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Monday, April 3, 2017

‘Grimm’ may be ending, but its impact on Portland remains

by Georgia Luke

Many are mourning the ending of Grimm, which aired its final episode, “The End,” on Friday, March 31st.

Kristi Turnquist of The Oregonian talked to the cast, as well as other players in the Oregon film industry–including our own Lana Veenker–about the impact that Grimm had on Portland. According to Kristi:

[S]aying goodbye to “Grimm” isn’t just a sentimental farewell to a TV favorite. For Portland viewers, it’s the end of a show that made a significant impact on the city, from showcasing Oregon scenery to bringing jobs and money into the local economy.

[…]

Lana Veenker […] estimates that close to 1,000 individual Northwest actors were cast on “Grimm” in principal roles, and that nearly 200 of them appeared in multiple episodes, such as Danny Bruno, who played Bud, the beaver-like Eisbiber Wesen.

“Not only did ‘Grimm’ provide a lot of work for local actors,” Veenker says, “but it also helped raise the bar on the level of talent here.”

Veenker agrees that, thanks to “Grimm,” more people know about Portland, and not just as the hipster enclave satirized in “Portlandia.”

“I remember, going back to Season 1 of ‘Grimm,’ the producers telling us that in Los Angeles, they kept asking, ‘When you’re shooting in the forest up there, how do you get that color of green on the trees?’ They thought it was lighting, or special effects.”

Link to full article.

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A grim future for Portland’s film industry?

by admin

Don’t let the Portland Business Tribune‘s headline scare you!*

While we might not see another Grimm for a while, there are lots of productions coming down the pike in Oregon, from cable series (including The Librarians Season 4), to projects for newer digital platforms (think Hulu, YouTube Red, Amazon and the like), to independent features and commercials.

That’s not even counting the magic happening over at LAIKA and other animation companies, our thriving video game production scene, nor the forays into virtual reality and augmented reality, all taking place right here in Oregon.

In all, we’d say that in terms of the entertainment industry, the future is bright for Portland and the whole state!

*We just had to be a little coy at the Portland Business Alliance breakfast, as many of the projects hadn’t been announced yet. Stay tuned!

A grim future for Portland’s film industry?

‘The Librarians’ will soon be the only series being filmed in Portland.

A mystery worthy of Grimm hung over a discussion of the Oregon film and video industry last Wednesday morning.

To be solved, what is the next major TV series to be shot in Portland after the popular supernatural thriller on NBC wraps up its sixth and final season this year?

Lobbyist Janice Shokrian, executive director of the Oregon Media Production Association, said she has some clues but is sworn to secrecy. Although Shokrian said some new shows are in the works, the next Portland-based one might not be a conventional seasonal network show like Grimm or Portlandia, the cult comedy nearing the end of its run on IFC.

“Traditional series are not something that many companies want to invest in anymore,” said Shokrian, explaining that one-time and short-run series on such subscription-based media platforms as Hulu and YouTube Red are becoming more and more popular.

The question of what follows Grimm and Portlandia in Portland is not merely one about entertainment options. As the Portland Business Alliance learned at its monthly breakfast forum, such productions pump millions of dollars into the state, regional and local economies every year. Film and TV production companies have spent over $350 million on wages, supplies and services in Oregon over the past year and a half, said Shokrian, whose organization was formed in 1982 to advocate for more such productions in the state.

Link to full article.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oregon Film Industry in the News

by Georgia Luke

Lana Veenker and Oregon Film Commissioner Tim Williams recently sat down with Mary Loos from KATU to talk about Oregon’s growing film industry. Grimm and Portlandia have ended, but their success, along with Oregon’s reputation and film incentive, make the possibility of higher quality productions in the future probable.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lana Returns to AM Northwest with a Film & TV Update

by Georgia Luke

Thanks to TV shows like “The Librarians” and “Portlandia,” show business is booming in Oregon. Casting Director Lana Veenker stopped by AM Northwest on March 30th to talk to Helen Raptis about what types of productions could be coming to the state soon.

