Category Archives: Featured Articles


Backing the Future


Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard announces the funding recipients for the most recent cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab.

By Jessie Wilson
Programs & Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

On June 8, Washington Filmworks publicly announced funding assistance recipients for the Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The program, which is part of a long-term economic development strategy, is designed to invest in the future of film by tapping into Washington’s creative community and encouraging original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology. The Board of Directors of Washington Filmworks may allocate up to $350,000 per year in funding assistance support to projects that apply to the Innovation Lab. Unlike the standard incentive program, the Lab is a competitive and juried process.

“The entertainment industry is shifting and adopting alternative distribution paradigms,” says Amy Lillard, Washington Filmworks Executive Director. “Washington State is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this digital revolution, and create revenue streams that integrate our in-state technology resources. Washington Filmworks is passionate about developing programs that empower our local storytellers to lead the innovation revolution. Using our creative capital and technology expertise, we can create a new economic development model for the world to follow.”

This cycle of the program was designed to challenge local filmmakers to create motion picture content that traverses multiple delivery platforms. Washington Filmworks was thrilled to receive a diverse pool of 25 quality applications to the program.

For this cycle of the Lab, Washington Filmworks worked with a jury of industry experts to evaluate projects and make funding assistance recommendations to the Board. The jury represented all facets of motion picture production, multiplatform storytelling, and emerging entertainment models. Serving on the jury were Kraig Baker, Jane Charles, Scott Macklin and Matt Vancil. The jury members share a deep understanding of the business of film.

Ultimately the jury chose finalists to pitch and made recommendations to the Board about the level of funding assistance for each project. The Board voted to allocate funds to five projects and decisions were based on the Lab’s selection criteria, as well as the merits of each project and its investment in Washington State. The Innovation Cycle of the Lab encourages these filmmakers to present new business and revenue models that leverage Washington’s film infrastructure in the digital era.

The filmmaking community joined Washington Filmworks at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival to acknowledge the achievements of all Lab applicants and celebrate with the funding assistance recipients as the results were revealed. The following is a list of projects that received funding assistance and the key creatives who pitched each project:

The Maury Island Incident – Steve Edmiston (Writer/Producer) and Scott Schaefer (Director/Co-Producer)
Science-Trak (formerly referred to as Project Pluto) – Kevin Maude (Executive Producer) and Graeme Lowry (Producer)
Rocketmen – Alycia Delmore (Producer/Actor) and Webster Crowell (Writer/Director)
Salish Sea – Tracy Rector (Producer/Director) and Lou Karsen (Producer/Co-Director)
Emerald City – Lacey Leavitt (Writer/Director) and Eric Stalzer (Co-Writer)

Congratulations to all filmmakers who participated in the Lab and a special thank you to our remarkable jury for all their hard work and dedication to the evolution of motion picture storytelling in Washington State.


On the Record: Parks Creative Photography

Media Inc.’s interview series, in which we discuss the latest and greatest with a different Northwest company each issue, continues with Parks Creative Photography.

The Bellevue, Washington-based photographer has provided architectural and product photography to surrounding Eastside communities of Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Renton, and Woodinville, as well as the Greater Seattle area, for nearly 30 years.

Here is Parks, on the record:

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as a photographer.
I took a series of college-level classes at Tillicum Junior High! We did color processing and printing as well as Ansel Adams Zone-System B&W as young teens. Then out of high school I assisted at DH&Y full-time, Seattle’s largest commercial studio in the early ‘80s. I completed a degree in Commercial Photography when they reopened Seattle Central’s program.

What do you like best about your job?
It’s exciting to help promote new inventions, products, and places into the market.

Tell us about a recent memorable project.
A national apartment developer wanted to incorporate people in their advertising; I suggested motion-blurs to de-emphasize the people, so their communities remained the focus. (Ed. note: Pictured here.)

Who or what inspires you, either personally or professionally?
All of Creation we are immersed in.

How important is it for you as a photographer to connect and engage with your surrounding community?
Very much so, thus I’ve always focused mainly on the Eastside business community.

