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  • Friday, December 13, 2019 4:16 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

    Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Introduce yourself!
    I am an award-winning filmmaker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have directed multiple short films and have shot others including a documentary in Finland. My biggest personal achievement is working full time as a freelance filmmaker with various productions around town, both commercial and narrative.

    What is your  most  recent  success  and  how  did  you  accomplish  it? It may sound strange but as stated above, I am able to financially comfortable working as a freelance filmmaker!

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    I started as an intern for a small (two person) production company my junior year of college and those connections lead to more connections which lead to even more connections!

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Pennsylvania native here! I like it because it feels almost punk in a way. We never were an industry (film industry) town but have since kind of evolved into our own little film community that outputs some serious quality. Most of the locals feel like true salt of the earth people.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    I don’t think I have a favorite location because I think Pennsylvania has so much to offer in regards to location shooting. I appreciate shooting in Pittsburgh but also enjoy going anywhere outside of the big cities for something more rustic or outdoorsy.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    I love that my job is always different. Different locations, scenarios, times.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    The early call times are awful but typically make for surreal moments of sunrise over whatever location we might be shooting that day. Just taking a minute to sip on some warm tea and appreciate the moment is probably some of my most memorable experiences on set.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I am currently in post-production on a short film I directed in the Pittsburgh area and am working with some buddies on a feature slated for next fall (2020).

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    I am a little biased because I work in the industry and see the direct result of the tax credits and I will admit I do not know the full scope of what all the tax credit does but I like to think that anything that brings productions to town is not a bad thing, especially with the seemingly increasing number of streaming services that are looking for content and are producing it themselves. I mean, Netflix has been in the Pittsburgh area consistently for the past 4 years and Amazon for the last two.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    The biggest hurdle I had to get over as a fimmaker/collaborator was to not taking things personally. Everyone has their own thing going on and we all want the end product to be the best possible thing so it might frustrate us at times when someone messes up or mistakes. That person potentially scolding you is working towards the same objective as you. Everyone is everyone’s best friend at wrap.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Work hard. People notice.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Stop whatever you are doing and get on a set.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    The Deer Hunter.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Whatever project I am working on now.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I would love to be able to travel and tell stories in any capacity through the medium of cinema.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Reach out any time! I have nothing personal in the chamber right now but am always looking to collaborate!

  • Friday, December 06, 2019 4:50 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair





    Our first featured PA Actor is Lyman Chen, based in Philadelphia. He has worked on the following PA projects:

    • The Happening (2008), Mark Wahlbrerg
    • Tenure (2008) Luke Wilson, Dave Koechner
    • No Boardaries (2009)
    • Badges (2010)
    • It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2011) Danny DeVito
    • Safe (2012) Jason Statham
    • Creed (2015) Michael B. Jordan
    • How to Get Girls (2017)
    • The Upside (2017) Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman
    • Servant (2019), Rupert Grint
    • Dispatches From Elsewhere (2020) Sally Field

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    I just completed 3 different television series in the same month (CBS, HBO, & AMC).  By having representation in different markets throughout the country, I’ve always had different opportunities at all times.  This was amazing because it all lined up at the same time.

    How did you get started in the film industry? 
    In 2002, at 30 years of age, wanted to explore film acting.  I had never had any acting experience whatsoever, but had spent my entire life enamored with watching TV and Movies.  I found an intro to Film Acting class at Mike Lemon Casting in Philadelphia.  He was the prominent casting director at the time, and was casting for the CBS Drama Series, Hack.  I found out that I filled a very rare niche (Asian American Male) and started working immediately in various commercials, industrials, and used being a Background Actor in Hack for a year to learn to realm of Film Acting. 

    If you are union, how did you become one?
    I got my SAG Eligibility through background work on CBS' Hack in 2002. I did not join until 2004 when I booked my first national commercial which actually filmed in Philly.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    The Rocky Statue at The Art Museum for Creed was amazing and got to meet Sylvester Stallone and of course Michael B. Jordan.  My entire family was in the scene too, so it was great to give them a taste of what it’s like to film on a movie set.  Filming on the Schuylkill River on a River Boat for It

    What do you love the most about your job? 
    I love to watch the process of a TV show or a film being made.  From the different styles of actors I work with, to the crew that works on them.  Getting to know them and their unique stories and journey is so intriguing to me.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story? 
    My very first day on a set was as a Background Actor on Hack.  One of the stars, Andre Braugher came up to me and asked me to run lines with him and handed me his sides. I had never seen a script or sides in my life and had no idea what to do. After fumbling about, and reading his lines, the other dialogue, and everything else wrong, he grabbed the sides out of my hand and politely said, “I’m gonna relieve you of the burden…” and walked off.  The other background actors (who are now my dear friends) just laughed their asses off and couldn’t believe I blew it so bad.  I said my career was over before it started….

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects? 
    Yes. Had the pleasure of working on AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere with a small multi-day player role.

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life? 
    I would not have EVER EVER EVER decided to pursue a career in Acting if Hack was not filming in Philadelphia.  The opportunity to work Background my first year was instrumental in giving me the experience to take it to the next level. 

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    This is truly a lottery and you need to have your stuff together, but you need a lot of luck also.  Enjoy the journey and the moment.  Treat every person on a set, from the director, to the background actor, to the caterer like they way you would want to be treated.  Good Karma is your friend. 

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs? 
    I audition a great deal and make sure casting directors know what I’m up to and what I’ve been working on.  Casting Workshops have been very beneficial for me, such as Actor’s Green Room in NYC.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier? 
    Don’t ever write or post anything negative about anyone or any project on social media.  It WILL get back to that person!

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m a huge Trading Places fan! 

