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MIA prof reminisces on Oscar winner

Credit: STEPHANIE LAI

Music Industry Arts instructor Steve Malison used to see future Oscar winner Craig Mann in the studios at Fanshawe back in the day.


Stephanie Lai | Interrobang | News | March 2nd, 2015



Craig Mann took home an Oscar Award for his sound mixing work on the film Whiplash on February 22.

Mann is a Music Industry Arts alumnus, who graduated in 1996.

Steve Malison began teaching at Fanshawe in 1995. He never taught Mann, but noticed him while he was a student.

“I saw him around a lot,” Malison said. “He was really visible. He was really, really available for everything. His work ethic was unbelievable.”

“I remember him well.”

Malison says the Oscar win is a career changer.

“[Craig’s] in the club – he’s in the Academy Award club, which is very elite,” he said. “The field that he got into is really competitive. There’s a handful of people who successfully earn a living the way that Craig does.”

News of Mann’s accomplishment will no doubt be widespread, and Malison says it’s great exposure for the program, but it’s also a reminder to students both current and future.

“Don’t forget it took him 20 years, and students aren’t realistic about what the time frame is,” he said. “They know that they graduate from a program and six weeks later they’re not going to get a Juno or an Academy Award or an Emmy or a Grammy.”

“It takes time.”

However great exposure for the program is, Malison says Mann’s win doesn’t affect MIA’s credentials.

“It doesn’t put the program in higher credential, but it makes it much more aware,” he said. “For the program, it says that this is a great start for a lot of [students], and it gives them that sense of closure.”

Malison says every graduate is different, and some grads don’t know where they want to end up in the industry. Mann was different.

“I think Craig had a good sense that he wanted to get into mixing for either television or film,” he said. “He worked tremendous hours to get to that level of professionalism.”

Malison recollects seeing Mann in the labs for hours on end.

“He would be in the labs editing music for hours and hours,” he said. “It took five to ten times longer to get the same job done as it does today. He put the time in to do it – he was a perfectionist, and he wanted it to be right up to professional standards.”

Mann possessed traits that students who hope to be in his shoes should strive for.

“He was blessed with great ears,” Malison said. “He’s a critical listener and a critical thinker. I would encourage students to listen a lot and be analytical and critical not only of other people’s work but of their own work.”

Malison says he was also a quiet leader.

“He had confidence but he was also humble,” he said. “He was a meticulous, humble, thorough leader that didn’t have to toot his own horn – he let his work do it for him.”

Though teaching at first was a blur for him, Malison says remembering Mann is a testament to what a standout student he was.

“He picked peoples’ brains, he put the time in and you could see it. Even though I didn’t teach him, you could see that he was a doer. He made stuff happen.”

Though Mann couldn’t be reached at the time, Malison still had words of congratulations for him.

“I’d say, ‘Well done Craig. You’ve worked hard the last 20 years to get where you’re going to and this is a life changer for you. Enjoy the moment because it doesn’t always happen year after year.’”

“I hope he wins more in the future.”
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