The New Normal – How Our Production Community Is Adapting To Covid-19 – PDXpendables.

 

Just arrived Matthshield. A clear marine vinyl flag intended for creating a quick COVID barrier. Or a rain cover.

In our series of blog posts – the “New Normal” – we are looking at what creative options have been put in place to offset the disruption that Covid-19 has caused for production businesses here in Oregon.  This month we caught up with PDXpendables LLC, one of the Pacific Northwest’s Stage and Studio supply solutions. Whether it is film, photo, or theater, they’ll “have the gear you need at a great rate and will bring it to you. This innovative approach will save you time as well as money

Oregon Film caught up with Don Rohrbacker, Co-Owner of PDXpendables, to talk about how the Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted their business.

Oregon Film (OF): Like so many other businesses that have been affected by Covid-19, what aspect would you say has been the most surprising?

Don Rohrbacker (DR): The most heartening thing has been the resilience of the stop motion features. In terms of volume, these shows make up the majority of the orders since March. All four animated projects have been ordering on a regular basis.

Don Rohrbacker making a delivery. Pictured is Bruce Fleskes and Diante Grinner.

OF: What are the main modifications you have had to make to accommodate this new normal? (Which ideas have worked/been successful, which ones not so much…)

DR: No real modifications were needed, outside of increased sanitation regimes. Our approach even before the pandemic was to operate from a business suite with inventory stored in warehouses and delivered to clients. They don’t come to us.

OF: Are there any surprising areas of growth in your business since the pandemic started?

DR: We’ve had increased sales from all around the country for small hand tools such as Pin Splitters and Greeking Books.

OF: Have you had to implement new training for your staff?

DR: No.

OF: If there has been any impact on staff morale, how have you successfully been able to mitigate this? What are you most proud of doing well during this challenging time?

DR: My business partner, David Bluford, has demonstrated remarkable acumen in securing Government assistance through such programs as PPA and SBA loans.

PDXpendables “carry all the major brands you’ve come to rely on from the latest LED lighting fixtures to specialty Scenic Paints. Newly added! The convenience of online shopping.  Their specialized rental stock features those hard to find items such as the newest Skypanel fixtures and accessories, high speed M40 HMI from Arri, Arri’s new LED KITS the L5/Locaster, and a double Locaster Kit, the BlackBird tall crank stand, even a handheld DMX controller. Also available is Dodge’s latest Multi-use Van, the ProMaster 3500. See the rental page for details.

truck-iconFree delivery is available within the Studio Zone. Monday- Friday 8am to 6pm. We are available for after hours delivery or emergencies. Delivery to Idaho, Oregon, and Washington is available via FedEx.

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Southern Oregon Comedy Film Festival Adapts To Virtual Streaming

killer-valley-comedy-film-festival-2020

The 2020 Killer Valley Comedy Film Festival (KVCFF) follows the 13-year legacy of the horror film festival that introduced “Killer Valley” to the Pacific Northwest, and will stream on their official website from Friday, Friday, Nov. 20 – Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. 

For 10 years, the horror film festival had been a one-night affair, hosted live in Ashland, OR.  By its eleventh year (2018) the contributions from filmmakers from around the globe had grown into two nights worth of content, and the team split the program so that one night held all the satire, spoofs, and “so-bad-it’s-funny” movies, while the other night showcased the creepy, spooky, and truly scary films of the horror genre. 

2020-Killer-Valley-Comedy-Festival-Poster_webFollowing the positive feedback from their audience, the Killer Valley team spawned a second genre film festival, this time to celebrate the best original comedy films from underground and emerging filmmakers. Now in only the second year of their comedy fest, the organizers have had to tackle the challenge of showcasing the collection of highly laughable movies without a live event.  

Last month, in October 2020, The Killer Valley Horror Film Festival (KVHFF) launched virtually on their website, and the filmmakers behind the movies streamed could not have been happier.  Traditionally held in Southern Oregon, often only the local and near-local filmmakers were able to attend. As submissions began to grow beyond the Pacific Northwest, this left more of the filmmakers out of the experience of enjoying other new movies and networking with filmmakers within their favorite genre. 