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    The Departed was the greatest and first principal role I had.  The success of the film was my break and opened the doors for every job I have worked since.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    Would love to be a series regular on a series.

  • Friday, November 22, 2019 9:40 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Turkey’s Done” is an award-winning short film that was shot in South Philadelphia back in July of 2016.  It’s the collaboration of four women who wrote, produced, directed and starred in the film: Jennifer Tini, Monique Impagliazzo, Krystal Tini (also key hair & makeup artist and wardrobe stylist), and of course, Cheri Oteri, who were all born and raised in the Philadelphia area!
    The crew consisted of about 30 people (all local hires) who worked incredibly hard to capture our vision. The film would not be what it is today without Charles Bouril-Director of Photography, John White-1st AC, Kevin Howley-1st AD, Roseanne Mangoni-2nd AD, Johnny Baum Baum-Gaffer, Brigid Squilla-Prop Master, Dale Pavinski-Editor, Sam Nuttle and Sean Hamilton-Sound, Josh Clarke-Locations Manager, Richard Chiarantona-Production Manager, Julianna Pinto, Production Coordinator, Danielle Teta-Craft Service, Jennifer Condo-Set Photographer and Jennifer "Bok" Barkowitz-Publicity. A very special thank you to Kathleen Kearney and Nicole Agostino for being there during every step of the Production process.

    1) How did you come up with the idea and how did you get it going?
    Monique Impagliazzo, Jennifer Tini snd Krystal Tini had moved to Los Angeles after working on a feature film being shot in and around Philadelphia and the Jersey shore. Once together in our tiny apartment we all collaborated on a script to be brought to life based on real life “characters” from our very own neighborhood! From the start, we KNEW we wanted Cheri Oteri for the lead not only because she is a Philly native, but also because she is our favorite comedic actress that we fell in love with in every film! We knew we wanted to create something that embodied the typical and very colorful Italian family. How close we are- too close most times- our loud, yet welcoming and warm ways, and also to tell the story of true tradition, PHILLY tradition.

    2) What were some challenges that you have encountered?
    Some challenges were in post-production and finding a really good editor. With only two days of shooting we weren’t able to make many corrections or have the luxury of getting many takes. Our friend Dale Pavinski carefully put it all together and even offered to do some extra shooting of Cheri (all of her scenes at the makeup table). It came out better than we ever expected!

    3) The burning question: how did you arrange the budget?
    The budget! Well, with past experience and having the script broken down, we knew we needed as close to a full crew as possible. The biggest help though, was shooting in Philly! We were able to pay our crew, provide great craft services (ALWAYS feed your crew well), and obtain the best equipment because SO many people and businesses were willing to donate their time, food for our whole team, and even their homes as shooting locations! It’s something we’ll never forget and it’s why we want to bring the feature script back to shoot in Philly!

    4) What are the plans for distribution?
    Right now Turkey’s Done is on Amazon Prime Video and we are in conversation with Shorts TV, a new platform just for short films! We feel so blessed with these outlets, as years past there was nowhere for them to be seen.

    5) Care to share all the amazing accomplishments, awards and selections?
    We were quite shocked at how well received this film has been across North America! We were an official selection of Vancouver’s Just For Laughs Film Festival and to our surprise, came home winning 3rd place for Best Comedy out of hundreds of films! We now realized this film resonated with people everywhere- not just on the East Coast! This was followed by winning Best Comedy at The Philadelphia’s Women’s Film Festival and The Golden Door Film Festival, Best First Time Directors at The Philadelphia Independent Film Festival, and Cheri won Best Actress at The Burbank International Film Festival!

    6) Which film festivals do you suggest submitting to?
    Film Freeway is a great resource for researching film festivals.  We would suggest reading all the rules especially with the bigger film festivals like Sundance, Toronto and Cannes.  Then you can focus more on ones that fit your film, either by genre, shooting location, etc. We highly suggest submitting to festivals in your hometown and make sure to include that in your cover letter. Speaking of cover letters, they are very important, make sure to personalize each one. 

    7) Why did you choose to film in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    When you have a script based in South Philly, created by 3 South Philly women, and your executive producer is Cheri Oteri, also a Philly native, there really wasn’t another option in our opinion!

    8) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Shooting in South Philly is always a treat, it’s a way of letting the rest of the world get a glimpse of our world! However, if we had to shoot outdoors we’d love to capture Valley Forge Park or some hidden roads along the river, even Fairmount Park would be beautiful!

    9) How did you all get started in the film industry?
    To make a long story short, Monique worked for the Mary Anne Claro Talent Agency, which represented actors from Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. Jennifer was hired as an assistant to producer Diane Kirman after she was recommended by Mary Anne Claro, a close friend whom she met through her sister, Krystal, who was one of those talents Mary Anne represented. Talk about a small world... This was our first taste of the film industry!

    10) What do you love the most about your job?
    We love the freedom of filmmaking- choosing a story to tell, assembling the perfect cast, bringing people together, never knowing how it’s all going to work out but then it somehow does- it’s all about the journey!

    11) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Dino's character drove a Classic Cadillac in which we rented for the weekend.  During the wrap celebration, the crew couldn't get the car started and tried to give it a hot shot.  When they did there was a loud BOOM and the car caught on fire! Shortly after, the police and fire department showed up.  We can honestly say we went out with a bang!

    12) What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    In all honesty, we don’t feel there are challenges being female. We all believe in ourselves. We all believe in the law of attraction and that our thoughts become things. There are too many obstacles to overcome when making a film, that being a female doesn’t really factor into our consciousness when we are in work mode. We work hard, we know what we want, we figure out how to get it.

    13) What is your advice for other women in film?
    The advice we would give women film makers is go out there and create your own projects and tell your own stories.  No time like the present.

