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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

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We all have jobs because of Oregon’s film incentives!

by admin

Check out this great video from the set of Leverage to see the broad range of people that a TV series or film employs on a day-to-day basis. People from all walks of life, from chefs and electricians to accountants, drivers and make-up artists.

We all have our jobs, because Oregon’s successful film incentive program helps to attract productions like Leverage to our state.

Whereas the rest of the economy is flagging, 2011 is projected to be the busiest year ever for Oregon film, creating clean, green, high-paying jobs in all sectors, all across our state.

Let’s keep the momentum going and continue to fund OPIF (Oregon Film Investment Fund) at the levels needed to meet this increased demand!

We have a proven track record, and more productions banging on our doors than current incentive levels can accommodate, so we need our legislators to fully fund OPIF.

Say yes to JOBS!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NBC picks "Grimm" pilot filmed in Portland for series

by admin

KGW’s Joe Smith spoke to Vince Porter from the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, Mayor Sam Adams, Doug Boss, owner of Pacific Grip and Lighting, and Lana Veenker about the new NBC series “Grimm” that the Film Office has confirmed will begin shooting in Portland in July.

NBC picks ‘Grimm’ pilot filmed in Portland for series
by Joe Smith
KGW News Channel 8
May 24, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. — Once upon a time in a place not too far away, the producers of a new NBC show chose the Rose City to bring its production. It’s not a fairy tale, but a true story.

The show “Grimm” is a cop drama based on the Grimm fairy tales. It’s also is a showcase for Oregon’s growing film industry, with hundreds of jobs in the starring role.

Producers spent weeks in Portland filming the pilot for the show, then waited. Would the network like it? They did.

The next question: Where would the series itself be filmed?

“NBC let us know they’re committed,” said Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Oregon Film & TV.

Porter says the network’s decision to film the series in Portland is having a ripple effect though Oregon’s film community.

“To have a big broadcast show that’s set in Portland is a real step up for us.”

But, as much as the producers love Portland, they also love the tax credits Oregon is offering. A percentage in cash rebates goes to the production company for spending at least $750,000 in Oregon on wages and service. That’s an easy reach for Grimm.

“It can really tip over $2 million an episode,” said Porter.

There are also other incentives: no sales tax, and built-in crews and services, from cameras, to lights to action with northwest actors.

“The minute Grimm starts up they’re going to hire 150 people and by July there will be 250,” says Lana Veenker, a local casting director who cast eight local actors for the pilot.

Link to full article and video.

 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood

by admin

Thanks once again to Bonnie Gillespie for featuring Portland in her column The Actors Voice – POV for Showfax.com.

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood
Lana Veenker’s POV: Portland Casting
The Actors’ Voice – POV
May 1, 2011

This fantastic contribution from Portland casting director Lana Veenker is not one meant to warm the hearts of Los Angeles-based actors, hoping production is headed back to Hollywood. It’s a column about how local talent has stepped up its collective game to attract–and retain–major productions in the past few years. “Come for the tax breaks; stay for the talent,” could be the new minor-market motto, you might say.

Cultivating a World-Class Talent Pool 1000 Miles from Hollywood

In November 2008, I found myself in the Los Angeles offices of Electric Entertainment, meeting with the executive producers of TNT’s Leverage. They were considering moving their entire production to Oregon, but they had one big concern:

Was the local talent pool deep enough to fill the needs of their show, episode after episode, season after season?

Sure, my Portland-based company had provided casting on some big movies (including Twilight, Extraordinary Measures, and Feast of Love, to name a few) and some smaller ones (such as Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park), but it had been at least 15 years since a television series had set foot in the state.

Film and television production had just begun hitting its stride in Oregon when British Columbia implemented its film incentive program in the 1990s. This move–combined with a favorable exchange rate on the Canadian dollar–all but killed the momentum in the Northwest. Hollywood began to look past the forests, mountains, and lakes of Oregon, to the forests, mountains, and lakes of Vancouver BC and surrounding areas.

Many Northwest actors and crew who had been earning a decent living in their hometowns were suddenly faced with the decision to either uproot their families and move to Los Angeles (where there was still work to be found), or leave the industry altogether.