What are some of your most gratifying professional accomplishments?
Anytime I can help my clients be a success.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
My wife and I both grew up here and don’t plan to go anywhere; love raising our boys on the Eastside.

If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Well, for starters, we once had a 10th anniversary cruise planned, then found out we were due to have another baby right then, so I owe my wife that first.

Finding Your Photography Niche

By Daven Mathies Guest Columnist

A photographer is not just someone who knows how to use a camera, control light or frame a shot. Photography, like any artistic discipline, is all about vision. Sure, the technical side of exposure, lighting and composition are important to achieving your vision, but it is crucial to know which to put first. Becoming a strong photographer is all about finding your niche, which generally starts with asking yourself, “What do I want to shoot?”

At first, asking this question may seem too easy; it sounds like a no-brainer. But if your goal is to turn your passion into a profession, sticking with what you love may prove difficult. When you think about a professional photographer, who do you picture? I’m guessing that wedding photographer and commercial photographer are probably on most people’s lists. Since most people have been to a wedding or read a magazine, these two types of photography are perhaps the most publicly visible. This makes for a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a professional photographer, however, and can be intimidating for someone seeking a photography career who doesn’t particularly enjoy the above types of photography.

The solution? Shoot what you want! If you enjoy taking photos of your kids, focus on that. Photographing what you love will keep you engaged and you will naturally be encouraged to improve your skills. Child portraiture is completely different from any other type of portrait photography, and if you take the time to develop the skills it requires, people will look to you as an expert in that field. The same goes for other types of photography: landscape, wildlife, street, etc. Whatever motivates you most to take out your camera, keep at it. Don’t try to be a wedding photographer just because you think it would be an easy way to make some quick cash (hint: it’s not). Even if you have an incredibly strange or unique photographic passion, and you can’t possibly see how to monetize that now, stick to it. Success is not guaranteed, but failure certainly is if you try to focus on anything but your passion.

Now, if you really love weddings, then wedding photography might be a great option for you. But your decision doesn’t end there. What type of wedding photographer do you want to be? Do you want to shoot exotic destination weddings or would you prefer to work solely within your local area? There are benefits to both, and both require a different type of specialization. What type of client do you want to serve? Personality is not to be underestimated in wedding photography; if you don’t “connect” with your clients, you will be asking for more hardship than you need. Make it known on your Web site, blog, Facebook page and business card what type of photographer you are and what kind of person you are. Don’t worry about limiting your exposure and reach; instead, think of this as making yourself more visible to the people you most want to reach. These are questions that apply to other types of photography, as well.

It may take time to figure out what you really want to do. Maybe that means shooting a wedding or a football game only to realize you hate it, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things, but once you find your passion, stick to it. Develop it. Refine it. Maybe you’ll love weddings and football, and that’s fine, too—so long as you realize the extra work required to specialize in multiple areas. Plenty of established photographers take on a variety of jobs and excel at all of them, but do yourself a favor and start with what you know and enjoy most. Building a business around photography is an incredibly challenging undertaking, but it’s a challenge well worth it when you truly love what you are doing.

Daven Mathies is multimedia producer at Pro Photo Supply in Portland.

Beyond Customer Service

Grow your business by leveraging your entire organization to expand current accounts

By Lisa Magnuson Guest Columnist

Are all your customer-facing employees armed to sell? Are you attracting expansion business on a regular basis through your front-line people? Is your company thinking beyond customer service to win more business?

If you want to grow top line revenues and attract more customers, then everyone on your crew must get in the boat, grab an oar, and begin to row. Yes, we mean everyone—from the CEO to account managers to customer service to marketing and PR. If you’re a university, then we mean the folks in the admissions department, too. From stem to stern, it’s all hands on deck, and everyone is pulling for the team like they mean it.

Leading organizations, both in the private and public sectors, are seriously re-thinking their sales assets.  In short, they believe that if you engage or impress the customer in a meaningful way, you can make a difference. Combine this idea with another, such as it’s much easier to expand business with current customers than to land new ones. This synthesis means you have the opportunity and obligation to influence the customer’s perception of value and their willingness to invest additional dollars in your products and services.