    14) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    We would like to bring our feature script, from which Turkey’s Done was based, to shoot in Philadelphia again. The way the community came together to help us is something we’ll never forget, and we would like to return the favor by spending our budget there!

    15) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    No matter where you are in the world, everyone likes a piece of Hollywood in their town! Shooting films not only brings work, but it boosts local economies, communities come together with excitement, and it helps people who want to get into the film business gain a bit of experience they won’t otherwise get unless moving to LA, NYC or Atlanta. Philly has some of the most beautiful locations and rich history that the city shouldn’t think twice about offering incentives! There’s no downside!

    16) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Some helpful tips include getting involved anyway you can! Become an intern or a production assistant - get that coffee -it's where you gain experience and learn.  Make yourself useful on set and always be on time.  Producers love hiring people they can rely on and they will then take you with them on other projects. And be POSITIVE!

    17) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    The most valuable lesson we all learned is always do what’s best for the project, never do what’s best for yourself. This is one of the first things we were told in film class, however, it’s not always easy to follow when there are three or four people at the helm of a project and each has their own opinion and vision. Just always remember it’s about the project and never about the individual.

    18) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    Right now our biggest aspiration is getting our feature film “in the can” -with a full budget to shoot everything we want, how we want and where we want, and then having a platform for it to reach the masses! Ideally a theatrical release would be awesome but we are also open to a Netflix release or another similar platform.

    Follow "Turkey's Done" on social media:
    Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 3:48 PM | Jennifer Butschle (Administrator)

    On Thursday, October 31, the House Democratic Policy Committee hosted a hearing on the Film Tax Credit at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Representative Maria Donatucci and Joe Ciresi were the local “hosts” of the hearing.

    The Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA) was invited to testify, and PAFIA’s very own Mike McCann was part of a panel. M. Night Shyamalan also provided testimony and spoke to how the decisions are being made about filming locations. He shared information about programs in Georgia and other states.

    Mike McCann was fantastic and the hearing went well. Mike advocated for more certainty and predictability, which an increase to the annual allocation to the program would provide.  The House Democratic members who attended were very enthusiastic about increasing the cap.

    The following House members attended:

    Rep. Maria Donatucci
    Rep. Joe Ciresi
    Rep. Mike Sturla
    Rep. Tim Briggs
    Rep. Mark Longietti
    Rep. Dan Williams
    Rep. Steve McCarter
    Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell
    Rep. Margo Davidson
    Rep. Mary Jo Daley
    Rep. Steve Malagari
    Rep. Kristine Howard
    Rep. Mike Driscoll

    In addition to M. Night and Mike McCann, Carrie Lepore from the Pennsylvania Film Office, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others testified in favor of the credit and the economic benefits to the state and local communities where productions are shot.

    The House and Senate returned to Harrisburg on Monday, November 18th for the week. Both chambers are then scheduled to reconvene in December. The House and Senate have not been in session very much this Fall, so things have been fairly quiet.


  • Friday, November 15, 2019 11:00 AM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Written by: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Born and bred in Philly, Jozef Jozefowski never ventured far from Broad Street, whether going to Temple University or to the Mummers. For the past nine years he has been working as a grip in the film industry, cranking out commercials and the occasional feature. His biggest achievements are in the day to day trenches, teaching green technicians and helping build camaraderie among crew.

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    My wife and I recently had an addition to our family. Now we have two kids!

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    I went to Temple University, and out of a long list of majors, I decided to go with Film and Media Arts. It wasn’t until my last semester, that I discovered grip and electric (G&E).

    Working on a senior project, I was the only one who knew how to use power tools, so they made me the key grip. From there it was basically working for free or earning little pay as a production assistant (PA), but preferably a Grip PA. I would scour Craigslist or the film office job list, and eventually I started forming a small work circle. Things really took off two years into the trade, when I was taken in by a few great technicians and key grips. I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without the knowledge and help of Nic Reader, Zac Rubino, Jimmy Madison, Francisco “Sonic” Kim, and Dave Greenplate. These guys took the time to teach me and they pushed me to become a better technician.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Family and Philly

    4)  What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Philly of course! I especially enjoy tech scouts— it’s like going on a sightseeing tour of the city, visiting locations you have never been to or places you never thought you would gain access.

    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    I love explaining to non-industry folks what a “grip” is. All kidding aside, gripping is an excellent combination of both manual labor and creativity. It’s that combination that keeps me coming back for more!

    6)  What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    All the jobs seem to run in together, with each awkward or funny story overriding the next. The most memorable moments come on the last day of working a feature. For me it’s always an overnight in the rain. But as the sun rises and they call, “that’s a wrap,” it is a truly fulfilling and magical moment. It lasts only a moment though, because then you have to start breaking down and loading the trucks.

    7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I never know when my next job is coming. It could be tomorrow or it could be next month. That’s why you gotta make sure your phone is on you when you get the call!

    8)  PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    There are so many people who are a part of the creative economy. We have a thriving local film community that works together on both passion projects and paid projects. Tax credits help ensure that our community can grow and impact other industries. In the end everyone benefits from tax credits.


    9) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    If you want to get into G&E, go stop by a rental house. Ask them if you can sweep the floors for free, and while you’re there you can learn about the gear. Now, although I tried doing this same thing and was told, “no” at the first rental house, it didn’t stop me from going on to the next one, which is where I learned a lot.

    9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Network. You never know where your next break is going to happen. And while networking, treat everyone — I’m talking about every person from way below the line to the highest person above the line — with equal dignity and respect. People will notice, and they will want to work with you on the next job.

    10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Don’t get angry with the people who block the one door, or the one set of steps, or the only entrance onto set. They’re not intending to be rude, they’re focusing on their job. Understand that there are a whole lot of people and departments all working together to create one great movie, commercial, or late-night infomercial.

