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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.


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).



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.


* 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

Lana Gives Tips to Child Actors on Better.TV

by admin

Brooke Carlson of the nationally syndicated program “Better” talks with Casting Director Lana Veenker about getting your child into the biz, no matter where you live.

PS: Just a note that Lana was misquoted when talking about what to look for in a good acting teacher. Good teachers focus on OBJECTIVES (using verbs, actions) not EMOTIONS (i.e. adjectives, mugging, facial expressions).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Last Chance to Save SB621

by admin


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.


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, it is unlikely SB 621 will get out of that committee and thus, will kill the bill.

Please log on to 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.


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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

WE HAVE A WINNER for the Twilight Poster Haiku Contest!

by admin

Congratulations to Ruya in Maryland and her winning haiku!

Sight clearer than day
Blood-red eyes, untested strength
Stranger in my skin.

Her haiku describes Bella’s first experience as a vampire.

If you’re Ruya, be sure to check your email and get back to us ASAP!

We had an outstanding number of entries, with over 400 emails in response to our contest, many of them submissions of multiple poems. Thank you to everyone who entered, and thanks for all of your patience this past week as we sorted through all of the entries.

This was just the first contest for the chance to win a rare Twilight poster. We have a few more up our sleeve. A new contest will be announced soon, so keep checking the blog!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pass SB621 in 10 Easy Steps

by admin


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.



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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

URGENT: CIA/Security Guard types needed for "Leverage"

by admin

Rutabaga Background Casting, a division of Lana Veenker Casting, is urgently seeking individuals based in the Portland area who are interested in working as extras in an upcoming episode of TNT’s “Leverage,” shooting in and around Portland.

Our next episode requires several MALE SECURITY GUARD or EX-CIA types, between 5’8″ and 6’2″, any ethnicity, who are available to work FIVE FULL DAYS from June 8th to the 12th.


As this is an urgent call, please submit the following information via email immediately to emmy[@]sayrutabaga[.]com (remove the brackets before sending):

* Name

* Contact Numbers

* Height & Weight

* All Clothing Sizes (waist, inseam, sleeve, neck, shoe, jacket, shirt, etc.)

* A RECENT photo (very important!)


We will contact individuals who fit the specs for each episode.

Extras earn minimum wage (eight-hour minimum, regardless of hours worked), plus overtime pay after eight hours. Shoot days can be 12 hours or more and extras are required to be 100% available on their work dates.

Rutabaga Background Casting does not charge extras any fees to work with its company.

To help us maintain our sanity, please do not call or drop by the office, unless specifically requested to do so.

We do not have the manpower to respond to thousands of inquiries and still get our jobs done. 🙂 Thanks!

PS: If you had a great time working as an extra on “Leverage” and want to let us know, you’re welcome to snail mail us a card to:

Rutabaga Background Casting
2580 NW Upshur St
Portland, OR 97210

We love to get your feedback this way, as it allows us to hear from you and still get our work done!

Thanks again and hope to see you on set!