The Struggle
However, many organizations struggle to make the transformation. Non-salespeople just don’t want to sell. For most, it’s not part of their calling, mission, or skill-set ‘profile’ in the business world. They don’t see themselves in a revenue-generating role, and may even carry a negative impression of selling. Let’s face it, in this extremely competitive, high-definition age, we almost have to be ‘born’ to sell, or at least be ‘wired’ for it these days. Besides, most departments are (or will surely claim to be) overworked with the task at hand; they don’t believe they have any additional bandwidth to take on more duties, let alone be interested in trying their hand at ‘sales,’ even if it’s only part-time.

Be in Front of Your Competition
There’s a fine line between asking everyone to be a salesperson and arming all customer-facing resources with the necessary focus, direction, knowledge and tools to help grow the company. Thriving organizations are rapidly making the transition from the traditional ‘sales as a single department model’ to ‘empowered employees’ who are informed, motivated, and enthusiastic enough to make a real (and permanent) difference to the top and bottom line. If you want to be out front, begin your transformation now or your competitors may cross that finish line first.

7 Easy Steps to Get Moving
1. Evaluate all your human touch-points. These are all the people in your organization who ‘touch’ the customer in some way. They can include delivery people, reception, field employees, customer care resources, and so on. Most companies have a virtual army of folks who touch or engage the customer, yet they remain an under-utilized resource without any ‘sales’ interaction, training, or relationship-building efforts.

2. Prioritize the non-sales group having the largest, most significant, or greatest long-term impact on your customer. (Don’t stop here but it’s a smart place to begin.)

3. Start to create or build awareness and expectations around just how important their role is in growing the company, and what it takes to sustain that growth. Point out the links between their job and all the possibilities that exist to positively influence the customer into expanding their business.

4. Invest in training, development, and ongoing support initiatives to move beyond a customer service/problem solving mentality into a pro-active, pro-‘public relations’ approach to build customer awareness, brand loyalty, and potential expansion.

5. Offer simple but effective tools and best practices such as talking points, sample questions, guides, real-world examples, and even focus groups to help them move beyond customer care to customer development.

6. Measure progress and highlight and reward accomplishments—both big and small—to ensure a positive, sustainable, company-wide attitude of achievement.

7. Expand to the next group until the entire organization is rallied around company growth goals, and your employees (along with the customers they touch) become a virtual army of well-informed, mission-ready, and market-savvy brand ambassadors.

Although this approach may seem simplistic or even impractical, it can be both powerful and transformational, and perhaps even downright game-changing to your competition. In this tech-hungry, ultra-connected, and data-driven marketplace, sometimes the difference between tapping into additional revenue (or not) is asking your customer just one simple question: ‘What else can we do for you, today?’

Lisa Magnuson, founder of Top Line Sales, LLC helps high potential sales people, business owners who sell and VPs of Sales win more sales. She works side by side with her clients to navigate through their most complex sales cycles and sales challenges with remarkable results. A recent accomplishment was helping one client secure 44m in contracts last year using her proven framework for landing large opportunities.


Geena Davis (Photo courtesy Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter)

Oregon Lands TNT Pilot

Hot on the heels of Leverage’s series wrap, Oregon has landed yet another TNT project from director/producer Dean Devlin and his team at Electric Entertainment.

Geena Davis (Photo courtesy Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter)

Set to begin filming in April, the as-yet-untitled pilot features Oscar-winning, Emmy-nominated actress Geena Davis (The Accidental Tourist, Commander in Chief) as an unconventio­­nal bail bondswoman and bounty hunter whose eccentric personality and unusual tactics give her an advantage in a tough and unpredictable business. The show is inspired by the real-life story of Mackenzie Green.

Other castmembers include Scott Bakula (TNT series Men of a Certain Age, Quantum Leap), as a detective who is also the ex-husband of Davis’ character, and Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl), as the strong and independent mother of Davis’ character.

