By: JaLia Moody
Recall the classic detective film Inspector Gadget? Well, that film landed Joe Huber’s auto company, Precision Body and Service Inc., a recurring role in the film industry. For 32 years, Precision Body and Service has served the Pittsburgh area to car owners, commercial truck drivers, and the film industry.
Ever wonder where those wrecked cars end up? Huber’s auto shop takes them and fixes them to be ready for production. From trailers to trucks to cars for a set, he paints, remodels, or fixes what is sent to him. From the day he graduated from high school, he transitioned to working in the auto industry. He taught himself how to do bodywork by age 17—18. He held a deep interest for car remodeling since he was young. PaFIA’s own David Haddad introduced him to another world of car remodeling – the film industry. Joe says the most memorable experience thus far from working in the auto industry is meeting David Haddad because he has brought him a lot of work. When asked to compare working with car and truck owners to the film industry, Joe answered that each are about the same. Neither is less nor more difficult.
Joe advises anyone looking to step in his shoes these words of wisdom: “You have to really go out and get it and you got to hustle for it.” He is saying that one must possess two things: urgency and desire. Just go for it!
By: Jalia Moody
“Keep after your dreams. They will come true if you keep following them.” These are the words of an industry professional who believes in paying it forward. Jeannee Josefczyk is a woman to admire. She was President of The Pittsburgh Film Workers for 10 years, and at the time of her presidency the organization hosted the Oscar party before the Pittsburgh Film Office. Jeannee was also one of the founders of the Pittsburgh Film Office and has been a board member of PaFIA since it was started. She currently sits on the board of Women in Film and The Valleywide Credit Union.
“Keep after your dreams” is more than idealism for this IATSE 798 makeup artist and journeyman who also was the Shop Stewart for makeup in the Pittsburgh region. Jeannee was nominated for the prestigious Georgie Award from IATSE 706 for Special effect makeup on theacclaimed HBO series, The Corner. What she enjoys most about being a makeup artist is that no day is the same. One day you are creating a beautiful and mysterious woman and the next you are working with The President of the United States or making a drug addict come alive before your eyes.
The Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit Program is very relevant to Jeannee’s business. It keeps her from going out of state to work and has helped her to put three children through college. She expresses that “we must let our politicians and governor know how important it is to open up the tax credit to 100 million instead of 60 million. Once the tax credit is expanded, more films and different projects will come to Pennsylvania so the state can benefit from it causing a trickle down economy and benefit all.” Jeannee fights so diligently and serves organizations such as PaFIA so that the future film workers can get a tangible full time career in this industry. As she voices, “This business is one of feast or famine at first, but keep your chin up and work hard to persevere.” Jeannee’s life story is the best example of dreams crystallizing in a sure thing.
By: JaLia Moody
“Take a stand.” No matter which side is the universal message of the two-time award winning film, Voiceless, written and directed by Pat Necerato. Voiceless won Best Feature Film from two secular film festivals. The film is about a young man who comes to Philadelphia as a Christian activist leader to start a community outreach program through a church. He actively stands against abortion and the abortion clinic placed across the street from his church. Pro-choice viewers in the film festival audience gave accolades because the film handled the matter so delicately. Many people in the audience—whether pro choice or pro life—addressed the film as not being sermonizing.
The filmmaker, Necerato, started out as a Christian activist who met with legislators when hearings took place to petition laws that he was for or against to present the biblical perspective. He would frequent the abortion clinics, state legislators, and any place in New Jersey where social issues were being presented that called for a biblical response. The filmmaker simply utilized his first amendment rights to present his beliefs to the public. Voiceless is a culmination of his first two previous documentaries: Go Stand Speak: The Forgotten Power of the Public Proclamation of the Gospel and Street Preacher: A Day in the Life. The genesis of the story emerged from his own personal experiences from dealing with the church and people. Voiceless is not based on a true story, but it is fair to say that the film in an extension of Necerato’s ideological views and life experiences. Necerato wants the film to inspire viewers to take a stand for what they believe.
Voiceless was filmed in Philadelphia. Necerato is from what he calls the “Jersey side” of Philly. He grew up in South Jersey, Trenton, Palmyra, and Washington Township. The filmmaker chose to have the 26-day shoot take place in Philadelphia because he believed it was a natural place to film. He loves Philadelphia’s architecture, artistic texture, grittiness, and the street value of downtown Philly that brings a level of art. He chose to place the lead character in the Kensington or Frankfort area to represent the “Rocky-fighting metaphor.” There is an artistic rawness that Philadelphia possesses. Necerato made sure to show a cinematic rawness distinctly through the cinematography of his film. Originally, he wanted to shoot the film in black and white but distribution convinced him otherwise. Necerato worked 8-10 hours or more for three weeks coloring the film in his North Carolina post house. He’s grateful for the amount of work that McGuire from C3 Studios and his DOP, Joe Hennigan, put in to produce a film that is cinematically gritty.