The creation of film tax incentives in Oregon in 2003–along with a more equitable exchange rate–has brought many of the jobs back to the Northwest, and we’ve been rebuilding our industry ever since. So when executive producer Dean Devlin threw down the gauntlet that November afternoon, I told him (a tad boldly, in retrospect): “Absolutely. We have enough actors to cast that for you in Oregon. No problem.”

Based in part on that assertion, Leverage announced a few months later that it was coming to Oregon.

Panic set in.

I knew what this meant to our film office, to the hundreds of crewmembers counting on these jobs, to Northwest actors searching for a reason to stay here, and to my own bottom line. I understood the financial commitment that Electric Entertainment was making–and the damage my career would sustain–if I failed to live up to my word.

I thought we had a strong enough base of actors to meet the demands of the show, but I had no idea whether or not our talent pool would truly meet their expectations, nor for how long.

My office organized a “town hall” meeting, which was attended by hundreds of Northwest actors. This time, it was my turn to throw down the gauntlet. An entire production company was moving its TV show to Portland, partly on my word. To prepare for it, I told actors, we were expanding our offices and staff, and upgrading to a new online casting system.

Now, I needed them to deliver the goods.

We challenged our talent pool to do everything in their power to up their game, whether that meant getting new headshots, assembling more professional demo reels, improving their online presence (website, IMDb, etc.), or recommitting themselves to ongoing training. I knew we had a number of actors who could compete in any market, but I was concerned that we might use them all up in our first season. I needed the next generation to step up and meet the challenge. And man, have they done so!

I can’t keep up with the number of weekly industry nights, script readings, and screening events going on in Portland, much less the countless independent films and webseries shooting around town. Our top acting coaches’ classes are filled to capacity, workshops are selling out, and it seems like every actor I encounter is in a show, penning a script, producing a short film or feature, volunteering as a reader in casting sessions, or simply focused wholeheartedly on training.

Talent agency rosters are filling out with new actors we never knew about before, and highly professional on-camera talent are hoofing it from as far away as Bend, Eugene, Ashland, and Medford to attend our casting sessions in Portland, never complaining about the commute. In my 11 years of casting in Oregon, I’ve never seen actors this motivated. And their determination is paying off.

Homegrown filmmaker James Westby–whose film Rid of Me features a cast made up almost entirely of Northwest actors–has captured the attention of the prestigious TriBeCa Film Festival (his previous made-in-Oregon feature, The Auteur, was hailed by TriBeCa organizers as “the funniest film in the festival”).

We are now in our third season of casting on Leverage, with over 38 episodes under our belts. Its producers and directors are still as thrilled as they were their first year in town, when they realized that–although they had budgeted to fly up four or five actors per episode from LA–the average (not including name actors hired to satisfy the network) was closer to one per episode. At times, none are flown in at all, local actors having snagged all the guest star and co-star roles themselves.

Since then, other pilots, films, and series have hit the Oregon Trail:

    • Meek’s Cutoff starring Michelle Williams, Restless by Gus Van Sant, and Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford, all filmed in Oregon in 2009.

 

  • The IFC series Portlandia (starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein) shot six episodes in Portland last year, and just got picked up for another ten.

 

 

  • TNT has increased its order for Leverage from 15 episodes in season two, to 16 in season three, to 18 this year.

 

 

  • NBC chose Oregon for its made-for-TV-movie A Walk in My Shoes in 2010, while Brain Trust (the TBS pilot we cast in December) may go to series this fall.

 

 

  • 2011 is projected to be the busiest year for film and video production in the state’s history. So far this year, in addition to the first few episodes of Leverage season four, we have cast Grimm for NBC (the highly anticipated pilot by the producers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), and Gone, a Lakeshore Entertainment thriller starring Amanda Seyfried.

 

If Leverage and Portlandia continue to be successful, and Grimm and Brain Trust both get picked up, we will have four television series shooting concurrently in and around Portland.

I’ve heard the rumblings of more Hollywood films joining this wagon train in months to come, and local actors continue to lend their talents to dozens of indie projects, plays, commercials, industrials, infomercials, and voiceover gigs. In fact, more and more Northwest actors are now piecing together a fulltime living from their acting endeavors. This would have been almost unheard of just a few years back.

There’s never been a better time to be an actor in Oregon, and our actors have never impressed me as much as they have of late. Sean Hayes–one of the producers of Grimm–raved about the quality of our talent base after we had completed casting on the pilot. Gone producer André Lamal and director Heitor Dhalia did the same after our first round of callbacks. Leverage directors keep asking, “Where are you finding these people?!? How come we haven’t run out yet?”

