Audition or demonstrating with top Hollywood movies how Hollywood uses DX, SFX and MX to make people like their movies better than yours. I'm sorry you weren't able to receive or understand these world-altering sections. Most people do once presented with them.
4. Lastly, I want to assure you that our sponsors who include the who's who of audio equipment manufacture including Sony, Rode (spelled without the "H" BTW), Manfrotto, Roland, Triad-Orbit, iZotope, Adobe, Avid, and at least 20 more would not have given us their equipment, money or interest had they not seen the curriculum (which I designed) and not approved of the entire situation. Moreover, nearly ALL of these manufacturers have sent representatives which have integrated themselves into our productions and interacted with attendees - from which upgrades of equipment and software will occur in the near future FROM that interaction. Thus, we're actually doing R & D ON TOUR with these incredible manufacturers. If you felt like there was a lot of "pitching" I apologize. Nevertheless, these manufacturers have bent over backwards to help us make this tour a reality, and both Frank and I are complete believers in their equipment and software - and I'm not pitching any more than I do when my filmmaker friends come to me and ask me what I recommend. I'm literally telling my friends, "buy THIS!" And so I do in the show.

So, again, I apologize you didn't get your money's worth, and sincerely hope you get your money back. I also hope you weren't one of the many people who have received thousands of dollars of free software during our giveaways and I certainly hope you didn't take us up on the hundreds upon hundreds of dollars of discounts available to all attendees - including Sony Spectral Layers which you mentioned. It would be a shame if in your rant about getting little value you actually miscalculated.

8 Comments

http://soundadvice.mzed.com/overview-trailer

Hey Mark, thanks for reaching out. I'm very sorry to hear about Frank's health and I completely understand. I couldn't imagine managing such a crazy tour schedule even in good health. MZED really doubles-down on selling an experience with an Academy-Award winning sound designer. I was sold with that expectation so anything different is a departure. To this day, that video is still used to sell tickets on the current tour and I was never notified otherwise.

Mark, I'm sorry I was a bit harsh about the sales pitches. I understand where you're coming from but i'm pretty sensitive about watching advertisements during time that I paid for. I consider myself extremely average in terms of being a typical user on this site as well as my level of knowledge. My feedback is probably very relevant to this selective community which is why I chose this site to give feedback. Also, this site is also where I was first directed to the tour.

If you guys are open to this feedback, you might send a quick email to attendees saying "Hey, Frank's having health issues and we're praying he recovers quickly. Mark Lewis is taking over. Here's some of his work..."

June 9, 2015 at 11:47AM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1273

Josh,
Full disclosure here - I know Mark and my husband and I have worked with him on projects. That being said, I think it's kind of sad that people have to worship someone's credits instead of just learning from someone. If "academy award winning" is what sold you, then you must not know about the AMAZING army of smart and talented people who work and teach in the film business around the world. I have learned from many people in this business that are just short of the highest recognition of film in the world - gasp - and I have learned many important things from them. Sometimes it's the guys in the trenches, working with challenging budgets, that can really tell you "the deal" on technology. When you aren't swimming in OPM (other people's money), you learn really fast what equipment is worth spending your or your client's money on. And not having an Oscar (yet), doesn't make you human garbage. Mark is a very smart guy and more than that, he is someone who shares his extensive knowledge freely with film communities both big and small. The problem with the "I do a little bit of everything" generation of filmmakers is they have a real blind spot when it comes to learning from people who have amassed expertise is a particular area. They don't value what people who have specialized have to say because they think all information lives on the Internet. I'm also a former conference producer and I can tell you that generally speakers do not design their own talks and programs - as Mark said. And sponsors are carefully matched to the people who are already using their products so there is no conflict there - again as Mark pointed out. I'm sure you're a decent guy Josh and I truly wish you well in this industry that is tough as hell. - Laura Morand Bailey, Writer/Producer, Organ Hill Films, Los Angeles. (pre-Oscar winner)

June 9, 2015 at 8:34PM

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Laura Morand Bailey
writer/producer
74

Wow, a lot of generalizing going on up there

June 10, 2015 at 12:36PM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2487

At 10:43a, in your words Mark, Josh gave an "authentic and truthful response". Here, just a few minutes later, in your first sentence you claim it was a rant, which certainly has a negative connotation. Why the change?

June 10, 2015 at 12:41PM, Edited June 10, 12:41PM

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John Morse
Producer + Director
2487

Well, is there any reason his authentic and truthful response can't also be a rant to me?

June 11, 2015 at 5:40AM

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mark lewis
Director, Post Production Supervisor
102

I was in the LA class (May 31), so I can share my thoughts. Josh, first I totally agree with you that it was NOT cool at all for MZed to mislead us by making it look like it was Frank who was presenting. It seems unethical and may also be illegal, and they need to fix it right away.

Having said that, I disagree that Mark's class wasn't worth the 300 bucks we paid. Like you, I knew a lot of the stuff technically speaking, but you can pick up the technical stuff anywhere. That's not the point. What Mark gave went beyond technical, stuff you can't easily get elsewhere. For example, every single movie and show I watch now after the class, I find myself listening keenly to each sound and trying to understand why it was chosen while others were left out. There's nothing technical about it, but the fact is I wasn't doing it before, but I'm doing it now, and I'm better for it - thanks directly to Mark.

About the product demos, I agree they were coming off as sales pitches, which is really sad. Because what Mark covered are among the leading products, he wasn't peddling sub-par stuff. Mark: a suggestion for your future talks, if you care. It'd help if you could also at least mention other leading products when you cover a functionality (e.g., similar stuff from Audio Technica, Shure, or whatever you consider to be competition when you mention Rode's). If your sponsorship agreement doesn't allow it, perhaps you can make it clear up-front that you're covering sponsor products but that you use them anyway at work. May be you did, I came in a bit late.

June 10, 2015 at 3:39PM

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Thanks Sekhar. Great having you in the class. As for the sponsors, if I were to go over all the products I actually use and why I use them, that would be an 8 hour class right there. Not to mention the plugins...OMG. So, given the amount of information I have to go over, we're keeping it to the sponsors. Although, we do speak about other equipment and I even mention in many cases they're just fine to have as well (Sennheiser, Sound Devices, Final Cut, Avid, Logic, and probably another 10 or so). I'll take into account your thoughts.

June 11, 2015 at 5:44AM

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mark lewis
Director, Post Production Supervisor
102

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