    11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m a fan of Silver Linings Playbook.

    12) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I really enjoyed working on the History Making Productions, “Philadelphia the Great Experiment” series. I love Philly and dig history, so it was a great experience bringing the history of our city to life.

    13) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I’m content working as a key grip. I don’t need acclaim or awards— not that those are bad things, they are pretty good things! My focus is to work every job (whether big or small) to the best of my abilities, to make sure I can support my family, and to drive home safely at the end of a very long day.

    15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Well I just checked my calendar, I have no upcoming gigs. But if any body else does, feel free to reach out and email me at jozefowski.jozef@gmail.com and I will make sure you get a first class G&E crew.

  • Friday, November 08, 2019 12:46 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Article By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Tony Savant, Director of Playhouse West-Philadelphia, Acting School and Theater, is one of the foremost respected acting teachers in the country.  During the last 30 years, Mr. Savant has been integral to Playhouse West achieving its top reputation throughout the industry and being considered one of the finest acting schools in the world.  Mr. Savant helped train some of the most successful actors in film and television, including Ashley Judd, James Franco, Scott Caan, Scott Wolf, Scott Haze, Tessa Thompson, Jim Parrack, Alain Uy, Wentworth Miller, Heather Morris, Kathryn Morris, Charisma Carpenter and hundreds of other working actors.  He has directed five films, and is also a producer, writer and actor.


    1)  What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Most recent success as far as filmmaking is concerned?  I guess that would be my short film titled, Red, which ended up winning around 16 film festival awards.  It’s tough to get a 39 minute short into festivals, but we managed to get into some good ones.  I’m very proud of that film, it’s definitely the best film I made to date.  It was about two young musicians who try to escape their dysfunctional home-lives by playing music together.  It’s a little love story starring Evangeline Young, who’s got a recurring role on the ABC show “Emergence”,  Luke Eddy, and Jim Parrack, from “True Blood” fame.  Jim was shooting Suicide Squad in Toronto at the time and flew down for a weekend from that $200 million movie to shoot our $10,000 film.  He was terrific, it’s one of the best things he’s done, I really believe that.  Vange and Luke were students of mine at the time, and Jim had studied with me in L.A., that’s how I cast the actors.  I knew their work and wrote it with them in mind.  We raised the money threw IndieGogo, and the campaign went really well.  We met our budget in thirty days.  Lots of old students of mine in L.A. contributed, which I was grateful for.  To succeed with any film you’ve got to begin with a good, well-constructed script.  So, I worked very hard on the outline, I like to outline everything in great detail before writing the script.  I had been thinking about the story for almost a year, taking notes here and there, before getting down to the real work on it.  Then, the outline and designing the characters took about eight months, and then the script pretty much wrote itself within a matter of weeks.  Re-writes were minimal, but I kept tinkering for the next seven months during pre-production and rehearsing it.  Early on, before I even gave them a script, I told Vange and Luke to begin writing songs together, which we were to use in the film.  All the music is original, and Vange’s mother, Wendy Young, she wrote some songs and arranged all the music, which was vital to the film.  We had some excellent musicians play on the soundtrack, which I think is terrific, high quality for a short film.  I also told the actors to work on specific southern accents, because the film is set in the rural south, even though we filmed it all in PA, mostly in the Pottstown area, northern Chester County.  So, you work on the script till it’s solid and constructed well, you cast it well, you get the right actors, that is so important.  This was easy because, again, I was writing it with these actors in mind.  Thank God they loved the script and wanted to do it, or I wouldn’t have done the film.  I was also able to get other great technical people on board.  My producer, ShaunPaul Costello introduced me to a terrific DP, Charlie Anderson, who was working on the HBO show, “Vinyl”, at the time.  Charlie and I hit it off and he was just terrific to work with.  The whole shoot, we did 10 days, I think, was just a wonderful experience.  We were well prepared, had great weather, all the locations worked out.  We were blessed.  On the last day or shooting, the cast and crew didn’t want leave, they didn’t want it to end.

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    I was in L.A, training to be an actor, studying at Playhouse West.  While doing that I began directing and writing plays, eventually was asked to teach, which led to me directing more and more.  I had been in a few films, small parts, here and there.  But was becoming more interested in directing.  In 1999 I decided I needed to make a film, I wanted to direct one so I could speak and teach with more authority about the whole process.  My wife and I wrote a film called Letter From Home, a feature, which we shot mostly back here in PA.  We shot a 90 page script, on 16mm film, in 15 days, 12 days here in PA, 3 in L.A.  We flew the actors and some crew from LA, but got most of our crew through leads from the PA Film Office, the DP, AC’s, gaffer, grips, script supervisor… they were all from the Philly area.   I love making films.  I always say that every day on a set is like Christmas morning for a kid to me.  I wish I could make more, but my teaching obligations and running an acting school make it difficult.  So, I mentor a lot of filmmakers.  I’ve also been the director of the Playhouse West Film Festival, for 19 years in LA and now for 6 years in Philly.  And I’ve helped all my sons make films, so I get my fill.  I’m on sets a lot.  And I will make more myself.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    It’s not entirely by choice now, as I live in PA now, but my preference would be to shoot here in the state as much as I can in the future.  I’ve made several films in Los Angeles, and it’s expensive and can be a hassle.  There’s certainly more resources available, but it’s not easy.  Making films in PA is wonderful because everywhere you go most people are so helpful and willing to pitch in, lend locations, whatever.  In L.A. everyone has a hand out and they want something; a part in the film, a part for their girlfriend, or lots of money.  Hollywood is the film capital, but a lot of people there, perhaps, are so used to it, it’s not a novelty, and unless there are stars around I guess it’s just a pain to have a film crew around.  In PA, in my experiences, people are so willing to help and they are happy you are filming something.  I’ve had strangers volunteer to direct traffic, offer food, offer their vehicles, homes and ask to help.  And many places in PA you don’t need permits.  It’s just so filmmaker friendly.  And there are so many great locations in eastern PA, plus the architecture, the history, we’ve got a great city and also very rural areas all within an hour’s drive.  PA, especially the Philly area, has everything a filmmaker needs.

