Page 1

MPG’s Special

Edition 19




The year was 1985—Ronald Reagan was President, there was no internet and a postage stamp was only 20 cents. Oh, and a small production company started in a loft in pre-trendy Wicker Park in Chicago. With little more than a dream and some pocket change Media Process Group began what has become a 25-year-run as a full service production and post-production house. In those spartan early days the original partners, Bob Hercules, David Beaton and Bruce Lixey, could never imagine that MPG would eventually end up producing and shooting a Presidential campaign launch video (for Barack Obama) or becoming the go-to film crew for one of the world’s most recognized stars (Oprah Winfrey). Nor could they fathom that current business partner, Keith Walker, would end up traveling around the world for clients such as 60 Minutes, the Gates Foundation and the Oprah show. And they certainly wouldn’t know that MPG would go on to produce 12 award-winning independent documentaries. For more info about our 25 year adventure check out our brand new website at


Live from the White House

Speaking of Oprah and Obama (pardon the name-dropping) our two worlds merged this past December when we filmed Oprah’s ABC Holiday Special at the White House. D.P Keith Walker led a crew of 20 (including MPG’s Mike Swanson and audio engineer Tom Zimmerman) in a two day shoot at the White House. They filmed Oprah interviewing the President and First Lady and then a tour of the Christmas tree preparations by Michelle Obama (accompanied by family dog, Bo). Coming on the heels of the infamous ‘party crashers’ incident at the White House, the shoot was stressful but, ultimately, quite rewarding. The special aired on ABC on December 13.

MPG and the Maestro

rly years MPG in the ea

MPG Shoots/Preckwinkle Wins!

As many of our readers know, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle scored a major victory in February’s primary, winning the Democratic nomination for Cook County Board President. MPG was there behind-the-scenes, directing and shooting her three campaign commercials for Ken Snyder Communications. The most memorable spot featured Toni talking about cutting County costs (‘a penny saved’) when Ben Franklin himself shows up at the end. That spot gained some notoriety (even mentioned on the Huffington Post and WBBM Radio) and helped Preckwinkle unseat the incumbent, Todd Stroger. Ken Snyder wrote and produced the spots. Keith Walker was D.P. and the director was Bob Hercules. Lighting director was Zet Smith and audio by Matt Mayer.

Over the past year MPG filmed two commercials and several webisodes for the Chicago Symphony introducing their new musical director, Riccardo Muti. The spot shows Muti in several iconic Chicago locations and then cuts dramatically to a segment showing him conducting Verdi’s Requiem at Orchestra Hall. One of the first webisodes shows the humorous side of the Maestro in rehearsal with the orchestra (something about ‘breaking the tension of the process’). The commercial went on the air March 2 and the webisodes will be released one per month at starting in late March. Keith Walker, Bob Hercules and Lisa Pooler created the commercial concept and Hercules directed. Walker and Mike Swanson were D.P.’s, Pooler produced and they were edited by freelancer Todd Wood here at MPG.

Dancing with MPG MPG is currently in production on two films about dance. The first, “A Good Man,” tells the story of Tony award-winning New York choreographer, Bill T. Jones, and his creation of a piece commemorating the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s

Dancing with MPG cont.

birth for Ravinia Festival. The feature documentary, a co-production with Kartemquin Films, is three years into production and will air on the PBS series American Masters in 2011. Co-directors are Bob Hercules and Kartemquin’s Gordon Quinn and the D.P. is Keith Walker. The film is being produced by Joanna Rudnick and edited by David E. Simpson. Rachel Pikelny is the Associate Producer. Our second dance film, “The Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of American Dance,” is a historical portrait of the landmark ballet company. The film, being produced by Una Jackman, Jay Alix and Erica and Harold Ramis, tells the entire story of the Joffrey, from its founding in 1956 (six dancers in a station wagon touring the country) to its present (42 dancers and their own building in Chicago). The film weaves the mounting of last fall’s elaborate Othello production with the chronology of the company’s history. The director is Bob Hercules and the D.P.’s are Mike Swanson and Keith Walker. Melissa Sterne is the editor and the sound recordist is Matt Mayer.


Season Two of the Chicago Urban League’s NextTV series is going full blast here at MPG. The Emmy award-winning series profiles African-American entrepreneurs and promotes economic empowerment in a very fast-paced style. MPG handles all the field production and post-production on the series. Executive Producer is the Urban League’s Tracey Yearwood and Supervising Producer is Beverly Price. NextTV will air on WFLD, Channel 32 starting on April 11.

Delores & Keith Walker, Tracey & Collins Yearwood with Emmy Award


MPG has added a new tape-less addition to its field production arsenal: a Nano Flash XDR file recording system for our Panasonic HD cameras. Now, producers can simply walk away with a fire wire drive of their footage.

Bob , Keith & is m a R a Eric m offrey Fil J g in t o o sh

Keith shooting B ill T. Jones at Ravinia


Media Process Group 1327 W. Washington Blvd. Suite 103 Chicago, IL 60607 tel 312 850 1300 fax 312 850 1304 web w w w . m ed i a p

“Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger,” directed by Bob Hercules, had a sold-out premiere at last fall’s Black Harvest Film Festival and just won Best Documentary at the Big Muddy Film Festival. One of DePaul University’s best and brightest is MPG Office Manager Sterling Haukom Anderson. Sterling is getting her M.A. in Human Services and Community Counseling (taking night courses).

MPG 25th Aniv. Newsletter  
MPG 25th Aniv. Newsletter  

Media Process Group is celebrating their 25th anniversary in business starting back in 1985.