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University of Oregon Coeds Made The Very First Student Feature Film

Filming of “Ed’s Coed” on the University of Oregon campus, with student actors sitting on the Senior Bench during a break between scenes.

It is a forgotten piece of film history for all but the staunchest of aficionados, and its box office draw was almost nonexistent; yet a little-known feature film in the last thralls of the silent film era stands as a remarkable footnote in history as the first feature-length student film ever made – completed by University of Oregon students.

Pursuing Hollywood

Known originally simply as The Campus Movie and later Green before settling on its final title Ed’s Coed, the 1929 film project was conceived by a trio of University of Oregon students. James Raley Jr.’s best friend, Carvel Nelson, had worked on the set of the 1928 film City Girl in Pendleton that summer, and while visiting his friend Raley had access to the set, inspiring dreams of making a film of their own. Enlisting the help of fellow student Ron Hubbs, the students envisioned a film that told the college experience. Emboldened by their on-set experience, the students sent repeated telegrams to iconic film director Cecil B. DeMille asking for guidance.

Meanwhile, an out-of-work cameraman, James McBride, had moved back home to the Pacific Northwest from Hollywood for medical reasons after working on numerous films, including four with DeMille; Feet of Clay (1924), The Volga Boatman (1926), King of Kings (1927), and The Godless Girl (1929). McBride reached out to DeMille asking if he knew of any work in the area, and DeMille responded with a recommendation to Hubbs and Raley to hire McBride to create their film concept.

Filming on a canoe on the Millrace for “Ed’s Coed” (courtesy UO Special Collections)

With McBride on board and the eager students enlisting friends to help, other students soon joined the project. Myron Griffin coordinated five student writers along with faculty assistance to develop the script, Hubbs managed finances, and by February as word spread more than 50 students had become actively involved in its development. From costumes to props to publicity, the collaborative grew in expanse and expense, with grandiose dreams that the film would quickly make them rich and famous.

Thus was sparked a relationship that would result in what is widely considered the first student feature film ever made, 1929’s Ed’s Coed – a romantic comedy written, performed, and produced entirely by University of Oregon students…with McBride’s vital assistance.

The film, which is available to watch for free on YouTube thanks to the University of Oregon, is a fascinating time capsule of college life in the 1920s. From a historic aspect, it documents locations and individuals on campus instrumental in the university’s longstanding growth and success, while documenting many of the traditions and unusual antics of college students in the early half of the 20th century.

The student production team behind “Ed’s Coed” (courtesy 1930 Oregana)

Campus life

Practices such as the requirement of freshmen to wear green “lids” at all times, otherwise, be subject to humiliating paddlings on the steps of the administration building, seems the stuff of obvious lawsuits today, but in the 1920s it was not just commonplace — but expected. Beware any underclassmen who dared to sit on the senior bench, lest they be dunked in the senior fountain, nor get caught wearing cords or the senior patrol will dish out justice. There were tugs-of-war across the Millrace (a man-made waterway next to campus branching off from the Willamette River built originally as a power source for downtown Eugene factories and to float logs to mills), a canoe house for coeds to cruise, a “Hello Walk” between residence halls that required all students to say hello to passersby, and more traditions and unwritten rules that were the norm for students at the University of Oregon captured in the film.

University of Oregon students conduct a tug-of-war across the Millrace for a scene in “Ed’s Coed” (courtesy UO Special Collections)

Some sites showcased in Ed’s Coed no longer exist. Outdoor daytime dances were commonly held on tennis courts across from Hayward Field, space now occupied by residence halls. Hayward Field, built-in 1919, is featured as a track facility, including participation in the film by legendary track coach Bill Hayward, for whom the facility is named. While the recent multi-million dollar shining jewel on campus retains the now-iconic name of Hayward Field, none of the original structure remains.

