Monthly Archives: April, 2017

Faces of Film: Courtney Sheehan

April 28th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Courtney Sheehan”

“The incentive is at the center of Washington State’s strong foundation for film production, and every week I meet filmmakers whose careers depend on it. The positive impact it has on the overall economy is a clear indicator of its positive ripple effects across sectors and regions of the state.”

– Courtney Sheehan

Faces of Film: Dave Drummond

April 26th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Dave Drummond”

Welcome to the Keep Film in WA Series – The Faces of Film!

This series aims to shine a spotlight on the people behind the films of Washington State, using portraits of them at work to remind the public and legislators the lives (and livelihoods) that are at stake if the incentive program disappears on June 30. Along with each portrait, the cast or crew member will share in their own words the important role that the incentive has had in creating their career and why it is important to have a vibrant film industry in Washington State. We hope that these photographs serve as inspiration, and that you share your story with us (info@keepfilminwa.com) and social media (#keepfilminwa)—and most importantly with the elected officials that represent you in Olympia!

Name: Dave Drummond

City:  Edmonds

Legislative District: 21

Describe your work: I am a location scout and manager.  I find and secure the various locations needed for films, television and commercial productions that film in Washington State.  

Years in the Industry: 13

Why is Washington State a great place to film? 


Washington has a diversity of locations that rivals anywhere in the country.  Virtually every type of landscape can be found within our borders, from the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, to the high desert of central and eastern Washington, to the city centers of Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and countless small and mid-sized towns.   In addition the industry talent and services that have been developed locally can compete with anyone in the U.S. or Canada.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? About being on 
set?

I love helping to bring a project to life, by discovering a new or special place that matches the director’s creative vision.  I also love the collaboration that goes into the making of any film.   On set I work with others to manage the logistics and behind-the-scenes support required by the production unit.  Ultimately those efforts help create an environment where the director and actors can do their best work.  Seeing the eventual results of all that collaboration on screen is very gratifying.  

How has the incentive program played a part in your career growth?

My career has been forged on projects that were incentivized by the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.  The skills I have learned and the connections I have made on those projects are the reason I am working in the industry today.   Without the incentive program it’s unlikely I will be able to continue my career here in the state.  

What kind of financial benefits have you seen or experienced from the 
incentive in your great community?

As the location manager on a film or television series, I see a lot of the direct spending that productions do in various communities.  Much of that money goes to businesses and services that are not specifically part of the film industry.  In the location department, we typically spend money on things like motels, restaurants, contractors, facility rentals and security services.  We also often raise the visibility of a specific town or community in a way that attracts visitors.    

What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal?

Competition is fierce between various U.S. states and Canada for film production work.  Without a strong incentive program, Washington State will be relegated to the sidelines and will see much of its homegrown talent and services leave the state.  Contrary to the notion that the incentive program is only servicing “Hollywood,” the reality is that productions hire local workers and generate millions of dollars of economic activity in Washington.   Productions in the program are also required to provide health and welfare benefits to their employees.  As a union worker, I depend on those benefits to provide insurance for my family.  We cannot afford to let this program expire.  

What would happen with your film career and life if it were to go away?

I depend on our incentive program for my livelihood. It is likely I will have to pursue job opportunities in other states, away from my family, if the program is not renewed.   I hope all legislators will support House Bill 1527 and Senate Bill 5502.

Faces of Film: Basil Harris

April 26th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Basil Harris”

“Acting is an art, but there’s definitely a craft to it as well. Thanks to several local projects funded by Washington Filmworks’ Innovation Lab, I’ve been able to get in front of the camera in some great roles that helped me hone my technique as a professional actor. Without this unique part of our incentive program, local performers lose vital opportunities to develop and maintain the skills necessary to remain competitive in our field.”

– Basil Harris

Behind the Olympia Curtain – April 2017

April 25th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed 0 comments on “Behind the Olympia Curtain – April 2017”

This year we wanted to pull back the political curtain and give our community a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes in Olympia. While it may sometimes seem like there’s not a lot of activity on our bills, there’s actually lots (and lots) of activity happening in district and at the state Capitol. Read on to get an insiders look at how we worked together this month to KEEP FILM IN WA!

The Keep Film in WA Campaign Hits the Road

Throughout April, The Keep Film in WA campaign traveled across the state, rallying film communities to keep the pressure on their elected officials in Olympia. Advocacy isn’t easy; it requires patience, persistence and energy, and it’s rare to find a community as energized and inspired as Washington’s film professionals. Thanks for all of your hard work – let’s keep at it TOGETHER!

