Tag Archives: Audio/Sound

Best of Northwest Production


Becky Reilly
Big Fish NW Talent Representation

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
Our depth of talent has grown dramatically in the last 10 years. We’ve got talent… not the numbers you will find in L.A., but certainly the quality.

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
Easily it is our staff that sets us apart. We have a combined 35 years experience in deciphering talent and assessing a client’s needs. Then, we have continually advanced the technology to support us along the way to be sure every talent is considered and every client covered.

How has your business changed throughout the years?
In my best granny voice, I’ll say: Why, I remember back when I would call 40 people for an audition and give them everything they needed for an audition or gig within the phone conversation… down to the commas in a script! I’d spend hours. Today I could send thousands that same message, while texting and/or calling with an Internet-based system to let them know that we’ve sent an e-mail with all details… I can then have a fully qualified submission to a client within an hour or two.

J­ason Jeffords
Puddletown Talent

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
The current state of the NW talent industry is strong and on the uprise.  More production is coming to town to work in our locations and work our talent. Quality of talent is proving itself time and time again.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment is when I decided to open my agency. It was finally a time to do things the way I wanted as well as take the idea of a talent agency for kids in the direction I felt it needed to go. Looking back, I am still smiling at the decision to go forward with opening the doors to Puddletown Talent.

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
Puddletown Talent is the only agency that is purely an infants/kids/teens agency. We do not represent adults. Specialization and quality over quantity is key with us and our roster of talent.

Jamie Lopez
The Actors Group

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
I don’t have a canned list of services. I connect the best talent with the opportunities that are right for them. That can mean the traditional stuff talent agencies do—casting, corporate events, sponsorships, and so on. It can also mean coming up with something nobody’s dreamed of.
How has your business changed throughout the years?
We’ve gotten smaller!

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Successfully representing some of the region’s finest talent for nearly 20 years.

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
Solid! Seattle is home to some of the best professional talent in the world. The continuing growth of the Internet combined with the decrease of production costs allows us to be producers as well as talent. It feels like the sky’s the limit.

Topo Swope
Topo Swope Talent

How has your business changed throughout the years?
Over the past 17 years, I have grown the agency from a small group of about 15 talent into a large agency still with the very best talent in the Pacific Northwest. I came kicking and screaming into the current world of technology. In the dinosaur years, we used Radio Shack tape recorders for voice over tapes for auditions, and couriered everything from said tapes and large photo books of the talent to the casting directors and producers!

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
Seattle has an expansive pool of talented and diverse actors. The challenge is getting them work in the current economic climate. Most significantly our industry is suffering from the loss of the Washington Film incentive budget. The quality of Seattle talent is vibrant and on par with other large market talent. And we want to keep our Seattle actors working in Seattle!

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
Personalized service. We take pride in our commitment to each one of our actors; with individual attention and open communication we are able to serve our clients with consistently professional and well prepared talent.

Dena Beatty
Screen Actors Guild, Seattle/Portland

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
For a market the size of the Pacific Northwest we have a deep talent base of performers possessing various skills. With the volume of motion pictures, television series, commercials and corporate videos, not to mention our vast theatre opportunities, the number of very talented performers in the Northwest continues to grow.

How has your business changed throughout the years?
One of the most significant changes we’ve seen is the creation of digital technology. This development has allowed many filmmakers to make their films who, just a few years earlier, would not have had the financial means and it has provided them with new methods of distribution. SAG saw the value in this new marketplace and recognized that by working with these talented filmmakers the entire industry could benefit. As a result we created the Low Budget Agreements for Independent Producers. With day rates as low as $100 per day, filmmakers were able to hire SAG members to work on their films at rates that made sense for their budgets. SAG has also had its eye on the Internet and New Media, working this new platform into each of its contracts and making a very versatile Made For New Media contract for entertainment programming. To learn more about these great contracts visit the production center at SAG.org.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
The Screen Actors Guild was founded to protect the rights of working actors in 1930s Hollywood and we have expanded across the nation to protect performers in all stages of their career. Both nationally and here in the Pacific Northwest, our members and staff keep on top of what is happening in the entertainment industry and keep an eye on what is yet to come. This has allowed the Screen Actors Guild to provide contracts that protect performers while recognizing that not all projects fit into the same box. We have been able to customize our contracts to work for the big Hollywood blockbusters as well as for the small independent filmmaker looking to make his first film. Our greatest accomplishment is the ability to work with employers big and small in a fair and balanced way while continuing to provide fair wages and safe working conditions to all performers who work under our contracts.

Terri C Morgan
TCM Models & Talent LLC

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
We have equally strong commercial and fashion divisions, with wonderful actors and models. We represent infants to seniors and we have wonderfully nice people to work with.