Is there an endless pool of actors in the Northwest? Of course not. Are there categories in which I wish we had more options? Umm, yes. (Hint: if you’re a strong, non-Caucasian actor of any type–especially over 30–or a strong actor who fits the thug/bad guy or cop/security guard type, now might be a good time to hitch up your wagon and head west… or north, as the case may be). But what our actors, coaches, acting schools, independent producers, and directors have managed to accomplish over the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable:

They have created an environment that supports and cultivates a world-class talent pool a thousand miles from Los Angeles, and three thousand miles from New York City.

As long as we keep endeavoring to raise the bar professionally–each generation of artists helping to groom and inspire the next–the momentum will continue and the pool will be replenished. In fact, I’ve already made it a habit to tell producers: “Give us a shot at the lead roles. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

—–

Kudos to you, Lana, and to all the local talent keeping so many major productions so well cast and well acted! Let’s hope all actors with the opportunity to work under local hire status in other markets see this as a great time to take advantage of all the great stuff going on. Congratulations, Portland, on getting better and better! Very exciting!

About Lana Veenker

Lana Veenker began her career in London as a casting assistant on international co-productions for major studios and networks. When the Portland native returned to her roots in 1999, she launched what is now the Northwest’s most successful casting company, helping to raise the bar on what producers can expect from a regional talent pool. She is a member of the Casting Society of America and the International Casting Directors Network.

 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oregon Filmmakers Testify before Joint Tax Credit Committee on HB 2167

by admin

In case you missed this the other day, Oregon filmmakers visited the State Capitol in Salem last week to testify before the Joint Tax Credit Committee on HB 2167, the bill that would extend and expand our state film incentive program.

Committee members later said that this hearing was a model for how legislative hearings should go, as Oregon film industry members painted a very clear picture of the value of our incentive program from every possible angle.

Legislators first heard testimony from Dean Devlin, Executive Producer of TNT’s Leverage, Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, Steve Oster, Producer of the NBC pilot Grimm and former Executive Director of the Film Office.

They were followed by producers, crew members and vendors from around the state, a talent agent and casting director (moi!), and two representatives from educational institutions offering Film Studies programs.

As Co-Chair Berger summed it up: “This has been a real revelation of an industry that some of us, we only see what’s up in front, we don’t see all the things that are going on behind. Fascinating.”

You can listen to the audio of the hearing here:

RealPlayer required (free download here).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oregon Lawmakers Advance Film Subsidy Extension

by admin

Lana spoke with AP journalist Jonathan Cooper after testifying at Friday’s hearing on HB 2167 in Salem.

Oregon Lawmakers Advance Film Subsidy Extension
Oregon House committee votes to extend incentives for film, television production
The Associated Press
By Jonathan J. Cooper
April 1, 2011

SALEM, Ore. A state House committee on Friday advanced a plan to extend tax incentives credited with luring Hollywood producers to Oregon.

The tax credits will expire Jan. 1 unless lawmakers vote to extend them. The Transportation and Economic Development Committee voted 6-9 to support an extension and sent the bill to a joint tax-credit review committee, which will iron out key details including how much the program will cost.

The 8-year-old Oregon Production Investment Fund reimburses film and television producers for up to 10 percent of wages and benefits for Oregon-based workers, and 20 percent of other expenses incurred in Oregon.

Money in the fund comes largely from donations from individuals and corporations, who get a tax credit to offset their gift, plus an additional 5 percent to 11 percent.

For donors to the fund, HB 2167 would extend the tax credits through 2017. Proponents initially proposed increasing the total available funding from $7.5 million per year to $20 million per year, but the committee on Friday stripped the maximum cost from the bill for a future decision.

Supporters say the film subsidies create jobs on film crews and draw Hollywood visitors to local hotels and restaurants.

“This is going to be the biggest year ever for Oregon film, and it’s 100 percent thanks to the film incentives,” said Lana Veenker, a Portland casting firm owner who has done work for TNT drama “Leverage” and the NBC pilot “Grimm,” among other productions.

Link to full article.

 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Show business is ‘on a roll’ in Oregon

by admin

Ken Boddie talks to Vince Porter, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, and Lana Veenker, about the state of the film industry in Oregon.

