76.7 F
San Fernando
Friday, Jan 27, 2023
-Advertisement-

New Industry Group to Give Representation to Vendors

Faced with television and film production leaving California for other states offering tax breaks, vendors and suppliers in the entertainment industry are banding together to protect their interests. This new association isn’t meant to be centered around Los Angeles either, said Jason Waggoner, one of the organizers. Its membership will be throughout the state, all the better to show elected officials just how important filming is to California as a whole. The association also wants to get the message across of who the vendors are – middle class business owners and employees. “Everyone has a misconception the industry is Brad Pitt and the guy making $20 million a year,” said Waggoner, president of Star Waggons in Sylmar. “Nothing against Brad Pitt, but it’s far deeper than that. It was sad seeing competitors and friends have to pack up shop because so much (filming) has moved out of Los Angeles.” Vendor groups have been tried before but had represented specific segments, such as transportation. The new group will be all inclusive with prop houses, lighting, transportation, accounting, and payroll represented. The first meeting has been scheduled to take place in early December. Waggoner said he wants to have Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and other office holders to attend. Krekorian was a sponsor of legislation that finally brought filming tax incentives to California after numerous failed attempts. A preview of sorts of what is on the mind of Waggoner and other vendors was given in October during a panel discussion on the entertainment industry at the VICA Business Forecast Conference. Much of the discussion centered on efforts to convince lawmakers outside of the Los Angeles area that television and film production generated income and sales taxes and the large studios were not the only beneficiary of the tax incentives. Organizing the vendors was not seen as necessary during the years when there was plenty of work to go around. But then production declined due to Hollywood labor turmoil and the recession on top of the filming that was already leaving the state. Vendors struggled to stay in business, some searching out new markets to stay afloat until filming got back to previous levels. Others were not so fortunate. 20th Century Props, for instance, in North Hollywood announced it was closing up and auctioning off its inventory. “The reality is setting in if we don’t do something we are going to lose an important industry to California,” Waggoner said. Thinkwell’s Aliens When a themed entertainment project in the United Arab Emirates got put on hold a year ago, the principals at Thinkwell Design & Production used the opportunity to strike out in a new direction they had been considering for a while. The result was Studio Thinkwell for creating animated characters and effects. The studio’s first project is sci-fi feature film “Growth.” “It gets into our core of what we do as content developers, except it is for digital rather than content-based entertainment,” said Cliff Warner, a principal and chief executive for the Burbank company. Four Thinkwell artists worked more than 5,000 hours to design the three primary critters seen in the alien-infested film. The artists who worked on “Growth” had been originally hired for the Abu Dhabi project that has since been delayed. Rather than lay off those with strong animation backgrounds, Warner and his three partners instead wanted to retain and use their skills and abilities in the digital realm. The first goal of Studio Thinkwell was to create original characters and stories made into six pitch packages taken to area animation companies. Then the opportunity to work on “Growth” came Thinkwell’s way, as did a request from a former museum client wanting animation for a new exhibit. Animation Expo The Creative Talent Network hosted its first Animation Expo at the Burbank Convention Center Nov. 20 to 22. The expo was expected to attract thousands of entertainment industry professionals from throughout the U.S. and featured workshops, presentations and networking opportunities designed to connect animation artists, studio executives and industry leaders. The Creative Talent Network, based in Granada Hills, is an online community of top talent professional artists from the animation gaming, film and video industries. “The members of the network are thrilled to turn the spotlight on Burbank where we will feature the talent from some of the highest grossing films in the history of animation,” said Tina Price, founder of the network. Digital Post-Production Next Element Studios is a new post-production facility in Burbank that will cater to productions shot with digital cameras. The firm was started by Bruce K. Long, an entertainment industry veteran who has worked at National Lampoon, Technicolor and Encore Media. Long called the environment at Next Element perfect for next generation digital production. “We offer an innovative, flexible pipeline in a creative environment so the production community can focus on what they do best – produce great entertainment,” Long said. The Next Element management team includes Vice President of Technology and Marketing Greg Ciaccio; Executive Producer Chip Potter; David Waters and Jim Delany. Recent projects completed by Next Element include “Bad Lieutenant” with Val Kilmer and Nicholas Cage; the television series “Southland;” and feature film “The Expendables” set for release in summer 2010. A Titanic Award Director James Cameron will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Visual Effects Society at its annual awards show in February. Giving Cameron the award was long overdue, said Jeff Okun, chairman of the Encino-based organization. “Jim’s sense of how to effectively utilize what the visual effects community has to bring to the story telling experience has changed the face of storytelling – not just in the past and the present, but in a significant way in the future,” Okun said. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding body of work that has contributed to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry. Cameron has directed “Aliens,” Terminator,” Terminator 2,” and “Avatar,” which comes to theaters in December. The 8th Annual VES Awards take place Feb. 28 in Century City. Staff Reporter Mark Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at madler@sfvbj.com. His interview with Vince Pace, co-inventor of the 3D camera system used for “Avatar,” will appear in the Dec. 7 issue.

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.
-Advertisement-

Featured Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-

Related Articles

-Advertisement-
-Advertisement-