How has your business changed throughout the years?
We have grown steadily and slowly so that we can do a great job at all aspects of our agency; we gradually have added new divisions once we feel we have the others performing up to standard. The staff has grown from 2 to 7 in just the last 5 years. Each division is run by very competent and capable professionals.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Honestly I still absolutely love what I get to do every day! I still get excited for each new model or actor’s first booking! It’s a blast!

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
We have a very strong talent pool here and the quality of talent is amazing. People want to live and work in the Northwest, so consequently we have great talent at our disposal for local and incoming clients.

Anne Mitchell
LLL Talent
509-720-8312 Office
208-818-1912  Direct

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Every day I get to work within an industry I always dreamed I would. Nothing can top the feeling of waking up and working with purpose. How many presidents of their drama club actually get to work full-time and earn their living within the field they vowed they would! I’m just a grown up drama geek living my dream. No matter how cheesy that sounds it is really a fantastic accomplishment when you step back and consider it. I never had a Plan B. I always believed in achieving my Plan A and I did! There is a chair in the theatre at my old high school with my company’s name on it.

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
We are an actor’s agency with a team comprised of individuals who have worked professionally in theatre & film. We have a passion for the craft of acting giving us the unique insight to relate to our actors in their lexicon. We’ve combined our knowledge of the actor with our business backgrounds to create a company that provides a high caliber of talent to our clients. With decades managing casts and crews, we can effectively nurture and support our actors to provide our client the highest level of service. We are committed to a flawless performance and will work relentlessly to achieve that result for both the talent and client.

How has your business changed throughout the years?
Initially in the business, you become a search engine to fulfill the needs of clients. Each casting call becomes a hunt for new individuals to suit the client’s needs. Now with a diversified roster we can foster the talent we currently represent. We maintain a mid-sized roster that allows us to know our talent’s individual strengths.

Cholee Thompson
Ryan Artists, Inc.

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
We are constantly getting rave reviews of the local talent from our client base. The Northwest has a huge range of talent that are not only great at what they do, but they are also very passionate, and professional.

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
We put our talent through a strict three-step auditioning/screening process before signing them. This helps us to know each actor’s strengths and weaknesses, and ensures that our clients see the strongest talent available.

How has your business changed throughout the years?
We have adapted to a paperless system, added a Stylist division, and have started offering free casting to clients for smaller projects, among other things. It is a constantly changing business. If you don’t transition with it you’ll only fall behind.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I am very proud of my team and my roster. Together, over the last few years and in spite of a rocky economy, we have grown the agency while planting its roots even deeper to insure another 30 years in business.

Kaili Carlton
ARTHOUSE talent & literary

What would you say is the current state of the Northwest talent industry?
We continue to grow by leaps and bounds in relation to the huge growth in production we have seen in the last few years. It’s an exciting time.

What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
With Arthouse, I am lucky enough to be able to really specialize in actors exclusively and give them the attention they truly deserve. With bigger agencies, it’s really easy for the models to steal all the thunder and resources. I am grateful every day that the caliber of my actors is such that we don’t need other divisions to keep our doors open and business thriving.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Always taking the high road—it’s been the key to my longevity (and sanity)!


Amanda Allen
amanda allen photography

Why did you get into this field?
I started working in the Photography industry in 2005 when I was finishing up my degree in Commercial Photography. I started volunteering doing in-studio photography for KEXP and interning and assisting music and editorial photographer Bootsy Holler.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I suppose what sets me apart in my industry is that while I call myself a photographer first and foremost, I have quite a number of varied interests and over the years have been very proactive about learning a wide array of skills. I want to be proficient in whatever a client may be looking for, be it photography, Web and graphic design, video direction and editing, audio recording, lighting or styling.

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the photography industry at large?
In the past 6 years as a working professional I think technology has been changing faster than perhaps it ever has before. This has really impacted me as someone who wants to be well versed and knowledgeable on cutting edge software and tools; the biggest impact it’s had on me is financially. It’s very expensive to keep up. On the plus side, though, having to always keep up and keep learning has prevented me from getting stuck in a rut with my workflow.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job, aside from creating visual imagery which is obvious, I enjoy the huge variety of people I get to meet and work with, and places I get to travel to. I love the nervous excitement of never quite knowing what will happen when going into a shoot or assignment since every job is always so different.

Jeff Helman

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the photography industry at large?
One hundred percent, that’s how. I’ve been involved with strictly commercial work, and it’s a completely different animal than it was 5, 10, 15 years ago. Not only the advancing technology, but what is expected of a professional photographer to know and to be able to execute. There’s just so much information available to everyone—pros and novices—you really have to stay on top of what’s relevant.

Why did you get into this field?
Honestly and fortunately, I was young and naive, and I was fascinated by exploring a career using my creative talents.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I really don’t know. A lot of people say it’s my personality—I’m more the “behind the scene” kind of guy, not one to draw a lot of attention to myself, but very aware of what’s going on. I also attribute most of it to people I’ve worked with. I feel very fortunate to have worked under a successful and prolific professional for over 10 years—Doug Landreth. He continues to embrace new technology, master it, and apply it, as well as rethink and reinvent his business practices. Hopefully some of that rubbed off on me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people, the experiences, and that I work in an environment that challenges me mentally and physically.


