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Here’s to Our Future, Washington

Motion Picture Competitiveness Bill Signed into Law

By Jessie Wilson, Communications Consultant, Washington Filmworks

FLASHBACK TO 2011:
In June of 2011, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program sunset, in essence halting five years of significant effort to maintain Washington’s viability on the national filmmaking scene. Efforts to renew the legislation that funds our state’s film incentive program passed the Senate in 2011. Unfortunately, the bill stalled in the House of Representatives and was never called to the floor for a vote.

The sunset of this program was an undeniable blow to our state’s film industry. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), an independent body of the legislature, had recommended the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program be reinstated. JLARC backed program renewal because it offered a return on the state’s investment and effectively maintained Washington’s position in a competitive marketplace. Yet despite significant contribution to Washington’s economy, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program sunset on June 30, 2011.

The law establishing the program provided that Washington Filmworks could collect up to $3.5 million each calendar year from contributors who were eligible for a dollar-for-dollar B&O tax credit from the Department of Revenue. The Washington Filmworks board was able to gather this amount before the tax credit expired. This enabled the organization to provide incentive funds for 11 projects in 2011.

Knowing that the renewal of the program was uncertain, the Filmworks board developed a contingency plan, which would allow the portion of the program that serves as the state’s film office to continue on a limited basis through June of 2012. After reviewing the organization’s budget, the board took action to reduce staff and all other expenses, while still allowing for meaningful assistance to productions interested in filming in Washington. This also allowed staff, the board, and the community to prepare for another round of lobbying in Olympia the following year.

CUT TO 2012:
Slightly battered, Washington’s film community had pulled itself up by the bootstraps and was ready for take two on the road to renewal. Facing another state budget shortfall, combined with a short legislative session, provided challenges for the program’s renewal. However, the legislature had made it clear that creating and maintaining jobs was a priority. This gave some hope; the Motion Picture Competiveness Program was designed to create jobs and provide sustainable work for the local film industry. Coming to terms with our bill’s underdog status in this economic climate, Washington Filmworks had become a little leaner and meaner. We were officially savvier and determined to keep our supporters informed. As a result, we launched a legislative blog to keep the film community in the fight.

Since the bill had stalled during the 2011 legislative session, it once again landed in the house of origin—the Senate. We continued to have great support from our champion, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (Seattle), but this time the landscape had shifted slightly. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program passed out of the Senate with an overwhelming majority—40 yeas, 8 nays, and 1 excused.

The bill, now known as 2ESSB 5539, was headed back to the House of Representatives where the bulk of our fight would still lie. We were somewhat anxious at this news, as the bill had been significantly amended in the House Ways and Means Committee the prior year.

Simultaneously, we had reason to feel cautiously optimistic. Washington’s film community was rallying in a way not witnessed in 2011. Washington Filmworks was hearing word that people were taking action, calling legislators, writing letters and e-mails, and visiting Olympia. We were copied on thousands of e-mails to elected officials across the state in support of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

Ironically, as our state’s film community was fighting to maintain their industry, Washington Filmworks’ filmmaking alumni were raking in awards and nominations. 2011 films produced through the incentive program were charming the pants off critics and audiences on the 2012 film festival circuit. Safety Not Guaranteed was a darling of Sundance, where it earned worldwide distribution, while Eden and Fat Kid Rules the World premiered at SxSW, both eventually going on to win Audience Awards. It was clear, Washington had a slew of successes to share with our legislators.

A new rally call was put to the film community. Washington Filmworks asked them to get informed, get involved, and get renewed. We knew we could not pass this legislation without their involvement. By early March, things had intensified in Olympia and the legislative session was slated to end in less than a week. By now 2ESSB 5539 had been declared necessary to implement the budget (NTIB), but Olympia had taken a page from Hollywood’s book and things were starting to get dramatic. On the evening of March 2, the GOP seized majority control of the Senate and passed their own version of the budget. Suddenly we were witnessing rare political and parliamentary maneuvers that had not been seen in Washington for over 25 years.

Was it time to worry? Was 2011 doomed to repeat itself? Washington Filmworks’ legislative team still felt there was a chance to be heard in the House, and the Washington film community had turned up the heat. Calls and e-mails were flooding into legislators’ offices yet again. Elected officials in each district were hearing from constituents in support of the incentive. There was word from Olympia that their voices were being acknowledged, but it was getting down to the wire.

One tremendous hurdle still faced our film community. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, where it was amended during the 2011 legislative session. In fact, Ways and Means Committee Chair Representative Ross Hunter had cut the annual funding for the program in half, crippling its effectiveness and stopping the momentum that has been created through the film program. Not wanting a repeat performance, on March 7, Washington Filmworks and members of the community headed to Olympia to testify in front of Representative Hunter and members of the House Ways and Means Committee.

