Category Archives: Production Resources

Oregon Story Board

Oregon Story Board Space

The State’s New Digital Storytelling Ecosystem

By Susan Haley Associate Editor

In December 2013, Nicholas de Wolff was recruited to serve as inaugural executive director of a new digital innovation lab, Oregon Story Board (OSB), a non-profit organization that “develops opportunities for job creation, talent attraction, and the establishment of a collaborative community of digital storytelling innovators.”

de Wolff has been deeply involved in new media business ventures, including Internet, social media, M&E technologies, IP, and mobile communications. He served for several years as a chief marketing officer at Technicolor, one of the world’s largest media and entertainment technology providers. de Wolff is a co-founder of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where he has served several times on the jury for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Oregon Story Board actively promotes the growth of digital media production in Oregon through investments in Incubation, Research & Education, and Ecosystem Development. Plans for OSB include Incubation: Investing in startups that support a statewide digital media ecosystem; Research & Education: Helping Oregonians become leaders in the new wave of digital production; and Ecosystem Development: Catalyzing growth by creating and enriching the connections between new business opportunities and talented digital media professionals.

Nicholas de Wolff

Nicholas de Wolff

Beginning in Portland with plans to expand statewide, OSB is designed to further the burgeoning digital storytelling cluster—a broad spectrum encompassing everything from filmmakers to video game development to news and advertising organizations to the technology that enables those industries—in Oregon by focusing on education, research, community building, incubation, and promotion of both startups and established organizations that are making the state a compelling location for creative and technological exploration.

Oregon Story Board has already teamed with TrackTown USA for their first official project, the “Hack at Hayward.” In July 2014, Oregon will host more than 2,500 international athletes, team officials and journalists for the 15th IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships. In anticipation of this exciting event, OSB and TrackTown USA invited a select group of Oregon’s best technologists, creatives, and athletes to re-invent the way that the sport of track and field is presented to a global audience.

Oregon Story Board Space 2

Inside Oregon Story Board.

“Innovation has been the cornerstone of the TrackTown community since Bill Bowerman arrived at the University of Oregon in 1948, and we were thrilled to partner with Oregon Story Board in shaping the sport for the 21st century,” said TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna. The Hack was focused on conceptualizing a genuinely innovative platform that shines a light on the robust stories of competition and triumph that begin well before the athletes step on the track, and continue well after the event is over.

More recently, Oregon Story Board produced and hosted an event at OMSI called “Play/Interact,” aggregating 12 of the state’s leading video game and digital media companies in one large demonstration event, attended by nearly 1,000 people.

Less public, but possibly of most importance to their mission, the organization has already begun supporting and incubating startup companies, providing collaborative office space and business development resources to eight Oregon startups since May 1.  Oregon Story Board will be opening up the application process in June for their fall accelerator program.

For more information, go to and sign up for updates or follow @orstoryboard on Twitter.

WIFPDX Adds Fuel to the Creative Fire

By Susan Haley Associate Editor

In a recent interview, Liz Vice, Women In Film Portland’s 2013 Women’s Vision Grant recipient, stated, “Getting the Women’s Vision Grant changed my career in a way that just said ‘Keep going.’ It was that extra oil or that extra gasoline that kept fueling this engine that has been created within me to tell stories.”

Liz Vice accepts WIFPDX's Women's Vision Grant.

Liz Vice accepts WIFPDX’s Women’s Vision Grant.

As independent filmmakers, we can totally relate to Liz’s comments. No matter where we are in our careers—beginning novice to seasoned producer—we all need “fuel” to keep alive the vision and passion we hold for our projects. Each project brings with it its own set of challenges, some of which can sorely test our stamina, making it easy to think about just putting it down and walking away.

To remain sane and keep the creativity fires burning, connecting with others in the field is essential. But, because media is such a broad mixture of incredible creativity, good business practices, and astute planning that remains flexible at the drop of a hat, it’s not always easy to do. That’s why an organization like Women In Film Portland (WIFPDX) plays such a vital role in Oregon’s film and media industry. It’s a place to go to ‘refuel’; to meet others, discover new opportunities for collaboration, celebrate triumphs, swap war stories and generally relax with people who understand the specific challenges you might be facing.

WIFPDX was founded in 2009 by four local women filmmakers and, in its first five years, has grown into a 100-plus-member organization offering monthly networking meet-ups, special speaker events featuring prominent women directors, producers and other industry professionals, and a holiday gathering held every November to further engage both members and the broader local film/media community.