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    Oh, boy… that’s hard to answer.  Again, I think the city of Philadelphia has a lot to offer.  You’ve got so much history and great architecture, wonderful old buildings with so much character, combined with a modern skyline.  You’ve got two large, beautiful rivers, parks, lots of rural areas and woods… I love shooting in the woods and outdoors, even though there’s a chance you’ll get rained on.  PA is so scenic.  I love it.

    5)    What do you love the most about your job?
    The job of director?  I like being the captain of the ship.  I love telling stories, and I guess what drew me to directing from acting is that I like to tell it my way.  I think all directors have to think they know the best way to tell the story.  It’s not arrogance, it’s that you have to find what’s personal to you about the story and it kind of demands that you have a vision and idea of how it should be told, from your point of view.  I also love bringing creative people together, collaborating and setting up an arena for them to play and creatively express themselves.  It gives me great pleasure to be a part of that.  But to me, it’s about loving to tell stories, wanting to move people.  Making movies is a very noble endeavor.

    6) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Hard to say.  I guess if you’re asking about any on set story, my most memorable overall would be getting to be on set all week with Eli Wallach and Martin Landau many years ago, on a movie called Mistress.  I had a small part, was mostly completely cut out of the film, but being on set with them for five days, picking their brains, listening to them tell stories and talk about acting.  They were legends and worked with the best of the best, had amazing careers and a million stories.  And they were great story tellers.   What a special treat to be around them.  There were other big stars in the film too, and it was very instructive to watch them work.  But getting to know Eli and Martin, being in scenes with them was great, but the off screen part was what I treasured and will never forget.  And they were just lovely and giving people. 

    As a director, I think the best moment for me was on the set of Red, watching Jim Parrack and Evangeline Young do a scene, and have it turn out so different than what I had imagined, yet so much better.  There was a scene where Jim, as Vange’s dad, is drunk and she puts him to bed.  And we rehearsed it and it was very, very good.  But when we shot the scene, on the first take, it just organically and instinctively came out so different.  Perhaps intuitively it was the way it was meant to be all along, but we didn’t see it before.  I was just beautiful and better than what any of us imagined.  It was one take.  I just knew it would never be better than that.  I ended up doing no coverage, that first and only take is what’s in the film.  Jim’s work is so deep and sensitively and vulnerable, and so full of pain, and Vange just works off him so beautifully.    It was magical to watch it happen in that moment.  I think, as a director, and as an actor, I live for moments when you can be surprised like that.

    7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I do.  I have several I’ve been mulling around and working on, in my mind, for several years now.  I will make one of them in the next year or two.  I’m slow.  Because of my other obligations I don’t get to do it as often as I want, so when I do I have to make it count.

    8)    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    We could have a thriving and fruitful film community here, not that we don’t now, but I mean it could be more fruitful and even more thriving, bringing bigger films and TV shows, if we could compete with some of the tax-friendly states like Georgia and Louisiana, or North Carolina.  The politicians and officials of those states seem to recognize that.  The local crew, the hotels, locations, merchants and other vendors, would all win out if we had more film shoots here, which will off-set the tax breaks to the production companies and studios because the local people would make more money and pay more in taxes.  It would contribute to the economy in the long run.  So, it would be a win-win for everyone.  Entertainment is such an important part of our lives.  Imagine a world without movies, without plays… it would be a bleak world.   It enriches all our lives.

    9)    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    For actors, please, please learn your craft, study it, work at it daily like musicians and dancers and the artists.   Work to become the kind of actor everyone would be dying to work with.  This means not only being great at your craft, but being a complete professional in every sense of the word.  It takes years of continual study and work to be excellent at it.  Take it seriously, become excellent at it so you can contribute effectively on any project you are a part of.  It’s hard work, but it should be joyful work if you love it.  If you don’t love it and want to be great at it, then disqualify yourself and do something else.  As a filmmaker, producer or technical person, learn through doing.  Get on as many sets as possible to do it a lot.  And, for both actors and behind the scenes folks, read, continue to educate yourselves, watch and study films, study all the best films, understand what works, then go and do it.  Begin with short films, five minutes.  If you can tell a great five minute story, then make a ten minute, then fifteen, and so on.  Actors, make your own films, don’t wait to get hired.  But, perhaps before that, educate yourself.  Everyone should read “The Art of Dramatic Writing” by Lajos Egri, so you understand the anatomy of a story and it’s proper construction.  It’s the best book on writing ever.  And it all begins with the script.  If you don’t understand story construction or what makes a good script, forget it.  Read “Making Movies” by Sidney Lumet.  Read “On Directing” by Elia Kazan, and “Kazan: The Master Director Discusses His Films”, with Jeff Young.  It’s a series of interviews with the greatest director of all time.  Read every book by and about Kazan.  Watch YouTube interviews with all the finest directors and filmmakers and actors.  Directors, study some acting so you understand that process and so you can help actors and speak to them intelligently.  For everyone, help out on sets.  Get on as many sets as you can and learn as many jobs on set as you can so you are knowledgeable and also appreciate that making a film is a collaborative effort and all jobs are to be valued.

    10) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Help out on sets as many as you can.  Again, become the kind of person that everyone would die to work with.  Show up early, do more than what is required of you.  Go above and beyond the call of duty.  Be nice, courteous and dependable.  These things go such a long way.  And while doing this, learn and become excellent at what you do.  Man, it’s all about working hard and being dependable.  That’s the ticket.  And be nice.  No one wants to work with a self-indulgent jerk.