We were prepared for an underdog scenario, and while Representative Hunter was expectedly outspoken, the support from the rest of the room was apparent. The majority of Representatives in the room spoke in favor of the bill and opponents appeared to have become the minority. Phenomenally, before the Committee could vote on the bill, it was pulled to the Second Substitute Calendar, making it eligible to be heard on the House floor.

On March 8, Washington Filmworks and much of our state’s film community spent the day watching the House Floor debate on television. The anxiety was palpable in our office and on our social media platforms. We were fielding questions on parliamentary procedure as other measures came to the floor.  By the afternoon the film bill had not been scheduled for a vote and we knew there were no guarantees one would happen. The House had until midnight to consider any bills, and as day turned into evening, 2ESSB 5539 was still not up to be heard. We could only watch and wait, all the while recalling last year. Would that night’s dinner be the equivalent of a last meal for the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program?

Around 9pm, Washington Filmworks heard word from our legislative team that the film incentive bill would indeed come to the floor. We were glued to our televisions and computers to watch what unfolded. We had done all we could do.

If our strategy had worked, cautious optimism told us to expect renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, but the vote would tell the true story. The Representatives began to speak in support of the bill and the legislation was opened to a vote. Our jaws dropped as the number of “yeas” on the tally board rose higher and higher, finally closing with a count of 92 in favor and 6 against.

After 2ESSB 5539  passed out of the House of Representatives, the bill was sent to Governor Gregoire’s office for her signature. It was officially signed on the evening of March 29, 2012, and will become law 90 days after the end of the 2012 legislative session, or June.

A HAPPY ENDING
This legislative renewal campaign had all of the elements of a Hollywood blockbuster, but one made in Washington. The story is born out of the classic underdog plotline. There were definitely protagonists and antagonists, there have certainly been overwhelming odds, and there was undeniably a lot on the line.

When the credits roll, there are many heroes to recognize. None of this would have been possible without the support of the bill’s sponsors, especially Senator Kohl-Welles and Representative Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney. Washington Filmworks would also like to acknowledge the Speaker of the House, Representative Frank Chopp, who was essential in bringing the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program to the floor for a vote. Watching our industry take ownership of their future has been amazing and we tip our hats to the tremendous grassroots efforts of the film community. It has been an inspiring thing to watch.

Here’s to our future, Washington.

Incentive piece - Gregoire signing

Congratulations, Washington!

Reactions to the Film Program’s Renewal

Members of Washington’s production community poured forth with celebratory—and congratulatory—words about the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program’s hard-fought battle for renewal. Take a look…

I was privileged to be a “Team Captain” working with Washington Filmworks. While the process seemed frustrating and mind boggling at times, it was great learning the political ropes and was such a joy to see the House vote! Now we can celebrate, briefly, then it’s back to work! Bring it! – Gordon Adams, Big Fish NW Talent

Our members look forward to going back to work on the many projects this legislation will provide and we look forward to working with our industry colleagues to use this program to bring many jobs to the state and expand this program in the future. We would also like to offer a very sincere thank you to all the legislators who stuck by our growing industry and voted this legislation into law. We applaud you! – Dena Beatty, Executive Director, Screen Actors Guild, Seattle/Portland

Over the last few years, I have watched our local filmmakers mature into a very well-organized, savvy and creative bunch. Washington has an incredibly talented group of leaders in our film community. Ms. Amy Lillard is an amazing asset. She and Mr. James Keblas are two intelligent, informed, diligent and inspired leaders for our group of businesses, and our state is reaping the benefits from their unique talents. We are thrilled that they now have the tools they need to compete with the 44 other states that have incentive packages. – Peter Barnes, President, Clatter&Din

The incentive is so important in so many ways, but for me, it does the following: Supply me with seasoned, awesome crew that are not forced to leave town for work. My company personally contributes to the incentive with our taxes. We are making money and funding it too. – Sue Corcoran, Director, Von Piglet Productions/Women in Film

When I heard the news about the Washington film incentive passing the House I was in Austin at the South by Southwest Film Festival, where my film Eden was premiering. Eden was shot almost entirely in Washington state, as were two of the other biggest hits of the festival, Fat Kid Rules the World and Safety Not Guaranteed. All three of these films were incentivized by Washington Filmworks, and all have garnered awards and increased the recognition of our state as an amazing place to make films. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this community, and now that our incentive is back I look forward to building on that reputation for years to come! – Megan Griffiths, Writer/Director, Eden & The Off Hours

