Industry Pro: Music Producer & Post House Owner/CEO Michael Perricone
Michael Perricone started demonstrating his passion for music as a child, playing guitar and bass, and owned a sound rental company in his late teens before finding his niche as a sound mixer in the recording studio. Since then, he has covered a lot of ground in music and TV and film sound, as well as having some interesting sidelines. YII was excited to talk to someone who has mixed his passion for music with his entrepreneurial talents.
Current position: I am a Sound Designer and Rerecording Mixer, CEO of Lotus Post, a Music Producer & the Founder/Owner of OmStream.com.
College: I completed two years of junior college.
First job in the entertainment industry: Assistant Engineer at a Recording Studio. There were about 300 recording studios in Hollywood at that time and I applied to all of them. I figured out when the receptionist went to lunch at the one where I most wanted to work and I rang the doorbell at that time. I got to speak to the owner directly. That’s how I got hired.
Big break: My first job was the big break. I got to work with top people. My first session was with Alice Cooper. This thrust me immediately into a high-profile world.
Eureka moment: I had a PA (sound system) rental company for local bands, but the first time I went into a recording studio, I knew that’s where I wanted to be.
Career path: I started as an assistant and moved up to being a sound engineer there and then after a few years, became an independent engineer. I worked for Saban Entertainment, recording theme songs for their shows. And then I recorded independent music projects and did post sound design on a couple of TV movie projects for producer/director/actor John Schneider (“The Dukes of Hazzard”). I got a job managing a studio in 1984 and focused in on post-production in TV & Film and made the facility profitable. I also worked at Evergreen Studios as a sound engineer for orchestral score recordings.
In 1985, I co-founded a studio called Interlock (now Larsen Studios), doing mostly TV & Film post-production (and about 10 percent music). During the time I owned and operated it, we went from working on projects like “Mad Movies With the LA Connection” (low budget/low profile) to CBS’s “Touched By An Angel.”
After I sold it in 2002, I took a year off and produced a couple of albums (classical crossover) and then started doing some audio post-production again, but mainly I continue doing music post-production (mastering the music for DVDs), including doing ZZ Top: Live From Texas (the largest selling music DVD of last year.) I took over a studio in Santa Monica earlier this year, now called Lotus Post.
Other careers: Being in audio post is the last stage of making film and television. I wanted an opportunity to be on the front end. I was a journalism major in college and I wrote short stories, so I tried my hand at writing a pilot with a friend a few years back. We called 60 agents and managers. Two read it and both wanted to sign us. We pitched episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager” and ended up writing two, one of which was nominated for a Saturn award for writing. Also, we were story editors on a series called “Savannah” and then we got hired on “Charmed” (with the title of executive story editor) and worked on it for one season. We also wrote episodic freelance projects for Disney Channel and Paramount.
Another endeavor came out of being frustrated because the music I would produce was categorized so oddly on iTunes that it would be difficult to find. I started Omstream.com in 2005 as “iTunes for the conscious music market.” We now have over 10,000 titles on the site.
Describe a typical work day in your current position: As the owner of a post house, it might involve coming in, addressing a billing issue, starting a transfer of a session I did over the weekend (I still do mixing), resolving a disagreement between employees, following cables in the machine room to figure out how something was routed from the previous people, signing checks, working on another session. We just did ADR on a Jennifer Aniston film and also on a Lasse Halstrom film using a Skype Connection to NY. We recently finished a country music show for Freemantle (producers of “American Idol”) called “Can You Duet?”
Worst job (or day) in entertainment industry: Got caught in a political situation in one of our writing projects that ended with everyone hired by the creator of the series being dumped by the second season.
Best job (or day) in entertainment industry: When I opened Interlock. It was so exciting and fresh. I was young and not quite so jaded.
Best thing about your current job: I get to help shape and guide a business and make a difference in a business that can get pretty messy. I can work with people who believe in doing things without stepping on other people’s throats.
Worst thing about your current job: So far, there hasn’t been any “worst” thing. I haven’t had to fire anyone yet. It was challenging trying to raise operating capital to start a company in this economy.
Brush with greatness: My favorite brush with greatness was getting a one-on-one impromptu writing lesson from Ray Bradbury. He was doing commentary for a laser disc on “The Martian Chronicles.” I mentioned I had just started writing and got a 20 minute primer.
Secret of your success/advice to the newbie: Ignore anyone that says you can’t do it. Sheer determination wins out over everything else.
Next move: To build Lotus up to the point where it operates globally, because it is a global marketplace. To get to the point where I don’t have to be working it hands-on so much and I get to spend more time with my family.
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