The pilot script for TNT’s bounty hunter drama was written by Oregon native Scott Prendergast and Amy Berg, with Dean Devlin set to direct. Prendergast, Berg and Devlin serve as executive producers on the project, along with John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Tom Lassally and Michael Rotenberg. Davis serves as co-executive producer, while Devlin and Berg are the showrunners. The project comes to TNT from Electric Entertainment, Ternion Productions and 3 Arts.

“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with TNT and Electric Entertainment,” said Vince Porter, executive director, Oregon Governor’s Office of Film and Television. “As the legislature is contemplating a possible expansion of our incentives, it’s nice to have a new project waiting in the wings.”

For more information on Oregon’s production industry, visit


Film Has a Leading Role

By Jessie Wilson, Programs and Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

Washington State has long been a home for innovation and entrepreneurial business models. As Hollywood begins to explore alternative distribution paradigms, Washington State is perfectly positioned to lead the digital revolution.

To help facilitate the creative process, Washington Filmworks has launched the Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab, a pilot funding assistance program designed to explore the intersection of technology and storytelling. By leveraging the diverse landscape of in-state technology resources and motion picture production infrastructure, Washington Filmworks is helping film take a leading role in developing a new creative economy for Washington State.

In order to better promote this kind of entrepreneurial spirit, the Washington Filmworks Board of Directors can allocate up to $350,000 in funding assistance, across two cycles per year. The inaugural Film Cycle of the Lab was created to nurture traditional forms of filmed entertainment, and recently committed $175,000 in funding assistance to five diverse projects from emerging Washington resident filmmakers. These projects go into production throughout 2013. The Innovation Cycle is underway now. It was created to support filmmakers using new forms of production that are specifically designed to incorporate and distribute motion picture content in inventive ways. The Board may allocate up to $175,00 for this cycle.

Distribution outlets are expanding. With new access points come new audiences and enhanced opportunities to share intellectual property, as well as to build potential revenue streams. The Innovation Cycle challenges creative entrepreneurs to produce motion picture content that traverses multiple delivery platforms. The process is juried and requires that applicants develop a thorough project plan that relays how their story will unfold across multiple delivery platforms and, more importantly, how the story is enhanced by being seen in different venues and environments.

The following briefly outlines the eligibility criteria for the Innovation Cycle:

  • Motion picture content may be narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, serial, episodic, or other type. Content may be feature-length or short.
  • Projects must spend $25,000-$499,999 on qualified in-state expenditures upon award of Filmworks Innovation Lab funding assistance.
  • At least 85 percent of the workforce for the physical production of motion picture content must be Washington residents.
  • Projects must use a majority of Washington residents in Key Creative positions.
  • Qualified projects must spend at least 95 percent of the motion picture content production budget in Washington State.

Washington Filmworks created this program in part to explore new ways that filmmakers and motion picture workers can contribute to the local creative economy and generate more opportunities to keep film industry professionals working.

“Washington State is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this digital revolution, and create revenue streams that integrate our in-state technology resources,” says Amy Lillard, Washington Filmworks executive director. “Washington Filmworks is passionate about developing programs that empower our local storytellers to lead the innovation revolution. Using our creative capital and technology expertise, we can create a new economic development model for the world to follow.”

Want to learn more about the Filmworks Innovation Lab? Visit (and click on the Innovation Lab tab) or call 206-264-0667. Funding assistance recipients for this cycle of the program will be announced in May.


On the Record: Copacino+Fujikado

Media Inc.’s interview series, in which we discuss the latest and greatest with a different Northwest company each issue, continues with Copacino+Fujikado.

“We’ve been voted the hardest agency name to spell for 15 years running, which is exactly how long we’ve been in business,” jokes Copacino+Fujikado creative director Mike Hayward. The Seattle-based agency boasts a long and illustrious client list that includes REI, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Mariners, Safeco, Visit Seattle, and Premera Blue Cross.