I’m thrilled. The signing of this bill now makes Washington competitive again with other states vying for this important industry. This will be a benefit to our local economies and local workers at all levels. With over 40 features shot and produced here in Eastern Washington, I expect we could double that number in the coming years. Washington is such a great place to shoot and produce films with our diversity and variety of locations. It will be great to be back on set. – Rich Cowan, Co-owner, North By Northwest Productions

I just spent two weeks scouting locations in Manitoba and North Carolina to double a location in Washington that we already have. Without the incentive I can’t encourage the investors or producers to shoot here even if the location is perfect. – Jennifer Roth, Executive Producer, The Details & World’s Greatest Dad

As an advocate for Washington’s production community, Hendricks & Lewis is delighted to see the renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. This program encourages the production of film, television and commercials in our beautiful state, and is a great tool to win business and keep Washington workers employed. Job well done to the Washington film community for its determination to renew this program and keep Washington State in the movie business. – Caitlin A. Bellum, Attorney, Hendricks & Lewis PLLC

Passage of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, Senate Bill 5539, is good news for the Washington film community. The Program administered through “Washington Filmworks” will continue to strengthen the film industry in Washington State by attracting and encouraging investment in film production jobs and economic activity by providing up to $3.5 million in annual tax credits to qualified motion picture and commercial producers through 2017.– J. Bowman Neely, Attorney, Hendricks & Lewis PLLC

Obviously, I’m very pleased that the incentive package passed. I think it is a very important piece of legislation that benefits everyone in the state, not just the film industry. A competitive film industry provides revenues from ancillary services such as restaurants, hotels, rental cars, etc., in addition to the film-related services hired for the production. In short, everyone wins. – Dave Howe, Principal, Bad Animals

This couldn’t be better economic news for Spokane. We have an outstanding, experienced production workforce and we want them working on projects here at home, rather than having to leave town to make a living. The Motion Picture Competitiveness Program ensures that Spokane’s reputation as a film-friendly community will continue to expand and our state will stay on the radar as a great place to make movies. – Jeanna Hofmeister, VP/Director of Destination Marketing, Visit Spokane

 

SXSW Safety

Representing the NW at SxSW

Several Washington- and Oregon-made films screened at this spring’s South by Southwest (SxSW) Film Festival. Here’s a look at a few of them:

Eden
Seattle writer/director Megan Griffiths’ third feature film made its premiere at SxSW this year—and won three awards in competition. Eden won the Audience Award for Narrative Feature, the Jury Special Award for Performance (Jamie Chung), and the SxSW Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award. The film is based on the true story of human trafficking survivor Chong Kim, played in the film by Chung. Set in New Mexico but filmed entirely in Washington last year, Eden was incentivized by the Washington State Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

Blue Like Jazz
Adapted from Donald Miller’s best-selling 2003 memoir of the same name, Blue Like Jazz is about a Texas college student (played by Marshall Allman) who flees the hypocrisy of his religious upbringing and lands at “the most godless campus in America”—Reed College in Portland. The film, directed by Steve Taylor, was partially filmed in Nashville and partially in Portland on Reed’s campus. The coming-of-age comedy was picked up by Roadside Attractions and will open nationwide in April.

Fat Kid Rules the World
This Seattle-shot feature, also incentivized by the state’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program, was included on IFC’s list of “must-see” films at SxSW. Helmed by Matthew Lillard (in his directorial debut) and based on a popular young adult novel, Fat Kid is a coming-of-age story about a dysfunctional teen who rises to the top of Seattle’s music scene. Making its world premiere at the festival, the film screened in the Narrative Feature Spotlight category and won an Audience Award.

1 out of 7
Based on actual events, this film takes you on the journey of a teenage girl trying to escape her abusive mother and in the process finds herself joining the forgotten “street kids” living in the shadows of Portland. The film was shot in and around the city, including at Union Station, back in 2007. Directed by York Shackleton, the film made its premiere as part of SxSW’s Community Screenings program, which offers free film screenings to the public.

Safety Not Guaranteed
In this quirky indie comedy, three Seattle magazine employees (Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Karan Soni) head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and filmed in several neighborhoods around Seattle, Safety premiered at Sundance in January and was subsequently picked up by FilmDistrict. The film hits theaters on June 8.

Oregon Film Round-Up: What’s New in 2012?

With more than $110 million in production spend, 2011 was a record-shattering year for Oregon film and television. But never content to rest on its laurels, the state’s film community continues to grow and attract major productions in 2012.

