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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and social media (#keepfilminwa)—and most importantly with the elected officials that represent you in Olympia!
Name: Mia Yoshida
Town/city: Spokane, WA
Describe your work: I have been working on the television show Z Nation as a day player for two seasons. I have worked as a Production Assistant, Set Decorator, Grip, and Electrician on the show.
Years in the industry: 2
Why is Washington State a great place to film?
Washington State is a great place to film because of its incredible versatility. We are able to create any kind of scenario from urban to rural life. Z Nation’s story takes place across the country and we are able to shoot all of this in Washington. This show allows us to showcase the state’s versatility in film.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
What I enjoy most about the work I do is that I am able to meet incredible and talented people doing what they love to create something that can be shared across the country. Working on set I am able to see the passion my crew members exhibit. I am able to learn from their experiences and make my own excitement for film grow.
The incentive program has played a big role in making Z Nation possible. How has this program of bringing more productions into the state benefitted or played a part in your financial or career growth?
Having lived in other countries and states, nothing compares to Washington State. No matter where I go, Spokane has and always will be my home. I studied Digital Technology and Culture at Washington State University and majored in Visual Communication Design at Eastern Washington University. There I learned parts of the post production aspect of film. After an internship with Z Nation Season 2, I was able to work on set where I could see hands on what it takes to make a television series. I immediately took to all aspects of creating a show. I loved it! This new experience helped me find opportunities to build my own career. With these connections, I am able to find work easily and collaborate with others in film here in Washington.
What kind of financial benefits have you seen or experienced from the incentive/working in film in your greater community?
While working as a Set Decorator I went to numerous local businesses for the supplies we needed. What always surprised me was how the owners of these local businesses would be excited when we would stop by for our scavenger hunt for the perfect set decoration. They would get involved and help us with anything we would need. That kind of support from the community made making this show even more meaningful.
What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal?
Including myself, the many people I look up to in this industry would lose their jobs if we lost this incentive. What better way is there to showcase our state than with film? With film we are able to grow our community and bring many more business opportunities to Washington.
What would happen to your film career or future work prospects if it were to go away?
The film incentive means that I am able to pursue my dream career of storytelling. Financially, I would not be able to pursue this dream if future work prospects were to go away. Having work opportunities in Washington means that I am able to work with the many talented people I have met in this industry. I look forward to working more with these people to create meaningful, exciting, and inspiring stories.
Photo Credit: Daniel Schaefer