Link to original post

 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

KATU on the Success of Our Film Incentive Program!

by Georgia Luke

Anna Canzano of KATU caught up with Lana Veenker on Oscar night to discuss the Oregon Production Incentive Fund and how it has brought many great projects to Oregon!

‘Our film incentive program has brought a lot of TV series & movies to Oregon’

Did you know more than 400 films and television projects have been shot in Oregon? The state’s history in motion pictures dates back to silent films. The film Carol by director Todd Haynes of Oregon was nominated for six Oscars on Sunday evening.

But most days of the week in Portland, hopeful actors audition for parts in films and commercials. Cast Iron Studios, founded by casting director Lana Veenker, has cast parts for every major production that’s come through town including Grimm, Leverage, and The Librarians.*

“I think the perception of Oregon has really changed over the past seven to eight years, since we started implementing our film incentive program, which has brought a lot of TV series and movies to Oregon. And that has put us on the map,” said Veenker.

She joined Grimm actor Danny Bruno in Salem earlier this month. They went to the State Capitol, along with other members of the industry, to lobby lawmakers. They want the Legislature to expand Oregon’s film incentive program. That’s tax money used to bring productions to the state, essentially a rebate on their cost of doing business here.

Full Story and Video

* The video erroneously mentions that Cast Iron Studios does the casting for Portlandia. KATU regrets the error.

 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More Good Day Oregon: Our Film Bill Passes!

by Georgia Luke

Stephanie Kralevich of More Good Day Oregon recently covered the passage of SB 1507, which included an increase to the Oregon Production Investment Fund! Many thanks to all the legislators who voted in favor of this jobs-creating bill, and to all the volunteers who helped make it happen.

Link to original post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Lana talks to AM Northwest about Oregon film & video

by admin

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!

Link to original post.

Friday, June 5, 2015

TAKE ACTION: It’s Crunch Time for Oregon’s Film Incentives!

by admin

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.

Oregon State Capitol

1. Write to your state legislators!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 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.

Sincerely,

(NAME)
(EMAIL)
(PHONE)
(ADDRESS IN DISTRICT)

Even LAIKA’s “The Boxtrolls” lobby in Salem for OPIF.

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

Legislators will be voting soon on the state budget. Tell them you want an expanded OPIF to be a part of it.

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.

Now, GO!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Filmed in Oregon: The stiff competition for Hollywood’s business

by ranielle

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.17.49 PMOnce 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.”

Read the full article.

Friday, September 26, 2014

PBJ: Tax credits and the advantage of being in Oregon

by admin

Erik Siemers of the Portland Business Journal, who recently interviewed Lana on Oregon’s film tax incentive program, now speaks to Travis Knight of LAIKA to get his take.

Over the last few months, I’ve interviewed several people connected to Portland’s film industry who said — appropriately, as if from a script — that the state must expand or lift its cap on production tax credits in order for the industry here to grow.

The Oregon Production Investment Fund offers film productions a 20 percent tax credit on all goods and services purchased in the state and 10 percent tax credit on labor costs. But it’s capped at $10 million in credits per year. Between recurring series’ like “Portlandia,” “Grimm” and “The Librarians,” the fund is tapped pretty quickly.

“Grimm” casting director Lana Veenker and “Librarians” producer Dean Devlin have each told me this year why it’s a no-brainer to expand the program. Veenker said the state has lost productions written specifically for Portland because of the cap. Devlin told me he’d “be the first guy to break ground and build a studio if that limit ever got raised.”

When I had the chance to sit down with Travis Knight, CEO of Hillsboro-based stop-motion animation studio Laika Inc., I wanted to ask the same thing.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 8.56.05 AM

Link to full article.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oregon Film & Video Update on KATU’s AM Northwest

by admin

Lana dropped by the KATU studios this morning to give Dave Anderson and Helen Raptis an update on all the film and television activity in Oregon in recent months.

From the new TNT series “The Librarians” to the early Oscar buzz on “Wild” (the new film based on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir), business is booming!