Here’s a look at some recent Oregon production projects:

Wheel of Fortune
The popular game show was on location in Portland from March 30 through April 3. Pat Sajak, Vanna White, and the entire Wheel of Fortune crew filmed in the Rose City for the first time ever, taping four weeks’ worth of episodes at the Oregon Convention Center.

The process of getting Wheel to Portland was quite a long one. According to a Portland Business Journal article by Web editor Suzanne Stevens, the effort began in 2002. The show had recently aired from Seattle, and Portland’s ABC affiliate KATU began campaigning for the city to host the show.

Producers scouted the area three different times over the years before deciding to film in the Oregon Convention Center. In May 2011, Vanna White and a small crew came to Oregon to film on-location bumpers at locations such as Multnomah Falls, Pioneer Square, and Pittock Mansion.

Finally, in late March, the entire Wheel cast and crew—totaling in the hundreds—arrived in Portland to film its 20 episodes, which are set to air in May.

Leverage
TNT’s Leverage began filming season five in early March.

This is the fourth season that the show, which is produced by Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, has filmed in Portland. According to estimates, by the end of this season, the show will have spent more than $100 million in-state.

In season five, not only is the production moving to a larger soundstage—a newly-renovated, 60,000-square-foot production space in Clackamas County—but the gang is also officially moving to Portland. In previous seasons, the action has been set in Boston but filmed in Portland—but this time around, the show will be set in Stumptown. The Oregon production community is eager to see what this change will mean for the show.

Cast and crew are currently shooting the 15-episode season, which will premiere July 15 with an episode featuring guest star Cary Elwes.

Grimm
In mid-March, it was officially announced that Grimm has been renewed for another season, and it has been confirmed that the show will return to Portland, according to executive producers and writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf.

The NBC series is currently wrapping up production on its first season, and at press time there had been no announcement as to when cast and crew will return to begin filming the 22-episode second season.

Portlandia
March was the month of choice for TV series to announce their renewal! The third season of IFC sketch-comedy show Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, will film later this year and premiere in January 2013.

The breakout hit has scored in the ratings and beyond, spawning a sold-out West Coast tour and a book deal for its two stars.

Also coming to IFC this year are two Portlandia specials: Portlandia: The Brunch Special, set to air this summer, and a 30-minute as-yet-untitled Portlandia holiday special.

Feature Films Set to Premiere
In addition to Oregon’s burgeoning TV production industry, feature films continue to shoot in the area. Two standouts are from homegrown talent—Cell Count, a thriller from Portland-based filmmakers the Brothers Freeman, and LAIKA’s stop-motion animated film, ParaNorman.

Cell Count, which premieres in May at the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Brazil, was the third of three feature films shot in 2011 from the Brothers Freeman/Wooden Frame Productions that utilized the Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund (iOPIF). This incentive program provides rebates of 20 percent of goods and services and 10 percent of Oregon labor for films produced by Oregon filmmakers who spend a minimum of $75,000, but no more than $750,000, on their project. Over 50 cast and crew for the film were residents of Oregon.

“This incentive is why we are able to make feature films in the state that we love,” said filmmaker Todd Freeman in a statement. “Oregon has diverse actors, locations, and crew abilities and without this incentive we would have to consider making movies in another state.”

Another Oregon-produced film set to premiere this year is ParaNorman, from animation house LAIKA.

The “3D stop-motion animated comedy thriller adventure film” is set for international release on August 17 and will be distributed by Focus Features. The voice cast includes Anna Kendrick, Leslie Mann, Casey Affleck, John Goodman, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the title character, “Norman.”

Similar to LAIKA’s 2009 hit Coraline, ParaNorman is a slightly-dark, stop-motion animated film for the whole family. The story is about a misunderstood boy who takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

For more production news and updates, visit the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television at www.oregonfilm.com, and the office’s blog at www.oregonconfluence.com.

KTVA Productions Celebrates 25 Years

Rick Phillips started KTVA-Milwaukie-Ch.3 (later to become KTVA Productions), a local cable advertising channel, in 1987. A few other items of note occurred that same year.

News:
• “Baby Jessica,” Jessica McClure, falls down the well and is later rescued.
• Black Monday (October 19), Dow drops 22%, had topped 2,700, ends 1987 at 1938.
• Wall Street financier Ivan Boesky sentenced to three years for insider-trading.
• German pilot lands airplane on Red Square, Moscow.
• The last California Condor was taken into captivity.
• Margaret Thatcher re-elected to third term as British PM.

Statistics:
Population: 242,288,918
Life expectancy: 74.9 years
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.22
Average cost of new house: $92,000
Average monthly rent: $395.00
Average price for new car: $10,305
Gasoline: $.89/gallon
Bacon: $1.80/lb
Eggs: $.65/dozen

Sports:
• Super Bowl: NY Giants def. Denver.
• World Series: Minnesota def. St. Louis.
• NBA Championship: LA Lakers def. Boston.
• Stanley Cup: Edmonton def. Philadelphia.