With seven years under his belt as a filmmaker, Necerato has useful advice for first-time filmmakers. When it comes to choosing the city and state for your film, choose a location that is tax credit friendly, work with your producer and accountant with the tax credit, choose shooting locations that are in close proximity to each other to help save money, and choose a location that has good filmmakers and actors to bring in locally. For funding, he suggests there are two ways: fund it yourself or ask other people to fund it for you. He recommends to write and to direct the first film that you are acquiring funding for because you will be able to dictate what the story is about. He adds to read as many books and to watch as many films like the ones you are trying to make. Finally, surround yourself with people who are good at what they do. Whatever film one makes or watches, don’t forget to “take a stand.” Voiceless will be released in the fall of 2016.
By: Lisa Budwig
An enthusiastic crowd of filmmakers, actors, and others interested in growing the film industry in Central Pennsylvania gathered at the Lancaster Marriott in the city’s historic square on Friday, May 6 to learn about PaFIA and hear from four stellar industry guests.
The evening began with a lively networking session where guests and attendees were able to introduce themselves and get acquainted, talk about their own projects and backgrounds, the local filmmaking landscape (both literally and figuratively!), and what’s happening in the industry at the state level, all while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the balcony above the hotel’s grand lobby.
PaFIA Chair David Haddad then ushered the group into the ballroom and got the program started. Since PaFIA wasn’t well known in the region, David began with a explanation of the organization’s history, mission, and plans for the future in continuing to support and grow filmmaking not just in Philly and Pittsburgh, but across Pennsylvania.
After that, David introduced the guest speakers. Diane Heery, Artios Award-winning casting director (“Silver Linings Playbook” “Creed”) of Heery/Loftus Casting, gave a brief overview of the casting director’s job, offered advice for actors (“work hard, be serious, train in your craft”), and gave valuable tips for identifying scams that prey on eager new actors.
Veteran assistant director/producer John Rusk (“The Sixth Sense” “Twelve Monkeys”) talked about what he did to get started in the business and counseled others not to wait for jobs to come to them, but to seek out opportunities, get in front of producers in person and, if you don’t the job the first time, to keep at it….persistence, “hustle,” and a willingness to do the work will win out in the end.
Emmy Award-winning producer Paula Gregg (“Playing for the Mob” “The BOY”) was asked to speak about the producer’s perspective on what actors need to do get cast on projects. Her answer was to continue training because what producers value is having people around them who can be trusted to get the job done, and that applies to actors and crew alike. The more training an actor has, the more likely it is he or she will come to set prepared and ready to work, which will save the production money and time.
Mike McCann, president and founder of MVM Associates, a national specialist in transferable tax credits and expert in the PA film tax credit program, gave a brief explanation of the film tax credit program, how applications work and how filmmakers use the program to help finance their projects. The Pennsylvania program is currently capped at $60 million, and PaFIA would like to see it increased to $75 million and then eventually uncapped, because as it stands now there are many more productions that would like to film in the state than there are credits available.
PaFIA board members who were also in attendance as special guests and offered invaluable expertise and information to attendees were Jeannee Josefczeyk, Steve Leshinski, John Horell, and Jane Barr Pino, and all were extremely upbeat about the future of the film industry in Pennsylvania and the prospects for more production in Central PA. PaFIA is well-regarded on in the State House and the efforts to educate legislators about the economic benefits of filmmaking have been very successful. But budget challenges mean those efforts must be maintained, and increasing PaFIA’s membership and film production in regions beyond Philly and Pittsburgh will be valuable in securing support among legislators in all parts of the state.
The evening ended with more networking and making plans for next steps in building PaFIA’s presence in the Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon, York, Gettysburg and Chambersburg region. PaFIA gained one new sponsor and six new members as a result of this very successful event.
To see more photos from this event, click here!
Pennsylvania’s primary election on April 26th has come and gone, with no incumbents being ousted as fallout from last year’s budget impasse. So now, as session continues into May and June, the attention turns again to the Budget. And while the state budget isn’t due for two months, neither side appears to have moved away from the hard-and-fast positions staked out during the historic impasse. Governor Wolf still wants a broad-based tax increase to raise enough money to close the deficit and increase funding for public schools. And the Republicans who control the General Assembly still believe tax increases should be a last resort, and that a mix of cuts and smarter budgeting will produce a good plan. Last year’s battle included several tentative deals, collapses and vetoes, ending when Mr. Wolf declined in March to veto or sign the GOP’s latest proposal, completing a budget of about $30 billion. He pledged to renew the fight this budget season.