Courtney Bailey
CMB Sound

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
What sets me apart from other sound designers is that I like to mix old school with new school. I love to record raw material specifically for each project to create a whole new soundscape for each individual client. New school, I love to create new creative sound using only a few audio plug-ins to create an interesting effect for introduction titles to animated characters.

What is one recent audio industry trend you are excited about?
I’m more curious than excited about “3D” surround sound. I’m curious on the reaction to see the listener if they notice a difference.

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
I love how technology can change almost overnight, whether it is through hardware or software. By embracing these new products we are able to be more proficient and creative in our daily work.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
One new project that I’ve been working on is a horror film called Lost Lake that will be showing at Scream Fest this year. Also a documentary from Oakley documenting a couple of skiers going to one of the most dangerous mountains in France.

Bill Scream
Scream Music

What is one recent audio industry trend you are excited about?
The ever-changing palette and canvas of audio design.

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
More possibilities, way more tweaking, ultimate control. I feel like a wizard, being able to grab this sound and that, mixing it up and creating something entirely new.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
Mostly, working for NIKE these days with Dave Frey of Sound Images. We’re creating short videos of everyday stories about sports and fitness, but even more about character and determination. They are fun, revealing, inspiring, rockin’ little pieces I am really proud of.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
Personal attention. Passion for expression. Experience. Imagination.

Patrick Sample
Paradise Sound Recording
800-877-6867 [MTNS]

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
It’s getting to be an old story but the piracy of recordings off of the Internet has pretty much reduced recording budgets to the point where highly produced projects are a thing of the past.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
Not only is Paradise Sound one of the few recording studios in the area that is built from the ground up and designed with specific acoustics for recording, but the studio is in a beautiful location overlooking the North Fork of the Skykomish River and the Cascade Mountains. The overall concept is to provide a world class recording facility in an environment where the musicians can relax and concentrate on their music without distractions.

What is one recent audio industry trend you are excited about?
Our most recent Pro Tools systems audio plug-ins have finally improved enough to use in coordination with our outboard effects, which makes for a far more efficient use of studio time and a larger palette of tools to choose from. What we used to spend hours doing is now way faster to accomplish and our list of reverbs/effects presents more options than will ever be needed.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
This summer many long hours have been spent working on CD projects for Buzz Brump, Seastar and Cookie and the Cutters.

Scot Charles
Studio Blue-Seattle

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
What’s exciting about the industry in general is the ability to work long distance with producers and talent in different parts of the planet with a computer and a wide band Internet connection. Software continues to evolve and what used to take days can now be done in just a few hours. Of course the flip side of that is that it enables more last minute changes and manipulations, and can introduce more chaos and problems to solve as well. Technology gives us great tools, but still needs experience and judgment to arrive at good results.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
Recently worked post on the PBS NATURE series Bears of the Last Frontier and did production sound, design and surround mix for short film Spinning, directed by John Jacobsen.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
I think what gives us a unique perspective here at Studio Blue is that we work both sides of audio production. One day we’re in the field trying to capture good location sound, and the next we’re back in the studio trying to make everything work in post. It provides us with a better understanding of the challenges, limitations and capabilities of each role.

Michael Bard

What is one recent audio industry trend you are excited about?
I wouldn’t call this a trend, but the culmination of one: The passage of the CALM (Commercial Audio Loudness Mitigation) Act, which will finally bring the commercial part of broadcast television in line with the level rules imposed by the FCC when we switched to digital. We can finally listen to the high quality, detailed work done by audio professionals in the television industry, without having our ears blown up at every commercial break.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
With a focus on music and scoring, we also have a huge amount of experience in post production for film, television and new media, which allows us to help our clients concentrate on their creative process while we handle the details. We move effortlessly through mediums such as broadcast commercials, feature film, audio interpretive, and rich media for the Web, with an eye toward a smooth, collaborative client experience.

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
We took the leap to digital non-linear workflow back in 1988, so we have been pushing the industry in the direction it has been going for the past 20+ years. The fact that the business world at large has finally come entirely into the digital age has made it possible for quite a bit of “off-the-shelf”­­ ­technology to greatly accelerate improvements in our industry, both in lowering the cost of equipment, and in raising the productivity level.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
We have scored some commercials for new Google products you will be seeing launched soon with our Los Angeles partners Noisy Neighbors; we have worked with our very good client Porter Panther on a series of programs (audio, video, and Web) for the Intel Tomorrow Project, which is looking into the future of technology; and we were fortunate to have been chosen by SandyMontana to score a program for Nike about streetball in Orange County.