Show business is ‘on a roll’ in Oregon
KOIN 6 News
March 1, 2011
by Ken Boddie

Portlandia.

Leverage.

Twilight.

They’re just three of the television and film productions made right here in Oregon; and there’s more where that came from.

Film and television in Oregon is headed for a record year in 2011. A major network, NBC Universal, is committed to shooting a pilot in Oregon based on the Grimm’s fairy tales, and several more projects are coming that could put hundreds of Oregonians to work.

Leverage is into its third year–they just started shooting this week up on Mount Hood,” said Vince Porter, director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television.

Portlandia caught the imagination of enough people that they’re coming back for a second season this summer,” said Porter.

“We can say that 2011 will be the biggest year we’ve ever had in the state.”

At any given time there are about 13,000 Oregonians working in the film and television industry.

Since 2007, producers have spent about $178 million in Oregon, with an overall economic impact of $350 million.

Those numbers are expected to grow to $275 million and about $500 million, respectively, by the end of the year.

Lana Veenker owns a Portland casting agency that hires for Leverage and is currently casting for the new NBC’s upcoming Grimm-based project.

She sees the growth in Oregon’s film industry, adding that Oregon is definitely on the map when it comes to film and the proof is in the jobs.

“We have fantastic film crews, we have a really strong base of actors, we have every kind of location you can imagine,” said Veenker.

Link to full article.

 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lana Veenker on OPB’s Think Out Loud Friday, August 13th

by admin

Lana will be on Oregon Public Broadcasting‘s Think Out Loud tomorrow, Friday, August 13th, from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM to talk about the state of Oregon on screens both big and small.

Additional guests include Kearie Peak (co-executive producer of “Leverage”), Todd Freeman (independent filmmaker), Kevin Klowden (managing economist and director of the California Center), and Kristi Turnquist (pop culture reporter for The Oregonian).

You can submit your questions ahead of time in the comments section at OPB.

If you missed the show, here’s the link to download the MP3, or you can stream it on the OPB website. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Leveraging" the impact of film with our legislators

by admin

Click here to hear our testimony today at the State Capitol on “Leveraging” the Impact of the Film/Video Tax Credit Extension Law of 2009:

House Committee on Sustainability and Economic Development

Testifying:

John Rogers, Executive Producer, and co-creator of Leverage
(via Skype)
Lana Veenker, Casting Director, Lana Veenker Casting
Vince Porter, Executive Director, Oregon Film and Video Office
David Besaw, Owner, 52nd Avenue Hardware & Building Supply

Members:

Rep. Tobias Read, Chair
Rep. Cliff Bentz, Vice-Chair
Rep. Jules Bailey
Rep. Lew Frederick
Rep. Vic Gilliam

Also in Attendance:

Rep. Phil Barnhart (House Revenue Committee)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mayor’s office chimes in on Leverage Boot Camp & Oregon jobs

by admin

“Chance favors the well-prepared.”
By Jennifer Yocom
Tue, February 9, 2010 1:32pm

When John Rogers, writer and creator of TNT’s Leverage, talked to Portlanders at this weekend’s Leverage Boot Camp, one quote especially stuck out to me. Borrowed from great scientist, Louis Pasteur, he said, “Chance favors the well-prepared.” I can’t remember whether John was referring to the perspective auditioners should keep when trying out for minor roles or to be an extra in Leverage, or if he was attributing it to what I’m thinking of: how do we build a film industry in Portland?

Either way, he’s right.

When I worked in direct marketing, we auditioned actors for photo shoots and infomercials (yes, I worked on infomercials). And when we found the right person, it wasn’t always because he or she met all the criteria we were considering, but possessed that X factor–an element or aspect of his or her personality or “look” that would connect with the relevant audience or acting team. Translated, even if you fit the profile on paper, you might not get the job. The purpose of the Leverage Boot Camp was to get folks as familiar with the TV series as possible, increasing their chances of getting a job with the production. And who’s needed? Athletic or burly men to play cops, security guards and thugs.

“I look at all these strong guys who have lost their manufacturing or construction jobs and think ‘If we could just teach them how to say a line or two and maybe how to do an easy fight scene, they could probably audition for the show,’” says Leverage casting director and local business owner Lana Veenker. “It may be very sporadic work, but nobody’s going to sneeze at a thousand bucks for a day’s salary. That could make the difference between a family covering its mortgage payment or not.”