Talking Virtual Reality in Bellingham

If the future of film is about the intersection of technology and storytelling, there is nowhere else in the United States more perfectly positioned to capitalize on this movement than Washington State. The rise of virtual reality (VR) is popping up all around Washington State and on April 11, Amy Lillard moderated a panel discussion on VR, presented by Bellingham Film and the Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival. The panelists included Bellingham artist Avielle Heath, and filmmaker Sandy Cioffi whose start-up collective Fearless 360° is exploring new media potential for immersive storytelling. Along the way, Amy got to talk to the crowd about the Keep Film in WA Campaign and how to get involved!

Pen to Paper in Spokane

Amy Lillard headed east to participate in the letter writing campaign and to give Spokane an Olympia update. Congrats to the group for delivering over 700 letters for House Finance and Senate Ways and Means Committee members and authoring the Declaration for Creativity.

Toasting the Start of Special Session in Seattle

With April 23 marking the official end of the regular legislative session, it’s fast becoming a tradition this time of year to raise a glass to the start of the special session, so on Thursday, April 20, that’s what we did, gathering Seattle’s film community at Saint John’s Bar & Eatery for a discussion of what it all means for the Film Bill and where we go from here. Amy Lillard warned of a tough road ahead, noting that over the coming months, much of the budget negotiation will take place behind closed doors, but that it will remain absolutely vital that we keep the pressure on elected officials. Check in to the Keep Film in WA blog for the latest calls to action.

Keep Zombies in WA 

Another exciting event this month was the launch of our Keep Zombies in WA infographic. One of the challenges we face is determining how best to communicate all the data that supports our campaign, so when it comes time to launch an infographic, we try to pack as much good stuff in as we can. You might have seen this one floating around your social media feeds a few weeks back, but in case you haven’t check it out in all its glory right here. We also shared it the old fashioned way; Krys Karns and Amy Lillard took the trip to Olympia, where they hand delivered one of these (in poster form) to every Representative and Senator. 

Addressing the Heritage Caucus 

On March 29, Amy Lillard spoke before the Heritage Caucus, a public meeting of legislators, state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and members of the public who are interested in heritage and culture, currently co-chaired by Sen. Jim Honeyford (R, 15) and Rep. Steve Tharinger (D, 24).  This opportunity gave Amy the opportunity to talk to key community members about the benefits of having a vibrant statewide film community.

Press Coverage in April

“When you have a TV show, people move and settle here in your city. It took years to rebuild this crew base, and we do not want to lose those people,” Washington Filmworks vice chair Juan Mas explained in an interview with Charles Mudede earlier this month. As part of the issue dedicated to Spokane, Mudede, the Stranger’s film editor, used his column inches to talk about the looming sunset date of Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. His piece provides a brief history of the program and discusses the damaging impact its departure might have on the state’s film industry. Read the entire piece online right here.

Faces of Film

Meanwhile, our Faces of Film campaign spotlighting Washington State film industry professionals is starting to fill out. Watch for it to continue to grow in the coming weeks, as we release more interviews with the people that make Washington film what it is. We’d love it if you participated as well! Share an image of yourself working your craft on social media. Include the hashtag #KeepFilmInWA and a short statement about why film is important in Washington State.

The 30-Day Special Session Has Begun

April 24th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “The 30-Day Special Session Has Begun”

On Friday, Governor Inslee announced what seemed to be inevitable – a special 30-day legislative session to continue the negotiations of the 2-year operating budget for the State of Washington (which officially opened today at 10am).

The end of regular session does not mean the end of the film bill. Our legislation is considered Necessary to the Implementation of the Budget (NTIB) and thus remains on the negotiating table and very much in play during the entirety of this special session.

The period of this special session is absolutely critical for the Keep Film in WA campaign, and during the coming weeks, the film professionals of Washington State must make sure their voices, stories, and advocacy for the film bill continue to be heard in Olympia.


Call to Action:

Please take this opportunity to write, email, call, (or even tweet at!) your legislators and ask them to ensure that the final budget includes an extension of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program.

If you’ve spoken with your legislators in the past, don’t feel shy about reaching out again to touch base and keep the dialogue alive. We have a deeply dedicated, informed, and involved film community here in Washington, but elected officials in Olympia need to hear from you to make it count.