Russ Gorsline

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
In today’s world of recording in converted garages and bedrooms as recording studios, we have a wonderful collection of rooms designed by the renowned Russ Berger. Working in those rooms are very talented staff. With a wide variety of clients and jobs we record and mix everything from motion pictures to VO tracks for Web videos, from music recording to TV and radio spots. As a production house with video as well as audio it demands that we think in a global manner, not just the area in which we are working at the moment. Every day we bring our “A-Game” to work.

What is one recent audio industry trend you are excited about?
Because of the market penetration of HD television, people have come to expect 5.1 sound for their programming content to be richer than it used to be. That allows us to bring more creativity and expertise to a project than has been expected in the past.

How has changing technology impacted your company and/or the audio industry at large?
Thanks to the Internet we can deliver product more quickly without having to make physical media. That saves time and is much greener. We also can easily inter-connect with other studios around the world, more easily than before. Faster computers and better software allow us to do better work.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
We did picture and audio post for a feature Dancing on the Edge; ADR for Leverage, Warehouse 13, Grimm, and Boardwalk Empire; radio spots for ODOT-Transportation Safety; and narration tracks for Oregon Department of Human Services, and AutoDesk.


Jim Cissell

What is your favorite part of being involved in the voice talent industry?
The creativity—both the projects and the people. I love trying to find the voice inside the writer/ producer’s head and bring it to life—without the messy afterbirth.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
Experience, versatility, speed, a law degree, and double-jointed thumbs. With all due modesty, no voice talent in the Northwest has the experience and track record that I do—44 years, hundreds of national awards. With Phil Harper, Paul Herlinger, and John Gilbert gone, there are only a handful even close. No voice talent has more versatility—check out www.voiceguy.com. No voice talent is faster—at least in a car. And no other voice talent in the Northwest, that I know, has a law degree—for whatever that’s worth. As for my thumbs—I’ll let them do the talking.

What are some recent trends in the voice talent industry that you’re excited about?
Maturity. No longer do all the voices we hear on commercials belong to some smart-ass 20-something. This “new” crop of super-stars has been around—they have something to say—a POV they’ve actually fleshed out by living. Jeff Bridges, you rock!

Cathy Faulkner

What are some recent trends in the voice talent industry that you’re excited about?
I’m always excited about the continued growth in the e-training/e-learning markets as well as the incredible opportunities in the mobile/smartphone world.

What is your favorite part of being involved in the voice talent industry?
I love that every day will take me on a different vocal adventure. Whether it’s an educational piece for a child, a corporate training module, or an in-store message, I truly enjoy bringing each and every script to life.

What are some recent production projects you’ve worked on?
Radio and TV spots for Hospice of Spokane; Discover Hyundai; Sept-ember radio and TV campaigns for Tulalip as well as Quil Ceda Creek Casinos; podcasts for MindTools .com; as well as numerous phone systems and online training modules.

Jennie Mull
In Both Ears

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
In Both Ears is a boutique voiceover talent agency with national reach. We represent over 200 world-class voice talent in the U.S. and Canada, plus more than 300 ethnic, foreign language and youth talent. Our agency, production company and corporate clients are as diverse as the talent that we represent.
We offer complimentary casting services and can turn around auditions from our union or non-union talent after one business day.

What are some recent trends in the voice talent industry that you’re excited about?
Some of the recent trends that we’re excited about are the return to real voices and the technological advances that allow talent to record from anywhere. Clients are now looking for talent who have an individual point of view, and we totally get that. Advertising is no longer about talking at the consumer and we only get requests for a hard sell or old school announcer delivery when it is humorously over-the-top. Therefore, our roster is full of rich, real voices with interesting quirk and character. We go out of our way to handpick talent who can deliver a script from a genuine, real place with honesty.
Another trend we’ve noticed is SourceConnect. SourceConnect is a new-ish technology that has been waiting in the wings over the past few years and is only just beginning to break into mainstream production. We’ve recorded more SourceConnect sessions this year than we ever have in the past. Not to mention the incredible new tech devices and apps available, which allow talent to record and edit entire sessions from their iPad.

What is your favorite part of being involved in the voice talent industry?
I really enjoy actively helping cast for projects… We feel that we play an integral role in that process—more like a traditional casting director. We look at every script and really consider roles from a producer’s perspective. We never do cattle calls to our roster. We handpick the talent who will audition for every single role that comes through our agency. And we review every single audition before we send it on to our clients.

Kymberli Colbourne

What sets you ­­apart from others in your industry?
I am basically a one-person shop—as many voice talents are who have home studios are these days. But my home studio in Bend runs on solar power. In fact, with a solar recent upgrade, I am now able to sell power back to the power company. Voice over actor and micro-power producer!

