In the Studio With Jeremy Deaton

From teen years spent in a band, to handling the heat of being one of few interns (in about ten years) for a music studio, to making his own moves in co-owning a studio—what inspired Jeremy Deaton, Chief Operating Officer of Make Believe Studios (MBS) to make music a career?

“I knew I wanted to be involved in music but I knew realistically I wasn’t a good enough musician to do that as a career choice,” said Deaton. “So, somehow I kind of fell into it.”

Currently a co-owner and tracking engineer for MBS, Deaton started recording other bands in his youth and it gaged his interest. Yearning to make music more than a hobby, he headed to Full Sail University where he met Rick Carson, current CEO of Make Believe Studios.

Growing up in Spokane, Wash. Deaton made his journey to the other side of the country in Florida for school, then back to his home state afterwards working in Seattle for Studio X. There, he was an intern and assistant. He also worked with a live sound company, Carlson Audio Systems. It was during this time on his first day as a recording studio intern where his “Aha moment” hit him—this is what he was meant to do.

When Deaton was doing freelance work, the opportunity came about to start up a studio with alumni Carson in Omaha, Neb. He took the leap in 2009 and has been building up the company since. The new state-of-the-art studio in downtown Omaha is just wrapping up construction and set to open soon.

He’s all about sound and the gadgets required to gather it. A lot of the gear the studio has currently he’s had his eyes set on since starting in the industry ten years ago, and now his closet is full.

“One thing I really like is the Royer 121, a ribbon mic. That’s a new mic we have. We also have a lot of vintage gear,” said Deaton.

Earlier in his tenure, Deaton got some interesting experiences on the job. The Dalai Lama—yes, involvement with sound for the Dalai Lama—and Eddie Vedder were two projects that came to mind.

What advice does Deaton give anyone interested in entering the industry?

“Every day [in the industry] is a new challenge,” said Deaton. “You’re going to have to work really hard.”

Hard at work in one of Make Believe’s studios, Jeremy Deaton (left) examines his toolkit as Dojorok (right) practices what he’s going to record on the turntable for an original audio track for a UNO Mavericks Hockey project.

Deaton repairs a headphone jack; one of his many roles aside from COO and tracking engineer.

Lights gleam red and green on the mixing console. This is one of many pieces of gear necessary for Deaton to work from.

The studio helps everyone from local musicians, to national artists, commercial work and occasionally projects for TV and the movies.

Sounds from microphones and instruments enter the microphone preamp device before making their way into the mixer for Deaton to work from.

Deaton is all too familiar with the dedication entrepreneurship entails. It requires tiring, long nights and very busy days at the studio.

“Yes, that’s my BAE,” jokes Deaton. The BAE 1073 is one of Deaton’s favorite pieces of gear.

Essential components of a music studio are a pretty penny. “Two of those [units within the console] are more expensive than any car I’ve ever owned,” said Deaton.

Deaton’s knowledge in sound resonates clearly. Deaton explains the way the boards in the live room are precisely positioned, and how the amount of space in between determines which frequencies get absorbed into the wall and what sounds reflect back outward.

Having the perfect acoustics in a live room is important. Everything in the room holds a purpose. The architecturally eye-catching ceiling acts like a sponge absorbing just the right amount of sound.

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Ceiling lights mirror off the isolation booth glass. The ISO-booth sits patiently, eagerly waiting for the next recording artist to stop in and get audibly creative!

Behind the Scenes at Make Believe New Media

A sister company to Make Believe Studios, Make Believe New Media (MBNM) is opening conversations and engaging with the community through an array of creative production offerings.

MBNM was founded two years ago and consists of a two-person creative partnership between Texas native Miguel Cedillo and Daniel Thompson III, who hails from Motown (Detroit).

Thompson, co-owner and jack-of-all-trades, runs with an ever-changing title.

“Sometimes we’re doing photo shoots, other times we’re doing video and sometimes design, so we don’t really have one set title aside from co-owners,” said Thompson.

Deemed the nickname “Photo Dan” by the Make Believe crew, Thompson attended Central Michigan University after developing a love for film photography in high school. In college, he transitioned with the times to digital photography and videography and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism.

“I moved out to Omaha right after finishing [college] because my best friend Rick Carson needed a photographer,” said Thompson.

Cedillo, co-owner of MBNM also fluctuates between a list of titles, juggling multiple projects and tasks whether it’s graphic design, editing, shooting, consulting or brainstorming the next big idea with Thompson. Every day is a little different but all the work sits under the roof of media production.

In high school, Cedillo was the go-to photographer in his group of friends. The passion for photography seems to have been passed down the family line. His grandfather was a photographer for the Army Air Core. In college while studying anthropology at Creighton University, all it took for Cedillo was one class and some mentorship. His professor, Father Don Doll, a veteran photographer of National Geographic, told him to stick with it. So, he did and began to set his goals on opening up his own business around it.

“There was a lot of dismal news about the job market getting worse for graduates so I decided I wasn’t going to join it post-college. I decided to start my own business as soon as possible instead of trying to find a job I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy,” said Cedillo.

In the same way anthropology reaches out to explore humanity, Cedillo felt like working in photo and video would give him an opportunity to really make connections through the lens.

With experience in music video production capturing art installations on film (working with places such as the Bemis and talented artists that stay in Omaha for a residency) they enjoy working in the realm of fine arts.

“We work in fashion. We work in architecture and landscape. We work in the management side as well, like production management. Sports. Non-profit. We’re always trying to engage in community organizations. Even when we make music videos we are directly communicating to people in the community,” said Cedillo.

The community surrounding MBNM is also a historic one. Located on 10th Street in 100-year-old buildings, the area has grown on Thompson and Cedillo.

Next-door is Olsen’s Bake Shop, a bakery that’s been in business for more than 70 years. The legendary dancer Fred Astaire grew up right down the street. There are community centers and beautiful churches lined down the block. The 10th Street Bridge connects the Old Market to the rest of 10th Street. Right at the beginning of the bridge there are some businesses doing some great things such as House of Loom and the newly relocated Blue Barn Theatre.

“The community should be really proud of to have an independent theater. It’s just down the street from us and I see it being a real community institution,” said Cedillo.

The MBNM group is excited to see young people and new ventures with people who want to be apart of the history on 10th Street.

Where do they see themselves in five years?

“I see us operating with more scale than we are now,” said Cedillo. “Our physical resources and operating space and our ability to translate our imaginations into real production. A lot of times imagination is bigger than your toolkit and workshop. So essentially I see us available to fill our creative visions more deeply because we’ll have more access to the things we’ll need to get there.”