By Stephanie Hoover & Crystal Foley Staff Writers
Photos by Levy Moroshan
Most people work to pay their bills and express their passions on the side. Devon Lyon, founder of Lyon Films, is one of the lucky few that gets to do both simultaneously. The Portland-based production company is celebrating 10 years in creativity-fueled business.
“We are fortunate that what pays our bills and what ignites our passions are mostly one and the same,” Lyon said. “Working with creative agencies or directly with clients to craft a creative, meaningful message that honors their brand or service.”
However, time constraints of 30 or 60 seconds can be challenging. Lyon said he is “personally always looking for opportunities to produce and direct longer form narrative,” as well as a love for the short film format.
“I’ve had some success in that regard in the past and will be producing a new short later this year—so keep your eyes peeled,” he said.
Lyon Films has produced a range of work, employing anywhere from 5 to 50 people per shoot, depending on what the client needs. While they started off producing political commercials, the company’s current expertise falls into three categories. Their biggest sector is commercial production and direction, which includes standard 30- or 60-second spots for traditional broadcasting or targeted web advertising, which is becoming more common. The second is corporate communications, such as B-to-B and internal communication and messaging.
However, Lyon said their most rewarding work is their focus on local non-profits, such as the Portland School System’s program, All Hands Raised.
“We are blessed to have such amazing people in Oregon and we count ourselves lucky to know many of them,” he said.
Lyon is proud to call Oregon home, and is happy to have worked with the state, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) and corporate clients, all of which helped bring top quality work to the state.
They’ve worked with many local companies, including ZoomCare, All Hands Raised, Timbers, Mercy Corps and Ralphs. National brands they’ve worked with include Dell, Intel, EA Sports, IBM, Alienware and Amazon.
Lyon has a hard time identifying his personal favorite production, but has a few notable favorites. One is the spot they produced for the gaming PC brand Alienware, which involved building an armored personnel carrier set, as well as commissioning a mini gun, like the one Jesse Ventura had in Predator. They recently wrapped up another video game system based spot that involves a space explorer, which Lyon said was a blast to produce.
Lyon is looking to venture into new ways to tell stories using augmented reality, a concept he is particularly excited about. He is currently exploring partnerships in virtual reality and immersive, non-linear storytelling, which he thinks is the next “evolutionary step in how stories are told.”
“I can’t wait to use technology—in the real world, in real time—but in ways we’ve only begun to imagine,” he said. “The prospects for those of us who are storytellers [are] just limitless.”
Lyon thinks there is an upcoming evolution, with the advancements in virtual reality, such as the optical overlays with Google Glass, and alternate reality gaming on the Oculus Rift. He believes these technologies will converge into something he likes to refer to as augmented reality. He gave a TED Talk in November of 2014 on how augmented reality will change the future of playing, not only in the sense of video games.
While those opposed to gaming may tout a correlation to antisocial behavior, Lyon believes augmented reality has the opportunity to foster even more meaningful exploration and adventure with other people.
Lyon himself grew up with games and considers himself an avid gamer, and has been since his first system, an Atari 2600. He has since branched out in systems and game types.
“I enjoy sports games (FIFA) and I enjoy deep, story-based [role playing] games,” he said. “At the moment I’m stoked to be working through Zelda’s Wind Waker (2003) with my seven-year-old daughter. It is so much fun to play and explore together.”
Regardless of whether Lyon is able to stake his hold in the augmented reality field, he is enjoying the dynamic landscape of production.
“Producing and directing is ever-changing. Each project offers unique challenges and rewards. I am always learning something new, but even better, I’m always working with fantastic people that are incredibly passionate about what they do,” Lyon said. “From clients to crew and actors, the world of live action production is second to none.”
For more information about Lyon Films, visit www.lyonfilms.com.