    11) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Hmm… I think the value of studying movies and knowing them.  I mean really knowing them, knowing about the people who made them. I wish I’d been told early on that it’s important to become an expert on the literature of your profession, which in this case is movies.  Read, watch and study all the great films, film directors, etc.  It seems so obvious.

    12) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Oh, so many of them.  My God, there’s Philadelphia.  There’s Rocky, of course.  WitnessThe Deer Hunter… it was set in PA, don’t know if was shot out in western PA or not.  The Sixth Sense.  But, I guess I’ll go with Rocky!  Who doesn’t love Rocky?

    13) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    I’d have to say my film, Red.  It was a special experience.

    14) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    Oh, just to keep helping young filmmakers, and get to keep learning and making films every few years.  It’s such a joy to be in this industry and do what you love.

    15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    Best way is to keep working, build up contacts. If someone sees that I’m doing a project they can message me.  Like most filmmakers, you mostly work with people through contacts with others.  Go to film festival and screenings, meet filmmakers and exchange emails.  You can’t get hired from someone who doesn’t know you exist.  And be the kind of person everyone would die to work with.  If you do, you will have more work than you can imagine.  With me, come to events we have at Playhouse West, like our annual film festival in June, and introduce yourself.

  • Friday, November 01, 2019 12:13 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

     Written by: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Wendy is a veteran film and media professional. Along with an amazing Philly documentary team (SHOUT OUT to Andrew Ferrett, Rachel Stewart, Paul Van Haute, Monique Impagliazzo, Jon Kohl, Sila Sherman, Dan La Porta, Katie Arnold et al), she recently won two Mid Atlantic Emmy awards for best Documentary (Sisters in Freedom as Director/Producer) and for Historical/Cultural Special (Philadelphia: The Great Experiment as Segment Producer). Wendy started out in film as a Production Coordinator on the features Dumb and Dumber (the original!), Se7en, American History X and Blade II, to name a few.

    She’s a graduate of Penn State with a degree in theater management, the perfect launching pad to an successful career as a Production Stage Manager before her switch to film.

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Produced the Philly portion of two episodes for the NBC television series THIS IS US.  Accomplished with the assistance of The Greater Philadelphia Film Office. We would not have been successful without their help!

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    After working freelance on a New Line produced feature film I got a staff job as an in-house coordinator. There were a lot of people who helped me along the way and it’s my great pleasure to now do the same for young filmmakers.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I’m so happy to be back after many decades away – this is a fabulously lively and photogenic city with a growing crew base and amazing home grown acting talent.

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    In my documentary work I have been so lucky to film in amazing colonial era buildings and 19th century estates. Anywhere along the Schuylkill or the Delaware is pretty fantastic too.

    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    Facilitating the creation of interesting and important media.

    6) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Being in a small room with Pope Francis with just a handful of other people at St Charles Seminary in Wynnewood. And – I’m usually not star struck but I had a hard time catching my breath while I stood shoulder to shoulder with Robert DeNiro, showing him how to use a satellite phone.

    7) What are some of the challenges of being a female filmmaker?
    If you are strong, forthright and decisive, you’re considered a "b****". Whereas a man would be considered a leader.

    8) What is your advice for other women in film?
    Let your voice be heard. Do the work, don’t be discouraged. BE KIND. Help others.

    9) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I have a few things in the works that aren’t yet greenlit – I’m available!

    10) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    Please look at the last 5 years and how much Pennsylvania film production has exploded. Film and television projects will only consider filming in the state if we have a healthy tax incentive program. Thanks to PaFIA, elected officials have the real data on how the tax incentive program continues to expand what is now a thriving media production industry in PA

    11) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Work, work work. Create you own opportunities. Check out PhillyCam and learn some behind the camera skills! Go see theater, opera, ballet, the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as film.  Support other artists!

    12) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Always be learning a new skill. Reach out to industry professionals – you’ll be surprised at their willingness to share their knowledge.

    13) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Move on quickly from disappointments – try not to spend too much time stressing about the job you didn’t get. Focus on the next opportunity.

    14) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Philadelphia directed by Jonathan Demme

    15) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    In Philadelphia it’s all the documentary work I did with History Making Productions . In my career it was- the year I spent working on Around the World in 80 Days with Jackie Chan. We shot in Thailand and Germany. I met so many fantastic people on that job who remain friends to this day.

    16) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    To help bring great jobs to Philly! (and finish that script that is banging around in my head!)

  • Friday, October 25, 2019 12:56 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      

    Article by: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Sean Hoffman is a Production Sound Mixer based in Philadelphia who has been working in the film industry for 9 years. He has worked previously as a PA, Locations Assistant, a Grip, Production Coordinator, Production Manager, 2nd AD until 4 years ago when he started sound mixing. He fell in love with the job, and the first short film he sound mixed was Neighborhood Film Company’s “The Cage.” Because of that success, he has had the opportunity on many other exciting projects ranging from docs, commercials, reality shows, other short films, EPK shoots and a couple features.

    What are some of your biggest achievements in the film industry:
    I am a Production Sound Mixer based in Philadelphia. I have been working in the film industry for about nine years. When I first started my career, I worked in many different departments. I worked as a PA, a Locations Assistant, a Grip, Production Coordinator, Production Manager, 2nd AD, until about 4 years ago when I started sound mixing. That was when I learned I never wanted to do anything else. The first short film I sound mixed was Neighborhood Film Company’s “The Cage.” This project was a challenge to myself; to prove that this was what I wanted to do and that I could do it well. Because of the success of that film, I have had the opportunity to work on many other exciting projects ranging from docs, commercials, reality shows, other short films, EPK shoots and a couple features.