What is your favorite part of being involved in the voice talent industry?
I enjoy the variety of jobs that every day brings. In a single day, I may do two or three character roles, an announcer, some technical training audio, and then I’m off to the theatre to do a show in the evening.  Every day is different. I came to voice over from the stage and my formal training is as a stage actor. I love the balance between these two worlds. My stage work involves a longer rehearsal process and maintaining a quality and truthful process night after night for lengthy periods of time. When I step behind the mic, the sooner I can get inside the producer’s or client’s head and deliver the perfect read, the happier they are. A similar skill set, but a totally different timeline. It keeps me on my toes. In fact, I find I am better at both stage and voice over, when I am doing both!

What are some recent production projects you’ve worked on?
One of the things I have been most proud of was being the narrator for the American Pavilion Video at the United Nations Climate Change Talks in Copenhagen. Being a ‘solar-powered’ voice talent, it was a project that was right up my alley! I am also thrilled to have several ongoing commercial clients including Tulalip Casino, Food Lion and Belk.


Dennis Gleason
Dark Wing Productions

How has your company adapted to clients’ changing needs?
Being in the entertainment industry, we know that to be successful, we must be agents of change. See opportunities for streamlining processes, simplifying procedures and because of the economy, minimize costs but provide top quality service and products.

What are some of the biggest challenges that come with being in your industry, and how are you able to overcome them?
The biggest two are the economy and competition. With the economy, fewer projects come down the pipeline and less money available for companies to pay for them. Directly and indirectly related, our competition, mostly new and inexperienced videographers, which is not what we are, undercut the market so that legitimate businesses like ours—that has hundreds of shows, projects and events under our belt—get passed over. This takes contracts away from the honest and established companies and contractors.
What we have done to overcome this, is consolidating information that we used to do business to reduce the time and research needed for new projects, and again because we can provide sometimes 3 or 4 services to clients at a time, we can do it for less than 3 or 4 separate companies.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
We are proud to say that earlier this year, we acquired the Portland Teen Idol program. Formerly operated and managed by the City of Portland, this well known program is now owned by us and in our first summer in 2011, have had a better year than the four preceding and have huge changes and growth planned for Season 6.


Jay Carroll

Why did you get into this field?
As a professional photographer and outdoor sport enthusiast, location and production is a perfect fusion of my athletic and professional interests. Primarily evolving from requests for assistance with locations for filming whitewater raft and kayak access, as well as other high action sports in the Columbia River Gorge.

What are some of your most exciting discoveries as a location scout/manager?
Meeting and working with creative people in the film industry and the “gags” or “tricks” that come up as solutions to obstacles. The resource of having a full package grip truck on set… Like when the Joker says as Batman saves the day, “Where does he get all those cool toys?”

What is your most memorable experience on the job?
Every production has a moment that is memorable due to the creative needs of the job. My favorite is from 20 years ago assisting my father in British Columbia.
We needed hostile winter-like storm weather on the edge of a wilderness lake in September for a hunting clothing shoot. With minimal electrical support we needed wind, rain and spitting snow. The solution was simple and overly effective. We lashed the tail of a 1952 Beaver float plane to a tree next to our lake-side set. On action, the Beaver throttled up, hurling spray, reeds, fish and small trees through our set at a hurricane force. After some throttle practice we had it working well with a small exception of the spitting snow illusion.
Our environmental solution to off-season snow was freeze-dried potato flakes. They turned into airborne mashed potatoes, smearing onto the side of everything in their path. It worked to get the shot and to the point that the hunting dogs on set would not stop licking the “snow.” Cut, the dogs have wrapped for lunch!


Kari Sue Baumann
Decorate Your Face

Why did you get into this field?
I have always had a love affair with makeup and theater. Ever since I can remember I’ve been playing with makeup. I discovered my love for theater in high school and subsequently my love for applying stage makeup. This newly directed passion followed me from high school into college. In 2004 I graduated from Western Washington University with a B.A. in Fine and Performing Arts majoring in Theater. After graduation I decided to refine my talents and alter my focus from make-up applications for theater to film and photography. In 2005 I earned my Journeyman Diploma from The Make-up Designory in Burbank, CA.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
My formal education in the art of applying makeup for fashion, photography, and film is what sets me apart from most in my industry. There are different techniques for different mediums and it’s important to do your research so you know which techniques to use. I have never worked at a makeup counter because my focus is on application, not sales. The key is to listen to and observe your clients. What image are they trying to convey? What are they wearing? Do they wear makeup every day? These are all very important factors in creating your design.

What has been your most memorable moment on set?
There have been so many memorable moments on and off set but the importance lies with the client’s satisfaction. If my client leaves my chair with a smile and an extra spring in his or her step, I know that I have done my job well. The best moments are when my clients look at themselves in the mirror and exclaim, “I love it, and this is exactly what I wanted!”

Danyale Cook

Why did you get into this field?
I have always had a love for the performing arts. I began performing when I was 10 years old and at 15 I discovered my passion for hair and makeup artistry. I have been working non-stop since then—devoted to gaining more knowledge and fine tuning my craft and skill set. For me there is nothing more exciting then being on set or in a theatre knowing that my contribution is a valued part of the project.

