A Dream Deferred (Part One)

“I got big dreams, visions for this team”-adVerSity

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In November of 2007 I wrapped up the last of my classes at The Conservatory of Recording Arts. It was the happiest day of my life. We went through the congratulation speech and it was off to the final step before graduation, the on the job internship. I had been interning at my home recording studio, tracking and giving Pro Tools lessons. I had also spent some time at a local recording studio so I had completed a good portion of my required hours. I figured if I was going to take the first step in my career as an audio engineer I was going to do it the right way. My current girlfriend, a classmate and myself had discussed it and decided to move to the Los Angeles area of California in hopes of landing an internship in one of the high end recording studios in Hollywood.

We had located a 2 bedroom apartment in Norwalk, 30 miles south east of Hollywood and moved in mid-November.We arrived, moved in, and excitement was in the air. We each looked at this opportunity as a new lease on life and we were ready to for what ever challenges came our way.Our first challenge was finding paid work and getting our internships set-up. After sometime heading up the library putting in 20+ apps a day, we could see the job hunt was going nowhere but things started to look up for me. I got a call from the head of the internship department and they had placed me. I was to start my internship at The Program in Hollywood, California. I looked it up on line and The Program was a recording studio/production company run by hip hop artist Snoop Dogg, R&B producer LT Hutton and Elton Brand, who was the starting Power Forward for the Los Angeles Clippers. I was blown away and just knew this was it. I started my internship under the Chief Engineer D, and was so excited. This was Hollywood. The Hollywood stars were right up the block and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was in walking distance of the studio.I’ll admit I didn’t know alot about LT Hutton, the main face behind the company, to begin with so I did my research and saw he had credits on albums released by Death Row Records, Krazie Bone, Omarion & Bow Wow and most recently he had worked on Tupac’s newest album “Pac’s Life” and with Ashanti on her fourth studio album “The Declaration”.Ashanti was gearing to release her new album but her first singles “Switch” & “Hey Baby (After The Club)” hadn’t generated the proper buzz for the release. She performed “The Way That I Love You” produced by LT Hutton at one of her concerts and a few fans recorded the performance and placed the videos on YouTube. The YouTube community loved the record and I was in the studio with LT when he contacted Ashanti that they needed to use “The Way That I Love You” as the official single. Sure enough the label listened and Ashanti got her newest Top 40 release since 2004’s “Only U”It was awesome having my foot in the door of the Hollywood entertainment environment, even though as an intern the majority of my days were spent cleaning and running errands for LT & the Chief Engineer. I remember the first day Elton Brand had came to the studio. We had a signature call you had to give at the screen door. If you didn’t know the code, you probably didn’t belong there. I was in the middle of cleaning and heard the call. I went to open the screen door and saw Elton Brand. I had always been a basketball fan and knew of Elton well after the long playoff series between the Suns and the Clippers the season before. Elton was on the injury list for the moment, rehabbing his knee and would stop by to check on his business during off times. I let him in, and didn’t act brand new. He checked in and then came over to introduce himself. I’m thinking to myself, “Dude your Elton Brand, no need for introduction!” I didn’t get a chance to meet Snoop while interning there, due to him filming the first season of his reality show “Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood”. But I got to hear a story or two.The day the news hit the world that Pimp C had passed away the industry stood still for a day. LT and his entourage left the studio early that night. I took LT’s cousin to pick up some of his people in some city 20 miles north of Hollywood and then headed back towards the city to drop them off at Nick Cannon & Marques Houston’s party celebrating the life and times of Pimp C. I was just an intern though, so I had to head back to the studio and finish work.During this time my classmate/roommate was in dire need to find a car. A big part of interning in Hollywood is the ability to drive your car around town and run errands. You got award winning engineers and producers working on big budget projects, they have to be in the studio at all times. After about a week of looking, my classmate found a car being sold in Inglewood for a reasonable price. We drove out there, met the woman selling the car and took a look at it. Cosmetically it had a few issues but it drove fine and the engine sounded good. After going over the details for about an hour or so my classmate decided to buy it. Things were starting to look up for him.A few days after he bought the car, he came home to the apartment kind of late and explained to my girlfriend and I how he had locked his keys in the car and had to pay a locksmith to unlock it. I told him to be careful getting locked out somewhere late at night, especially since none of us are from this area. He was a smart dude but one of those people who get lost in there own minds and can’t stay focused on the task at hand. Well sure enough it came back to haunt him, and us.Another couple of days passed and he left the apartment one morning to go to the library to do some job hunting. He came back with a lost look on his face and he was pale. The car was gone. I went out with him to make sure he just didn’t park it somewhere and forget where but sure enough, the car was gone. All of his confidence and hope in this Hollywood dream fell apart.To keep the students focused on getting in the industry ASAP, the internship department gives you a time limit to obtain all of your intern hours and graduate. If you’re proactively trying to complete your hours, they will work with you, and he had been working hard at getting something going. We had been out there for around 2 and a half weeks and he feared that he wouldn’t be able to find a studio to intern at and get his hours in time to graduate. He started to second guess his whole decision in moving to California and how things have just been going bad for him since he came out to the west coast. I explained to him to keep the faith, everything happens for a reason and to just stay focused, but apparently the fear of things not working out for the better won in the end.He decided to move back home out in the Mid-West but just before he got a plane ticket he got a call from the police. His car had been found (this time he had forgot to lock the door) and he could pick up the car. He just had to pay the storage fee’s for the days it had been in the impound. Maybe it was a sign from God, a test, or pure coincidence (which I don’t believe in coincidences or luck) but his mind was made up. He let the police keep the car, bought a plane ticket and bounced.My girlfriend and I talked to the apartment complex. The 2 bedroom apartment we had was $1600 a month, neither one of us had found paid work yet and my savings account (filled with student loan money) was fading fast. They let us downgrade to a one bedroom. We were grateful but it cost me $1500 to break the lease and our new lease for the one bedroom was still $1200 a month. My savings was depleted and with no one to turn to for financial help, we were running out of options…To be continued…

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