    What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Some of my most recent successes are premiering at the Philadelphia Film Festival this year. I had the pleasure of sound mixing three amazing projects. One is a feature length doc called “Maybe Next Year.” The film, directed by Kyle Thrash, is about the Eagles fans and the exciting 2017 season that led to our first Super Bowl. Another film in the festival is a feature length narrative called the “The Nomads” directed by Brandon Kamin, which is based on the true story of a North Philly Rugby team that formed after the 2013 school closures occurred throughout the city. The third project is a short film directed by David Janetta called “The Water Song.”

    How did you get started in the film industry?
    In 2011, I graduated from Temple University with a BA in Broadcasting Communication and Mass Media. When I was in school I was hoping to have a career recording music, but towards the end of college I learned that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I reached out to a couple guys, Jim Madison and Nic Reader, who were starting a business out of a garage in Kensington. I interned for them and not long after that they started sending me out on jobs, and that turned into my introduction into filmmaking along with the close knit Philadelphia Film community. I don’t know what I’d be doing now if it wasn’t for that internship. My start in the film industry is all because of Jim Madison and Nic Reader of Format (at the time known as Expressway Productions) and Expressway Cinema Rentals.

    Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    PA is home for me. I grew up an hour outside the city near Doylestown and loved growing up there. Philadelphia has been my home since I started college and has had a huge impact on the person I have become. We get to work in such a variety of mediums in a variety of locations and it makes this line work much more exciting.

    What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?
    There are too many to count, but being able to film in iconic locations like the Philadelphia Art Museum, the Italian Market, beautiful Old City is such a treat. And the fact that you can drive an hour outside of the city and be on a mountain or at a beach are what makes the options Pennsylvania has to offer so vast.

    What do you love the most about your job?
    What I love most about my job are the people. The film community here is super close. Most of the people I spend my time with outside of work are fellow filmmakers. We’re a family here. I know its cheesy but every time I’m on set with friends it hardly ever feels like work.

    What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Definitely working on “Maybe Next Year” is an experience I will never forget. We saw and captured so much throughout the past 2 years and I don’t think anyone in Philadelphia will ever forget that Eagles season.

    Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    I spent this past summer working on the newest season of Queer Eye which shot in Philly and should be coming to Netflix in the near future. When I’m not working on long form projects, I do a fair amount of commercial and corporate shoots in the area which is what I mostly have going on at the moment.

    PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    If it weren’t for the PA film industry I wouldn’t be doing what I love or working with the people who inspire me. When movies are being made other industries get impacted. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, thrift stores… you name it, all these types of business do better when the film industry is flourishing.

    What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    To me, its mostly about personality. Be friendly and easy to work with and it will get you hired again. Don’t take it too seriously. We’re making movies, not saving lives. Lastly, believe in yourself. I wish I had made the jump into sound mixing long before I did. But at some point I pushed past any doubts I had and made a move.

    What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Social media is great for promoting yourself and connecting with other filmmakers. Your local film office website is also a fantastic resource that I feel many filmmakers under utilize. Finally, going to screenings and networking groups. One great tool around here is a local film group called Rough Cuts, started by Philly filmmakers Nic Justice and Ryan Scott, where people can screen and get notes on the projects they are working on.

    What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    I remember early in my filmmaking career I was a Locations Assistant on an NBC show called “Do No Harm” and my boss taught me one of the golden rules of being on set is “if you’re on time you’re late.” That is one lesson that has always stuck with me. Another lesson I learned is, big ego’s and bad vibes hurt the filmmaking process and should be left at home. When everyone on the set is getting along and collaborating at a high level the days run smoother and it shows in the product.

    What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    Silver Linings Playbook is probably at the top of my list of movies shot in PA. I love Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence’s characters. They are both dynamic and relatable. It’s hard not to love how the story loosely revolves around the Eagles.

    What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    My favorite project that I worked on recently was this year’s Eagles hype video, produced by 160 Over 90 and directed by Ryan Scott. It was a fun project and we had a fantastic crew.

    What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    My biggest aspiration is to be a great sound mixer and work on projects that matter. Lately, it feels like the industry and our community has been growing and growing, and I hope I continue to grow along with it.

    What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    I don’t do much of the hiring since I’m part of the crew but if there are people out there looking for a sound mixer or just want to talk film, my contact info can be found on my website at seanhoffmansound.com.

  • Friday, October 18, 2019 1:08 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

        
    By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Jon Applebaum has been working as a Commercial Producer and Post-Supervisor at Neighborhood film Company for the past 5 years. Before working at Neighborhood, he worked on several feature films spanning a 9 year period, including There Will Be Blood and Silver Linings Playbook.

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    Nei
    ghborhood just wrapped its first feature narrative film entitled Concrete Cowboys. It’s been thrilling to be a part of such an amazing company that continues to create quality content.

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    The first Production job I ever landed was on Talladega Nights thanks to a cousin of mine who was working as a Costumer. I worked as an office PA on 2nd unit, which led to the rest of my feature gigs.


    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    Philly is my hometown so I’ve always had tremendous love for this city. There’s a story I tell that sums up my love for this city. I was talking with a guy who was based in LA but who was here for a few months due to work. He said to me, “In LA they stab you in the back.  Here in Philly, they stab you right in the chest.” The people here don’t BS you, they tell you exactly what’s on their mind. As a Producer, you have to listen to a lot of people’s concerns and decide the best course of action. I think this city has made me better at my job because everyone is very straightforward with you.