What has been your most memorable moment on set?
I have had many wonderful and memorable moments on set. Some of them include being amazed at fantastic sets, beautiful lighting, locations I would never normally have the pleasure of seeing, costumes that mystify, and working with the best crews imaginable. My most memorable moments working with the talent include when I was working with an actor who was notorious for being difficult and I found him delightful (this has happened to me a few times!). It takes a lot of hard work and effort to earn the trust of an actor who has had bad experiences with their hair and makeup team in the past but I find it rewarding and completely worth the effort.

What are some recent trends in the makeup/hairstyling industry that you’re excited about?
I love seeing what new trends are going to be popular each season. What I enjoy the most about a new trend is figuring out were the inspiration for it came from. So many of the “new” styles are simply recycled looks from the past with a twist on them. Being educated in all eras of hairstyling and makeup, from ancient times to today’s runway looks, really gives me an edge in creating new concepts for hair and makeup styling and incorporating the modern trends in my work.

M’chel Bauxal

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
My name, business ethics, associations and my skill set. First, my name is M’chel—who spells their name that way (beside me for the last 17 years)? I am a professional that believes that I need to be on my feet, paying attention all the time on my job and who I need to dress for success. I also have a great list of clients, affiliates and partners I work with that helps me be able to sell a package deal. This includes my wonderful husband, Dennis Gleason, that is a producer and marketing expert. Finally, I can do makeup like the best in the industry and for hair, I can do just about anything, from styling, cutting, coloring, extensions—you name it. Most in the industry only can do one or two areas.

What are some of the biggest challenges that come with being in your industry, and how are you able to overcome them?
Being a celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist presents several challenges. You have the constant search for work. As an independent business owner, I don’t work a Monday-Friday 9-5 job, I have to constantly be on the look out for folks needing my services. That can be hard during lean times. Second is the competition.  Although most are not at the same experience level I am at or don’t do both hair and makeup, there are many other artists trying to undercut bids that sometimes takes away work.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment was to be honored and personally asked to do Barack and Michelle Obama’s makeup/hair. Although I have a long list of important credits on my IMDB profile such as Portland Teen Idol, Leverage, Grimm and Portlandia, I get the most wide eyes when people find out who and how many household name clients I work with.


Douglas Horn

Why did you get into this field?
I realized that the projects that had the best scripts invariably turned out the best. Scriptwriting is the make-or-break point of production, so to me, that’s an exciting place to be. And of course it plays to my strengths as a writer and filmmaker.

What is your favorite part of being a script/screenwriter?
Seeing an audience react to something I wrote and knowing that it all grew out of an idea.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
There are a lot of great screenwriters out there. Producers tell me that they like working with me because they like my voice and I bring them great scenes and visuals that are informed by my experience as a director. I write scripts that they can realistically shoot within their budgets and other constraints.

What recent production projects have you been involved with?
A family film I wrote and directed, Babysitters Beware, with Danny Trejo and Rico Rodriguez, was just released on DVD by Phase 4 Films and is selling well in Walmart and Target—which is a rare success for an independent. I was the original writer on the feature film, Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas, which just shot in the region. I’m very excited about season one of my action sci-fi Web series Divergence, which will begin airing this winter. And in the middle of those narratives, I also wrote some large corporate projects including Microsoft’s 2011 Standards of Business Practices and Performance Assessment video series.


Christopher Drdla

Since becoming involved in the production industry, what has been your most memorable moment on set?
On my first film, I had to dance in the background of the shot as an extra. It was freezing cold and it was me by myself. On top of that, the PA coordinator brought the rest of the PAs to come watch. The moment was good for a laugh for the rest of the shoot. More recently, I worked on a military-themed reality show and was exposed to guns in person for the first time. Experiencing the power of a .50 sniper rifle in person was pretty impressive.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
Most recently, I’ve worked on an infomercial for a pet product that I can’t name because the product hasn’t come out yet! After that, I was on a reality show focusing on weapons called Triggers that will air on the Military Channel. I also continued to be a post-production coordinator for a feature film titled Rough Hustle.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I’ve always prided myself on being someone who forges good relationships with my co-workers. Along with working hard on the task at hand I try to be someone who people enjoy working with and would like to again in the future.

T.V. Kippes

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I try to keep my eyes and ears open to anything that might disrupt a production. I report potential problems to the production coordinator or whoever is my direct supervisor on the gig. They then take the concern to the appropriate people.
Also, I recently became P.A.T.S.-certified. I traveled to Boise in September and participated in the Production Assistant Training Seminar, which offers on-location training for PAs.