In 2013, the board focused on strengthening the organization through the development of a clear mission statement: To elevate women in film, communications and media through education, outreach and professional development. To meet this mission, WIFPDX added to its established programs a film funding workshop, a special meet-up for industry employers to connect with their members, and Doc Camp, a four-day intensive retreat for established documentary filmmakers to hone their skills in various aspects of documentary filmmaking and distribution. The 2013 inaugural retreat drew participants from both the local community and as far away as Pennsylvania.

In addition, each year WIFPDX facilitates the Women’s Vision Grant, formerly The Faerie Godmother Production Grant. Founded in 2005 by local film supporter and philanthropist Vikki Mee, the grant provides financial support aiding in the production or completion of a media project while helping to advance the artist’s vision and professional growth. Projects have covered a great diversity of subjects, both in documentary and narrative formats. Many have gone on to win significant accolades at domestic and international screenings, while the directors continue to work in all aspects of the industry and broadcasting platforms.

Entries for the 2014 Women’s Vision Grant are now being accepted. Visit for submittal guidelines and application. And please visit for a calendar of networking meet-ups to connect with others in the local media community and for details about how you can join WIFPDX.

Serving the Latino Community’s Growing Production Industry

Co-founded in 1997 by Mario Zavaleta and Martha Isabel Sánchez, Latino Northwest Communications was created in response to the rapidly growing Latino community and their need for video production that properly portrayed Latinos in the Northwest.

As the Latino community continues to grow, so too does the need for proper production of television programs, feature stories, documentaries, and educational, corporate and promotional videos. Media Inc. asked Zavaleta to answer a few questions about the Latino community’s expanding production needs. Latino NW mario_crop

Is there a rapidly growing Latino production industry?
Certainly the Latino production industry in this area is rapidly growing, considering that just in the state of Washington, the Latino community tripled since the year 2000.

What do those numbers look like?
As far as I have knowledge, in this state there are at least a dozen professional video production companies serving the Latino market, which have capability to produce on a high level. However, there are many others that are engaged in producing all kinds of projects, including documenting family events.

Tell us about the Latino production trends. Is most of the production work in television? Documentaries? Movies? Commercial?
As in most markets, Latino producers in Washington are mainly using digital media to show their work and serve their audience. Although there is a significant market in the production of TV commercials for the six stations that broadcast in Spanish in this state (Univision Seattle, V-me TV, Azteca America, Hispanavision in Yakima, Univision Yakima, and Univision Tri Cities), every day there are more people interested in producing documentaries, corporate, educational, music videos, etc., that are using digital media as their main forum.
To date, our company, Latino Northwest Communications, is the only one in this region that produces special programs in Spanish, and does news coverage for Univision, the largest Spanish television network in the United States, which is extensively seen throughout Latin America, Canada and parts of Europe.

How is the Latino production industry different from the rest of the industry? Does the Latino community have different consumer demands?
It does. The Latino community is very diverse and complex because what works for first generation immigrants does not necessarily work for the second or third generations. What may work for Mexicans, may not work for Puerto Ricans, Argentineans or Peruvians. According to the 2010 Census, the Latino community has reached a buying power that surpasses $1.3 trillion a year. In order to successfully reach this desirable market, all types of corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations need to rely on the knowledge and cultural understanding of Latino production companies.

Keblas Becomes A Creature

James Keblas, former director of the Seattle Office of Film and Music has been named President of Seattle advertising agency Creature.  The announcement was made today by Matt Peterson, Creature Co-Founder and CEO at a press conference on the steps of Seattle City Hall.

(l - r) New Creature President James Keblas, with co-founder and Chief Creative Director Jim Haven  and Co-Founder and CEO Matt Peterson.

(l – r) New Creature President James Keblas, with co-founder and Chief Creative Director Jim Haven and Co-Founder and CEO Matt Peterson.


Creature president James Keblas speaking on the steps of Seattle City Hall

Creature president James Keblas speaking on the steps of Seattle City Hall

Peterson described Keblas as “a passionate troublemaker” as he introduced him to the assembled group of Creature employees, city workers and advertising industry members in attendance.  “It feels great to be a Creature!” Keblas shouted as he basked in the sunshine on the steps of city hall.

The press conference was orchestrated by Creature to thank Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who famously ousted Keblas in February, after he had served nine successful years in his post with the Office of Film and Music.  Creature’s #ThxMayor campaign on social media called attention to their new hire – and made it clear they were the beneficiary.  Keblas himself told the audience “I want to thank Mayor Murray for giving me this amazing opportunity. Imagine what I can do in the private sector with a healthy expense account.”

