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Sunday, Mar 3, 2024

Ewing “Lucky” Brown Continues His Hollywood Story

At an age when most of the peers of Ewing “Lucky” Brown are comfortably retired, Brown still continues to put in his time in the entertainment industry. His Movie Tech Studios opens next month in a new location in Panorama City after more than 20 years in Hollywood. The studio can accommodate projects from webisodes to feature films. After a career as an actor, editor, director and writer Brown isn’t ready to walk away. “I enjoy my work,” Brown said. “I enjoy the picture business. I’ve been in it all my life.” The location on Arminta Street, an area filled with light industrial shops, may seem an odd place for a studio but Brown said it fits right in. There is other studio space nearby, a company making furniture used in film shoots, and across the street is AFX Studio owned by Oscar winner David Leroy Anderson and his wife, Heather. Brown’s long career does not include any Oscar wins but he has plenty of stories about Hollywood and the stars he worked and socialized with. The walls of Movie Tech are filled with photos of Brown with these stars, many of them autographed. As a child actor Brown worked with Mack Sennett. He later got into editing film, and learned how to do lighting from director Josef von Sternberg, for whom one of his uncles was an aide. He had another uncle who was also in the industry. “I may not have had talent but I had relatives,” Brown joked. Movie Tech was founded during the 1960s to serve film and television production, while Brown continued with his own career that eventually led to producing and directing the feature film, “A Whale of A Tale” in 1976. At the former location on Seward Street in Hollywood, Movie Tech served as the location for commercials and infomercials and for second unit work on the crucially acclaimed dramas “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere.” Brown sold the Seward Street property in 2005 and came to the Valley to find a better site for the studio. Movie Tech is now in a larger building to which was added a 3,000 square foot space for sets and a high ceiling to accommodate boom mikes and plenty of lights. There are also dressing and makeup rooms, a costume shop and a workshop for the cameras that Brown still likes to get behind as a director. The added-on filming space is also roomy enough to drive a car up to the green screen, onto which can be projected different backgrounds. “I can put you in Paris or on top of the Empire State Building,” Brown said. Non-Fiction Stories The first Westdoc conference for reality programming and documentaries that took place in September made a good enough impression that the event will be repeated next month in Santa Monica. “It is addressing a market and an audience that had not been reached,” said Richard Propper, a co-founder of the conference and a producer based out of Encino. Westdoc has already lined up more speakers than it had a year ago, and added this year are opportunities for reality producers and documentarians to meet with network executives to find out what their needs are and to pitch shows. For the two days of panels, the show’s organizers did not want to repeat what was done last year so they came up with new topics. There will be discussion on programming specifically for men and women; a look at changes on the production side with new equipment; financing for documentaries through “crowd funding” from the Internet; and how reality “The Biggest Loser” has expanded into secondary revenue streams with weight loss camps and products. “Morality in Reality” will address whether the genre crosses the line. “This asks bigger questions of those who make this content,” Propper said. “Is it a good thing to have catfights and people doing drugs on television?” The keynote speaker at the conference is documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger, whose most recent work “Crude,” about environmental damage allegedly caused by Chevron led the oil company to go after footage shot for the film. Westdoc takes place at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Santa Monica Sept. 13 to 15. Musician Film Screening After a lengthy process for music clearances and to find a distributor, John Scheinfeld is finally getting his documentary “Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everyone Talkin’ About Him?)” into limited theatrical runs. Scheinfeld, whose Crewneck Productions is based in Sherman Oaks, has shown the film in festivals and one-off screenings here and there but wider release was held up by getting clearance for use of the 50 Nilsson recordings heard throughout the film. More of a cult figure than a bona fide star, Nilsson had a handful of hits (“Without You,” “Everybody’s Talkin’”), several Grammy awards and nominations and many wild nights with his pals John Lennon and Ringo Starr. The film includes television appearances, home movies and interview with friends, including Randy Newman, Yoko Ono, Jimmy Webb and Brian Wilson. “Who is Harry Nilsson” will screen at the Laemmle Sunset Five on Sunset Boulevard beginning Sept. 17. Scheinfeld will introduce the film the first two nights and participate in a question-and-answer session afterward. Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at mmadler@sfvbj.com. He has never mixed the lime with the coconut.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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