Vennie Palmer Discusses His Experience and Unique Offerings

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In The Recording Arts and Film programs 

By Erin Vanderkarr 

Vennie Palmer

Vennie Palmer, program manager of Recording Arts & Technology (RAT) and Film, is a significant advocate for and a former student of the program. He started as a musician at his church and after graduating from college, returned to Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) to take classes in the RAT program which he said helped him, “learn the technical side of music.”

Palmer never anticipated becoming the RAT and Film program manager. Before he was offered the position he had a job as a high school teacher in Recording Arts, was a professor at Tri-C, and to this day continues to produce jazz and gospel music.  He learned more about film after getting his masters in instructional design and technology. His interest in technology, experience studying and teaching at Tri-C, and commitment to students have helped the RAT and Film programs develop relationships in the industry which helps students gain employment post-graduation.   

Palmer highlighted the connections the RAT and Film programs have with companies within the industry, specifically Eighth Day Sound Systems Inc., Maltz Performing Arts Center, Cleveland Museum of Art, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Netflix, Playhouse Square, and more.  Eight Day Sound has a training program for students who want to do the live sound circuit and work on tours. They also train them in every aspect including working on the soundboard, hanging speakers, working front of house sound, monitoring sound, fixing equipment, and running their gear.  

“All these different places look for our students,” Palmer said adding that “some of my former classmates and students are out on tour right now.”  

Palmer emphasized how nice it is to have companies like Eighth Day Sound and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame who are always looking for our students. He shared that Tri-C has a joint-use agreement with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame which means there is a certain number of internships for students. “It is a nice partnership to have with these companies,” Palmer said.  

As for film students, many become production assistants on different films, for instance. Palmer mentioned that Netflix comes to Cleveland every summer and hires Tri-C students and many students end up working for Netflix post-graduation. 

“Students are encouraged to think outside the box and consider something other than sitting in the studio because the big sound studios are going away,” Palmer said. “But opportunities exist in producing sound for games, film, live sound, licensing, and more. Also, the live sound and film market is booming in Cleveland and allows students to find success after graduation.” 

Palmer schedules master classes every semester in which students learn from professionals about something that is not necessarily talked about in existing classes but relates to both the sound and film industries in some way. “There are at least three master classes a semester which can include a producer or filmmaker to talk about their process and history,” Palmer said. “For film, there are master classes in DaVinci Resolve which is software for film editing and motion graphics. The master class is an opportunity to learn a new software that competes with other software that costs thousands of dollars, but DaVinci Resolve is free for the Master class students.” 

Check out The Recording Arts & Technology program course sequence and the Film & Media Arts program course sequence.  

Palmer has been successful in running both programs, keeping connections, and helping students in the programs find success for themselves. He encourages students to come out and check out these kinds of master classes. 

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