“Background performers only make minimum wage,” she acknowledges, “but with overtime, a day’s work could help someone who is job hunting pay their cell phone bill or buy a few tanks of gas.”

The Oregonian reported, “In Oregon, which has an 11 percent unemployment rate, the recession has been particularly hard on male workers in traditionally male-dominated industries. At his State of the City speech last week, for example, Portland Mayor Sam Adams said ‘one in three Portlanders’ in the construction industry is currently out of work.”

While Veenker is trying to get the word out to unemployed construction workers that they may have additional options in a tough economy and helping them have the tools they need to succeed at the auditions, she’s also doing a significant service to our City as a whole. In order to continue to attract television series like Leverage to Portland, we’ve got to have a solid pipeline of talent for them to hire.

The state offers fantastic incentives to film production through the Governor’s Office of Film and Television and the City of Portland provides a one-stop resource for permitting through the Mayor’s Office of Film and Video, but Lana’s efforts are a also a key piece to the overall film and tv production ecology in Portland.

So, we’ll continue to work to recruit productions to town with incentive packages but remember, “Chance favors the well-prepared,” so thank you to all those that attended the Boot Camp and thank you, Lana Veenker.

And thank you, Arts & Culture Policy Director Jennifer Yokum, Mayor Adams and the City of Portland, for helping us build this green, clean, high-tech industry of the future!

Link to article.

 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Free money AND more films in Oregon? Read on.

by admin

If you’re an Oregon resident, now’s your chance to make a few extra bucks AND help Oregon’s film industry in the process…which means more jobs right here in our lovely state.

The Governor’s Office of Film & Television is selling tax credits. They have about $3.5M available.

If you buy $1000 in credits, you’ll get $1050 back (5% interest), and it helps the Film Office bring more projects here.

Free Money AND More Films!

To take advantage of the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF) Tax Credit, follow the instructions on the Oregon Film website. You can make a contribution of any amount in the year in which you plan to take the credit, then simply submit your contribution, complete the application and mail it off as instructed.

Please spread the word, if you know of anyone else who may want to pitch in for Oregon film and make a few bucks in the process.

Save

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Push for SB621: Film Means JOBS

by admin

Yesterday’s efforts in Salem gave our film incentive bill SB621 real LIFE, when hopes had all but faded!

Legislators were amazed by all the calls, emails and personal visits. By the end of the day, there was quite a buzz around the Capitol about our little bill.

We don’t know who the hero in the Legislature is going to be, but we may know by this afternoon. Hints that there is real hope have come in, so everyone please keep sending your positive thoughts.

That being said, the Governor’s own budget blew up twice yesterday, so there is no way to know what will happen.

LAST EFFORTS

Your last efforts may just be the tipping point that our bill needs to pass!

Please email every Oregon House Democrat and Republican ASAP with this short message or something similar in your own words:

SB621 can provide my next job. Please help Oregon’s blooming FILM INDUSTRY and vote YES on SB621.

A list of email addresses is below for your convenience.

Representative Jules Bailey

Representative Jeff Barker

Representative Phil Barnhart

Representative Brent Barton

Representative Cliff Bentz

Representative Vicki Berger

Representative E. Terry Beyer

Representative Deborah Boone

Representative Scott Bruun

Representative Peter Buckley

Representative Kevin Cameron

Representative Ben Cannon

Representative Brian Clem

Representative Jean Cowan

Representative Michael Dembrow

Representative Chris Edwards

Representative David Edwards

Representative Sal Esquivel

Representative Tim Freeman

Representative Larry Galizio

Representative Bill Garrard

Representative Chris Garrett

Representative Sara Gelser

Representative Vic Gilliam

Representative George Gilman

Representative Mitch Greenlick

Representative Bruce L Hanna

Representative Chris Harker

Representative Paul Holvey

Representative John E Huffman

Representative Dave Hunt

Representative Bob Jenson

Representative Nick Kahl

Representative Bill Kennemer

Representative Betty Komp

Representative Tina Kotek

Representative Wayne Krieger

Representative Greg Matthews

Representative Ron Maurer

Representative Nancy Nathanson

Representative Mary Nolan

Representative Andy Olson

Representative Tobias Read

Representative Dennis Richardson

Representative Chuck Riley

Representative Arnie Roblan

Representative Mike Schaufler

Representative Chip Shields

Representative Greg Smith

Representative Jefferson Smith

Representative Sherrie Sprenger

Representative Judy Stiegler

Representative Kim Thatcher

Representative Jim Thompson

Representative Carolyn Tomei

Representative Suzanne VanOrman

Representative Jim Weidner

Representative Gene Whisnant

Representative Matt Wingard

Representative Brad Witt

Thanks, everyone, and keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lana Talks to KBOO about the Impact of Film & TV on Oregon’s Economy

