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Battle: Los Angeles Louisiana Wins Emmanuelle Chriqui Before the Scene Louisiana Talent: Camera ready




VOL. 1, ISSUE 3 | January 2010 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kevin Barraco


2010 is here and Louisiana is preparing for one of the most successful years in the entertainment business. We have just wrapped a stellar year of recordbreaking productions. As we get started this month, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival is set to premiere a

variety of Louisiana-made movies, including Welcome to the Riley’s, Skateland and Mr. Okra. Slamdance Film Festival will also premiere Louisiana’s Snatched. Scene Magazine will be out in Park City capturing all the action and highlights for you. More film news, music coverage and fashion tips are presented in this January’s issue. From backstage with Metric to the red carpet of Sandra Bullock’s film The Blind Side, we have the interviews and photos. In addition you can learn about a few Louisiana production facilities such as Maison Post, a new post-production house in New Orleans, and Piety Street Recording Studio. Louisiana’s entertainment

industry is excited about the attention brought to the state by a number of recent Grammy nominations garnered by some of our uniquely talented musicians. Scene Magazine is looking forward with great enthusiasm to bringing the best of Louisiana’s entertainment to you. You are now on the Scene!


CONTRIBUTORS AJ BUCKLEY is an actor and writer who has spent the past five years starring as

Adam Ross on the hit TV show CSI: NY. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has spent the past ten years in Los Angeles, California, acting and writing. Buckley will be seen next in Skateland at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and is currently writing and starring in the upcoming web series GhostFacers for Warner Brothers.

JAMES SHEPPARD was born and raised in southern Louisiana and has been drawing for as long as he can remember. His first taste of the film industry was from New Orleans Video Access Center, where he made stop motion animation shorts in the summer of 2002. Consequently, he fell in love with film production. He then attended New Orleans Center for Creative Arts for Film in 2003, going on to receive his Bachelor’s in Film at the University of New Orleans in 2007. James has worn many hats in the film industry and is currently a video assist operator, which combines his passion for film with technology. MARK ST. JAMES is a musician, artist and promoter who has been documenting the people and cultural events of southern Louisiana for the last 15 years. As a developer of cultural programming on the Northshore, he has managed art galleries, produced public events, and was involved with establishing the first all-original music club and the first film festival in the area. He currently works as a web designer and commercial artist in addition to contributing to Scene.

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER Lana Hunt CREATIVE DIRECTOR Erin Theriot CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Emily Morrow Saree Schaefer COPY EDITOR Arthur Vandelay PHOTO EDITOR Christine Cox SALES Emily Morrow Lacey Minchew CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ashley Merlin, Jerrold Oatis, Adam Tustin, Mark St.James, AJ Buckley, Eric Lincoln, Christine Cox CARTOONIST James Sheppard PUBLIC RELATIONS & MARKETING Julie Nathanson, Rogers & Cowan CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dave Weber, Greg Milneck, Chris Jay, Janet Fabre Smith, Emily Paige, Adam Tustin, John Dean Alfone, Tammi Arender, W.H. Bourne, Ben Adams, Thomas Merkel Scene Magazine Offices 824 Elmwood Park Blvd., Suite 220 New Orleans, LA 70123 4528 Bennington Ave., Suite 300 Baton Rouge, LA 70808 877-517-2363 Published By Louisiana Entertainment Publishers, LLC Display Advertising: Call Louisiana Entertainment Publishers for a current rate card. All submitted materials become the property of Louisiana Entertainment Publishers, LLC. For subscriptions call 877-517-2363 for more information and rates. Copyright @ 2009 Louisiana Entertainment Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used for solicitation or copied by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express written permission of the publisher.