House Majority Leader Dave Reed has said the parallels in the two years — the personalities and issues remain the same — could actually help the process this time around. As the Leader pointed out, last year there was a new governor, new leadership in the House and the Senate you had a new session and you were starting from scratch. This year we’re not starting from scratch. Talks have quietly been going on for weeks. Governor Wolf’s spokesman said the governor has hopes for an on-time budget (by June 30). PaFIA will be advocating for an on-time budget that includes a long overdue increase to the $60 million annual allocation to the Film Tax Credit Program.
As an important reminder, all House seats have elections on November 8th, as well as half of the Senate seats. What does that mean? It means that voting for new or increased taxes remains and very RISKY political endeavor. I only hope this won’t be the budget version of Groundhog Day.
Hertz Entertainment Services, a division of the Hertz Corporation, is a single-source car and equipment rental solutions to the entertainment and special events industries. Hertz Entertainment Services (HES) provides customized vehicle and equipment rental solutions to movie, film and television productions, live sports and entertainment events, and all-occasion special events, such as weddings, conventions, and fairs. Launched initially in New York in 2009, Hertz Entertainment Services now has coverage throughout the United States Coordinating sales by Philadelphia International Airport for the last 2 years is Adam McNichol, who has been with the Hertz Cooperation for 4 years. “I love being behind the scenes,” says Adam. “The fast pace and always changing plans are a welcome challenge. I also love movies and I am intrigued of how much needs to come together to make it happen!”
Adam first learned about the PaFIA through Production Coordinator and PaFIA Board Member, David Raynor. “After some research we thought it was important to get involved because of the work we do with the entertainment market in Pennsylvania. When the crews are working a production it means that we are working also so it is important to help drive the ideas and needs of the film industry.“
Vocal about wanting to take an even more active role in the organization since becoming a Corporate Sponsor last year Adam says, “I wanted to get more involved with PaFIA because I think it is important that the state address the Tax Credit and truly see how much revenue generation is made by filming in Pennsylvania. Not only with your cooperate companies but with every business in the town where the crew is working from the equipment suppliers like us down to the gas station at the end of the street where the crew is filling their cars. It has a very long reach of which many are just not aware. “
When asked just how the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit effects Hertz Entertainment Services, Adam replied, “If we have equipment heading out then it is creating work for many people, you have the reps taking the call, the mechanics ensuring the equipment is ready and safe and the truck drivers delivering.”
What does a typical entertainment rental consist of?
“Most of the entertainment rentals that we do will consist of a lot of boom lifts, fork lifts and scissor lifts. We are available 24/7 for anything that could come up and very willing to help. We work very closely with the production staff to ensure you are getting what you need when you need it. In Pennsylvania we do a lot of aerial lifts and forklifts.”
Hertz Entertainment offers everything from blacked out Boom Lifts from 30’ to 125’, scissor lifts, personal lifts, light towers, forklifts to carts. They also offer Hvac and Generator services perfect for heating or cooling a tent for location shoots.
But do you get to drive the dream cars around the lot?
We sadly do not have a dream location at my office, but I am a huge car guy and would be in them in a second if we did!
On Saturday, April 30, PaFIA board members Ray Carballada, John Rusk,Maria Breyman, Mike McCann, Heather Tassoni and Diane Heery attended “Night at the Fights”, a fundraiser for the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.
The event was a lively evening of performances by local musicians, celebrity boxing, dinner and lots of networking. Maria Breyman and her husband, Nikolay, helped man the PaFIA information table, where many people learned about PaFIA and our mission.
Members of Philadelphia’s City Council, organized labor leaders and many local celebrities made the evening very worthwhile (and fun!)
PaFIA ‘s logo was even featured on the lighting banner that surrounded the arena!
By: Meagan Hill
On March 30, PaFIA members Meagan Hill and Tom and Helen McNutt participated in the second annual School of Media and Communication Internship and Career Fair at Temple University. Students received information about the benefits of memberships in both PaFIA and in SAG-AFTRA and how our two organizations work together.
Philadelphia Local SAG-AFTRA President, Tom McNutt told the students that it’s good to have an advocate, like SAG-AFTRA, who will be there to nurture and guide the performer. National board member, Helen McNutt added, “It’s tough trying to make a living in the industry alone. The union will protect them.” Students also learned that PaFIA is there to help and support all aspects of the film industry.
SAG-AFTRA board member, Meagan Hill, explained how hiring trained union talent can help speed up film production. “Pennsylvania artists and crews are visibly distinct from the rest. We clearly show the training, dedication and professionalism that took years to attain and was hard won. The Guild and the film industry of Pennsylvania should be synonymous for excellence. Professionalism will reduce production time by adding value through skill.”
