Category Archives: Production Resources

True Colors: A Conversation with John Davidson

Cinque Terre. Courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door.

Cinque Terre. Courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door.

By Sonja Johansen Waters

John Davidson’s career as a colorist has spanned many decades. He has watched as the industry changed from celluloid, to its current digital format. The wealth of software out there allows many to try their hand at the craft of color grading, but few understand the intricate attention to detail nor have the eye or experience to correct the flaws, so his work stands on its own.

John and his performer wife, Cathryn Davis, recently relocated to the coast of Washington, where the vast beaches and windswept dunes and cliffs provide the backdrop for limitless creative expression. He walks the beaches every day, rain or shine, taking in the salty air and the vastness before him.

John Davidson at Pacific Beach, Washington.

John Davidson at Pacific Beach, Washington.

I sat down with him recently to discuss his long career.

What was your favorite project? “Hm. I love so many different types of work but one stands out. Back in the telecine days, I worked on a short film for Nike that allowed me to utilize all sorts of new and unusual filters. I found Fremont Glass and created a look that the makers loved. This client allowed me time and space to enhance their vision. I have also loved working with filmmakers who are crystal clear what they want, and those who are new to the world of film and ask my advice. I truly love the collaborative process.

“A project is not finished without correcting the light. Multiple cameras from different angles, or shots over several days can’t possibly mimic the same light. I correct that. Or what about the hands? No one puts makeup on the hands. They don’t match! People often can’t explain why they love a movie. It is the nuance that I notice and correct. It is the nuance, the attention to detail, that makes a film go from strong to powerful.”

From the short film J’Arrive. Courtesy of Daryle Conners

From the short film J’Arrive. Courtesy of Daryle Conners

John’s company is solely dedicated to color and he has the flexibility to work with you at his beach studio, travel to your location, your studio, or to work virtually, over email and cell. It requires hyper focus and strong attention to detail. He has strong connections with many filmmakers and producers, and has been called one of the best, if not the best, colorist in the business.

John continues to enjoy working with new filmmakers to produce a professional product with surprisingly reasonable rates.

Visit www.johndavidsoncolor.com for more information.

CHILD ACTORS: IN IT FOR THE FUN OR FAME?

Stephen SalamunovichBy Stephen Salamunovich C.S.A.

I’m sure that given the stats you’ll read about below, most of us in the media field have encountered kids or their parents who are interested in getting their kids into the on-camera acting fields. Since I’m asked about this far more than any other subject, I wanted to address this subject for many readers who’ve probably also come across this situation. And unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there willing to prey on the desire of kids to become famous and for parents to provide opportunity for their kids.

If your child approaches you and says they want to act, that’s potentially a wonderful thing, as may also be the case if they approach you about the desire to dance or play an instrument or paint or engage in any of the arts. But this particular request of acting may require more scrutiny, as it may potentially reveal a more concerning reason than just getting involved in organized “make believe.”

A recent statistic published in The Economist stated that in a 1976 survey, “people ranked being ‘famous’ 15th out of 16 possible life goals. By 2007, 51% of young people say that it was one of their principal ambitions. The proportion of American teenagers who believe themselves to be ‘very important’, jumped from 12% in 1950 to 50% in 2005. On a test that asks subjects to agree or disagree with statements such as, ‘I like to look at my body’ and ‘someone should write a biography about me’, 93% of young Americans emerge as being more narcissistic than the average of 20 years ago.”

I hope I don’t have to tell you how alarming this is. The rise in taking and posting an abundance of “selfies” has already started to be analyzed by psychologists as a symptom of narcissism among children and adults.

Between my 31 years as a casting director and growing up the son of my father in the media town of Los Angeles, I’ve known many people who were famous, and most of them before they were famous. The only difference between the two situations is somewhat obvious, but given the stat above, it bears repeating and remembering—frequently! It’s this: More people know who you are… That’s it! It doesn’t mean you’re more talented or valid than you were before. I get about 10 “selfies” a week from kids who have been indoctrinated in our celebrity-worship society with its warped values of fame, no matter how dubiously attained. They think that they can simply snap a shot of themselves and send it to a casting director and then clear their schedule for the next week for all the red carpets and awards shows that will surely follow without an ounce of study and preparation!