Hear all about it:

http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/Oregon-Film–Video-Update-273790971.html

Monday, April 28, 2014

PBJ Interview: Casting Director Lana Veenker on Tax Credits, Actors and Being Starstruck

by admin

Check out Erik Siemers’s April 25th interview with Lana Veenker for the Portland Business Journal. See also PBJ’s recent blog post on our development division.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oregon Actors: We Still Need Your Help!

by admin

Our Industry Day at the State Capitol on May 2nd was a huge success, but we still need to keep film and video in the forefront of the legislators’ minds. They are being bombarded with a lot of different interests, and we don’t want to be left out when they finalize the state budget.

So, if you’re an actor in Oregon, if you want to double the amount of film and TV productions shooting in our state, and if you haven’t done this already, we need your help right now. Get out those headshots and resumes and a Sharpie!

Please follow the instructions below and share this page with all the Oregon actors you know.

This is in support of our efforts to expand OPIF, the Oregon Production Incentive Fund, which is responsible for the huge increase in production in Oregon over the past few years. If our bill passes (HB2267), the fund will DOUBLE, meaning twice as much work for all of us. Time is of essence.

Industry Day at the State Capitol, May 2nd, 2013
Industry Day at the State Capitol, May 2nd, 2013

1. Get out TWO headshots and resumes and TWO manila envelopes.

2. Address one of the envelopes to:

Senator Richard Devlin
900 Court St. NE, S-211
Salem, OR 97301

3. Address the other to:

Representative Peter Buckley
900 Court St. NE, H-272
Salem, OR 97301

4. Make sure each of your headshots is stapled back-to-back to your resume.

5. Hand write a truthful personal note about how you have benefited from film & TV production in Oregon.

Write on the resumes themselves or on sticky notes attached to the resumes.

Examples:

  • “Thanks to Grimm, I got braces for my kid. Please support HB2267.”
  • “I’m still receiving residual checks from Twilight. Please support HB2267 and expand our incentive program.”
  • “I haven’t had to move to Hollywood, thanks to Oregon’s film incentive program. Please support HB2267.”
  • “I want to work more in my home state. Please support HB2267 and expand OPIF.”
  • “2012 was Oregon’s busiest year yet for film & TV production. Let’s keep building this clean, green, creative, high-tech industry.”
  • “Look at all the credits on my resume from projects that shot in Oregon! Help build the momentum and expand OPIF. Support HB2267.”

 

OPIF Resume

IMPORTANT: IF YOU LIVE OR WORK IN THE DISTRICTS OF SENATOR DEVLIN (Tualatin and surrounding areas) OR REPRESENTATIVE BUCKLEY (Ashland and surrounding areas), PLEASE SAY SO ON THE APPROPRIATE NOTE.

Devlin’s District Map:

Devlin Map

Buckley’s District Map:

Buckley Map

6. Put one headshot/resume in each envelope.

7. Put $1.12 in postage on each envelope and MAIL THEM NOW.

Senator Devlin and Representative Buckley are co-chairs of the Oregon Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee. Their support of the expansion is critical. We want to bombard their offices with hundreds of headshots and resumes, so that they can see how strong the support is for HB2267.

8. Share this blog post with all of the Oregon actors you know, via social media, email and word of mouth.

Click the share button, copy and paste the URL, or get on the phone now.

PS: If you’re not an actor, but you work in the Oregon film & television industry, you can mail your production resume and a personal note to Devlin and Buckley. Be sure to mention if your home or business are in their districts.

9. Remain in close touch with your state legislators

A few ideas from OMPA to help keep the momentum going from Industry Day:

  • Mail or email a letter in support of HB 2267 to your legislator (a sample letter is posted on the OMPA website). You can find your Oregon legislators’ contact info here
  • If you met with your legislators (or their aides) on May 2nd, please send them a thank-you note and remind them what film and video means to your livelihood
  • Sign up for your state legislator’s email list (some have an opt-in form on their legislative home page; others you can request to join by emailing them directly)
  • Attend your legislator’s Town Hall meeting in your district (check the press releases on the Oregon Legislature website or click News on your legislator’s homepage)
  • Keep the message positive and consider the amount of budget juggling the 90 legislators need to do
  • Any time you make a new interaction with your legislator, let the OMPA know by sending an email to info@ompa.org

Reminder: We want you to contact your STATE legislators about this issue, not your US senator and congressperson!