“I think we’re a strong hybrid agency,” says Hayward. “We have our roots in advertising, which I think pushes us to focus on the central idea first, but we’ve also developed a killer engagement strategy and digital team. I really love how the agency has evolved over the years.”

Here is Hayward, on the record:

What do you like best about your job?
Having clients I truly care about and the variety of the work. I can go from working on a brand campaign for a museum to a mobile experience for a winery. And the people here are the best (we have the data to prove it). It’s a group of really talented, funny, smart people with no big egos.

Copacino+Fujikado just released the latest set of Seattle Mariners commercials. What has that partnership meant to you over the last few years?
The agency got its start thanks to Kevin Martinez, vice president of marketing, and the Seattle Mariners. Kevin is still our client today. It’s great to have that kind of shared history and level of trust. When people ask what C+F does, the Mariners are usually the first client we mention. Which is followed by them saying, “I love that Edgar light bat commercial!” Which was actually an ad for Eagle Hardware that we didn’t do.

Who or what inspires you, either personally or professionally?
Jim Copacino and Betti Fujikado, who are avid readers of this column. I actually get inspired fairly easily. I find myself geeking out over new social and digital tools all the time. I’ll run over to our creative technologist Nat Duffy (or he’ll come to me) and say, “What can we do with this new thing?” The pace of innovation is incredibly exciting to me. Right now we’re playing around with “hashbots,” our term for robots that perform a physical action in response to tweeted hashtags or keywords. So far we’ve built a mechanical bobblehead, a piñata-pecking bird and a light-up Space Needle that plays Salt N Pepa’s “Push It.”

How important is it for your company to connect and engage with your surrounding community?
I’m not sure there’s another agency that’s quite as rooted in the community as C+F (so much for the “no big egos” thing). We’re very active with local community groups and state universities, and our client roster reads like a guide to the Pacific Northwest. It’s a point of pride for us. And just next month, we’re hosting our first Digital Summit here. We’re bringing together social media managers from 20 different Seattle businesses and attractions to see how we can all work together in a mutually beneficial way.

Copacino+Fujikado has earned many prestigious awards over the years. What are some of your most gratifying professional accomplishments?
We’ve won Best of Show at the ADDYs two years in a row for ideas that weren’t traditional ads, which I think says a lot about the agency overall. Awards are certainly a measure of success, but I really like how we can now see the impact of what we do through social media and real-world metrics. So it means more to me to see kids dressed up like Larry Bernandez at Mariners games, or watch the #2DaysInSeattle hashtag take off or see our children’s ibook for the Aquarium hit 100,000 downloads on iTunes. Not that we don’t still like our shiny statues.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Why was “the Auburn Supermall” the first thing that popped into my head? I know I’m supposed to say a tropical paradise or cultural mecca, but I would be in the stands at Pasadena watching WSU win the Rose Bowl. Which leads to the next question…

If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
For WSU to win the Rose Bowl. And I assume we’re excluding the usual “world peace” and “infinite wishes” answers, right? Then my other two would be a World Series for the Mariners and for our good friend Steve Cunetta to finally kick this cancer thing. We miss you at the office, buddy.

Bobby Hougham gives direction to The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus.

Killer Instinct

Seattle Production Company Shoots International Promos for The Walking Dead

“As we walked through the lot, there were dead bodies everywhere. The wind was blowing, sheets of metal were banging. It was really creepy.”

That’s Bobby Hougham, co-creative director of Seattle-based production company thenewBlank, discussing his time on the set of The Walking Dead, the zombie-centric AMC series that is now in its third season. Earlier this fall, thenewBlank traveled to Atlanta to shoot international promo spots for the series, and Hougham and his team were able to see firsthand what it’s like to live during a zombie apocalypse.

Bobby Hougham gives direction to The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus.

This series of promos is part of a package for Fox International. thenewBlank has also recently shot promos for Glee, New Girl, Ben and Kate, and American Horror Story, among others.

“Fox had just rebranded but didn’t know how to develop it for promotions and social media, etc.,” explained Hougham. “We were contacted and we did a full blown pitch—we developed a bunch of different ideas on how the rebrand could be used in multiple circumstances.”

