About James Petulla and Brian Kraft: “The Connectors”
Founder and CEO of Recording Radio Film Connection, James “Jimi” Petulla got his start in radio broadcasting. While teaching at a well-known and now-defunct broadcasting school, Jimi saw firsthand how trade schools can process students through a curriculum and effectively drop them into the job market without any real connections or experience—only a useless diploma and lots of debt. Around that time, a friend of his who worked as an audio engineer admitted to Jimi that he never hired trade school students, because he preferred to hire people he’d trained himself in the recording studio. When Jimi realized most entertainment industry professionals felt the same way, he had an inspiration to develop a training program that would use the mentor-apprentice approach to instruct students in real studios and production companies—and Radio Recording Film Connection was born.
Nearly thirty years later, Jimi’s “inspiration” has effectively trained thousands of audio engineers, radio broadcasters, music producers and filmmakers and other entertainment professionals who are now working in their dream jobs. Jimi has also found success as a filmmaker himself, with his independent film Reversal (2001) taking awards at Tribeca and the Malibu Film Festival. Jimi Petulla continues to maintain a serious passion for professional mentoring, which has led to his role in The Connectors scholarship program.
Brian Kraft’s role in The Connectors comes out of a long-standing passion for professional mentoring. Brian is the Chief Operations Officer and Chief Academic Officer for Recording Radio Film Connection, having had a hand in the development of the school’s mentor-apprentice approach and compiling the curriculum for all branches of the school. Kraft has also worked in both television and film, having written, directed and produced on independent films The Brandon Corey Story (2006) and The Fall of America and the Western World-A Survival Guide (2009).
Part of the initial inspiration for The Connectors scholarship program came from a television appearance by Brian on Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, during which (in collaboration with Judge Mathis) he gave a troubled young filmmaker a full-ride scholarship to the Film Connection Learn in Los Angeles film program. The experience inspired Brian (along with business partner Jimi Petulla) to do more to help deserving candidates achieve their career goals, and the idea eventually expanded into The Connectors program. Brian considers this scholarship program, as well as his continued role in Recording Radio Film Connection, to be extensions of his lifelong passion for professional mentoring.