Science & Technology:
• The first 3-D video game invented.
• Bill Gates (32) becomes micro-computing’s first billionaire.
• Search for Nessie reveals no evidence after $1.6-million investment.
• International treaty calls for a 50% reduction in the use of CFCs by the year 2000.
• Supernova 1987A, the first “naked-eye” supernova since 1604, is observed.

Pop Culture:
• Nobel Prize for Literature: Joseph Brodsky (U.S.).
• Grammy Award, Record(ing): “Graceland,” Paul Simon.
• Grammy Award, Album: The Joshua Tree, U2.
• Grammy Award, Song: “Somewhere Out There,” B.Mann, C.Weil, J.Horner.
Les Miserables is awarded 8 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
• Oscar, Best Picture: The Last Emperor.
• Oscar, Best Director: Bernardo Bertolucci, The Last Emperor.
• Oscar, Best Actress: Cher, Moonstruck.
• Oscar, Best Actor: Michael Douglas, Wall Street.

Deaths:
• Rita Hayworth (b.1918) American film actress
• Fred Astaire (b.1899) American actor
• Danny Kaye (b.1913) American actor
• John Huston (b.1906) American film director

KTVA Productions, Custom Video Services since 1987. Said owner Rick Phillips, “This is the best job in the world. Thanks for the memories!”

Boost Your Budget – Hire Local

By Dena Beatty, Executive Director, SAG, Pacific Northwest

Many producers enjoy moving out of the major markets into other parts of the country to find unique filming locations. One problem they often face is the dreaded travel budget. Transporting talent to locations from New York or Los Angeles can become very expensive, but if producers choose their location well, there’s no need to overspend. The trick—find a location where you can hire local!

One location that can ease your travel budget woes is the Pacific Northwest. The states of Washington and Oregon are a Mecca for the arts, and this has resulted in an abundance of professional actors who call the Northwest home. Washington and Oregon also have a diversity of work, which translates to exceptionally versatile performers. The Northwest plays host to numerous local and national commercials, educational videos, studio and independent films, video games, and television series. The abundance of diverse employment opportunities has developed a well-balanced talent pool that includes on-camera and voice-over actors, singers, dancers, stunt coordinators and performers, and background performers.

Going back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Northwest has been a top location choice for filmmakers and advertisers. This stability has allowed the Northwest to not only create and grow a stable workforce of talented performers, but also a network of support organizations and personnel to ensure each project has the resources and help locating the right talent for the job.

Both the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) keep offices in the Northwest, and both organizations have a strong network of franchised agents. There are a number of casting directors who live and work in the Northwest who are familiar with both the local agents and the local talent. It is the goal of SAG to ensure that every project has access to their exceptional professional talent roster. Filmmakers and advertisers interested in hiring local talent can contact our office for assistance in locating casting directors, agents and talent.

The advertising and film industry in the Pacific Northwest realizes that it is the goal of each producer to complete a successful project on time and on budget. This is why when you shop for locations you should make sure you put Washington and Oregon on your list. There are many beautiful locations in the U.S. and around the world, but when you shop for value, it’s hard to beat Oregon and Washington for the total money saving package!

For more information about the Screen Actors Guild, please visit www.sag.org. We also encourage you to spend time in the production center where you will find valuable information about hiring and working with SAG talent.

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in Portlandia.

Oregon Film: Record Year, Even Brighter Future

By Vince Porter, Executive Director, Oregon Governor’s Office of Film and Television

Over the past few years we’ve seen steady growth in Oregon’s film and TV industry. In 2008, Oregon was host to the first Twilight movie, 2009 brought us Leverage and LAIKA’s Coraline, and then 2010 followed up with Portlandia. This steady growth has been good for everyone in the state, but in 2011, Oregon reached a new level of film and television production.

Thanks to three television series (NBC’s Grimm, TNT’s Leverage, and IFC’s Portlandia), the Lakeshore feature Gone, and two animation projects (LAIKA’s ParaNorman and Bent Image Lab’s Jingle All the Way), the total amount of film, television, and television commercial production in Oregon exceeded $110 million. This number is significant because the previous record was in 2009 when the amount was $62 million. Needless to say, the industry is firing on all cylinders and the good news is that the future is even brighter.

Leverage films on Mt. Hood.

