Anniversary Special

Three Northwest companies—a casting director in Portland, a production services company in Seattle, and a soundstage/gear rental company in Portland—celebrated major anniversaries in 2014. Cheers to their success!

 

CELEBRATING 15 YEARS

CastIronStudios- Casting Director Eryn Goodman, Casting Director Lana Veenker, Casting Associate Ranielle Gray.Lana Veenker,
Cast Iron Studios

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
We held a big blow-out celebration for our fifth anniversary, but our tenth was in the middle of the recession, so we were pretty hunkered down and didn’t do much. For our fifteenth, what I’m really celebrating is that Eryn Goodman (Casting Director) and Ranielle Gray (Casting Associate) have stuck with me through thick and thin all of these years. Eryn just tallied her nine-year anniversary with Cast Iron Studios in September, and Ranielle’s eighth is coming up in February.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?
Instead of shelling out a bunch of dough for a big party, I’m treating them to a spa day, upgrading their computers, and implementing an employer-matching retirement plan. We all have a lot on our plates this fall, so we decided to hold off on the next blow-out until the 20th. For now, I just want to show my appreciation for all their hard work.

How has your business changed over the years?Cast Iron Studios - grimm
Early on, I was chief cook and bottle washer; doing their jobs plus mine, and working every evening and weekend. Now that we have such a solid and deeply experienced team, I can focus more on marketing and business development, knowing that our clients are in excellent hands. We all have more regular hours as well, especially since advances in technology keep us from having to stay in the office late at night editing, or racing to the airport to catch the last FedEx.

What is one memorable moment from your career?
There have been many highlights, but walking the red carpet at Cannes for Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park was a big one. I lived in France for many years and still visit often, so Cannes was like the Oscars for me. Being assigned to the same limo as Tilda Swinton was just icing on the cake!Cast Iron at TIFF with jean marc vallee

What’s next for your company?
We are working on putting together a development division, with the hopes of eventually establishing a film fund that would be at least half from Northwest sources, in order to retain leverage to keep the projects local. It’s a slow process, as we’re investigating an approach that I don’t think has been done in Oregon before. In the meantime, we’re looking for other ways to put our local, national and international connections to good use, possibly by helping to secure distribution for high-quality local content that has already been produced, but has not found a home. We’re taking our time in order to identify the right niche for our skills and resources within a rapidly changing industry.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

Clatter IMG_6625Vince Werner,
Clatter&Din

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
To me, it means: ‘Twenty years? We must be doing SOMETHING right!’ This isn’t a business that generates huge profits or even predictable revenue, so it’s not that we’re surfing along on a cash cushion. We’ve always operated on a rather squishy ‘fun first – people first’ mantra. We try to create a fun and creative environment for our team here, and for our clients, and it has resulted in low turnover, relative stability and loyal customers. So, I guess 20 years means a validation of that principal. Maybe not quite as much validation as a retirement home in the San Juans, but at the end of the day, I’ll take it. I’m proud of what we are and where we’ve been.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?Clatter2027
We threw a classic animal-house style kegger, which has always been our style. No maudlin speeches, no security people checking a guest list—just music, drink, food and an excuse for the creative community to come hang out and have a great time. I think there were about 500 or so people here, so of course I didn’t get to spend much time with any of them, unfortunately. Particularly gratifying was seeing several agency principals, colleagues, our past employers—people who have been such a big part of that 20-year history. Maybe 10 percent of the people there have ever written a check to Clatter&Din, and yet everyone there has been an important part of the story, and I’m full of gratitude for all of them. I’ll always remember that night, but that’s partly because I couldn’t get near the bar!Clatter2032-CC

How has your business changed over the years?
What HASN’T changed? When we started, we leap-frogged the tech prowess of our predecessors with our whopping total of 9 gigabytes of online media storage. Microsoft was our first client, and we won that with our ability to deliver audio as sound files on Magneto/Optical disks. We were very bleeding edge, although we didn’t even have email, and our first website was years away. Also, the local talent pool was robust, and in the days before Vimeo and FTP, creative teams actually came to sessions! Therefore, the place was hopping with people-energy every day! It seemed like a constant good-time laugh riot. Our connected world has reduced that personal interaction to a certain degree, and I do occasionally get wistful about that. However, the biggest change has been the integration of media creation disciplines. I think we did a pretty good job of seeing that coming, adding ‘light weight’ video and web services, anchored to our ‘heavy’ audio infrastructure. It took a while, but I think we are finally starting to look pretty smart about that!Clatter NWUkes_w_Barnes

