By: Maria Shamkalian
Please meet Ryan Shank – the Founder and Executive Director of the Red Rose Film Festival with a vision of creating more opportunities for central Pennsylvania as an entertainment hub. Ryan is an award winning independent producer of film & branded content who has collaborated with both international and domestic musicians, artists, & corporate communicators to develop and create innovative and visually stunning narratives to drive brand awareness.
1) What is your most recent success and how did you accomplish it?After 5 years of due diligence and research we are bringing a large scale festival to my home town, Lancaster PA.
2) How did you get started in the film industry?I started as a model/actor at 15. Commercial auditions at Mike Lemon Casting and Heery/Loftus Casting. went to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a degree in marketing. Then off to LA. Traded in front to behind the camera as a producer of branded content in my early 20’s. My heart is in front, my head behind the camera. I love the business of filmmaking.
3) Why do you choose to work in PA and what do you love the most about working in Pennsylvania?I choose Pennsylvania because this is home. I choose it because I can work in the community that means something to me. I choose Pennsylvania because I love my family and I believe that Film is about perspective and experience. I’ve Lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and been to New York more times than I can count. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a community you know and building something out from there.
4) What are some of your favorite shooting locations in Pennsylvania?Pennsylvania is largely underutilized. We have amazing bro locations but also two of the most famous cities in the country. You can do so much from Pittsburgh, to Lancaster, to Philadelphia.
5) What do you love the most about your job?Community engagement. Filmmakers and audiences are my clients. I want to create a memorable experience. I’m a film exhibitor. My job is to create a platform for film makers and film enthusiasts to meet.
6) Do you have any upcoming Pennsylvania-based projects?The Red Rose Film Festival Nov 1-3
7) 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?The film industry employees more people in the United States than both farming and mining. These are staples in the United States economy. Jobs are being created all over this country to create film. Why are we not bringing more of them to Pennsylvania?
8) What is your advice for the aspiring actors and filmmakers? Some steps to take? Some mistakes to avoid?
There are no shortcuts! Whether you’re in front of the camera or behind it, this industry is about relationships and cultivating your knowledge through experience. No one is going to hand you opportunity. Protect your reputation and your integrity!
Also, it is my firm belief that there is only one true difference between Pennsylvania and moving your whole life to Los Angeles or New York or Georgia. That one difference is proximity. Remember those you are competing against in those cities are having the conversations you want to have on a daily basis. So, when you get an opportunity to have an industry conversation SHOW UP PREPARED!
9) What are some good strategies to find more gigs?Never shy away from sharing your goals and vision with others. One conversation can lead down a huge rabbit hole of opportunity if you are true and clear of what your goals are. Also, always be a professional. Someone once said “it’s a fun job. But it’s still a job”. Put the work in.
10) What are some of the most valuable lessons that you have learned about this industry and wish you knew earlier? Learn your way around the business of filmmaking. The number one question I receive from potential investors in film is how and when I will see a return. An artist will not always have to know the answer to this question but hell, it helps!
11) What is your favorite film shot in Pennsylvania?Too difficult. I’ll go with Rocky for now...
12) What is your favorite project that you worked on?Red Rose Film Festival and Silver Linings Playbook (background)
13) What is your biggest aspiration in this industry?My goal is to bring more films to Pennsylvania, specifically central Pennsylvania. I have chosen a life where I am focused on building a family so to bring the industry home is my greatest aspiration.
14) What would be the best way for our local PA cast and crew to submit to your upcoming projects?Feel free to call me directly. I believe in collaboration. And like I said, sometimes it’s just one conversation that can lead you to something great. Visit my website at www.phillyac.com and drop me an email!
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org