One significant turning point was landing the second season of Leverage, which is produced by Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment. The show will be entering its fourth year in Oregon in 2012 and by the end of the season, the show will have spent more than $100 million in the state. Dean has been a great advocate for the local film and TV community, not only for his production but for the recruitment of several others as well. If you ask Dean, there is no limit to the possibilities in the state. Dean has fallen in love with the state so much that he’s even moved the show’s setting for season five from Boston to Portland. We look forward to seeing what this change will mean for the show.

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in Portlandia.

Although Portlandia doesn’t provide us with the economic impact numbers that a show like Leverage brings, it certainly delivers in many other ways. Originally created as a fun side project between Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen and musician/actor Carrie Brownstein, Portlandia has quickly ascended into a cult favorite for the Independent Film Channel. So much so that early in 2012, Fred and Carrie took the show on a six-city live tour. It might be that we’re a little tuned in to all things Oregon, but Portlandia has seemed to seep into just about everything.  Even The New York Times book review section uses the show for reference (see the Wildwood review).

Shooting the Grimm pilot. Photo by Scott Green/NBC.

Thanks to the positive momentum of these two shows and a concerned effort to market the state as a premier television series location, Oregon landed a big fish in 2011 with NBC’s new drama Grimm. The show is a modern daypolice procedural with a twist of the classic Grimm Fairy Tales, all set in the city of Portland. After an early ratings bump, NBC ordered a full season of the show, which immediately made it the largest production ever to be produced in the state over a one-year period. As an added benefit, the show has reached out to the local visual effects community, and all the visual effects for the show are produced by local companies Hive-FX and Bent Image Lab.  Both companies were selected after several companies from outside the state also bid on the work. It’s a testament to the level of creative talent that lives here in Oregon.

Speaking of visual effects and animation, this is a part of Oregon’s industry that is perhaps growing at a faster rate than the live action world. After LAIKA’s successful film Coraline, the studio has gained momentum and signed a two-picture distribution deal with Focus Features. The first of the two films is ParaNorman, which is due to be released in August of 2012. The second film, yet to be announced, will begin production in 2012 for a 2014 release.

Oregon’s animation industry is far from a one company town, as there are numerous animation, digital media and video game companies popping up all over the state. One such company is Bent Image Lab.  Bent produces animated commercials (much like LAIKA’s house division), and in 2011 produced the critically acclaimed Hallmark Channel holiday special Jingle All the Way. There are many other great animation, digital media and video game companies producing great work—too many to mention in this short article—so we created a dedicated blog for Oregon’s animation industry called www.oregonanimation.com. Be sure to check it out and definitely look into one of these talented companies for your next project!

As the entire motion picture industry continues to experience massive changes thanks to technological advancements, Oregon will have the opportunity to capitalize on its deep tech sector and talented creative industry. Companies like Intel and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy are already looking into the future of storytelling. In Oregon we pride ourselves on integrating age-old handcraftsmanship with cutting-edge technological solutions with the end result being something unique and authentic. In the coming years our hope is that this approach will guide us towards continued growth, both in acclaim and productivity.

Oregon has always thrived when it was focused on “what’s next,” and we hope that will be true as well in the motion picture industry.

clapper1

Washington Film

With no incentive in place, what’s next for the Evergreen State’s production industry?

By Amy Lillard, Executive Director, Washington Filmworks

Forty states in the Union offer motion picture incentives designed to attract film projects that create thousands of jobs and bring millions of dollars to a state. While Washington State was one of the first to offer such an incentive, it is no longer one of the forty. How did this happen?

The momentum created by Washington Filmworks (WF) and the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is impossible to ignore. Since launching the program in February 2007, WF has approved 71 projects for funding assistance, including 29 feature films, 37 commercials and 5 television projects. These projects have had an estimated $137 million economic impact over the past four years. And in fact, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC), an independent body of the legislature, recommended in a report authored in December 2010 that the program be renewed because it effectively maintained our position in a competitive marketplace.

Despite this significant contribution to the state’s economy, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program was never brought to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote during the 2011 legislative session. The program officially sunset on June 30, 2011.

Recently, major media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal have been picking up stories about how film production incentives represent bad economic development for states. Fueled by biased and politically motivated entities hiding behind important names such as The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, when examined critically it becomes apparent that these studies make for good newspaper headlines, but they fail to tell the true story. Not all production incentives are created equal.

Many articles about motion picture incentives examine the industry through a microscope and highlight only the most aggressive incentives in the United States. Michigan is often cited in articles as one of the worst economic development opportunities, as they offer production companies up to a 42 percent return on all production spending. In contrast, Washington State offers 30 percent back on qualified in-state spending only. In Washington, a producer may only get a return on what the production proves they have spent on the ground by renting local equipment, paying for locations, and hiring Washington resident cast and crew.

