R. Lawson Cade G’19

R. Lawson Cade graduated from the Newhouse School in 2019 as a member of the audio arts cohort.

“I can’t stress enough how amazing all of the professors are that I had throughout my journey.”

R. Lawson Cade G’19

After fostering his audio production skills at Syracuse, Cade is now the head engineer and owner of his own freelance company, R-Cade Productions. Additionally, he works as a freelance post production engineer at Studio Unknown and technician for Exclusively Entertainment. While at Newhouse, Cade worked as recording engineer for Syracuse University Records and production instructional associate (IA) for the news labs in the Dick Clark studios.

What is your current position?

R-Cade Productions was established while I still attended SU in [early] 2019. It was the product of creating a backup employment plan for myself. It particularly focused on audio production, which proved to be an extremely arduous task.

Studio Unknown [was a connection made] by reference from a professor I had at [my undergraduate university], Towson University. Studio Unknown is a bi-coastal post production studio that has taken on many TU interns in the past. I reached out to them about job opportunities. While there was nothing full-time available, they did decide to interview me and review some of my past film work. Right now, they are outsourcing work to me where I do most of my work with R-Cade Productions.

Exclusively Entertainment [is a] company that provides lights, sound and DJ services for various events including weddings, corporate [and] public events around the DMV [the Washington D.C. metropolitan] area. I came across them while applying for jobs at the tail end of my time at Syracuse.    

What’s an average day like for you on the job?

At R-Cade productions, I offer and facilitate the production of podcasts to businesses and individuals who are interested in utilizing podcasts to build sonic branding and to cultivate a culture behind the focus of their product.

When commissioned, Studio Unknown will send me the necessary files for a film or television show and my task will be anywhere from dialog editing, ADR, to SFX implementation [among others]. Occasionally I will work at the company’s East Coast location. For the most part, my work is done remotely.

My work at Exclusively Entertainment starts with me being assigned to an event. From there, my co-workers and I are given everything the client requested. This typically involves a standard array of DJ rig, live sound PAs and aesthetic lighting. Our task is to arrive at the venue before the event officially starts and then setup and troubleshoot until the event concludes.

How do you feel Newhouse prepared you for your current job?

When reflecting on my time spent at SU, I find it humorous that some of the required audio arts courses offered some of the most beneficial lessons. The humor comes from the fact that, at the time, such required courses might seem more like an inconvenience than a boon. Some examples, pertaining to myself personally, are conducting oneself with a little more of that entrepreneurial spirit, not being so afraid of failure and [taking] initiative. There were multiple opportunities where the program offered practical examples and context directly from the professional industry. This was done through guest speakers, presentations [and] events.

On a more eclectic note, my time at SU significantly help me optimize my audio workflow. When working on projects that involve a tremendous amount of creativity, there naturally comes a lot of doubt and uncertainty. Is my song, podcast or general product even good? Is it ready? Does it sound professional? These questions plague most creators, but the program has provided me with so many experiences that have allowed me to help console and convince those I have had the privilege of working with that it [the project] is ready to be published. Will I, or they, dislike it a couple years down the road because we wished we had done something differently? I honestly hope so. That’s growth and development 101.

Did Newhouse open your eyes to new professions or aspect of your field you may have not considered when applying?

Absolutely! Before Newhouse, I always saw podcasting as a creative tool. Thanks to the audio arts program, I learned that a podcast could be used for so much more than simply artistic expression. They can also be used to share information, market a new product and give people a new avenue to share their voices. Newhouse also gave me experience with working in broadcast audio, which I had never even considered before attending the school.

What unique features of your graduate program drew you to it in the first place?

[What drew me to the program was] the amount of time it takes to complete the program, the shared resources between [Visual and Performing Arts] and Newhouse, and the flexibility and organic nature that it offers to its students that allows them the opportunity to tailor their curriculum to their interests. Also, the fact that the program didn’t require us to take the GRE was a plus.

What internships or volunteer opportunities did you do while at Newhouse?

While at Syracuse, I had the pleasure of interning for two local recording studios: Subcat Studios & Moletrax. I worked with some of Syracuse University’s Record Label artists to record and produce new music for them. At Newhouse specifically, I was able to assist with some recording sessions with OTN (Orange Television Network), and other productions. Those opportunities were all thanks to Patrick MacDougall.

What advice do you have for current or incoming students? Any classes or professors that you recommend?

It’s okay to come into this program not knowing exactly what you want to focus on. Drink it in, take initiative with the opportunities it offers, and don’t shun any of the required courses. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you might learn, even if you’re not initially interested in the course’s topics. I can’t stress enough how amazing all of the professors are that I had throughout my journey, especially considering their specialized areas.

If I had to give a couple of specific recommendations, they would have to be Patrick MacDougall, Bill Werde, and James Abbott. Each one of these professors conducts themselves with an infectious energy specifically unique to their personalities. MacDougall is so passionate about his work, even after working in the industry for so long. He is always looking for new ways to keep workflow fresh and optimized, which is incredibly inspiring. Werde is aggressively encouraging in the best way possible. He is always testing his students to dig deeper and to act when faced with a challenge. If you’re looking to start your own business within the entertainment industry, I highly recommend taking his RAE 505 course, “Entertainment Industry Explorations.” Lastly, we have James Abbott. Abbott is full of fun quirks that’ll definitely bring a smile to your face. His knowledge of pro audio and recording technologies is staggering. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of making professional recordings, he is the professor for you.