Since this was an international project, a big challenge was the communication barrier.

“The Fox U.S. tagline is ‘So Fox.’ which doesn’t translate well into many other languages,” said Hougham. “We worked on developing different tags and different promos that would work on a wider scale.”

thenewBlank won the bid and got to work.

The team traveled to Hollywood Center Studios in L.A. to shoot promos for Fox comedies like Glee and New Girl.

“We shot on the stage—the actual stage—that Lucille Ball’s show was shot on,” said Hougham. “Right next door to that stage was the George Burns stage, where he did his show. From that Hollywood history point of view, it was a very cool experience.”

But it was nothing compared to what the team would encounter in the woods outside Atlanta.

“We were on The Walking Dead’s set, sharing their studio space,” said Hougham. “All of their stages were jam-packed full of stuff, so we were tucked into interior sets for our shoot.”

As enormous fans of the show and the comic book on which it’s based, the team at thenewBlank was enthused to not only be on set, but to walk around in between shoots and explore the Walking Dead world, from the prison yard to the various interiors. Working closely with the cast of a production is a part of regular life for thenewBlank, however this production was a particularly unique experience. It wasn’t merely that the production offices were set up in The Governor’s office or that you would find dead bodies lying around just outside their set, it was more about how the close-knit cast and crew accepted them as part of their team.

“During the shoot we were welcomed in,” said Hougham. “We definitely got an amazing sense of camaraderie. They’ve been working together for nine months in the middle of nowhere and we had the distinct feeling we were a part of that family.

“For the Hollywood shoot, all of these actors are hustled in on their off days, and they’re told, basically, ‘you gotta stand up and act pretty for these random people.’ But on Walking Dead, they were coming from rehearsal. They came in between takes. It wasn’t so much of an inconvenience or a hassle for them, but more of a ‘welcome to our home.’”

That’s not to say Hougham and crew were always completely at ease. He described working with the zombies—referred to as “walkers” in the show—as “remarkably creepy.”

“The walkers don’t see, but they hear and smell really well,” said Hougham. “So you have these people milling about, and then you cue them that they hear or smell something. Looking right into the lens, it looked and felt as though they were looking at and hunting me.

“After that, I needed to go ‘shake it off.’ It was really creepy; really cool.”

And the creepiness factor didn’t wane in between takes.

“I came out of lunch, and down the hall I see three walkers having a smoke and BS-ing. Saying to myself, ‘Oh sure, I’ll bite,’ I headed over and started talking with them,” recalled Hougham. “They were in full makeup—I mean, full on dead and rotting—but they’re talking and behaving like normal, living human beings, of course, and I still caught myself getting the chills. Even in real life they are just bizarre, just creepy. And when they’d snap back into their ‘zombie’ mode, you just wanted to run.”

Hougham co-wrote and directed the spots, which were shot over five days in September at an undisclosed studio in Atlanta.

“Kammie Mcarthur wrote initial drafts of the scripts, and I worked with her and finessed the final scripts,” he said. “My partner Sevrin Daniels has been handling the creative direction and post-production side of things.”

The final promos are delivered as After Effects templates that can be easily altered to fit the needs of the various countries it will be shown in. Said Hougham, “We’re creating these promos that are pretty boiled down but certain things like iconography and text can be altered without headache.”

Upon completion of the Walking Dead promos, thenewBlank team was back at it, traveling to Wales for Da Vinci’s Demons, a Starz and BBC production that Fox is distributing nationwide. The team will also soon be shooting another promo for a different show, but Hougham wasn’t at liberty to say which one.

“The Fox promos are an ongoing project,” he said. “It’s a big project and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

No rest for the weary, apparently. Especially during a zombie apocalypse.

Tom Skerritt and Shirley Knight with director Gary Lundgren on the set of Redwood Highway.

Independent Feature Filmmaking Roars Back into Southern Oregon

Tom Skerritt and Shirley Knight with director Gary Lundgren on the set of Redwood Highway.