Since 2007, Washington Filmworks has sought to create a partnership between business, labor, the arts and government to help fuel the economy. This incentive has been a resounding success, keeping Washington competitive in film and keeping film industry workers employed. As the only state that requires health and retirement benefits for workers on a production, the Washington incentive was never about bringing Hollywood to Washington, but rather providing actors and crew from every part of the state with steady work and keeping the doors open for businesses that support the film industry.

Take away the lights, the camera and the action, and you can see what the film incentive really means: Jobs. The JLARC report also suggests that the number of jobs in the motion picture industry increased each year that the production incentive was online, with the exception of 2009, when the recession hit. That said, according to Employment Securities data, film employment declined at a rate of 0.7 percent during this time period, which is significantly less than the statewide average of 1.4 percent during the same time period.

The reality is that film industry work is project-based, and a typical film industry professional may work on three to four major productions in a year. And when working on a production, these film industry professionals typically work 14- to 16-hour days. It is difficult, if not impossible, to equate these project-oriented jobs into a box typecast as FTEs. But why should one good-paying, family-wage, 9am-to-5pm desk job represent a better opportunity for the state than the jobs the film industry provides its workers?

It is worth mentioning that there were very few easy decisions to make in the 2011 legislative session. With the state badly in debt and social services strained almost to the breaking point, it might seem difficult to endorse a tax incentive for the movie industry. However, the loss of the film incentive represents a further strain on the economy, forcing industry workers to rely on unemployment and causing the loss of millions in potential revenue to the state. The short-term gains of cutting the incentive are nothing compared to the long-term economic damage the absence of the program creates.

While devastating to the film industry in Washington, this does not represent the death knell of movies and TV in this state. Actors continue to act, writers continue to write, and gaffers continue to gaff, but without the incentive in place, jobs—real paying family-wage jobs—will dwindle until they disappear altogether. Fewer and fewer projects will come to Washington and it will not be long before the Evergreen State becomes the Evergreen “Fly-Over” State, as projects pass us by in favor of Oregon or Vancouver, B.C. Washington’s homegrown filmmakers, cast and crew will be forced to go out of state to work, or worse yet, move themselves and their families to states with competitive incentives in place.

In this difficult economic climate, you are seeing states across the country maintain and even increase the production incentives that they offer. New Mexico just voted to continue their incentive program, with a higher cap than was proposed by the governor. Utah just voted to raise their incentive, and Governor Kitzhaber in Oregon led the charge to get their incentive program renewed through 2018.

Washington State has so much to offer filmmakers: Diverse locations, talented cast and crew, and a wealth of production resources. What we don’t have is an incentive.

With 40 other states across the country with incentives in place, we can only wonder: What do the 40 other states know that we don’t?

Seattle’s Strong Summer

By Paul Nevius, Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Washington’s motion picture tax incentive and the future of filmmaking in the Evergreen State, summer of 2011 represents one of the busiest and most productive shooting seasons in recent memory. Cities around the state played host to four feature-length films that showcased the variety of locations and the depth and talent of Washington’s crew base. To better understand the impact these films had on Washington and how they came to be made in our home state, the filmmakers were asked to share their experiences.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the incentive was central to the producers’ decision to film in Washington. “We created a detailed tax incentive analysis to compare the film incentive programs in Washington and California, and the Washington Filmworks funding assistance was the winner by several thousand dollars,” said Jacob Mosler, one of the producers of Eden.

Eden tells the harrowing true story of a young Korean-American girl who is abducted and forced into prostitution by domestic human traffickers and comes to join forces with her captors in a desperate plea to survive. At the helm of Eden was director Megan Griffiths, a Washington native and rising star of the indie scene.

The incentive was also an integral part of what attracted producer Rick Rosenthal to Seattle to make Fat Kid Rules the World. Adapted from the novel by K.L. Going about an obese 17-year-old who becomes drawn into the world of punk rock and becomes the drummer of a punk duo, Fat Kid also marks the directorial debut of Matthew Lillard.

Rosenthal, an industry veteran with decades of experience in filmmaking, said, “The incentive was vital. We would not have come to Seattle without it. We would have gone to Portland or even NYC because both have strong incentives that have remained in place. I think it is imperative that Washington bring back the incentive if they wish to stay competitive and stimulate film production in the state.”

Australian director Richard Grey of Mine Games acknowledged that the incentive made filming in Washington possible. “Otherwise we would have filmed in California. The extra costs to bring cast and key crew to Seattle (including accommodation, flights, per diems) were directly offset by the incentive. It made everything possible.”