Since becoming involved in the production industry, what has been your most memorable moment on set?
My most memorable time was during the Stuntmasters TV series episodes shot in Coeur’d Alene, Idaho in 1990. It was an incredible crew from around the world. Along with my PA chores, I was given a camera and placed in positions to videotape backup footage of the stunt demonstrations. Some of my shots actually made it into the show.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
My most recent gig was Extreme Couponing for The Learning Channel and Sharp Entertainment.


Jim Bolser
Peak Video

How long have you been involved in the production industry and what was your first project?
We’ve had our own business for the past 12 years. Our first project was an ABC shoot in Metaline Falls, WA, for World News Tonight. It was a story on a faction of a group called The Order.

What do you enjoy most about working in the production industry?
Meeting people, traveling, shooting and every day is a new experience.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I don’t know if anything sets us apart. There are many other companies and freelancers that we work with and admire their work. We just love what we do and don’t feel like we’re working!

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
America’s Wildest Roads for the Travel Channel, 20/20 & Nightline stories, Ironman & Rev 3 Triathlons.

Lars Larson
Optimistic Camera Co.

How long have you been involved in the production industry and what was your first project?
I have been in production in one way or the other for 30+ years. My first job as a shooter was a documentary for PBS, With all Deliberate Speed, a look at school bussing in Pontiac, MI.

What are some projects you’ve worked on recently?
I was co-director/cinematographer on Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense, an AFI 20/20 film in 2010 and SIFF selection. I have also done projects for Zwilling Henckles, Microsoft, Seattle Bank, and Nissan among others.
I love shooting documentaries! I have been fortunate to see, experience, and record an amazing variety of human endeavors.

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
I think my greatest strength is the ability to listen and learn from others and transform that knowledge into a visual statement.


Doug Uttecht
Northwest Helicopters

What recent projects has your company provided helicopters to?
Most recently, Superman. We also used two helicopters for Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot; one camera ship and one on camera. We used a Cineflex Camera in Washington State on Aerial America for the Smithsonian Channel. We had a Huey in the movie 12 Rounds, and one of our Cobras in Reno 911 Miami.

What is your most memorable production-related moment?
Early on in my career, I had an opportunity to work with David Jones on a major motion picture. David was one of the best helicopter movie pilots ever and helped pioneer the use of helicopters as a camera platform. He was renting a helicopter from the company I was working for at the time. I watched and learned as he made it look easy. But what else could you expect from the pilot of Tora! Tora! Tora! (1968-69), King Kong (1976), and Apocalypse Now (1976-77), not to mention hundreds of other movies and TV series and commercials.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
Our aircraft. We have a large assortment of helicopters available to be used as story aircraft, military as well as our civil helicopters. Where can you go to if you need a cobra attack helicopter? We have three. We also have our own custom trailers to move our helicopters around the country to the filming location. We have experience with several of the camera mounts available today and pilots with a great deal of camera experience including the company owner, Brian Reynolds. It makes a big difference when the pilot and camera operator are in sync. Our most experienced pilot, Jess Hagerman, has over 27,000 hours. We treat all filming projects with professionalism, it doesn’t matter how big or small the project is.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Being able to share the experience of flying over the scenic areas of the Northwest. It’s especially fun when we have someone on board who has never been in a helicopter before. I like to be able to show them the views from an aerial perspective.


Lisa-Marie Moon

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
As a long time local Seattleite, I’d developed a lot of relationships with stores, locations, contacts, etc.  Which allows me to adapt to any project. Whether it’s locating props, locations or setting up interviews with local legends. It’s all about connecting the dots. My goal is to complete each project on time and on budget! No problem!

What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
There is nothing too difficult. That is why I do this job.

And the most fun?
Wrap parties, of course! Just kidding, the whole process excites me. Always looking forward to the next challenge!


Doug Clark

What are your thoughts on the state of the Northwest production industry?
We have great people here, and we have a good operational base. I’d love to see the government do more to provide incentives for out-of-state companies to shoot here (a shout-out here to everybody who worked so hard at the last legislative session—thanks from all of us!).

What sets you apart from others in your industry?
My abs. And I have good penmanship. And, I’m not sure, but I think I’m the only production person in Seattle who isn’t in a band. Seriously, though, I’m a hard working guy in an industry filled with tremendously talented, hard working people. It’s the collaborative effort of creating a film or commercial or a photo spread that is the real magic of film.

What are some recent production projects you’ve worked on?
I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a lot of really varied projects this year, from a huge snow scene in Pioneer Square and a large-scale build at the convention center to much smaller-scale projects like a deluxe outhouse, or a one-off hand-made championship wrestling belt. One of the great things about this industry is that every job is different. And one of the most challenging things about this industry is that every job is different. There are those moments when I stand back and say, “Well, next time I make a giant rolling lime green wedding cake armed with hidden confetti cannons, t-shirt catapults and a burlesque dancer with her baton ready to explode out the top… I’ll know just how to do it.”