The fact that more people know who or what Kim Kar-whatshername is than know who Mother Teresa was is disturbing on so many levels. And don’t even get me started on the cast of the Jersey Shore, which I believe to be one of the signs of the apocalypse! It’s also the reason why the arts are being devalued left and right in the form of actors and musicians not being offered fair monetary compensation in a fit exchange of their gifts, and instead being offered the hollow payment of “exposure”, as if you can then turn around and offer it to your grocer or in place of your rent or your health insurance premium. Ego and vanity are enormously expensive commodities to which to aspire, and is the equivalent of worshiping sand, never realizing the beaches are covered with it. And fame for its own sake is an unsustainable phenomenon over the course of a lifetime. The drive to create, however, is like an itch that must be scratched regularly and thus can absolutely be sustainable throughout a lifetime. And the true expression of it will bring fulfillment whether one is famous or not. The expression of creativity can bring fame as a byproduct, but it isn’t the main motivation of true artists.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I knew several child stars, some of whom have become famous adults. It requires an enormous amount of emotional intelligence to navigate the challenges that follow fame for adults, let alone children. But acting for the sake of creativity should be its own reward, just like painting a beautiful picture or dancing to the full extent of your heart’s creative expression. The urge to create is a beautiful one and is an archetype exerting a pull, to some degree, in all of us. And it should be nurtured and kept in its purest state. So if your child comes to you and says they want to pursue acting, put them in a theater setting first to see if it’s acting they prefer. If it’s fame, you’ll be able to tell because they won’t be interested in the expression of acting as an end in itself. They’ll want to be on TV or in the movies. That’s your clue that their value system is in drastic need of a course correction.

Carl Jung, the philosopher and psychologist, theorized that the archetype covering the human desire to create could be found in the mythology of the mating of Eros and Psyche and their offspring was Pleasure. In the film Chariots of Fire, the lead character’s sister tries to get him to give up his desire to run and return home to become a minister like his father and grandfather. She finally asks him why he runs anyway since she finds it a frivolous preoccupation. His answer is brilliant: “Because when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” There is no better reason to engage in any artistic pursuit. I wish your child pleasure in all of theirs!

For more information on casting director Stephen Salamunovich or his services, visit www.completecasting.com.

A Sizzling Summer for Water Buffalo

For many Northwest inhabitants unaccustomed to hot weather, this past summer was a scorcher. But for water trucking company Water Buffalo, that meant business was booming.

Showering people off at the Warrior Dash.

Showering people off at the Warrior Dash.

“This summer was super busy due to the hot weather,” said Phyllis Brown, the Bonney Lake, Washington-based company’s owner. “Everything needed water. The first part of our summer, we filled up a lot of swimming pools. We also did a lot of dust control and landscape watering. Many wells have been going dry and we have filled holding tanks for homeowners. Also, a couple of resorts had well problems and called on us for bulk water hauling.”

In addition to providing water services to homes and businesses, Water Buffalo also helped out on a number of local productions and events, including Hempfest, Pacific Raceway Nationals, Dirty Dash, The Warrior Dash, Rock and Roll Marathon, Festival of the River, Brinnon Shrimpfest and more.

A Water Buffalo truck filled train cars up at the US Open.

A Water Buffalo truck filled train cars up at the US Open.

“We especially love helping out at events and productions,” said Brown. “Water is such an important part of many of these events and I love reconnecting with the promoters annually. This year we were also excited to haul water during the US Open, filling holding tanks on a train carrying dignitaries.

As for productions, Water Buffalo has more than 10 years of experience working closely with local film, television and commercial projects. According to Brown, most productions request rain-making or that “just rained” look.

Water Buffalo’s new truck.

Water Buffalo’s new truck.

Water Buffalo’s fleet includes six water trucks and two water trailers, but with such a busy summer, Brown has added another truck to the arsenal: “A 2,500-gallon stainless steel tanker that is perfect for smaller jobs and doing landscape watering.”

As 2016 approaches, Water Buffalo is looking forward to celebrating their 20th year in business.