by admin

This morning, Dmae Roberts, host of Stage and Studio on KBOO FM 90.7, spoke with Oregon casting director Lana Veenker about the economic impact that national shows like “Leverage” and films have our acting and technical arts community.

Click on the “Audio” tab to listen (Lana’s interview starts at about 16:06, after Portland Actors Ensemble talks about Shakespeare in the Parks).

_________________________

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT SB 621:

1. Call or email your Oregon Legislators NOW and ask them to support SB 621, as it will create immediate jobs for Oregonians in our blooming film industry.

2. If you have a good story about how our film incentives have benefited you, please be sure to share it with them.

3. Write or call House Speaker Dave Hunt (503-986-1200) and Representative Peter Buckley (503-986-1405). The fate of the bill is largely in their hands and it could die in the next couple days, if we don’t convince them to let SB 621 have a hearing and a work session.

With the Revenue Committee having closed, it is hard to say exactly what will convince the Oregon Speaker of the House Dave Hunt to re-open the bill that brings more work to Oregon by enhancing the Oregon Production Investment Fund. Your opinion may be what persuades him. Or maybe sheer volume will. Either way, please engage your civic self today.

MESSAGE:

* 621 is a job creation bill that can be immediately employed by the Oregon Legislature.

* Give SB 621 a fair hearing and work session in the House of Representatives. The work that has gone into this bill from the industry, the unions, the Oregon Senate and the Oregon Governor warrants a fair hearing in the House.

* SB 621 has a with a no-risk structure that places the investment risk on the participating business, not on the state government.

Please be forceful, but try to keep it positive.

If you have talked to another Oregon Representative and they are supportive of 621, ask them please to take our case to Hunt and Buckley.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Chance to Save SB621

by admin

THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE TO SAVE SB621, THE BILL THAT WILL BRING JOBS TO OREGON.

We’ve asked those in the Oregon film and video community on many occasions to write to their legislators about SB621 (Oregon Production Investment Fund), the Senate bill that would expand our film incentive program, so we could come closer to year-round production in our state.

This is another urgent time for your response or we will probably lose SB621. Here are two things you can do.

1. Send an email to Representative Barnhart, Representative Buckley and Representative Hunt and ask them to let SB 621 have a hearing on Friday, June 19.

Tell them that in light of the record 12.4% unemployment rate (as reported in Thursday’s Oregonian), it is only fair to give SB 621, the JOBS bill, a hearing.

RUMOR HAS IT THAT REPRESENTATIVE HUNT PLANS TO WRAP UP REVENUE COMMITTEE HEARINGS ON FRIDAY, JUNE 19. IF SP621 IS NOT ON THE LIST, IT WILL NOT BE HEARD AND WILL NOT GO TO A VOTE.

2. The executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, Chuck Sheketoff, is someone that people on the House Revenue Committee pay attention to and if film workers don’t respond to his post on BlueOregon.com, it is unlikely SB 621 will get out of that committee and thus, will kill the bill.

Please log on to BlueOregon.com and in your own words, tell folks that you rely upon the very jobs that OPIF brings to the area. You can explain that the general fund fully receives back the money spent on the incentives from the taxes and fees generated by the projects that would not have come without the incentives. The incentive money is only given out after proof is provided that the project has already spent the money in Oregon.

The study referred to was conducted by a ECONorthwest, which folks in the legislature regard highly.

THIS IS OUR LAST CHANCE TO SAVE SB621. PLEASE ACT NOW!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

‘Leverage’ brings lights, cameras, paychecks to Portland

by admin

Check out this article on the economic impact of film and television production in our area! Please continue to contact your Oregon legislators; SB621 is still hanging in the balance.