What is your most memorable production-related moment?
My most memorable moments are always the near-disasters. Like dressing a huge exterior party scene for the next morning’s shoot, and waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of a freak storm ripping through town. Or sending a squad of PAs out to hunt down the hero prop that’s on a FedEx truck that has missed its delivery. The war stories are always the most entertaining! I also love the chance to meet people I’d never normally run across—champion competitive lumberjacks, a steampunk marching band, celebrities, athletes. I even got to dump Bill Gates, Sr., into a dunk tank… not your normal day at the office.


Maia McQuillan
Seattle Teleprompter

What recent projects has your company provided teleprompters to?
Recently we have provided teleprompting services for Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks… as well as several out-of-town projects for other companies such as Qualcomm and Sony.

What sets your company apart from others in your industry?
We have new teleprompters that are versatile to fit any camera, plus 18 years of experience teleprompting around the globe.

How is changing technology impacting your industry?
Smaller cameras require lighter and more adaptable teleprompters. We provide new prompters that work well with small cameras.

Visual Media Group Creates Buzz

Visual Media Group, a creative content provider based in Bellevue, Washington, is an industry-renowned company that boasts a multitude of clients and scads of awards. But the company’s tremendous success belies its modest beginnings.

Seattle Art Institute alum Kelly Sparks, who opted to create her own video production company after graduating with a degree in Television and Video Production, founded VMG in her garage in 2004. A few years later her husband Mark Sparks, a former journalist and professional writer with 40 years’ experience as a commercial and stage actor, quit his job and joined the business venture as president.
“We worked hard to keep the company going those first six months,” said Kelly, VMG CEO and self-described Queen Bee. “Four years later, those six months easily turned out to be the best investment of our lifetime.”
Since the company’s inception, VMG has blossomed from a one-woman endeavor into an award-winning team of employees whose services not only include video, but also animation and motion design production, audio production, Web sites, presentations and event services. During this time, Kelly and Mark moved the company out of their garage and relocated to a 2,600-square-foot facility in Bellevue.
But growing the business from scratch—and maintaining its growth over the years—wasn’t the company’s toughest challenge. That was yet to come.
In October of 2010, VMG was hit by a robbery that tested their personal and professional fortitude—and set the stage for a new chapter in the company’s history.
“The burglars got away with all our camera equipment and computers and servers,” said Mark, “but they couldn’t touch our drive and determination. While it was almost like starting the business over again, we had a solid foundation from which to rebuild.”
After making a few phone calls and shaking away the shock, the team quickly rallied and got back to work.

Kelly and Mark

“It was a tough time,” said Kelly. “But everyone came together and supported each other through it.”
Added Mark, “We had people working 16-hour days to get us back on track. It took about eight months to replace everything and get back to business as usual. During that time we kept producing quality work for our clients on time and on budget—and we never missed a payroll. Looking back, that’s something we’re really proud about.”
Plus, the company was blessed with a silver lining: VMG’s insurance coverage allowed Kelly and Mark to replace their stolen merchandise with new state-of-the-art equipment. But the Sparks agree that it was their employees that really helped get the company going again—and they attribute VMG’s success to them.
“Our team understands each other and it shows in our work,” said Mark. “Every time we go on a shoot, we hear, ‘my gosh, your team is amazing.’”
VMG prides itself on hiring talented people, letting them develop, and then “getting out of their way,” he continued. “Sometimes Kelly or I provide input, sometimes we don’t. Our overriding concept is to establish clear guardrails and then give our people the freedom to show us what they can do.”
Added Kelly, “We allow them to develop and grow their skills, both in and outside of their job.”
For instance, when VMG was in the midst of rallying from the burglary, Kelly and Mark came up with a “passion project” concept that permitted their employees to hone their skills while the business recovered. They gave their team several paid days off and a production budget to focus on a cause they were passionate about outside of work, and then produce a video on it.
“We call ourselves the VMG family,” said Kelly. “We’re still a business, but we’re also a family. Sometimes everyone is in sync, sometimes we have our challenges, but—when it comes right down to it—we’re there for each other no matter what.”
Having such a tight-knit team of DPs, editors, producers, and designers—not to mention owning their equipment and studio at VMG headquarters—allows the company to produce 95 percent of their projects completely in-house, from concept to completion. Also, with everyone and everything on-site, VMG is able to increase its speed to market.
All of this adds up to a large and ever-expanding stable of happy clients. And as a result, VMG is gearing up for another move—this time to a 7,100-square-foot facility—to better service this growing client base.
After all, it is all about the client.
Though the company has won an exceptional number of awards—most recently five Tellys and an ADDY—the Sparks’ most gratifying accomplishments are when the team finishes a rewarding project and receives laudatory feedback.
“When we get an e-mail from a client that says ‘you guys rock’ or ‘you’re amazing,’ we forward it to the entire office,” said Kelly. “It’s rewarding when our clients are as passionate about our work as we are.
“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”