Faces of Film: Tess Laeh

April 20th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Tess Laeh”

Welcome to the Keep Film in WA Series – The Faces of Film!

This series aims to shine a spotlight on the people behind the films of Washington State, using portraits of them at work to remind the public and legislators the lives (and livelihoods) that are at stake if the incentive program disappears on June 30. Along with each portrait, the cast or crew member will share in their own words the important role that the incentive has had in creating their career and why it is important to have a vibrant film industry in Washington State. We hope that these photographs serve as inspiration, and that you share your story with us (info@keepfilminwa.com) and social media (#keepfilminwa)—and most importantly with the elected officials that represent you in Olympia!

Name: Tess Laeh

City:  Spokane Valley

Legislative District: 6

Describe your work: Makeup Artist/ Special FX Make Up Artist

Years in the Industry: 3 

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? About being on set?

I enjoy the sense of community the film industry brings. Everyone looks out for one another, no matter if you are at the top of being a producer, or at the bottom of being a background extra. I’ve had the pleasure of working on both sides of the state, and we always try to be as respectful to the area as we can. And in turn, it has been mutually beneficial. 

One example—we went to the small town of Index, WA. The town heard that we were coming out, and when we arrived we saw “Welcome Z Nation!” signs in all the store fronts. There was a bakery that had made zombie donuts and cookies, and our crew loved the idea so much we bought them out!

The incentive program has played a big role in making Z Nation possible. How has this program benefitted you or played a part in your financial or career growth?

Z Nation has been the biggest stepping stone for my career and my personal finances. I have been able to pay off my car, credit cards, and make a dent in my student loans. I am finally nearing a point where I can look at purchasing a house. If there were enough incentive for one more production like Z Nation to come in, I would have full time work all year round.

What kind of financial benefits have you seen or experienced from the incentive in your greater community? 

I do the accounting for my department, and I can safely say more than half of our budget goes into the communities we are stationed at with buying our supplies alone. Then you account for all of the crew’s rent, utilities, groceries, gas, expendables, and traveling on both sides of the state. It’s hard not to see where the money is being spent in Washington.

What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal?

If you look at every other state with bigger film incentives, you will see they are flourishing. Look at what it has done for Atlanta, and this state has more to offer than Georgia. The potential is there, you just have to recognize it. 

Photo Credit: Alexander Yellen

Join Us in Seattle on Thursday!

April 19th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Join Us in Seattle on Thursday!”

The current legislative session in Olympia is ending on April 23, so we thought it was a good time to update the community on the current status of the film bill—decidedly not dead—and raise a glass to the inevitable start of the 30 day special legislative session!

If that’s all already starting to sound too dry and wonky for you, don’t worry! We’ll break it all down and explain exactly what this means in practical terms for the “Keep Film in WA” campaign. 

There’s still a lot we can all do to help this bill get passed, so please join us on Thursday and find out how you can get involved! For those film fans not in Seattle, stay tuned to the Keep Film in WA blog for breaking news about events in Olympia.  


Seattle – Thursday, 4/20/17
Washington Filmworks Legislative Update

Join us as we toast the end of the end of regular legislative session (April 23) and celebrate the launch of the inevitable 30-day special session! Amy Lillard will give an update on our progress in Olympia and give our Seattle-based advocates a roadmap of how to get involved.

5 pm – 7 pm – Saint John’s Bar & Eatery
719 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 98122

Entertain, Engage, Educate!

April 17th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Entertain, Engage, Educate!”

You don’t have to be following the news that closely to have heard that funding education is a big issue for our state this year. What may not be as obvious is the instrumental role our state’s creative community plays in the classroom. Interactive content, much of which is developed by Washington’s creative professionals, is an indispensable staple of today’s curriculum. Educators draw on this material to enhance student engagement, inspiring children and effecting quantifiable results in performance. 

A renewal of the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program does not just provide support for the film industry, it also ensures that a broad-based creative talent pool can take root in our state, and continue to develop content and technology with far-reaching applications, one of which is providing educational content that can reach every child across the state. 

Thanks again to the students and faculty of the Seattle Film Institute for their hard work on creating this public service announcement (PSA) for the “Keep Film in WA” campaign. It’s part of a series that they’ve produced for the campaign—if you missed last week’s video, Free Billy, check it out right here


Call to Action:
 
Share this PSA with your legislators and ask them to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program and maintain a vibrant local creative industry.  Remind them that the film bill has effects that extend far beyond the silver screen, that this program creates a foundation on which a statewide creative community can build and grow. 

