Audio Students Engage in Film Soundtrack Project

Digital media professor Mike Wisland guides students in a recording session. James Harward/ UVU Review
Digital media professor Mike Wisland guides students in a recording session. James Harward/ UVU Review

Digital media students in Studio Recording II are getting some real-world experience while recording the music for an upcoming comedy western movie.

The class, taught by Associate Professor Mike Wisland, is recording a 5-piece band, a choir and a grand piano with vocals. The students’ hard work will eventually become the soundtrack for the film “The Medicine Show.”

“Students need projects to work on and the more real-world the project, the better off all of us are,” said Wisland. “They benefit from getting a recording and we benefit from doing it.”

“The Medicine Show” is a local film that is in pre-production and is scheduled to be filmed in late spring and early summer. The film’s director, Pam Lockwood, says they are shooting for a 2011 release and will aim for the Toronto Film Festival.

“We know [Wisland] really well; he is terrific at what he does,” said Lockwood. “We know his students are going to be excellent because Mike is a perfectionist, and he takes sound where no sound has gone before.”

Students are running live recording sessions for the project, and are able to learn things they might not have encountered in the classroom.

“For me it brings in a variety of music I haven’t worked with, and it’s a lot of fun working with session musicians,” said digital media student James Harward.

Working alongside professionals also gives students the chance to see how projects are developed in the film industry.

“It was really cool to get experience with somebody who is more experienced,” said digital media student Brett Carroll. “It is more of a real-world application.”

The studio recording class has high praise for their professor, and attributes the opportunity to be part of “The Medicine Show” to his notoriety in the audio community.

“It is probably [Wisland’s] reputation. He has a lot of contacts and the reputation to be able to produce a good recording,” said Anson Wing, a digital media student. “If you can produce a good recording, people are going to come to you.”

The project enhances the course’s curriculum by allowing students to actually apply the theories and techniques discussed in class lectures, while producing a legitimate professional studio recording.

“We always have a piano recording session every semester, but this is unique because it is actually going to be used in a film and benefit a local artist,” said Wisland. “It has a lot more meaning now, because it is going to end up in a locally produced piece.”

In addition to the real-world experience that the students will gain, they will also be officially recognized by the film.

“It is the real deal, and a real film. We are going to put all the students in the credits. They are all going to be part of the professional crew, and they can put that on their resume,” said Lockwood. “That is really a major step that students need to have in order to work in the film industry.”

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