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4 | January 2010


Sandra Bullock Sandra Bullock gives back to New Orleans and hosts a benefit premiere of The Blind Side. Cover photo by Ashley Merlin





A Conversation with Emmanuelle Chriqui Hear from cast and crew and take a look Behind the Scenes


The Explosion of Studio Productions


Inside Maison Post





Sandra Bullock Premieres her film at Prytania Theater to benefit Warren Eastern High School



The Open Road



Metric Measures Up The Swell Season Music for the Festy

FASHION / THE RED CARPET Designer Profile – John Delgadillo Saree’s Style






News, Resources and Celebrities on the Scene Scene Magazine debuts its premiere issue in Baton Rouge

COLUMNS Today’s Scene 26 Louisiana Talent- Camera Ready by Thomas Merkel State of the Artist 50 Prosperous Piety by Dave Weber In the Mix 36 The End of Click by Greg Milneck Good Seats 16 Independent Filmmaking by Chris Jay Coast to Coast 60 Keeping Hollywood Lean by Emily Paige Crew Up 34 Rare Look Behind the Lens by Janet Fabre Smith

FRAMES PER SECOND by James Sheppard

THE UNSCENE Reel Companies 6 | January 2010



FILM | behind the scenes

Independent filmmaking in Louisiana




hile many sectors of the economy continue to struggle, the film and television industry is responding to the challenging climate of film finance by embracing change. The days of massive multi-million dollar paydays for superstars are at an end, and even major studio projects are aggressively pursuing competitive deals with talent. The considerable expense of film stock is increasingly becoming a prohibitive expense. The expense of older technology, coupled with current economy realities, is expediting the film and television industry’s embrace of digital filmmaking. In 2006, as the nation’s economy began to level off after years of growth, a non-functioning digital camera prototype was unveiled at a trade show in Las Vegas. Early adopters that plunked down deposits on blind faith were soon rewarded with the first shipments of the RED One, a new digital cinematography camera that would prove to be revolutionary. Among the early adopters was Academy Award-winner Steven Soderbergh, who hoped to shoot his two-part biopic of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara with the new camera. His early experiences with the camera on the film helped bolster its reputation. The RED One became a resounding success. The camera’s ability to imitate the shallow depth of field characteristics of a 35mm camera made it an instant favorite amongst cinematographers. The camera’s digital workflow was just as revolutionary as the images it produced. More revolutionary was the RED One’s starting pricetag: $17,500. Greg Milneck, president and founder of Baton Rouge-based Digital FX, was another early adopter, and continues to sing the praises of RED. One of the premier independent production companies in the South, Digital FX now boasts several RED cameras, a full array of gear and complete postproduction workflow. Recently, Digital FX rented a full RED camera package to the low-budget feature film Mirrors 2, the sequel to Alexandre Aja’s 2008 8 | January 2010

remake of the Korean horror film Into the Mirror. The film stars Nick Stahl. Throughout Louisiana, the low cost of the RED has smashed what economists refer to as the “barrier to entry,” the real-world price to participate in filmmaking. Starring Edward Furlong, Method Man and Angelic Zambrana, The Mortician 3-D was filmed using two dual RED cameras. Produced by Films in Motion and Gold Circle Films, the “gritty, urban drama” recently wrapped filming in New Orleans. In Lafayette, the RED is also the camera of choice for most of Bullet Films’ productions, whose recent films include the television movies Wolvesbayne, House of Bones, The Dunwich Horror and Monsterwolf. In Baton Rouge, Dan Garcia’s Most Wanted Films also frequently utilizes the cost-effective RED. Most Wanted’s recent films include Video Girl, Sinners and Saints, Enemies Among Us, and Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent. Fueled by RED technology, filmmaking continues to expand throughout the Louisiana. An indigenous independent feature entitled Flag of My Father recently wrapped filming in Monroe. The film stars William Devane, known for his roles on the popular television shows Knot’s Landing and Fox’s 24, and John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville, and FX’s Nip/Tuck. The film was written and directed by Rodney Ray, a land surveyor by trade, who recently purchased the RED to begin a career in film. “This is an unbelievable journey,” remarks Ray. “It’s so much fun and . . . I’m surrounded by people who share a passion. I’m excited about what lies ahead.” Makers of the RED promise to swing open the doors of the film industry even wider with the release of the SCARLET, a gamechanging prosumer class camera with a price point under $5000. Soon, storytellers everywhere will be selling their Hondas and starting their careers.

