Recording Connection student with Asperger’s Thrives in Program

Asperger's film Mirror Indifference*still from short film written, directed, and scored by Dylan Rothbein

It doesn’t take a hard look to deduce that Dylan Rothbein (Brooklyn, NY) is a driven individual. He’s someone who always works harder than those around him. So much so that Dylan graduated from Recording Connection and Film Connection. To top it off, Dylan just released his debut short film Mirror Indifference, which he wrote, directed, and scored.

When asked about the film, Dylan describes it as satirical commentary exposing the corruption within the Disability Rights movement. It’s a topic Dylan is familiar with, since he identifies as having Asperger’s Syndrome and was selectively mute until the age of 12. His experiences have prompted him to become an activist for his community, a voice for those who aren’t being heard or understood. Music has become both a refuge and a tool for Dylan.

Someone played me “Tommy.” I became obsessed with rock and roll. Three months later I wanted to start playing guitar. A couple years later I started writing songs, and then when I was 14, 15, I went through therapy so I could speak, and now I do public speaking professionally to raise acceptance of these issues. And then that led to an interest in recording. I got into all different types of rock and roll, folk music, blues, and all these things. I started out recording music that I wanted to make, that I wanted to record, songs I had been writing, and of course an interest in sound…

Even the difficulties can be seen as opportunities for learning, for asking questions. Dylan says:

Although I really like playing loud rock and roll, I can handle that, I am triggered by certain sounds like clapping and fireworks to the point where my body has to go into a state, often, of defending itself where I have these meltdowns. So I started experimenting with white noise during the time I was in Recording Connection and thinking about what accommodations have been made from an audio engineer’s perspective of sound sensitivity and how can that be used to make places more accessible for my community.”

Despite the challenges, our mentored, in-industry approach worked for Dylan who says:

I tried a bunch of different programs. College could not work for me. Through no fault of my own, the nature of the impairments that I happen to be and things of that nature made it such where I was unable to complete college. When college didn’t work out, I had to find a program for myself…”

Now having graduated both programs, Dylan says the takeaway has been tremendous. As a result of the time he’s spent learning and growing his skills, he says:

“I think I’m a better quality artist and a better musician because I was here, as well. I’m more critical of my own work than I used to be. Because I realize a lot of principles, especially around writing [film] also apply to songwriting and as a songwriter, I’m now taking more time of rewriting the songs that I’ve written and redrafting those. So that is something that I learned about here. Also as a filmmaker from a production standpoint I learned a lot about production, about storytelling.”

Dylan is a driven, highly creative individual for whom the traditional classroom model of education didn’t work. Now, thanks to the guidance he’s received from Recording Connection mentor Matt Stein at Swan7 Studios and Film Connection mentor, Zef Cota of Alphabet City Films, Dylan Rothbein is thriving. His short film has stirred up interest.

Dylan has recently partnered with a producer who’s working to secure financing and get a feature film in the works.

We can’t wait to see (and hear) the feature! Keep learning and doing it differently! We think different is great!

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