By Gary Kout, Founder & Executive Director, SOFaT
Photos by Gary Kout and Gary Lundgren

Southern Oregon has been the backdrop for many feature films, starting all the way back in 1914 with Grace’s Visit to the Rogue Valley. Though generally an uncommon event, a strong flurry of filming began in 2000 with at least one independent film being shot every year in the area. Then in 2010, filmmaking came to a screeching halt with no films being made, and in 2011 there were only two micro-indies with budgets in the $100,000 range or less.

Those keeping tabs on the industry know that private equity, the usual source of funding for indie production, had become incredibly difficult to procure. The distribution models for independent films had also been going through a fundamental shift, with fewer and fewer theatrical opportunities, skewing everything towards the less lucrative digital markets. Finding money and making money had dropped through the floor.

Redwood Highway films at It's a Burl.

But late 2012 saw a dramatic change in the production landscape as not just one, but two good-sized independent films, both with strong creative talents and recognizable casts, filmed in Southern Oregon. Eager to shake off the dust from their long break, the local industry rose up to meet the challenge.

Night Moves, the latest film from critically-acclaimed director Kelly Reichardt, was the first film to roll cameras. Reichardt’s last two films, Wendy and Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff, were both multiple award nominees and winners at major festivals. Continuing her preference for filming in Oregon thanks to its wide range of locations, film-friendly environment, experienced crews, and competitive incentives, Reichardt and longtime screenwriting partner Jonathan Raymond set their latest story of eco-terrorism in the small communities and beautiful landscapes of Southern Oregon. The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Dakota Fanning (the Twilight series) and Peter Sarsgaard (An Education).

The second film was Redwood Highway, the follow-up feature from the creative team behind Calvin Marshall, starring Steve Zahn, which also filmed in Southern Oregon in winter 2007. Redwood Highway tells the story of Marie, a resident at a retirement community who decides to walk 80 miles down the Redwood Highway to see the coast of Oregon for the first time in 45 years. The movie stars award-winning veteran actress Shirley Knight (As Good as It Gets), with strong supporting roles by Tom Skerritt (A River Runs Through It) and James LeGros (Point Break).

Lining up a shot of Shirley Knight on the Redwood Highway.

Thanks to our familiarity with the local industry, director Gary Lundgren, my fellow producer James Twyman, and I cast several local actors, many of whom perform with the acclaimed Oregon Shakespeare Festival and have strong Hollywood film and TV credits.

Living up to its name, Redwood Highway filmed primarily along the actual Hwy 199, Southern Oregon’s main route to the coast. As travelers along the fabled highway know, many interesting and incredible sites await them. The filmmakers wanted to recreate that experience, making the movie a sort of greatest hits of the Redwood Highway. Their filming locations included Lake Selmac, Eight Dollar Mountain, It’s A Burl, Cave Junction, Great Cats, Rough and Ready Bridge, Jedidiah Smith State Park (in California), and the beautiful coast in Brookings, Oregon. Other locations filled out the production schedule, covering a large swath of Southern Oregon: Mountain Meadows Retirement Community in Ashland, Talent Club in Talent, the Applegate River Lodge, and downtown Grants Pass.

Night Moves also filmed all over the region, from as far north as Roseburg, east to Lake of the Woods, west to the Applegate Valley, and the main population centers of Medford and Ashland. All told, there wasn’t much of Southern Oregon that didn’t see cameras roll, nor feel the economic impact of feature filmmaking.

Southern Oregon Film and Television (or SOFaT for short), the membership-based local professional association and de-facto film commission for the region, assisted both productions. SOFaT provided strong recommendations about the filmmakers to local public agencies and private businesses, which helped to acquire locations, smooth the various permit processes, and perpetuate the already pro-filming attitude in Southern Oregon.

Director Gary Lundgren with actresses Michelle Lombardo and Shirley Knight on the set of Redwood Highway.