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. Together we can blow the lid off of Oregon production, creating more jobs for all.

Let’s do this!

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Oregon Actors: Urgent Call to Action

by admin

If you’re an actor in Oregon and you want more film and TV productions to shoot in our state, we need your help right now, so get out those headshots and resumes and a Sharpie!

Please follow the instructions below and share this with all the Oregon actors you know.

This is in support of our efforts to expand OPIF, the Oregon Production Incentive Fund, which is responsible for the huge increase in production in Oregon over the past few years. If our bill passes (HB2267), the fund will DOUBLE, meaning twice as much work for all of us. Time is of essence.

1. First, go to http://ompa.org/events and RSVP for our Industry Day on Thursday, May 2nd at the State Capitol.

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 1.42.44 PM

This is the crux of our campaign to increase Oregon’s film incentive program and we need a HUGE turnout to demonstrate to legislators how badly we want it.

Clear your schedule and plan to stay the whole day, if you possibly can. If not, at least plan to be on the steps of the Capitol Building in Salem on May 2nd from 12:45-1:45 pm for our rally and photo op. We need the crowd to be MASSIVE.  Be there and bring friends, but be sure to RSVP first.

2. Get out TWO headshots and resumes and TWO manila envelopes.

3. Address one of the envelopes to:

Senator Richard Devlin
900 Court St. NE, S-211
Salem, OR 97301

4. Address the other to:

Representative Peter Buckley
900 Court St. NE, H-272
Salem, OR 97301

5. Make sure each of your headshots is stapled back-to-back to your resume.

6. Hand write a truthful personal note about how you have benefited from film & TV production in Oregon.

Write on the resumes themselves or on sticky notes attached to the resumes.

Examples:

  • “Thanks to Grimm, I got braces for my kid. Please support HB2267.”
  • “I’m still receiving residual checks from Twilight. Please support HB2267 and expand our incentive program.”
  • “I haven’t had to move to Hollywood, thanks to Oregon’s film incentive program. Please support HB2267.”
  • “I want to work more in my home state. Please support HB2267 and expand OPIF.”
  • “2012 was Oregon’s busiest year yet for film & TV production. Let’s keep building this clean, green, creative, high-tech industry.”
  • “Look at all the credits on my resume from projects that shot in Oregon! Help build the momentum and expand OPIF. Support HB2267.”

 

OPIF Resume

IMPORTANT: IF YOU LIVE OR WORK IN THE DISTRICTS OF SENATOR DEVLIN (Tualatin and surrounding areas) OR REPRESENTATIVE BUCKLEY (Ashland and surrounding areas), PLEASE SAY SO ON THE APPROPRIATE NOTE.

Devlin’s District Map:

Devlin Map

Buckley’s District Map:

Buckley Map

7. Put one headshot/resume in each envelope.

8. Put $1.12 in postage on each envelope and MAIL THEM NOW.

Senator Devlin and Representative Buckley are co-chairs of the Oregon Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee. Their support of the expansion is critical. We want to bombard their offices with hundreds of headshots and resumes prior to Industry Day on May 2nd.

9. Share this blog post with all of the Oregon actors you know, via social media, email and word of mouth.

Click the share button, copy and paste the URL, or get on the phone now.

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP. Together we can blow the lid off of Oregon production, creating more jobs for all.

PS: If you’re not an actor, but you work in the Oregon film & television industry, you can mail letters to the same effect to Devlin and Buckley. Include your production resume and a personal note. Be sure to mention if your home or business are in their districts.

Let’s do this!