What is one memorable moment from your career?
There are many, but what pops to mind is winning the Radio Mercury award with a spec spot written by Ken Bennett for a long gone Fremont-based brew-your-own-beer place. We beat out Budweiser’s talking frog campaign in the humor category. I got to put on a tux and spend some of the prize money in NYC with Ken and my lovely wife, Mary. That also reminds me of another New York experience: being in NYC for a trade show during the ‘95 Yankees – Mariners series, and watching Edgar’s RBI double bring Griffey around from first for the win—all while sitting in Mickey Mantle’s Bar across the street from Central Park. We were even on national TV for about 3 seconds. That was pretty sweet!

What’s next for your company?Clatter2030
Navigating change while maintaining culture is always the biggest challenge. The landscape for media creation and consumption is obviously being re-made, and the disruption is accelerating. We’ll try to be both smart and proactive in keeping ahead of that curve. I think we’ll see continued evolution in what we do, how we do it, and even who we do it for. I DO believe there will most certainly be a 30th Anniversary Party. And you’re invited!

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

Chris Crever,
Cine Rent West

What does this anniversary mean to you, your staff, and your clients?
This 20th anniversary milestone is huge for all of us. The production industry has been completely transformed in the last 20 years. In 1994 very few of us could have predicted the role digital technology would play in producing and distributing video. YouTube was still 11 years in the future.
Those of us who’ve been around since the ‘90s can remember weathering several downturns in the industry. But the fact that we’ve not just survived but actually thrived throughout this change is a testament to our staff and clients.
In our industry 20 years is worth celebrating.

How did you celebrate, and with whom?
We took a moment to acknowledge this landmark with our staff, then told everybody to get back to work. We had a big deadline.

How has your business changed over the years?cinerentwestphoto1
When Cine Rent West opened its doors for business in 1994 as a production facility, film was king. Gregg Snazelle, who was an icon in the San Francisco film community, purchased the building from animator Will Vinton and moved his production business to Portland. He outfitted it as a full soundstage, brought in cameras, and set up editing rooms. One of his first major jobs was editing Mr. Holland’s Opus, which received several Oscar nominations.
After Gregg’s untimely death in 1999, the facility was run by his son Craig for a year. Then in 2000 he worked out a deal with me (Chris Crever), who was working as a 1st AC and looking to invest in a facility. In January of 2001 I assumed ownership.
In the early days we were fortunate to have a steady client base who did big film shoots. We worked with companies like Tyee Films doing long format productions for clients like Bowflex. But in the past ten years, camera technology has improved to require less intensive lighting. And there’s been an immense pressure to cut budgets. We’ve continued to keep busy by being more nimble. Quickly turning around the facility for shorter shoots and smaller crews.
At the same time we’ve filled the office portion of the building with industry-specific tenants. We currently provide space for designers, entertainment attorneys, production bookkeeping, and small production companies.

What is one memorable moment for you and your company?
It’s tough to narrow it down to just one. Our 185 most memorable moments came when we did the Old Spice YouTube campaign with Weiden+Kennedy. Over three days we shot 185 short videos with actor Isaiah Mustafa. He wore his signature bath towel and stood in a rustic log cabin set, while sending out holiday greetings to the world.
That was one of three similar campaigns. The last one we shot here was the bathroom showdown with Fabio.

What’s next for your company?
Twenty years ago it was impossible to predict where the production industry would be today. In just the past 5 years the rate of change has accelerated noticeably. So we’d be crazy to try to predict what production will be like in the next 20 years. In 2034 will they even call what we’re doing “video”?
We’re going to keep doing the things that have made us successful to this point: paying attention to and embracing change, working hard to meet our clients’ unique needs, and supporting the next generation in the production industry.

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