Posts in Faces of Film

Faces of Film: Amey René

June 28th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Amey RenĂ©”

Name: Amey René

City: The offices for Amey René casting are in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. I have the opportunity to work with two talented casting associates, Megan Rosenfeld (who lives in District 46) and Lisa Gaviglio (who lives in District 41.)

What do you do? Briefly describe your work?

I do casting for feature films, television, new media, and commercials with offices in both Seattle and Los Angeles. My team and I collaborate frequently with local Seattle filmmakers including Megan Griffiths, Lynn Shelton, Mel Eslyn, Jennessa West, and Lacey Leavitt. Our goal is to find fresh, new, talented faces, even outside the typical acting community. We are also proud to do casting for tons of commercials that shoot in Washington, everything from car ads to Washington Lotto to Seattle Seahawks (GO HAWKS!) related projects.

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Washington is a great place to film because it is a big family of workers. Someone who is a PA on one film may be an actor on another, or even direct his or her own short film. Everyone knows everyone, making it feel like a small town rather than a statewide industry. We all work together to grow our individual careers, as well as the community.

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

This city and state is full of great talent. Some are already embedded in the film community, while others come from the stage. It’s exciting to bring amazing talent to producers and be able to say, “Yes, they live in Washington!” I love making the call to someone who is just starting out to tell them that they booked their first job.

We typically aren’t on set, unless we come for a visit. The majority of our work is done in pre-production where we work with producers, writers, and directors. You can’t start shooting without a human body in place to say the lines. We tend to be one of the first to read a script which makes us an integral part of forming the characters and the overall creative direction. We translate the director’s vision into a character that someone can embody. Our initial process is to come up with lists of actors who could fit the part. We also have auditions to find the right talent for the role. Our outreach is not just limited to agents but is influenced by theater, improv, or just someone on the street. We are always pushing unseen talent that could turn into new discoveries.

 

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

One major feature my associates and I cast locally was Captain Fantastic. Without the incentive program in place, I’m not sure the production would have been able to shoot here. If you’ve seen the movie you know that the landscape of Washington State almost becomes another character. That movie went on to play at 2016 Sundance, Cannes and Seattle Film Festivals, and it was nominated for several awards including the Academy Award for Best Actor for Viggo Mortenson. My company was even nominated by the Casting Society of America for Casting.

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

The Seattle film community is lead by several strong female voices, and without the incentive, their projects may not get made which is needed now more than ever. I can’t think of another film community that has as many Wonder Women.

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

Through Amey René Casting, I have been fortunate enough to provide full time employment for two people, part time work for many others, and an internship program that fosters our next crop of filmmakers. 

We pride ourselves on making the community more prepared by doing classes, giving feedback, preparing them not only for the current audition but the next one as well. Our talent needs to be ready for when the big jobs to come to us. Without incentive sponsored opportunities to flex the acting muscle, our talent is going to be stilted and not able to compete with larger markets that work all the time. 

Faces of Film: Avielle Heath

June 27th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Avielle Heath”

“Washington State has a lot to offer. Not only do we have diverse options for a variety of landscapes—from the Rockies, deserts, ocean and old growth forests—but we also have an ever-expanding arts community. Washingtonians are always helpful when it comes to finding locations to film, working with city permitting, building sets, tracking down specific props, or getting things custom made from local artists. It’s nice to live in a community that wants to see you succeed in any artistic adventure you can imagine.”

– Avielle Heath

Faces of Film: Scott Tebeau

June 27th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Scott Tebeau”

Name: Scott Tebeau

City: Tacoma

Describe your work: I am a filmmaker. I got my start in special effects makeup and shortly thereafter expanded to screenwriting, producing, directing, shooting, and editing.

Years in the industry: 27

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

The diversity of ecological landscapes in Washington is astounding. The natural environment would meet the needs of almost any production. This is a great asset for local filmmakers that could also be leveraged to bring out-of-state productions to Washington.

Further, the creative culture of Washington is unlike any other. Musical and technological giants have made their homes here and greater support for the film industry could propagate a similarly world-class filmmaking community here as well.

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

Producing a film requires a broad range of skills and extensive collaboration. It is thrilling to meet the complex challenge of realizing a single artistic vision through the combined sweat and creative camaraderie of a dedicated crew.

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

The presence and strength of the incentive program will determine the resources that are available to me (and all other local industry professionals) to produce content and hire in-state. This will be vitally important to me moving forward, as I am establishing a film company, Index Pictures, in collaboration with three Tacoma-based colleagues. We are currently developing our first project, a feature-length film. This is also the first Washington-based project that I am producing.

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

The Washington film industry has the potential to be much more economically fruitful than it currently is. For example, Georgia’s film and television industry, which is supported by a strong state-level tax incentive structure, infused $6 billion into the economy in FY 2015. An important first step toward expanding how film serves Washington is to keep existing support for film production and renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP) in 2017. In the future, I would like to see better tax incentives and opportunities for growing independent film companies that use smaller grants to make high-impact films.