‘Leverage’ brings lights, cameras, paychecks to Portland
by Kristi Turnquist, The Oregonian
Thursday June 18, 2009, 6:37 AM

With a record 12.4 percent unemployment rate in Oregon and about 12 percent unemployment in Portland, there’s at least one bright spot on the local job horizon: Hollywood has come to town — and been hiring.

Lana Veenker has spent the past several weeks sending out e-mails like this: “URGENT CALL FOR 60 EXTRAS ON ‘LEVERAGE.’ ” The pressure’s been on for Veenker, who runs her own casting company. But she’s not complaining. Lots of work? In this economy? Veenker and other members of Portland’s filmmaking community say they welcome it.

Link to full article.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pass SB621 in 10 Easy Steps

by admin

NO TIME TO WASTE! SENATE AND HOUSE TO VOTE THIS WEEK!!

Here’s an update from Michael Fine of the Portland Mayor’s Office of Film & Video:

Please contact your legislators and tell them you need the work and their yes vote will provide quick, family wage, green jobs. Remind them:

  • No money is given out until AFTER receipts are submitted proving money was already spent in Oregon, so tax revenue returns to the state coffers equal to or in excess of the money spent on the program (based on ECONorthwest studies)
  • We currently only have enough money each year to bring in projects for approximately 6 months, so for the last 6 months of each year, productions take their money and jobs to other states or countries, where the programs are better funded
  • We are not funding Hollywood moguls: 6 of the 18 “OPIF” projects were in fact, Oregon based productions. Of the other 12 projects, 10 were independently financed

I also received a version of this bulletin from the OMPA and felt it was worth sharing. If you live in Oregon, please do your part!

It’s simple.

Don’t think too hard on this, just do it. We really don’t want to wake up next month and find out that SB 621 didn’t pass. This is a simple, and incredibly effective way for you to help:

1. Open this flyer.

2. Print it.

3. Hand it to someone else.

4. Then open this link.

5. and enter your address to find your Oregon State Senator and State Representative (psst: not your Federal Senator or Rep; your State one.)

6. Open two emails, subject line “Support 621,” and address one to your Senator and one to your Rep.

7. Copy this email text (don’t slow down now, you’re on a roll and you’re almost done):

Dear _____________,

I am a constituent, as well as a member of the Oregon film and video community, and I strongly support both SB 863 and SB 621.

The Legislature should be commended for passing SB 863, however, it represents only a reallocation of existing funds. SB 621 is the economic impact bill that will immediately bring high-wage jobs to Oregon at a time when we really need them.

Film and video is a green industry that impacts businesses all across the state, including hotels, restaurants, payroll companies, car rental companies, hardware stores and antique shops, not to mention local cast and crew. It raises the profile of our state and brings much needed tourism dollars into our coffers.

Production companies are clamoring to come shoot in Oregon, but they will not do so without a strong incentive program. The Oregon Production Investment Fund has already proven its ability to turn one dollar into four; a return unheard of in the current climate.

Our industry is indeed the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak economy, however the Film Office finds itself in a position of having to turn major productions away half way through the year, because current levels are not high enough to meet the demand.

With SB 621, we will come closer to being able to fund year-round production, laying the foundation for the growth of this clean industry, and providing good-paying jobs for Oregonians across the state.

I am asking you to please support SB 621 and encourage your peers to do the same.

Respectfully,

____________

8. Edit it to make it sound like you. (And include your legislator’s name after “Dear” of course.)

9. Sign your name.

10. Send.

Please spread the word! This bill will be voted on in just a few days. There’s literally no time to waste.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AM Northwest talks to Casting Director Lana Veenker about "Leverage," the TNT series scheduled to shoot in Portland

by admin

Watch AM Northwest’s interview with Lana about the TNT drama series “Leverage,” shooting in and around the Portland area through mid-September. The series will bring jobs, tourism, revenue and a little glamour to the state, but more film incentives are needed to ensure year-round production in Oregon.

Please write to your Oregon senators and representatives and ask them to support SB621 (Oregon Production Investment Fund), so that we can keep productions like this coming to Oregon all throughout the year.

The film and video industry is green, immediately creates “shutter-ready” jobs, generates lots of revenue for a wide range of businesses, and helps bring tourism dollars to the state. Production is booming and can help us get out of this economic mess, IF we have the incentives to attract companies to choose Oregon over other locations.

Find your legislators here. Make sure to mention that you’re a constituent.