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

KINK FM on Oregon film & our workshops for kids

by admin

Tune into Sheila Hamilton‘s March 26th interview with Casting Director Lana Veenker on 101.9 KINK FM about Oregon’s film and TV industry, its film production incentive program, and Cast Iron Studios upcoming workshops for kids and parents:

To register for our “Acting Like a Pro” workshops featuring LA Kids’ Casting Director Christine Scowley, click here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Should L.A. actors hit the Oregon Trail? Backstage asks Lana Veenker about state film tax credits

by admin

Sean J. Miller of Backstage recently asked Casting Director Lana Veenker to comment on Governor Kitzhaber’s proposed increase to the Oregon Production Incentive Fund and the implications for actors living in Los Angeles. His big question: Is it worthwhile for them to move to a burgeoning regional market instead of slogging it in Hollywood?

Certainly, there’s less competition in Oregon in terms of numbers, but our clients still hold us to the same standards when it comes to quality. Therefore, very strong actors with a slew of lead and guest star credits may find it easy to book whatever they go out for up here (particularly actors of diversity, as there’s a dearth of them in the Northwest), while the less experienced will still face significant competition…albeit with fewer traffic and parking headaches.


State Tax Credit Programs Give Actors Tough Choices
By Sean J. Miller | Posted Jan. 24, 2013, 7:58 p.m.
Backstage.com

The tug of war between California and states with lucrative tax incentive programs—which are designed to lure productions away from Hollywood and into new territories—shows no signs of abating, with new players still emerging to challenge for a piece of the entertainment industry.

In the last few years, tax credit programs have been the favored tool for new production centers to grow and bring Hollywood to their hometowns. New York, for instance, has one of the richest incentive programs in the country, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week proposed extending the Empire State’s $420-million annual tax credit program for five more years in his new budget.

Other states are following suit. In North Carolina, which has recently played host to features such as the “Hunger Games” and series including Showtime’s “Homeland,” lawmakers are pushing to eliminate the Jan. 2015 “sunset clause” on the state’s film production tax credits in order to make them permanent.

And in California’s northern backyard, Oregon is looking at doubling its modest tax credit program to $12 million. That money, combined with the state’s accessible location and talented crews, could lead to a serious jump in the number of productions calling Oregon home.

“I think this is going to be our busiest year yet as long as the budget [with the incentive increase] goes through,” said Lana Veenker, president of Portland-based Cast Iron Studios.

And that presents Los Angeles-based actors with an important question: Is it worthwhile to move to a burgeoning regional market instead?

Veenker, a casting director who relocated to Portland after launching her career in London, says yes, albeit with a caveat.

“It depends on the actor,” Veenker, who casts NBC’s “Grimm” and worked on TNT’s “Leverage,” told Backstage. “There are some categories that we’re slim in. Specifically diversity is very tough in the Northwest.” She noted that strong Asian, Latino, and African-American performers can be especially hard to find. “We’re on the hunt and it’s not easy,” she said.

Veenker typically casts co-star or guest-star roles for the series she works on. For “Leverage,” the producers only flew up an average of one to two actors per episode over four seasons. “Grimm,” meanwhile, budgets for three L.A. actors per episode. “We are sometimes casting up to 20 speaking parts locally,” she said, so there are opportunities for the journeyman performer in a regional market like Portland.

Actors with stunt experience are also prized in regional markets.

“Strong actors who can do stunts, and strong stunt performers who are strong actors, it’s hard to find both,” Veenker said.

Portland’s popularity has grown recently as series such as IFC’s “Portlandia,” which is shot there, have parodied the local arts scene. But the city’s counterculture can also work in actors’ favor.

“In a place like Oregon and maybe Portland specifically, the independent film scene is through the roof,” Veenker said. “I’ve seen actors produce, direct, and act in their own projects and go on and be successful at film festivals.”

Still, reversing the well-trodden regional-market-to-Hollywood path isn’t a good idea unless a performer’s credits make them stand out.

“I wouldn’t say every actor who’s struggling in L.A. is going to make it in Portland,” said Veenker. “Every market has its fair share of mediocre actors. We don’t need more.”

Link to original article.