He expects to bring to Creature new connectivity to arts & entertainment, as well as access to deep-seated relationships he has cultivated with business and elected officials during his time with city government.

His first venture into advertising will start with keeping Creature strong. “I wouldn’t have joined just any ad agency,” Keblas said. “I was a client of Creature.  What they did for the city’s Commercialize Seattle campaign was phenomenal. I’m excited to be part of that.”

Incentive Breakdown

Both Washington and Oregon offer tax incentive packages for attracting outside production, as well as encouraging homegrown projects. We asked the folks at Washington Filmworks and the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television to give readers an overview of the incentive packages available in their state.

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed, a Washington incentive film. Photo courtesy of FilmDistrict & Big Beach

Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed, a Washington incentive film. Photo courtesy of FilmDistrict & Big Beach

Washington Filmworks (WF) is the private non-profit organization that manages the state film and the Motion Picture Competitiveness programs. WF’s mission is to create economic development opportunities by building and enhancing the competitiveness, profile and sustainability of Washington State’s film industry.

WF offers funding assistance for qualified in-state expenditures of up to 30% for motion pictures and episodic series with less than six episodes and up to 35% for episodic series with at least six episodes.

WF offers funding assistance for qualified in-state expenditures of up to 15% for commercials. Commercial applicants who have not worked in Washington State previously and who are using a Washington-based production company are eligible for a one-time return of 25%.

In order to qualify for funding assistance, the production company must meet the following in-state spending thresholds:

Laggies, a Washington incentive film from Seattle director Lynn Shelton.

Laggies, a Washington incentive film from Seattle director Lynn Shelton.

• $500,000 Motion Pictures
• $300,000 Episodic Series (per episode)
• $150,000 Commercials

Some non-resident labor may qualify for a return of up to 15% if the production meets all eligibility criteria as detailed in the full Guidelines and Criteria, including but not limited to, utilizing at least an 85% Washington Resident labor force.

The Board of Directors of WF may allocate up to $350,000 annually to support Washington resident filmmakers and filmmakers using new forms of production and emerging technologies. This funding is allocated through the Filmworks Innovation Lab. For further information about eligibility requirements please refer to the Filmworks Innovation Lab Guidelines and Criteria.

Financial contributions to WF raised by the tax credit mechanism in 2ESSB 5539 are currently capped at $3.5 million per calendar year.

For a full list of requirements and eligibility, please review WF’s Guidelines and Criteria at

Additional incentives
A few more reasons why filming in Washington makes sense (and dollars):

• State sales and use tax off rental equipment, services, and vehicles
• Hotel/motel tax exemption on 30-day stay
• Seattle Permit $25/day including city-owned property

Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Olivia Wilde

(l to r) Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein and Olivia Wilde in Portlandia, which received OPIF funds. Photo by Augusta Quirk/IFC

Oregon offers a host of generous incentive programs to help your bottom line. The incentive programs rebate:

• 20% of your Oregon-based goods and services
• An additional cash payment of up to 16.2% of wages paid to production personnel

Unlike other states’ programs, these incentives are cash rebates as opposed to tax credits. This enables us to deliver you a check quickly and efficiently. Additionally, Oregon’s lack of any sales tax on goods and services can immediately save you 7 to 8%.

The Oregon Production Investment Fund offers qualifying film or television productions a 20% cash rebate on production-related goods and services paid to Oregon vendors and a 10% cash rebate of wages paid for work done in Oregon including both Oregon and non-Oregon residents. The labor portion of this rebate can be combined with the Greenlight Oregon program for an effective labor rebate of 16.2%.

OPIF project Portlandia. Photo by Augusta Quirk/IFC

OPIF project Portlandia. Photo by Augusta Quirk/IFC

A production must directly spend at least $1 million in Oregon to qualify. There is no per production cap.

The Greenlight Oregon Labor Rebate offers productions that spend more than $1 million in Oregon a cash rebate of up to 6.2% of Oregon-based payroll. This rebate can be combined with the Oregon Production Investment Fund incentive for an effective rebate of 16.2% on qualifying production payroll.

The “Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund” (iOPIF) provides the same rebates of 20% of goods and services and 10% of Oregon labor for films produced by Oregon filmmakers who spend a minimum of $75,000, up to the first $1 million of their spend. Other requirements will apply. The program is now in effect and applications are being accepted.

In addition to the savings associated with the incentive programs listed above, filming in Oregon can save you money in the following ways:

• No Sales Tax
• Fee-free State Parks, Cities and Counties
• Lodging Taxes Waived

For full details, visit