behind the scenes

John Schneider on the set of Flag of My Father shot with the RED One camera in Monroe, Louisiana


Photo by Eric Lincoln | 9

FILM | behind the scenes

William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne in The Yellow Handkerchief



On the heels of her Twilightinduced superstardom, Kristen Stewart stars in these two soon to be released Louisiana productions. Filmed in 2007, The Yellow Handkerchief premiered at Sundance in 2008. Stewart plays Martine, one of three lonely people driving across post-Katrina Louisiana, which became the backlot for the film, also starring William Hurt, Maria Bello and Eddie Redmayne. From Morgan City to Luling and into Abita Springs, the film shot in many small towns, 10 | January 2010

capturing the rural beauty of the South. Welcome to the Rileys will take its first bow at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The movie filmed in the fall of 2008, just a month before Twilight would boost Stewart into a stardom. She plays Mallory, a teenage runaway who gets by through stripping and prostitution. James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo star as a couple devastated by the loss of their daughter and reunite through their efforts to save Mallory from her self-destructive tendencies.

Kristen Stewart

behind the scenes

THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF This fim shot throughout the Greater New Orleans area and Morgan City.

WELCOME TO THE RILEYS Premiering at Sundance in 2010, Kristen Stewart plays a controversial role, sharing screen time with James Gandolfini. Directed by Jake Scott, the film was shot in New Orleans.


FILM | behind the scenes

Method Man, David Burl Jr. (set PA), and Oley Sassone (production supervisor)


THE MORTICIAN 3-D on location: New Orleans, Louisiana

This gritty, urban drama stars Method Man, Edward Furlong and Angelic Zambrana. Set in the nightmarish ghetto of a decaying metropolis, The Mortician 3-D centers around an alienated, borderline autistic mortician who processes corpses with a steely dispassion. The film is a redemption tale mixing the genres of urban noir, contemporary fairytale and psychological thriller. The $6 million project was written and directed by Gareth Maxwell Roberts and produced by Rhys Thomas.

Method Man walks through a scene as artificial rain falls

12 | January 2010

Dual RED cameras are configured to capture 3-D footage

behind the scenes

A team of technicians create rain on the set of The Mortician while filming in New Orleans


Photos by Mark St. James | 13


Before the Scene is where we all start. In a small town with our families. In front of a mirror with our friends. The days spent sleeping on a couch. The nights working at a bar. Living with the unknown and surrounded by uncertainty. It’s about the times that define us. It’s about the darkness just before the limelight. Emmanuelle Chriqui is most recognizable for her recurring role as Sloan McQuewick on HBO’s Entourage and as Dahlia, opposite Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Her upcoming films include 13, Elektra Luxx, and Renny Harlin’s Georgia. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York.

Q: What made you want to become an actor? A: “From a very young age I always knew this is what I wanted to do. I

started in the theatre when I was seven and was instantly hooked. The feeling of losing myself in a moment remains one of the most amazing things to me. The whole environment of the theatre and film and television has always felt like home. It brings me so much joy and gives me the ability to meet all kinds of people and learn so many different things. Most of the great experiences of my life have come from my work.”

Q: Who was your closest ally? A: “My family and my first manager. They believed in me and always encouraged me through the tough times. I have been blessed with wonderful angels in my life.”

Q: What were you doing the morning before the audition that changed your life? A: “The night before I got one of my first big films, I was living with

What if I don’t succeed in the way I want? What if I have to live with unfulfilled dreams? What if I can’t support myself doing what I love to do?”

a close group of friends. We always had so much fun and kept each other going as we were all in similar boats. I believe I was living there rent free as I was totally broke and going through yet another hard time. I was seriously missing home and contemplating moving back to Canada. That night I dreamt that my mother came to me, patted my head and whispered to me that everything was going to be okay. I woke up and got the offer. Pretty magical.”