Filmed in the Ape Cave located in Snoqualmie National Forest, Mine Games is a psychological thriller about a group of young friends who make an incomprehensible discovery in an abandoned mine, but find the more they try to change the future, the more they seal their fate.

The unique scenery in Washington was also a compelling factor in attracting these productions. To make their directorial debut, Scott Moore and Jonathan Lucas, writers of The Hangover, selected the University of Washington, basing their film, 21 and Over, on the iconic Husky campus.

To replicate the look of the American Southwest needed for Eden, producers Mosler and Colin Plank filmed in the eastern part of the state, spending time in Spokane, Ellensburg and Enumclaw.

Mosler noted that the services and amenities for the production were top-notch, even when filming was done away from major production centers. “We were able to house our cast and crew in everything from luxury hotels in downtown Seattle, to cozy independent hotels when shooting in the remote desert. The greater Northwest is truly a land with a vibrant economy supported by strong resources that are clearly reflected on screen and added great production value to our film.”

For Fat Kid, New York City was replaced by neighborhoods and homes in the Ballard district of Seattle. Said Rosenthal, “Great neighborhoods and diverse locations, coupled with a solid local crew and some talented local actors. A plethora of great restaurants—Ballard seemed to be the favorite hangout neighborhood, along with Capitol Hill.”

The Mine Games team had a similar experience. Said Grey, “Locals were very helpful and friendly, crew recommended others, and our Washington team came together very quickly. We found a perfect place to stay at the Red Lion in Bellevue, which catered for all needs. Catering we sourced surprisingly from Enumclaw, and they, too, were very good.”

As the shooting season comes to a close and the features transition into post-production, it is time to look ahead to what the future holds for filmmakers in Washington. Without the film incentive in place, it will be a tall order to bring filmmakers here to take advantage of the variety of locations and the pool of professionals that make Washington their home. It remains to be seen if the Washington legislature will take the steps to ensure that this season is not the last season for making movies here in the Evergreen State.

Best of Northwest Production

TALENT AGENCIES

Becky Reilly
Big Fish NW Talent Representation
877-424-4347/509-328-3474
www.bigfishnw.com

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
503-546-3006
www.puddletowntalent.com

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
206-463-1544
www.theactorsgroup.com

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
206-443-2021
www.toposwopetalent.com

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
206-402-5958/
800-724-0767
www.sag.org

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
206-728-4826
www.tcmmodels.com

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
www.llltalent.com

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.
503-274-1005
www.ryanartists.com

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
503-546-8862
www.arthousetalentandliterary.com

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)!

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Amanda Allen
amanda allen photography
206-349-6774
www.amandaallen.net
amandgaallen.blogspot.com

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
206-718-2782
www.helmanphoto.com

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.

AUDIO/SOUND MIXERS

Courtney Bailey
CMB Sound
360-440-1761
www.cmbsound.com

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
503-310-2566
www.screamusic.com

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]
www.paradisesound.com

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
206-783-6797
www.bluecharles.com

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
StudioBard
503-273-2273
www.studiobard.com

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
REX
503-238-4525
www.rexpost.com

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.

VOICE TALENT

Jim Cissell
VoiceGuy.com
206-933-8642
www.voiceguy.com

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
206-521-0363
www.cathyfaulkner.com

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
503-892-8833
www.inbothears.com

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
KCVOICE.COM
541-350-5800
www.kcvoice.com

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.

PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT/PROMOTION

Dennis Gleason
Dark Wing Productions
503-708-3487
www.darkwingproductions.com

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.

LOCATION SCOUTS/MANAGERS

Jay Carroll
Jfoto
509-493-2007
www.jfoto.com

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!

MAKEUP/HAIR

Kari Sue Baumann
Decorate Your Face
253-318-6550
www.decorateyourface.com

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
206-849-3681
www.purealchemysalon.com

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
503-710-4170
www.bauxal.net

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.

SCREENWRITERS

Douglas Horn
310-739-5649
www.DouglasHorn.com

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.

PAs

Christopher Drdla
425-830-8510

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
509-328-7271

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.

DPs

Jim Bolser
Peak Video
509-535-1212
www.peakvideo.us

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.
206-890-5832
www.larslarsondp.com

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.

HELICOPTERS

Doug Uttecht
Northwest Helicopters
360-754-7200
www.nwhelicopters.com

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.

STYLISTS

Lisa-Marie Moon
206-551-3105/
425-522-3527
www.lisamariemoon.com

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!

PROPS

Doug Clark
206-930-9808
www.clarkprops.com

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.

TELEPROMPTERS

Maia McQuillan
Seattle Teleprompter
425-454-5659
www.seattleteleprompter.com

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.