June 8, 2015 at 3:09PM, Edited June 8, 3:11PM

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Warning on MZED Sound Advice Tour (with Frank Serafine)

First off, Frank Serafine is no longer a part of the tour. It's now being led by Mark Edward Lewis (some other sound guy from LA, Listed under "more results" on IMDB.) Frank had to bow out for health reasons. I believe he's been out the whole tour pretty much. I feel like I should have been notified by email at least before showing up to the event titled "Sound Advice Tour with Frank Serafine"

I didn't feel this seminar was worth the time or the price for me. I knew probably 80-90% of the material covered and I'm not even a sound guy. I'm a producer/shooter/editor and I was only looking to bolster up my really weak audio background. The rest of material that I did not previously know was a sales pitch. He gave a brief overview of the basic function of various (and really expensive) plugins which also happened to be sponsors of the event. He showed how to remove noise from interview audio using third-party plugins in Adobe Audtion which seemed to be less adequate than the noise reduction already available in Audition. He did a sales pitch for Killer Tracks. He did a sales pitch for Sony Spectral Layers which seems like a good product. He really pushed the Zoom and Rhode products.

He did talk about foley sounds and ADR for probably 30 minutes which was super insightful. I was disappointed when he moved on to more sales pitches.

If anyone has interest in knowing more about this tour, let me know. If you're on the fence about purchasing a ticket, I can give you a rundown on the covered material to help you decide.

I felt misled going into this thing so hopefully some of that gives a clearer expectation.

9 Comments

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.

June 9, 2015 at 10:50AM

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mark lewis
Director, Post Production Supervisor
81

June 9, 2015 at 11:34AM

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Amanda Killingsworth
Marketing Director
168

I too walked into the class with a pretty good knowledgebase in audio, and wished the class would have focused more on the things I wanted. But at the same time, I understand how these things work. For a teacher to have no idea about the knowledgebase of his students and go from basic sound terminology and principles to advanced EQing and surround sound mixing all in one day is just incredible! I did not pay thousands of dollars for one-on-one time with a top industry pro. I paid 300 bucks and walked away with a wealth of knowledge I never had before. I learning how to notch-EQ (which alone was worth the price of admission) but I also learned some amazing techniques about how to quickly knock out a surroundsound mix in 15 min, foley on the cheap and fast from a keyboard and overlap sounds and dialogue so both have impact without making the other muddy or unintelligible! I'm super glad I went! I'm disappointed I didn't get to meet Frank Serafini, but at the same time, I got a little surprise, I got to meet a person whose work I've admired for a long time! Mark Edward Lewis is an incredible media producer, hilarious individual, and a wonderful teacher! Mark, thanks for the fantastic class, answering all my questions (and I had a lot,) staying late on your own time to give us even more information, and oh yeah, I got a year of Adobe CC software for free as icing on top! I'd say I had a fantastic time! Thanks Mark!

June 9, 2015 at 1:19PM, Edited June 9, 1:19PM

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Michael McCool
Producer\ Director
81

I second this motion. This course is definitily worth it.

June 11, 2015 at 11:09AM

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Saskamodie
Filmmaker
256

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. And for Amanda and Michael, having MZED affiliates or employees dispute my feedback probably doesn't inspire confidence to anyone on the fence about purchasing tickets. 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 2:44PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1301

I just attended this seminar like yesterday (05/10/15) and I can say in full confidence that it is well worth the price of admission. In discounts vouchers ALONE this course was worth the $300 paid. I can understand that some parts of the course felt like they focused on the "soup" bits rather the "nuts". Of course there is going to be information presented here that you may already know. BUT... and this is a big BUT, I can assure you that something will be presented that you DID NOT KNOW. I personally had no idea that some of the ways professional sound designers/engineers go about doing ADR was so simple. I also was blown away by one of the sections where Mark broke down how he created new sounds from existing and custom sound libraries using tools that many of us alreay have at our disposal. Furthermore I think what people need to understand is that even if Frank is not there (because of health issues) Mark was the individual who created the tour in the first place. So not only are you going to get most of what Frank would have presented (including a HD download) but also the unique information that Mark has acquired during his career. It's crazy to me that people don't understand the value in that. $300 is a drop in the bucket compared to what you would and could pay to get the same information scattered across the internet in various waterdown forms.

June 11, 2015 at 11:06AM

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Saskamodie
Filmmaker
256

$300 is a huge amount of money for me and I will take your word for it that it is worth it for you, but I don't have that money to spend and I am not alone, I wonder if the cost were $150 which is much more affordable if they would make more money due to the likelyhood with the download affordable many times more people can participate. Shane Hurlbut charged $1k for the download for his last tour. I am not making hollywood video, but am a indie filmmaker with a indie filmmaker income.

June 14, 2015 at 12:32AM

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I attended the seminar and was blown away with all the sound information given. Got tons of discounts on stuff ( check out the website for further). I've been to several film making related seminars/workshops. This was by far totally worth the 300 bucks. In this day and age it seems as if no one is satisfied. Not sure what else people want.

June 14, 2015 at 1:44AM

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Hi Josh, We appreciate your feedback. I was unable to find your contact information in our tour registration but please reach out to MZed's owner, Jeff Medford with your comments. His contact information is below.
jeff@mzed.com
Direct: +1-301-986-4410
Mobile: +1-225-266-2836

Thanks,
Amanda

June 15, 2015 at 12:20PM

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Amanda Killingsworth
Marketing Director
168

I just attended the Nashville session... I thought it was pretty great. I too felt slightly misled, or rather disappointed that Frank wasn't there - but I got to meet him before and see him speak/teach before. Mark was awesome! What I thought was great about this course is that it teaches many PRACTICAL things. Problems we face in mixing/recording, and what to do about it. And many tips and tricks to make the mix sound better... Stuff you only get when you listen to someone who's been doing it for decades. We all know how to push faders and turn knobs but courses like this explain the WHY. I got a lot out of it actually. I also felt I knew a great deal going in and I'm sure many attendees of the course do as well. But having someone like Mark demonstrate practical things was gratifying when I learned I was doing things correctly - and inspiring when I learned a new trick or see how to do something better. I've taken the full range of Pro Tools training and have years of experience mixing, but what I've always really wanted was to mentor under someone who knows these practical things. This class does that by cramming a lot of stuff in 11 hours. I wish it was two days!

June 24, 2015 at 5:04PM, Edited June 24, 5:04PM

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