Q: What was your lowest point? A: “In my early twenties, when I didn’t have thick skin yet. All the

Q: What were the words that kept you going? A: “A phrase that really resonated deeply to me was from a gospel a

Q: What was your biggest fear? A: “My biggest fear was always the what if’s. What if I can’t do this?

rejection and negativity drove me into fear mode and I just quit. I call it my ‘three month sabbatical.’ I wanted nothing to do with the industry and started doing martial arts. It was a very unhappy time as deep down I knew I wasn’t living my truth. My agents called me in for an audition that I kept refusing. Then finally [I] decided to go in and got it! This project ended up changing things for me and putting me back on my path. I struggled a lot though even after that: in the same year I got cut out of two big films. It crushed me and made me question everything.”

Q: What kept you from walking away? A: “I think the thing that ultimately kept me from walking away was

my faith in God and the universe. I always told myself that everything happens exactly the way [it’s] supposed to, even the really hard stuff. I lost my mother at an early age, and before she passed away she once told me I would become an actress for the both of us. That will always stay in my heart and mind.”

Q: What did you walk away from? A: “I walked away from the things I didn’t believe in. I walked away

from the unhealthy scene that exists here in L.A. I constantly reminded myself why I was here. I walked away from the parties and took my auditions very seriously. I walked away from people who didn’t support me or wished me ill.” 14 | January 2010

friend sent to me: ‘He didn’t bring me this far just to leave me here.’ It is the simple truth.”

Q: How have you changed? A: “I think my faith is stronger than ever. And in my heart, I fully

believe that everything is perfect even in its imperfection. I have come to embrace that this is life, obstacles and all, and it’s all about the attitude with which you choose to handle things. I think I am far more patient, and far more grateful, for not only the big miracles [but the small ones].”

Q: What words do you have to inspire others? A: “Everything happens in the time it is supposed to: be patient, work hard and have faith. I recently read that when you plant bamboo from a seed, it takes five years to come out of the ground, then it grows like a weed. I think that is accurate for anything you are passionate about. Water it, tend the soil, love it and it will blossom.”

Over the past five years AJ has starred as Adam Ross on the hit TV show CSI: NY. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, he has spent the past ten years in Los Angeles, California, acting and writing. Buckley will be seen next in Skateland at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and is currently writing and starring in the upcoming web series GhostFacers for Warner Brothers.

before the scene |

Emmanuelle Chriqui


Photo by AJ Buckley | 15




Charles Fihiol, subject of the film Invisible Girlfriend


n Saturday, November 21, 2009, The Robinson Film Center (RFC) in Shreveport hosted documentary filmmakers and Carnivalesque Films co-owners Ashley Sabin and David Redmon for a screening and discussion of their new film, Invisible Girlfriend. The film is a travelogue of rural Louisiana as seen through the eyes of Monroe, LA resident Charles Fihiol, a man struggling with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Charles believes that his girlfriend is Joan of Arc and that she cannot be seen or heard by anyone but him. Her voice calls him to return to New Orleans, a city where he once lived, to be reunited with her. Without a driver’s license, Charles is forced to make the 400-mile trip by bicycle, leaving his family behind and embarking on a journey that is by turns surreal, hilarious and profound. Along the way, Charles befriends strangers and explores roadside attractions while attempting to stay on-course, despite bicycle malfunctions and the physical challenges of such a long trek. Ty Burr of the Boston Globe called the film “a surprising and profoundly compassionate road trip about an America struggling to get back on its feet.” Among the lesser-known film productions to emerge from Louisiana’s fertile documentary filmmaking Scene, the film found a rapt audience at the RFC, where subject Charles Fihiol surprised the audience by joining the post-screening discussion panel. Sabin and Redmon take an unusual approach to documentary filmmaking. The team has produced several other documentary films about life in Louisiana, including the 2005 Sundance Film