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

If the incentive program is not maintained, that could severely hamper my ability to produce local films. It may mean relocating to a state with a stronger incentive program.

Faces of Film: Alissa Desler

June 21st, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Alissa Desler”

“As a writer and director I find myself returning again and again to central Washington, the dry, rolling, haunted landscapes of the Columbia River Basin. As a producer I found the experience of filming in central Washington remarkably rewarding. Locations were easily secured, talented and passionate cast and crew recruited, local law enforcement supportive, and Washington Filmworks highly informative.”

– Alissa Desler

Faces of Film: George Riddell

June 14th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: George Riddell”

“The quality of our work is only as good as the quality of the people who create it. Washington can proudly boast of a talented pool of production crew and actors who make the work great. But these people can’t be taken for granted.

A robust film industry in Washington means they can live here, because they can work here. But I have watched helplessly for the past several years as good people have left for so-called greener pastures—Oregon, California, Georgia—because there isn’t enough work for them in Washington. If the film incentive is allowed to sunset, even more talented actors and film professionals are certain to leave Washington.

My business relies on many talented members of the Washington motion picture industry, and the loss of more talent would threaten the future of my business and others like it.”

– George Riddell

Faces of Film: Tony Becerra

June 14th, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Tony Becerra”

Name: Tony Becerra

City: Seattle

Describe your work: I’m an Assistant Director, in charge of scheduling, breaking down scripts and running set. 

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

I’ve filmed hundreds of commercials in every kind of weather and terrain, all in our state. It’s doubled for New York, Utah, South Korea, and it only takes a short drive to either have desert, snow, mountains, or sea as your backdrop, and advertisers know this, and our state stays busy year round.

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

My job is logistics and information, to help bring large crews together to create the best project we can, and working at home, with people I trust and enjoy working with, is one of the highlights.

How has the incentive played a role in your career growth?  

With the incentive I’ve been able to raise a family, join my union, gain health insurance and work with amazing incoming productions that I wouldn’t normally, if I lived elsewhere. 

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

The incentive allows us to stay competitive, allows work to grow and new crews to be trained. It stops runaway productions to Canada and keeps our best and brightest crew working to build more infrastructure in state, to support larger jobs. Losing that means losing our edge. 

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

Myself and other union workers couldn’t stay in state to support our families. We’d have to go out of state and look elsewhere for work. Businesses suffer, whether it’s felt now or down the road, the loss of incoming productions hurt everyone’s bottom line.

Faces of Film: Rik Deskin

June 9th, 2017 Posted by Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Rik Deskin”

“I began working in this community in 1994. I have seen the acting community diminished due to lack of work opportunities. I have also seen a new influx of actors over the past decade that have settled into Washington thanks to our film incentive. The film incentive is vital to Washington State Actors. Without it, we will be forced to look for work in other states. I would much rather work here where my family and friends live.”

– Rik Deskin

Faces of Film: Mischa Jakupcak

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Mischa Jakupcak”

Name: Mischa Jakupcak

City: Seattle

What do you do? Filmmaker and production company co-founder, working in the field of cinematic virtual reality.

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

I have worked in film for over 12 years, always in the Northwest. Having lived on both sides of the state, first in Seattle, then for several years in Spokane and now back in Seattle, I can vouch for the talent and caliber of the film and television communities across the state.

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

There is no other industry that requires such deep collaboration from such a diverse array of people. From lighting technicians, sound mixers, makeup and wardrobe designers, actors and crew. No other art mixes photography, music, writing, acting and business in the same way. I thrive on set, love juggling several logistical and technical challenges, and being a part of what I think is the best art form around.

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

I started working before the incentive existed, and at that time, I had to take film jobs in Montana and Portland to stay busy enough. Over the years, I’ve worked on over 30 films, 10 of which were supported by the film incentive. If you added the budgets of the incentive-supported films I’ve worked on, I’d conservatively estimate the total at $28 million. That’s a lot. I also co-founded a cinematic virtual reality (VR) company called Mechanical Dreams, which produced seven short VR pieces, including Tracy Rector’s Ch’aak’ S’aagi, the first indigenous directed VR piece to be made in the United States and one of five VR pieces selected to show at Toronto International Film Festival, and Little Potato, a short documentary directed by Wes Hurley and Nathan Miller which just won Grand Jury Prize at SxSW 2017.

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

As the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industries bloom, Washington State has a huge opportunity to become a world leader in the new tech markets. VR/AR resides at the intersection of so many mammoth industries including healthcare, education, commerce/advertising, not to mention entertainment in video games and films. Because Google, Microsoft, Valve, Facebook and Amazon all have a physical presence in the state, there is no reason that the workforce from the film industry shouldn’t triple and quadruple in the coming years to accommodate the needs for new media and its giant demand for content. Now is the moment to act and prepare to be a part of the future of storytelling. Renewing and expanding the film incentive is one solid first step towards realizing our potential to be world leaders in new media, while also improving our local economy and creating jobs at home.

