Roxy presents a workshop to help film crews get work

By Becca Sayre

Montana’s natural vistas are so beautiful there’s no doubt they deserve to be featured in film, but larger media companies often look elsewhere, in part due to Montana’s lack of an available production workforce.

To help correct this problem, the Montana Film Academy at The Roxy Theater has partnered with the Montana Film Office to create its Production Intensive Series.

The series consists of four dynamic weekend workshops running throughout 2015 designed to teach attendees the skills they need to be hirable and successful in film production.

The ultimate goal of the series is to create a larger and stronger crew community pool for out-of-state producers to hire from, thereby making Montana a more attractive production destination.

The comprehensive program is led by local industry leaders and production mentors, and is working in tandem with the Montana film industry, educational institutions, and online and vocational education programs to improve the future of film production in Montana.

It is designed as an introduction to real-world production, allowing students to get comfortable enough with working on film sets to accept real jobs in the field.

“Montana needs to prepare its workforce for creating media – we need to be known as media manufacturers,” said Jeri Rafter, Production Intensive Series coordinator and production manager at Warm Springs Productions. “It’s no longer just making films or TV shows, the work is coming from all directions and is driven by web content – our Montana crew base must adapt to this changing economic landscape.”

The second Production Intensive workshop will take place at the Roxy June 27-28 and costs $150. It will again feature a live set experience, a dozen working professionals, and guest speakers from the Montana Film Office and Department of Labor.

Visit to enroll or get more information.

In the first session held in May, attendees worked on film-set lingo, etiquette and safety. Professional mentors were present to answer questions and to speak directly and honestly about what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry.

For hands-on production experience, students were given cameras and production tools and were asked to deconstruct a scene from an original script by acclaimed novelist Sherman Alexie. Using workshop knowledge gained during the first two days, the students had to decide how to stage and shoot the final product.

“The Production Intensive was a huge success. We were able to get the students up and on their feet and by Day 2 they literally had their hands on a Black Magic camera,” Rafter said.

Students are happy with the results as well.

“I’ve been in school for two and a half years, but I haven’t done really basic things like run a slate until today, and this is the first time I’ve been really comfortable being able to learn other things on set,” said Sean Rudolf, a PI series student and production assistant.

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