16 | January 2010

Festival Grand Jury Prize nominee Mardi Gras: Made in China. They prefer not to use the term “documentary,” opting instead to call their work “creative non-fiction.” Whereas many filmmakers try to avoid becoming a part of the story in order to maintain objectivity, Sabin and Redmon don’t mind helping create the story they are telling. During the filming of Invisible Girlfriend, Charles attempted to give up on his trek, but was encouraged by Ashley Sabin to complete the journey. “There were times when Charles wanted to give up, specifically 40 miles outside of New Orleans, but we wouldn’t let him,” Sabin said. “I said ‘we all agreed that we’d make this journey together, and we’ve got to see where it takes us.’ He thanked us afterwards, but he was pretty angry at the time.” Among the film’s most notable elements is its unconventional cinematography. Many scenes were filmed in low light on consumergrade digital video cameras, a formula usually resulting in disaster. But here, the low shutter speeds and intensely-saturated colors lend a dream-like quality to the proceedings that perfectly compliments the subject matter. Reminding audience members that guerrilla filmmaking is alive and well, David Redmon shared that, in many instances, he was literally riding a bicycle alongside Fihiol, simultaneously shooting footage and conducting an interview. The film is also noteworthy for displaying a side of Louisiana that is often seen only by those who live here: the winding back roads and rural cafes, the ferry crossings, burning cane fields, and dilapidated city squares of small-town Louisiana. When asked why


Filmmaker Ashley Sabin

their filmography reveals such an interest in life in the Deep South, Redmon pointed to his roots in Texas and Mississippi. “We have roots down here,” Sabin added. “We just keep returning to the South.” An audience of about a hundred received the Shreveport screening very enthusiastically, surrounding the filmmakers afterwards to purchase DVDs, pose for photos, and continue the dialogue. Invisible Girlfriend won Best Humanities-Themed Documentary at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette earlier this year and is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys offbeat portraits of life in Louisiana. Find out more at S

David Redmon, Ashley Sabin and Charles Fihiol | 17

FILM | producer’s corner

The Explosion of



n October 20, 2009, Columbia Pictures began filming Battle: Los Angeles, one of the largest productions to film in Louisiana to date. Like many motion pictures developed in Hollywood recently, the film’s producers were motivated by economic circumstances to look outside of California to accomplish their creative vision in a state with tax incentives. But what state could possibly double for Los Angeles? From New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Shreveport, producers and location scouts thoroughly canvassed Louisiana to see if the Bayou State could transform into a West Coast back lot. Ultimately, locations in Shreveport and Baton Rouge were selected and tall palm trees were brought in. The film follows a platoon of marines who come to the rescue as an alien invasion hits the streets of Los Angeles. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the ensemble cast stars Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, Michelle Rodrigues, Michael Pena, Ramon Rodrigues and Ne-Yo. The film’s scope is impressive. Resembling the war scenes of Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan, the movie was produced to deliver real military action shot in a fast, run and gun documentary style. “We work with military personnel to help format each scene to be the best representation of the marines,” said director Jonathan Liebesman. “Working with the military is very difficult. They have to review the script and demand tight guidelines that insure each aspect of the Marines is well represented. This is not just an alien movie: this is a real hard-core military movie. However, there is a true balance between reality and fiction in the film.” 18 | January 2010

Miltiary equipment and vehicles were brought into Louisiana to star in the film, including a few aircrafts never-before-seen in a motion picture. The Department of Defense supervised all military scenes, assuring that the Marines were portrayed in a realistic manner. After months in Louisiana, Battle: Los Angeles recently wrapped 68 days of principle photography. “Producing movies this size is challenging anywhere you do it,” said Jeffery Chernov. “Doing this in Louisiana is really challenging, but I had a lot of confidence that we could get it done. The studio gave us a certain amount of money and when we discussed the scope of the film, we knew we had to take the production to a location where you get a lot of bang for the buck. This film would have cost much more to film anywhere else.” Although the production brought in most of their Special FX team, Chernov noted that there are plenty of great crews in Louisiana. “Many of our department heads shot in Shreveport before and were familiar with the location,” added Chernov, “but I was impressed with the variety of backdrops and the urban downtown available. Plus, the freeway intersection that we secured in Shreveport almost exactly matched the freeway system in Los Angeles that takes you into Santa Monica.” The production also filmed at Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge at the Celtic Media Centre for over a month, utilizing all their stages and a newly constructed back lot. This included exterior sets of Santa Monica, undergrounds tunnels, all green-screen work and recreating some of the freeway segment for pick-up shots. Because the film needed ever more space, they also moved