“We are grateful for all the new and repeat customers from over the years,” said Brown. “We look forward to our many annual events and another great season of hauling bulk water for whatever projects arise.”

For more information, visit www.waterbuffaloinc.com.

Spokane: Your Next Filming Destination

Riverside State Park. (Photo by Jeff Schindler)

Riverside State Park. (Photo by Jeff Schindler)

By Peyton Scheller, Communications Manager, Visit Spokane

It’s clear from Spokane’s “Near nature. Near perfect.” mantra that outdoor filming locations throughout the region are not hard to come by. All things outdoors aside, Spokane’s never-ending “places to shoot” list is as diverse as they come, with a thriving downtown, unique public spaces and eclectic neighborhoods scattered throughout the city. While the possibilities are almost limitless, here are just a few specific scene location ideas that are sure to take your project to the next level:

Duncan Garden (Photo by Alan Bisson)

Duncan Garden (Photo by Alan Bisson)

Garden Party
Located in 90-acre Manito Park, Duncan Garden follows the classic Renaissance garden style with symmetrical design, geometric planting beds and a central water feature. The sunken garden includes three acres of colorful displays, adding the necessary brightness to complement any garden scene. Duncan Garden is just one of five different gardens within Manito Park.

The Milk Bottle (Photo courtesy of Visit Spokane)

The Milk Bottle (Photo courtesy of Visit Spokane)

Classic Americana
For a blast from the past, head a few miles north of downtown Spokane to the Garland District. The historic Garland Theater, anchored with a giant neon sign in original art deco design, sets the stage for classic movie-theater shots. For the old-fashioned diner feel, stop by Ferguson’s café, or get your fill of milkshakes and burgers at the Milk Bottle (a restaurant housed in a building shaped like—you guessed it—a milk bottle).

Urban Forest
As Washington’s largest state park, Riverside State Park consists of 14,000 acres of lush Douglas firs, wildflower-lined trails and huge basalt rocks protruding out of the rushing Spokane River. For an urban forest scene that is relatively easy hiking but doesn’t skimp on the views, Riverside State Park is your place.

Period Mansions
Spokane recently hosted the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference, mainly because of the city’s abundance of historically preserved buildings and homes. Neighborhood pockets such as Browne’s Addition and the Rockwood Blvd. area provide tree-lined streets with mansions on either side, showcasing the early 1900s homes of Spokane’s former elite.

Green Bluff (Photo by Alan Bisson)

Green Bluff (Photo by Alan Bisson)

Farms Aplenty
Spokane is neighbored by the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse, but for farms packed with produce, head to Green Bluff, just 20 minutes away. A co-operative of 40-plus family farms nestled at the bottom of Mt. Spokane, Green Bluff features strawberry fields, apple orchards, pumpkin patches and everything in between.

Foot Chase
No action movie is complete without a foot chase scene. Add a new dimension with a dash through the Steam Plant, a once fully operating steam plant that powered downtown Spokane. The space has been completely refurbished to hold a restaurant, brewery, shops and more, but the original catwalks and boiler pipes are still exposed in true industrial form. Think steampunk and you’ll get the picture.

Spokane is a filmmaker’s paradise with a dynamic city vibe, unmatched scenery, picturesque parks and more. Plus, the region is extremely accessible, with little to no traffic and an airport just 10 minutes from downtown. The icing on the cake? You don’t have to look far for talented actors and a hard-working crew—the local film industry is just as amazing as the city itself.

For more information about Spokane, check out www.visitspokane.com.

Pro Photo Supply Hosts Portland Film Festival Educational Events

Pro Photo Supply will once again host a series of workshops as part of the Portland Film Festival.

Pro Photo Supply will once again host a series of workshops as part of the Portland Film Festival.

The Portland Film Festival has always been as much about making films as it is about watching them. Today, cameras capable of shooting cinema-quality video are cheaper and more accessible than ever before, meaning any independent filmmaker can get the tools to give his or her film the look it deserves. However, access to tools alone won’t make a film.