While the Prospector statue that stood on the campus for a century recently was toppled amidst Black Lives Matter protests, some historic landmarks on campus featured in the film still stand. The Senior Bench is largely ignored by students today, as is the now drained Senior Fountain, but both remain visible on campus. The steps of Johnson Hall are prominently featured in the film, which would make film history again nearly 50 years later in 1977 when John Belushi famously falls while attempting to sneak a horse into the dean’s office in the most famous college-life film ever concocted – National Lampoon’s Animal House.

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Actor/Producer Ashley Mellinger Hosts OMPA’s BIPOC Meetup this Thursday, 11/19

OMPA Creatives of Color Collaborative hosted by Ashley Mellinger, November 19, 3-5pm. RSVP for Zoom info.

OMPA Creatives of Color Collaborative

Thursday, November 19 | 3-5pm PT | RSVP for Zoom Info

Are you a BIPOC* professional seeking community with other Oregon creatives? Join OMPA’s next Creatives of Color Collaborative to network, give or get advice, and ask questions in a private space.

This month’s host is award-winning actor and producer Ashley Mellinger. As a member of OMPA’s Diversity Committee, she is helping lead the effort to center diversity in Oregon’s production incentives. Ashley is also Co-Founder of Desert Island Studios, an artist space and resource in Portland.

Come chat about Portland’s indie scene, equity work in our industry, or anything else you want to bring to the group! 

RSVP for Zoom Info

*Note: OMPA’s virtual Creatives of Color Collaborative events are a private space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to talk openly. While we appreciate allies, please respect this need.

• • •

About the Host: Ashley Mellinger

As an artist with a background in both film and theatre, Ashley Mellinger is committed to telling stories that re-imagine traditional narratives and include marginalized voices without centering on their identities and their trauma. She is an award-winning half-Korean actor and producer. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and working in NYC for a decade, she moved to Portland, Oregon and co-founded Desert Island Studios to increase artists’ accessibility to film resources. 

Recent producing credits include Dawn Jones Redstone’s proof-of-concept for her debut feature film Noelia, and Roland Dahwen-Wu’s debut feature Borrufa. Pre-pandemic, her writing debut L’Ortolan was accepted in the 2020 Spliff Film Festival and Portland Shorts Fest. Just after the pandemic, she co-wrote and starred in the AAFL 72-Hour Shootout film, Vent (which won 2nd Runner Up, Best Editor, and Best Screenwriter).  

• • •

About the Organizer: OMPA

Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) is a central resource that thousands of production professionals turn to for reliable information, political advocacy, and advancing common interests. Please Donate or Become a Member to support our work in the industry!

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#OregonMade “First Cow” Receives 4 Gotham Nominations!

A24’s period drama, “First Cow has been recognized by The Gothams for Best Feature, Screenplay, Actor, and Breakthrough Actor in its 30th annual event. “First Cow” shot entirely on location in Oregon last year at; Oxbow Regional Park, Sauvie Island, Portland, Milo McIver State Park, San Salvador State Beach, and Elkton among other locations.

  • Best Feature, Kelly Reichardt (Director), Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani (Producers).
  • Best Screenplay, Jon Raymond, Kelly Reichardt.
  • Best Actor, John Magaro.
  • Best Breakthrough Actor, Orion Lee.

 

The IFP Gotham Awards are selected by distinguished juries and presented in New York City, the home of independent film. This public showcase honors the filmmaking community, expands the audience for independent films, and supports the work that IFP does behind the scenes throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.

(If you have not yet seen “First Cow” you can find it now on Amazon Prime and Showtime.)


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The New Normal – How Our Production Community Is Adapting to Covid – Picture This

In our series of blog posts – the “New Normal” – we are looking at what creative options have been put in place to offset the disruption that Covid-19 has caused for production businesses here in Oregon.  This month we caught up with Picture This, one of Portland’s leading provider of Camera Rentals, Projectors, and Picture This Production Services that have offered over 30 years of excellence in production and live events in the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon Film (OF): Assuming the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted your business, like so many others, what aspect would you say has been the most surprising? What are the main modifications you have had to make to accommodate this new normal? (Which ideas have worked/been successful, which ones not so much…)

Picture This (PT): Our main modifications have been to implement a change of practices to keep our employees and guests safe.  It takes a lot of extra effort to flip equipment and studios in a safe methodology.