    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?Anything close to my house. That’s a joke… but also true. The whole city is great. There’s so much character here, so much art and murals. We just did a Visit Philly spot that brought us to 33 different locations in 3 days.  Every location was unique. Many of them I was stepping into for the first time – and I’ve lived here all my life. There’s just so much to see, and it’s always changing.


    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    I’m extremely lucky to be working for Neighborhood in this industry. Neighborhood is a solid group of people who really care about each other and the work we do together. I also love traveling so scoring a job that brings me out of state or out of the country is also a huge plus.

    6) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    Working in this industry sets you up with all sorts of wild stories. It’s a weird mix of people who all have their unique skill sets but somehow come together to make a movie. One of my most memorable experiences was while working on Talladega Nights.  John C. Reilly threw a house party for the cast and crew and invited everyone over for drinks. I somehow found myself in his kitchen with a couple other people talking to him about his past films. He told us stories of working on Magnolia and fighting a fake fish on A Perfect Storm. It was just a great time, he was such a nice guy and so welcoming. The whole cast and crew was like that. There were no egos - it was just the most talented people being funny as hell. I had a blast on that movie.


    7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    Most of our projects are based here in Philly. I mentioned our feature film Concrete Cowboys, which we wrapped in August. We are also hoping to shoot a documentary about the actual Fletcher Street riders later this year. There are a few commercial projects brewing as well.

    8) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    It’s simple. More production work in the area creates more jobs and more opportunities for local businesses to make money. This starts with the tax credit. If we increase or even uncap the tax credit we can build a production infrastructure that could rival any other major city.


    9) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    Work. Get out there and work. Work for free. Meet people. You have to build a network to make it. Every production job I’ve ever gotten was through someone I knew in the business. Also, on the creative side of things, create work for yourself. Give yourself the opportunity to show off your skills. You’re never going to get a job if you have nothing to show for it. If you want to direct, go out and direct. Build a reel. Know yourself and what sort of work you want to be creating. You’re never going to get hired to make comedy spots if you don’t have them on your reel. If that’s what you really want to do, go make a comedy spot yourself.

    10) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Like I said, work and build a network of people. You can reach out to people on film.org who are posting gigs. You can also reach out to production companies and agencies. Let them know you’re available.


    11) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    You really have to put yourself out there. The work isn’t going to come to you. You have to constantly reach out and find work for yourself when starting out. Be persistent without being annoying.


    12) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m going to say 12 Monkeys. Terry Gilliam is so talented. I love everything he does.

    13) What is your favorite project that you worked on?
    Our short film The Cage holds a special place in my heart. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever helped produce and it’s opened a lot of doors for us.  


    14) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    Next steps for me is to produce bigger budget commercials. I’d also like to produce a short narrative which I have written, which would hopefully lead to producing a feature of my own.

    15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    You can email us at: hello@neighborhoodfilmco.com


  • Friday, October 11, 2019 3:22 PM | Jaymie Macek (Administrator)

      By: Maria Shamkalian
    PAFIA Vice-Chair

    Steve Perrong is a Director/Editor for Neighborhood Film Company based in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, specializing in commercial and documentary work as well as Behind-The-Scenes and EPK content for film and television. 

    1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?
    The most recent project I am coming off of is Behind the Scenes content for the film “Concrete Cowboys,” written by Neighborhood Film Company owners Ricky Staub and Dan Walser and directed by Ricky. It stars Idris Elba, Jharrel Jerome, and Caleb McLaughlin. I am also currently directing BTS content for M. Night Shyamalan’s “Servant” and Jason Segel’s “Dispatches From Elsewhere.”

    2) How did you get started in the film industry?
    I started helping out for a television show at a local church when I was around 15 or 16. From there I went to college to study film and have continued to work in the industry ever since.

    3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?
    I grew up just outside of Philly so this has always been home. I’m lucky that I have been able to stay based here. I have shot in most of the states in the U.S. and in other countries and my favorite film crews are still in PA.


    4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania? Anything in Philly will always look great. I think PA in general is unique because it offers a variety of landscapes and settings for shooting.


    5) What do you love the most about your job?
    I love that every job is different so it keeps you on your toes. It’s a great environment to continue to get better.

    6) What is your most memorable, most awkward, or funniest on set story?
    I think the most memorable will be working on Concrete Cowboys. It was a film that was close to all of us at Neighborhood and we couldn’t really believe it was happening. “Glass” was another film that was memorable to work on. I directed some featurettes and a lot of bonus content. 

    7) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?
    We love being able to do work in Pennsylvania both large and small. I have some commercials coming up and hope to be in production of a documentary before the end of the year.

    8) PAFIA has been working hard on increasing the film tax credit in Pennsylvania and bringing more film work to our local crew and talent, but we must all unite to really make a difference. What can you tell our elected officials about the importance of PA film industry and the difference it has made in your life?
    Shooting in PA not only keeps local crew and talent who make a living in film working, it also boosts the economy - dollars spent with local merchants and hotels benefits the state as a whole. And I think any time you can see PA in a movie or show it will help drive tourism.


    9) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
    You always need to be practicing your craft and remember that filmmaking is like a team sport. Be open to collaboration.

    10) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?
    Networking is key and always have a positive attitude.

    11) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier?
    Trying to maintain a good work-life balance is a must.

    12) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?
    I’m all about the Philly films but I might have to go with “Night of the Living Dead”

    13) What is your favorite project that you worked on? 
    Most recently I had so much fun on a commercial I directed for “Visit Philly”. We were all over the city for the shoot and made sure to show off the not so touristy spots of town to prove that Philly has a lot to offer.

    14) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?
    I just hope that I can continue collaborating with great people while creating work that makes me happy.

    15) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?
    www.neighborhoodfilmco.com or @perrong on Instagram.

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Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)
461 Cochran Road, Box 246
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
(717) 833-4561  info@pafia.org

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