The best way to prepare for real-world production is to adopt and continuously use real-world workflow, routines, and standards. Trevor Henthorn , Adjunct Faculty , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
I would have to say that moment when I was offered money to perform with the trumpet. I had signed up to participate at a Renaissance Fair, assuming I would be a volunteer. It turned out that they needed a herald trumpeter. I had played trumpet for 8 years, but never herald trumpet. The Fair provided me with the instrument, most of the required costume and union pay. This was quite an honor, especially for a high school student. Before the season began, I was also invited to fly from San Francisco to Portland to play at a corporate event. Travel, music, costumes, pay and, most importantly, respect—I was sold!
How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?
For the past 30 years, I have worked in the music, performance and technology industries. So, I have seen (and still see) the realities of production workflow, impossible deadlines, competition, unexpected delays, the need to be 'cutting edge' and the balance of creativity with technology, administration, and funding. The students (well, most of them) seem to enjoy my real-life stories of production complications and related solutions. Certainly, they enjoy seeing, learning and using modern tools. The 'Emerging' and 'Interactive' courses turn out to be a great platform for sharing new ideas and technology. The 'recording' courses allow for exploration of quality, professional capture using traditional and modern techniques and collaboration with accomplished artists.
Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?
I believe that it is important to bring professional workflow into the classroom and studio. We establish industry standard roles such as "production manager," "producer," and "engineer." We use industry standard tools, not just for recording, but also for scheduling, document sharing and media archiving. This includes the integration of smartphones, tablets and 'the cloud.' Most importantly, we keep to real-world standards. I use the same criticisms that I received as a consultant when working for record labels, radio and TV (including NBC, CBS, and Universal) to gauge “professional quality.”
What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
It's no secret that collaboration and group work is difficult for folks (especially students), but a necessity for the success of large projects. In class, we explore use of social tools such as peer critique and technological tools such as eCompanion, Brightspace, Wordpress, Basecamp, as well as various audio-centric cloud services.
In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?
I believe the key phrase here is "real world." The best way to prepare for real-world production is to adopt and continuously use real-world workflow, routines, and standards. Use industry standard tools, not just what is most convenient. This includes collaboration and leverage of all local resources, on and off campus.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?
Before coming to The Art Institute to teach in the evenings, I support the technical infrastructure in the Department of Music at University of California-San Diego. This is a very different environment from The Art Institute—different resources, different technology and different students. It's always rewarding to connect the audio production skill of Art Institute students with the musical skill from UCSD. Outside of both of those schools, San Diego and Tijuana host active music and art scenes. As working in the audio industry means working with performers, bringing those performers into the studio and bringing students to meet local musicians is a blast!