OF: Are there any surprising areas of growth in your business since the pandemic started?

PT: Event Streaming media has moved to the forefront of our clients’ needs. Although we have been streaming for over 10 years. It is almost 100% added for studio production and seen huge technology leaps for meetings and events.

OF: Have you had to implement new training for your staff?

PT: All our staff was asked to take and certify as Covid Safe Set qualified. Our biggest hurdle has been to help clients manage and implement these practices.

OF: If there has been any impact on staff morale, how have you successfully been able to mitigate this?

PT: You have to realize this is a marathon and not a sprint. Encouraging and supporting each other in both a professional and personal way is the best thing you can do as a human being and associate.

OF: What are you most proud of doing well during this challenging time?

PT: We were able to pivot and use our high-end video walls to implement an in-Camera VFX volume. Our staff spent 8 months perfecting the technology and we are rolling it out to a very enthusiastic audience. Small crews, 10 hours of Magic Hour, and infinite sets are now a reality.

To contact Picture This for more details visit: https://picturethispdx.com/

Picture This Production Services has been servicing the Film, Video and Live Event Industry for over 30 years. Our experienced personnel and quality equipment are well known in the market for efficiency, creativity and excellence. Picture This services cable/satellite network channels, media communications companies, large and small corporations, and local businesses.

 

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Oregon Film Trail Dedicates A New Sign In Downtown Toledo!

Oregon Film Trail Dedicates A New Sign In Toledo, Oregon!

The latest sign on the Oregon Film Trail is dedicated today on Main Street across from City Hall in downtown Toledo. The sign celebrates the town’s starring role in “Sometimes A Great Notion.”

The recently installed sign marks and celebrates locations in and around Toledo in the filming of “Sometimes A Great Notion” (1971), a motion picture based on the second novel by Oregon author Ken Kesey and published in 1964. The film was directed by Paul Newman, who also co-starred with Henry Fonda and Lee Remick.

The story revolves around the Stamper family that strives to keep their small logging business going despite opposition from the local union. Many local residents were used as extras in the film and those still living in the area fondly recall the small parts they played. Many residents were thrilled to spot the film’s stars on the sidewalk and in local shops as the movie was being made.

The Toledo History Center, 208 South Main Street, features a framed original poster from “Sometimes A Great Notion” that was donated by Bud Shoemake, a longtime local resident who serves as general manager of the Port of Toledo. The sign marks the spot across from Toledo City Hall where the Ross Theater screened the film upon its release (the theater was removed in 1991).

“Sometimes A Great Notion” also filmed in Kernville, Newport and the Columbia River Gorge. An Oregon Film Trail sign can be found at Gleneden State Beach, close to the Kernville location.

Kesey also wrote, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1962) that was adapted into a 1975 film that won multiple Academy Awards. (Signs dedicated to this film can be visited in Salem and Depoe Bay.)

The sign is the twenty-first one for the Oregon Film Trail and is a collaborative partnership between the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television (a/k/a Oregon Film) and the Oregon Made Creative Foundation, the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and the City of Toledo. It was paid for in part by a grant from Travel Oregon and by OCVA(Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association) and the Toledo Downtown Association.The Oregon Film Trail was created by Oregon Film, in partnership with the Oregon Made Creative Foundation and Astoria Warrenton Chamber of Commerce. It features signage located at strategic filming locations around the state. The trail aims to strengthen the correlation between the film/television industry, economic development, and tourism as well as celebrate unique Oregon locations that are iconic in their own right.

“There aren’t many films that showcase and speak to the Oregon Spirit as ‘Sometimes a Great Notion’, said Tim Williams, executive director of Oregon Film. “Being able to honor and celebrate that project’s direct connection to a quintessential Oregon town like Toledo gives us all great pride. We wish to thank the city and its people for helping us achieve this recognition.”

