Wanted: film crews for hard, rewarding work

Be careful what you wish for if you want to work in the capital region’s film and TV production scene.

A recent surge in production activity here has sparked a flood of inquiries and measures to increase the local crew base.

But Paul Rayman, unit manager on Gracepoint, said while working in the film industry can be rewarding, potential employees should be aware it’s “all-consuming,” with long work days.

“It isn’t sitting around having lattes with the stars, even at my stage,” said the veteran production manager with a laugh.

Anyone interested in film and TV work can learn more at Lights! Camera! Employment!, an industry information session at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus tonight at 7.

Rayman offered prospective employees a tip: “Always pack a bag with extra warm gear and rain gear, no matter how sunny and nice the day is. The physicality of it can be daunting and, after a while, it’s hard to keep your body warm.”

Victoria film commissioner Kathleen Gilbert said the commission has been inundated with calls from people wanting to know how to become involved in the industry. A record-setting five films shot here simultaneously this spring: Hallmark Channel movies Gourmet Detective 2: A Healthy Way to Die, Play Date and Last Resort, Lakeshore Entertainment’s psychological thriller The Boy and Air Bud Entertainment’s new family comedy Monkey Up.

“We do need a larger local crew base if we want to grow the industry here,” Gilbert said. “Out of the five shows we just had here, only one was able to completely crew up locally.”

Gilbert will moderate a panel discussion and Q&A in the Young Building’s Gibson Auditorium with six industry professionals who will share their expertise and insights. Admission is $10, or $5 for students and youth, and free for Vancouver Island South Film and Media Commission members.

Panellists include first assistant director Shamess Shute (Night at the Museum 3), production designer and set decorator Terry Lewis (Mission: Impossible), transport driver Rob Schuster (Trophy Wife), veteran key grip Brian Smith (Roxanne), wardrobe representative Constance Moerman (Gracepoint) and location manager Nathan Mosewich (The L.A. Complex).

Rayman’s most recent gig was overseeing last Sunday’s shoot on Ship’s Point Wharf and a tall ship for Hell on Wheels, AMC’s hit Western series about the launch of the transcontinental railway.

“It’s the show’s fifth and final season, so they reach the Pacific, and they came here to shoot some big water,” Rayman said.

“They were originally going to shoot some of the coastline, but when they landed and saw the tall ships, they wondered what the possibility of filming that would be,” he said. Using the natural scenery meant not having to build a dock or using computer-generated imagery to create a seaside setting, he said. The scene features background performers posing as Chinese settlers disembarking in San Francisco.

Hell on Wheels is produced with Calgary’s Nomadic Pictures, whose producer Chad Oakes also did the Emmy-winning series Fargo, and The Mermaid’s Chair and Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber here.

While the only other feature still shooting locally is the horror film The Girl in the Photographs, Gilbert has fielded location requests for at least two other potential projects.

“It’s looking good to have at least one show in June or July,” she said, estimating that total spending this year is now about $12 million, with an estimated take of $18 million by year’s end.

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/wanted-film-crews-for-hard-rewarding-work-1.1846658#sthash.qdMDMhex.dpuf


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