UCLA Extension

Instructor Interview – Danny Echevarria

Please say hello to new Entertainment Studies instructor Danny Echevarria! Danny will be teaching The Record Production Process: Professional Practices this winter. He is a music producer, audio engineer, and composer for film, television and advertisements. His credits include music for Taco Bell, Disney, and PacSun commercials as well as score mixing for the upcoming feature We Broke Up. He is also a writer and content creator for The Pro Audio Files.

We checked in with Danny and asked him 5 questions to get to know more about him and his course.

What about teaching for Entertainment Studies are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to seeing what drives my students, where they find inspiration and where that takes them. I hope I can share some of my passion for making music with them, and I have no doubt they’ll open my mind up to new styles and possibilities as well. I think the program is really well tailored to the current landscape for independent artists, and I’m excited just to be part of it!

What do you hope students get out of your course?
If nothing else, I hope that students get a chance to explore their ideas fearlessly, and to incorporate some new knowledge and skills along the way. I think a class setting has so much potential to be an opportunity to incubate and develop ideas away from the pressure that comes with being “onstage,” be it a physical stage or a digital one, and I hope I can help them make the most of that. Selfishly, I hope I can clue some of them into some of the music and artists that have inspired me and enriched my life, and equally selfishly I hope they will show me some new artists to draw inspiration from as well.   

What is one thing you want students to know before they begin your class?
I’d like my students to know that failure really is the best teacher. Committing all of yourself to something I think is the only way to grow as an artist, but often our preconceived notions about how things are “supposed to go” can get in the way. A class like this one is a chance to try some new things out, and I think the willingness to try regardless of the outcome is the biggest determining factor in a student’s success.

What are you watching or listening to these days that you are enjoying?
2020 has been a year of revisiting old favorites for me, and I feel somewhat silly admitting that the first thing that came to mind when I read this question is my re-watching of Home Movies, which is a cartoon from the early 00’s that I really loved at the time. It’s still good! And in the midst of this very weird year, it’s been sort of comforting to revisit something like that, like hanging out with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone aspiring to break into your field?
If there’s something you want to do, just do it! Don’t wait, especially not if you feel like you “aren’t ready” or have to develop your skills more first. I put off lots of projects when I was younger because I felt like I wasn’t executing them as well as I’d have liked. But what ended up happening was that even after refining my skills and growing professionally, there were new obstacles waiting for me. And in the interim, I had just let time pass. The fact is that the time is going to pass whether you use it or not, so take a chance and do something you can be proud of later!