Kathy Crane, executive director of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, has worked in partnership with Oregon Film and the Oregon Made Creative Foundation to bring this sign to Toledo “ as a means of encouraging tourists, as well as locals, to visit our town to see one of the filming locations of this movie and to take a walk down our historic Main Street. It’s like a walk through history with storefronts and building facades spanning every generation and genre of architectural style.”

Visitors and fans of other movies such as “Wild,” “The Goonies,” “Point Break,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Twilight,” “Free Willy,” “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Stand By Me,” “City Girl,” “The General” and “Short Circuit” among many others, have been coming to Oregon since these films were first released. Some of these Trail signs can be seen in Astoria, Gleneden Beach, Athena, Ashland, Depoe Bay, Silver Falls State Park, Ecola State Beach, Hammond Marina/Warrenton, Brownsville and Salem among others. For a complete list visit, the Oregon Film Trail map.

FaceBook: @OregonFilmTrail, @oregonfilm @cityoftoledooregon @OregonFilmTrail @TravelOregon

Instagram: @oregonmadecf @oregonfilmtrail @traveloregon

Twitter: @oregonfilm @TravelOregon

#OregonFilmTrail #OregonMade

 

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When in Doubt – Documentary on our Divides

When in Doubt
A new documentary about the importance of difficult conversations and the benefits of doubt.

The Signal Productions is making a documentary with the aim of helping improve dialogue across ideological divides and strengthening relationships. We are working with one of the authors of How to Have Impossible Conversations, Peter Boghossian, who will be coaching our documentary subjects to improve their ability to communicate. The film will feature amazing people like Daryl Davis, self-described race reconciliator, who was able to get over 200 people to leave behind hateful organizations like the KKK just through dialogue and by befriending them.

Our goal is to help bridge our seemingly impossible divides by offering people practical ways of improving their dialogue with and understanding of those they disagree with.

Please check out our teaser and our proof of concept. We have more content on our website:  www.whenindoubtfilm.com

We have filmed a small part of the documentary but are in need of help to finish it. We’ve raised over $15K in a little over two weeks and mostly from small donors. We believe that most people want to see solutions to our social and political polarization, and we’re asking for your help!

If you can share our GoFundMe or contribute anything, we’d very much appreciate it, and so will the people whose lives the film ultimately affects in a positive way!

Thanks for reading!


Here is Peter coaching one of our subjects, Anya.

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Share your experience: COVID-19 Media Production Impact Survey (Follow-Up)

OMPA | Oregon Media Production Impact Survey (Follow-Up)
OMPA is collecting follow-up data for our COVID-19 Media Production Impact Survey (initially conducted in March). Our data will be incorporated into a comprehensive Economic Development Report for Oregon legislators. We want to hear from every crew person and vendor!
💰 Which financial assistance programs did you apply for? Which did you receive?
🚫 Did you have to lay off employees? Were you laid off?
📊 What was the financial impact on your business? Positive or negative?
Tell our state legislators how COVID-19 has impacted you! Please take 5 minutes to share your anonymous feedback now.
Thank you!
 
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Let’s vote together! OMPA Ballot Party—Thursday, 10/22

OMPA Ballot Party

Thursday, October 22 | 5pm PT | RSVP for Zoom Info

Hang on to your ballots! 📮🇺🇸 We know it might feel like you can’t vote fast enough, but there’s more than one race (and ballot measure) to vote on! Join OMPA 🌟today at 5pm🌟 to hear our political strategist’s take on the candidates and ballot measures, and discuss over beers with your peers! 🍻

RSVP for Zoom Info: bit.ly/ompaballotparty2020

(Don’t worry, we’ll wrap by 6 for the Presidential debate!)

 


Why it matters on an industry level

Our positive relationships with city and state legislators have helped Oregon become a top location for all kinds of media production. Our local policymakers ensure our industry has access to filming permits, state incentives, workforce-development funding and more.

 


About OMPA

Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA) is a central source for reliable information, urgent advocacy, and advancing common interests in our industry.

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