When both productions inquired about local crewmembers and services, SOFaT directed them to its online directory where many professionals in the local industry list their contact info, credits, and links to samples of their work. As a result, many SOFaT members were hired to work on both productions. Such employment not only contributes to the local economy, but it builds the resumes and raises the overall experience level of the local industry, making those members and the region more attractive to future productions.

SOFaT and the Southern Oregon industry hope that 2012 is merely the start of another busy decade of filmmaking, and is already working hard to springboard the results and ramifications of Night Moves and Redwood Highway into future filmmaking activity.

For more information about making your next project in Southern Oregon, visit SOFaT at or contact us at

Gary Kout is the founder and executive director of Southern Oregon Film and Television and a producer on Redwood Highway, as well as having worked on four other feature films in Southern Oregon. He was the production supervisor on the 2011 Academy Award-winning animated feature Rango, starring Johnny Depp, and has line-produced over 100 national commercials.


On the Record: Bad Animals

Media Inc.’s interview series, in which we discuss the latest and greatest with a different Northwest company each issue, continues with Bad Animals.

An Emmy Award-winning audio post-production facility, Bad Animals provides sound design/editing, original music, ADR, Foley, and mixing for projects ranging from episodic TV and feature films to video games, corporate and commercial. The Seattle-based studio is led by partners Dave Howe, Tom McGurk, Mike McAuliffe, and Charlie Nordstrom.

Here is Howe, on the record.

Bad Animals has a long and storied history. What is the biggest change you have seen over the years?
Our biggest change has been the diversification of our clientele. When we took over as owners in 1999, we were primarily a commercial house. Now we probably don’t have more than 20 percent in any one genre (TV/film, corporate, commercial, etc.).

What do you like best about your job?
I love the fact that it’s different every day with new challenges that keep me growing. I also truly enjoy the people that I get to interact with; co-workers, clients, celebrities, politicians, corporate execs, you name it, they all walk through our doors. I joke about what it would cost to have received the education I’ve gotten over the years from being around these people.

What is one recent project you are particularly proud of?
I know it sounds hokey, but there really isn’t one I can place above another. I still get passionately involved with whatever I’m working on at the moment. My goal is to always keep setting the bar higher and make my next project better than the last. I can say I’m proud of many projects for various reasons. Sometimes it’s because of the nature of the work, but many times it has to do with the subject matter and the people that I’m working with.

Who or what inspires you, either personally or professionally?
I have been fortunate to have been mentored by some great people. My old high school baseball coach, Ron Davini, was a huge inspiration. He instilled a work ethic and discipline that pushed me to be far better than I knew I could be. This related not only to baseball, but translated to life as well. A post-supervisor/editor at Universal, John Elias, taught me it’s not about the gear or tools, it’s about relationships and always bringing your best effort to anything you do. And lastly, I want to mention Palmer Pattison. Palmer was probably the best audio engineer I’ve ever been around and more than willing to pass on his knowledge and experience to me when I was still pretty green in the business.

How important is it for your company to connect and engage with your surrounding community?
This is where we live and work, so it’s vital to be involved. It’s important to try to help continue the development of this market because if the market as a whole grows, we all reap the benefits. We try very hard to give back and support local causes and artists. We do this through various outreach activities such as seminars, tours, discounted rates, sponsorships, etc.

(l to r) Dave Howe, Mike McAuliffe and Tom McGurk at the Emmys.

Bad Animals has earned many prestigious awards over the years. What are some of your most gratifying professional accomplishments?
I’m very proud of the national Emmy Awards for Bill Nye the Science Guy and also the Emmy nominations for BizKids. The fact that these are voted on by industry peers means a great deal. I also had a Dolby rep from New York tell me a film I mixed was one of the best mixes he’d ever heard. That was an awesome moment.

If you were not in the recording/audio industry, what would be your dream job?
It’s easy. Jet fighter pilot. I grew up an Air Force brat and was around flight lines a lot as a kid. It was a really tough decision to not follow my dad’s footsteps into the Air Force.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
I’ve lived all over and the one place I always look forward to returning to is right here in the Seattle area. We are fortunate to live in a place of incredible beauty and opportunity.