What would happen to your film career or future work prospects if it were to go away?

I have already had to start developing international contacts to produce content in Canada, China and Korea. If the incentive goes away, in order to continue working in film, television and VR, I will undoubtedly need to leave Seattle much more frequently. And that’s a shame because I have a daughter, a husband and an entire network of colleagues on either side of that state that I would prefer to be doing business with. When the incentive is active, there is no question that we as producers are able to bring more projects to the state. When it has been inactive, those productions go to other states or Vancouver, BC.

 

Photo Credit: Kimberly Hardy

 

Faces of Film: Lisa Coronado

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Lisa Coronado”

Name: Lisa Coronado

City: West Seattle

Describe your work: I am an actress.  I occasionally will write/produce my own work. 

How long have you been in this industry? I started acting in high school theater and have been professionally acting for almost 10 years. 

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Oh man, having grown up here I think I’m a little biased on why I love to film in Washington. But from a filmmaker’s standpoint, Washington offers a wide array of landscapes.  Spokane alone was able to provide the Syfy’s Z Nation a backdrop of the whole United States as the characters ‘traveled’ across the country.  With our rugged coast to the West, our stunning mountains in the center and our desert like lands in the East, Washington has it all.  Add onto that professional crew members and actors who are hungry for work and are so very talented. 

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

Washington’s incentive program brought Z Nation to our state.  It was such a crazy and exciting time for us actors and crew.  And when I booked a recurring role, I just couldn’t believe it.  I never thought I could make a living at this.  With Z Nation I was able to get health insurance for myself and my family.  I think I’m more proud of that than anything!  The Washington Film Incentive Program is directly a part of that.  It has had a huge impact on my work and my life. And while I’m not allowed to go into specifics, I was also able to shoot on Twin Peaks, (also a WF project) in 2015.  Working with David Lynch was a huge career highlight.  He’s just brilliant and so kind. 

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

I think for our legislators, I want them to know that I’m a working class person.  I am not Hollywood royalty.  I am not wealthy.  I’m trying to make a living doing what I love, and I want to do it here.  I’m rooted in Washington.  My kids go to school here.  My husband runs a business here.  I could have moved to Los Angeles, but I’m stubborn, and if there’s any way to keep working here, then I’m going to go after it, but I can’t do it alone.  The Film Incentive Program has to be here, or we will get passed up by production companies who can go to Canada or Portland, where there are robust incentives.  We have to be competitive with them.  If the incentive goes away, then so does the likelihood of me being able to sustain a career here, and I would have to explore other options, including a move to L.A., and I know I’m not the only actor in that position. 

Faces of Film: Rebecca Cook

June 1st, 2017 Posted by blog, Faces of Film 0 comments on “Faces of Film: Rebecca Cook”

Name: Rebecca Cook

City: Spokane

Describe your work: Professionally, I worked in wardrobe for 8 years and am starting my third year as an assistant accountant on Z Nation. I’m also an actress, a voice over (VO) actor, and I direct and produce short films. I also teach VO and basic film classes. I am an Executive Board Member of IATSE Local 488, a board member of Spokane Film Project, and am the Spokane Community Coordinator for WA Filmworks.

How long have you been in this industry? I’ve been working in film for 11 years (theatre for 20 years).

Why is Washington State a great place to film?

Washington State is a great place to film because of our talented crew base, our diverse (untapped) locations, our film friendly city policies, our four seasons, and our film incentive! I also like that I can live at home and do my work, instead of having to go on location across the country.

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

My favorite part of the film industry is the people. We work in close, intense conditions, and in Spokane we get to work with the same crew frequently, so it feels like family. I also have to admit that I will forever be drawn to the magic of bringing stories to life. It’s so invigorating to get a script and envision how to bring it all to life! I love the problem solving that happens on set when you’re in a pinch.

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

The incentive is the reason I have a career in film. Before the incentive, I was working multiple jobs in theatre and VO and anything else I could find so I could have meaningful work in my career field, but since the incentive was born, I’ve been able to have full time work with benefits. I bought a house and paid off a car. It’s also brought quality filmmakers to the area, so I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from some pretty amazing pros over the years. I’ve grown so much as an artist by working alongside experienced and innovative filmmakers.

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

Financially, I own a home. My car is paid off. I have health insurance and a pension. I’m able to fund some of my own projects because I make a good living wage. I’m also able to spend time between projects teaching classes, speaking to high school and college students, and nurturing less experienced filmmakers in our community.

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

I want legislators to know how vital this program is to our community. It brings in revenue and jobs in unique and diverse ways. It brings out some of the great undiscovered talents of our people. It gives people a special kind of pride to see our city or state on a screen – whether big or little. It’s more than just the big bucks it generates, it’s also a source of our civic pride. 

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

If this program goes away, then I have two options – change the career path I’ve carved out or move. I have no interest in doing either one, but when we lost the incentive for a year previously, I didn’t have work for a year and a half. I simply could not afford to go through that again and I am certainly not alone.