As a camera store, we here at Pro Photo Supply obviously get excited about new technology and products, and we love putting those cameras in as many filmmakers’ hands as possible. But we also know how important education is in training would-be directors and cinematographers in the art of filmmaking. It used to be that it took years of education just to get to a point where one had access to a high-end movie camera. Now, people can literally shoot first and ask questions later. This has made education all the more important.

That’s why Pro Photo Supply is happy to support and partner with a number of local film education resources, and we are excited to once again welcome the Portland Film Festival back to the Pro Photo Supply Event Center for another week of great workshops and filmmaker presentations.

For more information on events at Pro Photo Supply, follow the “Events/Education” link at www.prophotosupply.com.

Eugene Film Society to Host First TAD Talk

By Joshua Purvis, Executive Director, Eugene Film Society

On August 11, the Eugene Film Society, in partnership with the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO) and Downtown Eugene Economic Development, will host the first TAD (Technology & Arts Downtown) Talk event highlighting the role the arts and technology play in supporting downtown Eugene’s recent renaissance. TAD Talks are the first fruits of labor from the newly formed partnership between EFS and TAO to promote creative enterprise and foster innovation in the Eugene area, as well as advocate for greater integration of technology and the arts into the local K-12 public education system.Eugene TAD Talk

The Eugene Film Society is a recently formed community arts organization that supports regional film production and a grassroots film culture by encouraging competition and collaboration among community film organizations; promoting seasonal cinematic events; fostering innovation and investment in the local visual media industry; and improving visual literacy among our youth. We organize several film events throughout the year, including a 72 Hour Horror Film Competition, a 72 Hour Music Video Competition, and a Screening & Social celebrating the best of local film production and specialized exhibition that successfully engage the University of Oregon, Lane Community College and downtown Eugene communities. Along with TAO, we now aim to coalesce much of that energy and goodwill to better support media and tech education in the Eugene School District.

We are so thrilled to have Matt Sayre in town leading the local TAO office to support Eugene’s tech sector. Already, he has helped introduce world-class internet capabilities into the downtown core and intends to expand its reach significantly if he can attract much needed investment to build out that infrastructure. The Eugene Film Society is committed to aiding Matt’s efforts because it will, in turn, increase Eugene’s ability to attract more multimedia ventures like Iris Educational Media, a behavioral research and development firm, and Pipeworks Studio, which produces live games for console, PC, tablet and mobile players. Increased investment in tech infrastructure will maximize our city’s investment in human capital—our young artists, developers and engineers—to not only compete regionally, nationally and globally in their professional endeavors, but also reinvest in our community with their creative entrepreneurship.

By examining how technology and the arts encourage economic development and community engagement in the downtown Eugene area, EFS and TAO aim to promote more creative enterprise and attract greater investment in Eugene’s tech infrastructure. After much dedication by the City of Eugene, and a network of downtown stakeholders, to renew downtown Eugene, we are starting to see signs of progress and success where once there was blight and exodus. Eugene is progressively becoming a desired destination for young professionals, and with ready access to the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, EFS and TAO believe we can become even more so.

Joshua Purvis is the Executive Director of the Eugene Film Society and serves on the board of Downtown Eugene Economic Development. He is also the Manager of Events & Promotions for the Bijou Cinemas and Community Engagement Coordinator for the University of Oregon Cinema Pacific Film Festival.

Stunt Work in the Northwest—and Beyond

James August SmithBy James August Smith

The year started off on a high note and has gotten busier and better. Being one of the primary drivers on the professional drivers team, LA Motorsports, has been a great experience working closely with the best of the best!

From President’s Day Jeep commercials to Ram Truck and Jeep Renegade spots, we have been keeping the camera rolling.

Another interesting spot I had the privilege of working on was the Hyundai “A Message to Space” project. We drove eleven cars side by side in formation and spelled letters on the desert floor that made a very special message. Check it out on YouTube with 65 million other viewers!

Locally in the Northwest and the L.A. area, I have been in wigs and makeup to double several actors in car and truck chases for Grimm, Z Nation, as well as Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, TrueCar and Hyundai spots this year.

In our spare time we provide a stunt driver training for anyone who wants to enhance their abilities in a car. We have an asphalt skid pad located near The Dalles, Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge.