Introducing: Free Billy!

April 13th, 2017 Posted by blog, get informed, get involved 0 comments on “Introducing: Free Billy!”

 

So does Billy ever come to the floor for a vote? Does he get passed and become a law?

Well, we don’t know yet. But while we wait for this cliffhanger to be over, enjoy Free Billy.

This delightful Public Service Announcement (PSA) is the first in a series produced by the Seattle Film Institute (SFI). Huge thanks to the students and faculty of SFI for bringing a much-needed dose of levity to the tense (and, yes, sometimes a little dry) proceedings in Olympia. A special thank you to SAG-AFTRA, as well, for their support in the production of this PSA.

Free Billy profiles the plight our real life Billy—HB 1527 in The House and SB 5502 in The Senate—which both remain in their respective finance committees. It has never been more important for us to make the case for this bill. Without its passage, the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program and the state film office will expire on June 30. As the regular legislative session draws to a close, the future of film in Washington State hangs in the balance. 


Call to Action:
 
Share this video with your friends on social media, especially with those whose lives and livelihoods are affected by this legislation.

And please send Free Billy to your elected officials and ask them to free the film bill—HB 1527 and SB 5502—from committee and make sure it is part of the final budget. Beyond being a great showcase of in-state talent, the PSA also reminds audiences about some important things about the production incentive program, reminding legislators that:

• For every $1 spent by the film incentive program, approved productions generated an estimated $10 of economic activity in the statewide economy.

• Washington State’s film incentive is smart – and designed so that no money gets paid out of the program until after the jobs are created for local workers and after production has spent money with local businesses.

• And approved productions have spent money in every legislative district!

Keep an eye out for more PSAs from our partners at the Seattle Film Institute, which we’ll be releasing here and across social media in the coming weeks.

Faces of Film: John Lavin

April 11th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: John Lavin”

Welcome to the Keep Film in WA Series – The Faces of Film!

This series aims to shine a spotlight on the people behind the films of Washington State, using portraits of them at work to remind the public and legislators the lives (and livelihoods) that are at stake if the incentive program disappears on June 30. Along with each portrait, the cast or crew member will share in their own words the important role that the incentive has had in creating their career and why it is important to have a vibrant film industry in Washington State. We hope that these photographs serve as inspiration, and that you share your story with us (info@keepfilminwa.com) and social media (#keepfilminwa)—and most importantly with the elected officials that represent you in Olympia!

Name: John Lavin

City: Seattle

Legislative District: 46

Job title: Production designer working in film, commercials, music videos and photography.

Years in the industry: I’ve been doing this kind of work for 20 years, but I first worked on a feature film about 8 years ago.

Describe your work

I am in charge of the sets and props, and creating the look and feel of a shoot. In simplest terms, I’m in charge of all the stuff you see on screen that isn’t the actor. In a large production, I’m the one that puts together and heads the crews for Art Department and Props. That can include builders, buyers, painters, greens people, prop makers, graphic artists, and more. In some projects, it’s ten or twelve people. In others, it’s just me. I design and build sets, make props, paint, and move a lot of furniture.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? About being on set?

I am lucky to get the chance to be creative for a living. I work in a collaborative business with a lot of interesting, talented people. I like working on a set because it brings such a range of people together with varied and complimentary expertise. A film set is a team, made up of people with really diverse expertise, who bring their skills to bear toward a shared goal. Besides the director and the actors, there are camera people, electricians, technicians, artists, hair and makeup people, wardrobe people, accountants, truck drivers, lighting experts, sound recording experts… the list goes on and on. It’s impressive and inspiring to be around skilled and creative working people.

How has the incentive program played a part in your career growth?

I have been the production designer for many film and commercial projects that were supported by the film incentive over the years, including Laggies, Lucky Them, Touchy Feely, 4 Minute Mile and others. By bringing projects to the area, the incentive program helps to keep crew members at work here in the Northwest. These are people who would otherwise leave the state to follow the work. 

What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal? 

When a project is supported by the incentive, the money goes to support middle class, often union, workers from Washington State. A good portion of any Art Department budget always goes to buying materials and supplies, so that’s money that ends up directly in the local economy. When we recently shot a film in Granite Falls, we were at the local hardware store nearly every day. Crews need to be fed and housed; props are purchased; trucks are rented. The knock-on effect of money spent on film production is truly felt by the community, and production happens all over the state. Support for the film incentive is direct support for middle class jobs and communities in Washington.