When TV and film productions come to town, job openings come too! Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by AM Northwest on Wednesday, June 10, 2015, to fill us in on what’s going on now, and possible job opportunities too!
The Casting Scoop
Calling all Oregon cast and crew! Want more film and TV jobs right here at home?
Efforts are underway in Salem to expand our incentive program (“Oregon Production Incentive Fund”), which will mean more clean, green, high-tech, creative jobs in our state.
But the session is coming to a close in the coming days, and there’s no guarantee our bills will pass.
We want legislators to vote in favor of raising the cap on our highly successful program, but they’ll only do so if they hear from YOU, the constituents!
The clock is ticking! Please take these three steps right now.
1. Write to your state legislators!
- Find your State Representative and Senator here. (Mobile version here.)
- Email or snail mail them a note in your own words, using the template below as a guide.
- Make sure to tell them you are a constituent!
- Use a tone that assumes support and is not adversarial. Avoid language like “no brainer” or “why aren’t you supporting…”
- Always be thankful and gracious; positivity is our best approach!
Dear (Representative/Senator _______________),
My name is _________ and I’m a voter in your district. I’m writing you today in support of the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF), otherwise known as the Film and Television Incentive. Important enhancements to this program are included in SB872 and HB2093, both of which are currently in the Joint Committee on Tax Credits.
(WRITE A FEW SENTENCES HERE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO, HOW THE INCENTIVE PROGRAM HAS BENEFITED YOU, AND HOW IT HAS HELPED GROW OUR INDUSTRY.)
OPIF is the only jobs-creating program the 2015 Legislature will see. Please support the creation of more jobs in our growing industry by doing whatever you can to pass HB2093, with as generous a funding increase as possible.
Thank you for your time and your service to Oregon.
(ADDRESS IN DISTRICT)
2. Help us spread our hashtag campaign!
Please share the following message on Facebook, Twitter and other social media:
“I am a (what you do) from (where you live) & my career depends on Oregon’s film incentive fund. Support HB2093 #OPIFMeansJobs http://tinyurl.com/OPIF15″
Example: I am a grip from Salem & my career depends on the Oregon’s film incentive fund. Support HB2093 #OPIFMeansJobs http://tinyurl.com/OPIF15
3. Tell your friends, family and co-workers to do the same!
Share, share, share! Time is of essence. This year’s legislative session comes to a close in the coming days, so it’s make-or-break time for our bills.
Even a modest increase in OPIF could mean another TV series like Grimm or Portlandia, another movie like Wild, as well as several indie film projects. And that means jobs, jobs, jobs for Oregonians like you.
Film industry and theatre peeps, this could be right up your alley!
Are you creative? Good with tools? Magic Wheelchair is seeking local Portlanders who would be interested in helping to build amazing costumes for kids who use wheelchairs.
Drew Grabham, father to Wren Grabham, whom we cast in Grimm (Season 3, Episode 9, “Red Menace”), writes to us that non-profit Magic Wheelchair is seeking volunteer builders.
About Magic Wheelchair:
Three families in the Portland area (all with kids who have Spinal Muscular Atrophy and use power chairs) started the non-profit. Magic Wheelchair’s mission is to make epic Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs, at no expense to their families, and assisted by technical support from a board member who is also a co-founder of the Stan Winston School for Character Arts. Ryan Weimer (local dad and board president) has been building elaborate costumes for his kids for several years and would now like to spread the joy to others. Magic Wheelchair wants to connect artists with kids to help them both express their talents through costume. You can also find Magic Wheelchair on Facebook.
Once again, the Oregon film and television industry is seeking support from the state legislature to increase the incentive program. Even with continued success after the previous increase two years ago, the state continues to turn away potential productions due to the lack of available incentives.
Supporters of the bills claim that out-of-state productions bring good-paying jobs, and revenue to Oregon, which trickles down to vendors, hotels, restaurants and other local businesses.
“What’s new this year is that we’ve brought video games into the fold,” says Lana Veenker, Portland-based casting director and president of Cast Iron Studios. “In addition to film and television, we’re incorporating other kinds of media, because it’s been shown that these tax credits are working and are helping to bring jobs to Oregon.”
As proof, Veenker says, “My company just had its busiest year in my 15 years in business in Oregon, and that was directly due to the last increase” in the incentives cap.
She estimates that if the cap is raised from $10 million to $14 million or $20 million, several more projects could shoot on location in Oregon.
“It might be enough to support another TV series or a movie like ‘Wild.’ That’s very doable for our market. People are eager to work.”
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