With a fleet of cars set up for stunt driving, a water truck, some orange cones, and some of the best instructors in the business, the best way to get experience is through experience. Almost anyone pursuing film work that wants to up their game in a car can call me direct to schedule a stunt driving session.

Call James A. Smith at 541-993-7625 or 818-769-1777, or visit www.skicarstunt.com for more information.

TD Curran: Northwest-based company offers Apple services and support to local media pros

TD Curran headshotBy Jason Knopp

Founded in 1992 by owner Troy Douglas Curran, TD Curran began as a small company which offered hard drives, memory and mouse balls to schools all over the country. In 2001, TD Curran acquired Alpha Tech Computers and gained the designation of Apple Specialist. From that point on, TD Curran focused solely on providing Apple computers, products and accessories.

We’ve expanded our product portfolio into areas such as media & entertainment, backup/archive, mobile device management, cloud services and point of sale systems. On top of offering the entire line of Apple hardware, we also provide most other PC manufacturers, storage (small to large), and software such as Adobe Creative Cloud for business and education. TD Curran also provides complete service and support for Apple products and has been designated a Premium Service Provider by Apple Inc. In addition to selling and servicing the entire line of Apple products, TD Curran offers one-on-one training sessions, onsite services and repairs, as well as remote managed services.mac 1

We have engineers and account managers that can help you with anything from active directory integration and networking to storage area networking. TD Curran now has retail locations in Bellingham, Burlington, Kirkland, Issaquah and Portland. The newest location in Portland was formerly The MacPac. We can accommodate and facilitate just about any need from single users to Fortune 500 companies. All sales and service technicians are Apple Product Professionals and/or Apple Certified Technicians. We have employees and contractors with the following Apple qualifications/certifications:

• Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist
• Apple Certified Macintosh Technician
• Apple Certified System Administrator
• Apple Certified Technical Coordinator
• Apple Certified Xsan Administratormac 2

We’ve become one of the larger Premiere Apple Specialist and Apple Authorized Service Providers in the country by providing responsive, friendly and the best quality service to our customers. In the years since becoming an Apple reseller, TD Curran has consistently demonstrated exceptional and comprehensive knowledge of Apple technology.

For more information, visit www.tdcurran.com. Jason Knopp, a skilled account manager with 13+ years of experience with Apple products and technology, can be reached at jasonk@tdcurran.com or 360-921-8036.

The Mark Spencer: Portland’s Hotel to the Arts

New Image

By Cydelle Higa-Johnston

In 1907, the Nortonia Hotel opened its doors in the heart of Portland’s Theatre District and quickly became a second home for many artists and entertainers, including Louis Armstrong, Spike Jones and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1966, the Nortonia Hotel was remodeled and renamed what is currently standing today as the Mark Spencer Hotel. While the Mark Spencer remains “home” to many modern day artists and performers, it is now a hidden gem in the heart of Portland’s newest district in Downtown, the West End District. As Portland’s Hotel to the Arts, the Mark Spencer partners with many art and music organizations, both locally and nationally, welcoming all who stop by.

As the oldest, still operating boutique style hotel in Portland, the Mark Spencer is currently undergoing a large, multi-million-dollar renovation. Each of the hotel’s 102 guestrooms and suites will feature new plumbing, wiring, raised ceilings in select rooms and a fresh air intake system through the building. After that, each room is rebuilt with museum finish walls and beautiful crown molding. Finally, modern touches are added with comfortable, top of the line interior accents, premium bedding and updated technology.

Throughout the renovation, it was important to preserve the history of the hotel while uncovering beautiful architectural elements and integrating these into the new design. Original brick work and interior beams are being exposed and refinished throughout the hotel for a nice marriage of old world charm and modern day beauty. The hotel is also recognized as a Green Seal Certified property for its practices in environmental sustainability. One thing that will remain unchanged is the first-class service provided to all guests. Each overnight guest receives a complimentary continental breakfast each morning, fresh baked cookies in the afternoon, an evening wine tasting reception featuring local wines, a daily copy of The New York Times and complimentary wireless internet access. Guests will also soon be able to experience neighboring restaurants and retailers in Spencer Court, adjacent to the hotel, through a direct access.

