Conceived and implemented by students, the Music & Movie Making in Texas Conference 2023 was held on April 15th, 2023 at the Liberal Arts and Humanities building located at Texas A&M in College Station, TX. The conference had over 60 attendees and was lived streamed. The concept of the conference was to bring regional talents ranging from students, faculty and industry together to discuss music and movie making in Texas. The efforts by the students resulted in 5 panels and two open ended space, one about video streaming and the other a noise music studio where attendees were able to have hands on experience throughout the conference. Below you will find summaries of each activity with photos, videos and of course written highlights and reflective section at the end with participants accounts and hopes for future collaborative efforts.
Local BCS Entertainment Landscape
During the Local BCS entertainment panel, local community leaders and entrepreneurs joined Rayane Aboukinane in a student moderated panel. With Joey Lopez and Rayane moderating the talk, we dove deep into how the music scene in Bryan-College Station is developing. Micheal Rodriguez from JMG House band (On the far left), Gustavo from Vision Studios (on the right of Micheal, Rayane Aboukinane known as Zayno Rayne (on the right of Gustavo), and Jeremy Stark of the 101 bar (far right) were in attendance. The panel provided insight in how the BCS landscape is hungry for more music and entertainment. Rayane Aboukinane, who works at the Grand Stafford Theater, speaks about how his music venue seeks to develop local artists/bands and prop up the community. Jeremy Stark who runs the 101 bar provided insight on what obstacles currently stand in the way of development. Gustavo from vision studios is a community leader who has a wide network of artists and producers from the BCS area. He has developed over the last 3 years a network of hungry artists who want to break the mold and bring the city up. Micheal from JMG speaks on his background and how his local band came together. He described it as their version of “Tiny Desk Concerts” that started off with old highschool classmates, and developed into a movement. The local BCS scene is bubbling, what talents are hidden below the surface waiting to break out?
The filmmaking panel, organized and moderated by Arden Duffield and Leo Garza (with the help of Joey Lopez) and consisted of a combination of film-makers of different professions and backgrounds.
The conversation provided a variety of different perspectives which helped paint a picture of the Audio-Visual arts discipline as a whole.
While Haley Cox, Sheyla Hidalgo and Amy Kingston elaborated on their experience running and coordinating A-Line, their student-run fashion magazine at Texas A&M, Lisa Ramon spoke about her experience working in the production industry as a creative manager at the production company PICTURESTART.
To close out the panel, Zach Gentry and Alex Picture, both of whom attend NYU for film production closed the panel off speaking about their creative process and future aspirations, as well as their impressions on the film industry in New York.
Regional Bands and Artists
The TAMU Music and Film conference also held a panel discussion with Regional musicians and bands. The first three musicians (JonoJono on the left, Maxwell from The Working Hours in the middle, and Seth from Gray Falls next to Max) are all based out of Houston. During this panel, Rayane Aboukinane asked about the innerworkings of the minds of these young and talented musicians. JonoJono was asked about his creative process and how he develops his music with prominent studio engineers. Maxwell, a Texas A&M alumn, spoke about his bands latest name change from “Small Talk” to “The Working Hours” and why. Seth from Gray Falls spoke about how is love for music developed his skills and caused him to form his group. These artists embody unique talents and provide insight to any upcoming musicians who want to get started.
The next three artists that the media lab invited were Jardyn Howelton, Shain, and Dayytona. All of these artists are based out of Houston and are a part of the LIVE collective. Rayane, going with his artist name Zayno Rayne, is a part of this collective and invited his fellow creatives to the panel. During this panel, we dove into what LIVE is and how it came to be. All the artists have different genres and melodies that seem to work well together. Jardyn leans towards gospel and soul music, Shain is streetsmart talented rapper, Dayytona is a groovy club artist, and Zayno Rayne has a spooky melodic flow that reminds people of halloween. Together, these creatives shed light on the struggles and the triumphs of indie musicians.
Arden Duffield –
It was a great pleasure to have been invited by Joey Lopez to organize and moderate this panel alongside Leo Garza. I think it went very smoothly, however I do think it could have benefitted from more industry interviewees. Lisa Ramon gave lots of great insight in her process navigating the film industry in LA, which I found very insightful.
In the future I would like to invite a wider variety of visual storytellers such as painters, comic book artists, journalists, and actors to contribute to the colorful collage of perspectives I aim to learn about with this panel.
joey lopez –
This event definitely tested me on multiple levels as a facilitator. I learned a ton about what I am physically and mentally capable. In addition to this conference I have had a hand in 3 other conferences in the spring of 2023. This particular one was very collaborative and gave me the chance to work with not only colleagues but students at a very “feet on the ground” level where students were part of all the decision making. I also attempted to be as collaborative with other colleagues at the same time and ultimately failed in many ways, but also had some key successes such as having colleagues William Connor and Mathew Campbell join in on the planning of the conference.
The conference took on many conceptual forms and where it landed was truly a collaborative effort. At one point it was almost going to be hosted in a whole other space. We had a concert planned. There were many ups and downs, but mainly ups.
I feel this specific conference laid the ground work for a much larger event next year that will be in collaboration with many other departments, colleges, universities and industry participants.