By: John Rokosz
Actor, writer, and producer Jean Zarzour was the energetic speaker for a fun evening at Cioppino’s on Sunday, April 17. Besides having an extensive resume in film, TV and print, Jean serves as an instructor for theatrical improv and voice acting. Her customized sketch and improv comedy group, Lipschtick, provides informative seminars that are geared towards improving communication and teamwork among actors and non-actors alike. In addition, Find Your Voice! is Jean’s voice over training institute that teaches students of all ages to use their voice with more control and confidence.
For the captive audience on Sunday evening, Jean’s expertise translated into an entertaining yet educational seminar on improvisation for actors, and confident pitching for producers. With four exercises that encouraged crowd participation, Jean demonstrated the importance of active listening when pitching and improvising, and the need to step out of one’s comfort zone in order to make an impression. The group dynamic quickly energized with Jean’s supportive encouragement, as several members of the crowd “came out of their shells” to stand in front of the audience and pitch improvised film ideas; debate with each other about an improvised topic, then completely switching viewpoints in an instant; and use physical action to mime creative scenes and images. It was an exciting evening that promoted teamwork and interaction with a great group of actors, producers, writers, and PaFIA corporate members—a strong and growing network that PaFIA is proud to foster at each of these events.
Jean’s bio and portfolio are available on IMDb, with more information on her website at www.jeanzarzour.com. Please also visit www.lipschtick.com and www.findyourvoice-voiceactinginstitute.blogspot.com for more opportunities to learn about improvisation and voice acting. A big thank you to Jean, and to Cioppino’s for hosting another successful PaFIA event!
To see photos from this great event, click here!
Last month, Governor Wolf allowed the $6 billion GOP-crafted supplemental budget bill (HB 1801) to become law without his signature. At the time, Wolf insisted the spending plan remained out of balance and said he cannot put his name on a plan that spends more dollars than exist. This action set the final state spending for the current budget year at slightly more than $30 billion with $200 million new dollars for public schools. It also allowed critical dollars to flow to schools and other services, while pushing this year’s revenue discussions to the 2016-17 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Wolf warned that the next fiscal year, which already has a $2 billion deficit, will now begin with an extra $300 million deficit.
And just as there was a certain sense of relief, the Governor vetoed the Fiscal Code bill (HB 1327), which is important companion legislation to the state budget. The Fiscal Code is the roadmap for how state budget dollars are spent, ranging from the distribution of education dollars to the allocation of payments to Pennsylvania’s County Fairs.
As recently as last week, legislative votes on a revised fiscal code bill (HB1589) emerged with veto-proof majorities (2/3 approval). It was an ominous sign for Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf. Democrat lawmakers are beginning to see that their unswerving loyalty to Wolf last year brought them little more than a nine-month budget impasse, school districts running out of money and human services agencies stretched to the max. If Wolf persists, he could become the first governor in recent history to have a veto overridden. It’s more significant potentially as a message to Wolf on the 2016-17 budget. Work on it will get under way in earnest after the April 26 primary. After last year’s fiasco, lawmakers of both parties are hopeful for a timely, if not early, budget.
Film Tax Credit
As we are all painfully aware, allocation to the Film Tax Credit program requires annual approval as part of the budget. As such, budget delays, especially for significant periods of time, directly impacts the approval of film tax credit applications. And unfortunately, decisions are sometimes made to shoot elsewhere because of the budget uncertainty.
So PaFIA’s efforts are two-fold: increasing the $60 million annual allocation to the program AND advocating for a timely budget so delays won’t negatively impact the program. The obvious question – what does “increasing the annual allocation” mean? PaFIA’s position is simple, the greater the number allocated to the film tax credit, the more jobs created and additional investment into our communities. At the very least, PaFIA believes that moving the program BACK to $75 million (the original allocation under Rendell). A 50% increase (to $90 million) or beyond will allow for the industry to grow, bring more projects, and not require the state to pick winners and losers because of a limited pool of credits that the Department of Community & Economic Development can approve.
So, What’s Next?
The Pennsylvania primary is Tuesday, April 26. The House of Representatives will return to session on Monday, May 2. The Senate of Pennsylvania will return to session on Monday, May 9. 2016/2017 budget negotiations will “heat up” as the month goes on, bringing us to June, which is historically the busiest month of the year with the budget. With a budget deadline of June 30th, the Governor, Senate, and House will all try to resolve past differences and have a budget approved by the end of June. With 2016 being an election year, legislators will TRY and give voters a reason to re-elect incumbents. BUT, with that being said, a vote to increase any taxes (income or sales) or to create new taxes, is a very risky political move and could have serious consequences to those trying to REMAIN in office.
Oh the joys of an election year.
Pennsylvania Film Industry Association (PAFIA)461 Cochran Road, Box 246Pittsburgh, PA 15228(717) 833-4561 firstname.lastname@example.org