Nestled in the heart of the vibrant up and coming West End District, visitors have an opportunity to walk to renowned restaurants, enjoy tax-free shopping, visit museums, theaters and music venues, as well as easily accessing public transportation to take in the sights of the city.

Whether this is your first time or if you’ve been here any number of times in the past, we invite everyone to “Stay Like a Local” at the Mark Spencer Hotel – Portland’s Hotel to the Arts.

Visit www.markspencer.com for more.

OMPA Now Hiring Executive Director

Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) is now hiring for the position of Executive Director. See below for details:

Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) is the champion of Oregon’s film, television, and digital storytelling industry, and the Association is the gateway to our state’s production resources. Our members are the heart of these resources. Our mission is to grow Oregon’s industry by promoting the work of our members and advocating for them in state and local governments.

We’re seeking a dynamic Executive Director who’s a collaborative leader, passionate about our mission, and prepared to grow the Association. Someone with proven success and enthusiasm as a policy-shaper and revenue generator. We’re looking for an articulate communicator and strategic thinker who excels at setting ambitious goals and working with partners to accomplish them. This ED has to “get” our production culture – we need a progressive, modern-minded exec as at home working the halls of the state capital as they are talking to members over coffee.

TITLE:  Executive Director
JOB CATEGORY: Salary Exempt
STATUS:  Full-Time
SUPERVISOR:  OMPA’s Board of Directors
LOCATION:  Portland, OR

POSITION OVERVIEW

The Executive Director manages every aspect of the Association’s operations.  They oversee the staff and budget of the Association, while providing strategic direction.  The Executive Director leads OMPA’s lobbying efforts in state and local government.  The ideal candidate for this position will:
·    Have 1+ years experience working as a leader of a non-profit or similar organization
·    Have 1+ years experience working with the state legislature or similar governmental body
·    Be knowledgeable of the media production industry
·    Have top-notch leadership and relationship management skills
·    Have experienced supervisorial and collaborative skills
·    Have excellent written and oral communication skills
·    Have current, savvy computer and social marketing skills
·    Be highly organized and capable of managing multiple tasks
·    Be inspiring for the members we serve

RESPONSIBILITIES

Work with our Board of Directors
·    Provide support and insight for the board to carry out the Association’s mission.
·    Assist the board with the ongoing needs of governance.
·    Partner with the board’s working committees, and execute the needs of those committees.
·    Organize board meetings, yearly retreats, and facilitate yearly board elections with impartiality.

Promote the work of our members
·    Be responsible for the publication and distribution of Oregon’s largest media services directory and promotional magazine, SourceOregon.
·    Direct public relations to spotlight the successes of our members to targeted audience and the general public.
·    Manage a communications program, including regular emails, newsletter, and website.

Advocate for our members in state and local government
·    Craft the Association’s legislative priorities and work in coalition with members and vested parties to accomplish policy goals (ongoing).
·    Directly lobby government officials, developing positive relationships with key players to progress the agenda of Oregon’s media production community.
·    Activate industry members to cultivate their own relationships with elected officials.

Manage the Association’s financial needs
·    Oversee an operating budget of $275k per year.
·    Direct the preparation of taxes and regular financial reports.
·    Raise funds to support the Association through member dues, advertising sales, event coordination, and direct fundraising.

Supervise staff
·    Oversee the work of OMPA employees, providing guidance, evaluation, support, and regular evaluation reportage to the board.
·    When necessary, manage hiring and staff replacement.

REQUIREMENTS
You must be able to lift and carry 40 pounds. You must be able to maintain a flexible work schedule that will often include early mornings, evenings, and weekend work with regular travel outside of Portland.

SALARY
$60,000-$70,000 per year

TO APPLY
Please submit the following materials electronically via PDF by 5 PM on August 21, 2015:
·    A one-page cover letter clearly outlining your skills and how they make you a good fit for this position with the OMPA, highlighting any production experience and relationships.
·    A resume detailing relevant experience, work history, and accomplishments.

Application materials should be submitted to: info@ompa.org

The Oregon Media Production Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we encourage applications from candidates who can contribute to the diversity of the Association.