producer’s corner |

into a nearby warehouse, which housed other working sets. The massive project facilitated Raleigh Studios expansion, allowing the company to continue planning its growth in Louisiana. “Every time my office shakes from one of Battle’s many explosions, I have to smile because that’s the sound of economic development,” said Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations at Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge. “Without question, Battle: Los Angeles brought our stages to the attention of the major film and television studios, and it has made Baton Rouge a rising star in the production world. We’re going to miss all the Marines and equipment that have made our lot feel like a military base at times. I’ve had a number of cast and crew tell me they’re going to miss our climate-controlled stages, amenities, and convenience that rival any place they have ever worked in the past. Of course, several have told me they are thinking of sticking around Baton Rouge. From quick trips to New Orleans to the local music venues here in town, it seems they have had quite a good time in South Louisiana.” Studios and major production companies continue to look to Louisiana as a compellingly cost-effective alternative to other territories. While Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles tidies up its post-apocalyptic mess, construction crews are quietly being assembled to prepare the way for an even bigger studio project. Requiring months of set-building and preparation, Warner Bros’ massive comic book movie Green Lantern is slated to begin filming in New Orleans in Spring 2010.


With a budget fully three times the size of Battle: Los Angeles, Warner Bros’ is forecasting their green superhero to be The Dark Knight of Summer 2011. Yet another studio project’s name is being whispered by insiders across the state. A project whose incredible size will easily dwarf that of the Green Lantern. A project whose size would easily eclipse that of any ever shot in Louisiana. A project whose name you’ll know soon enough. S

“When we discussed the scope of the film, we knew we had to take the production to a location where you get a lot of bang for the buck.” – Jeffery Chernov, Executive Producer | 19

FILM | last looks


POST by Nathan Olney Maison Post editing suite


eard far too frequently on the sets of even the largest film and television productions is the phrase “we’ll fix it in post.” It refers to a willingness to let the tech wizards of post-production clean up the on-set missteps made during production. Those infamous five words will be heard much more frequently now that Maison Post has opened its doors. Maison Post, which literally means “house of post,” is patterned after the studio bungalows of golden-age Hollywood. It provides state of the industry workspaces just steps from the historic French Quarter in Treme, one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods. Nestled under the rustic patina of an 1850s Esplanade mansion, Maison Post strives to be the most advanced post-production house in the city by offering the latest technology, the capability to handle multiple feature productions simultaneously and a nice place to hang a hat. Co-founded by editing gurus TG Herrington and New Orleans native Kyle Curry, Maison Post has already attracted its first big budget feature, The Mechanic. Starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster, the film is helmed by director Simon West, whose boxoffice successes include Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The Millennium Films production was slated to film in Shreveport but when producers decided to settle on New Orleans, Maison Post 20 | January 2010

became the obvious choice to handle the production’s editing chores. “One look at Maison was all it took for me to want to work here,” says West of the zen-like facility. “It’s an environment that inspires creativity while feeling as though you are working from the comfort of your own home.” The company’s mission statement of blending new school Hollywood demands with the city’s old school historical charm is apparent on every level. “It’s a fascinating time right now in New Orleans for the industry as a whole,” states Herrington, who is handling editing duties on The Mechanic. “But to be truly sustainable in the entertainment industry, New Orleans needs to be functioning on every front: from production crews in-state to post in-state to locally grown projects, we need to be able to offer every level of production.” Curry, who has edited for television classics The Wonder Years and HBO’s Dream On, also sees world class post-production as the next logical step in Hollywood’s evolution here. “We wanted to create a place that showcased everything New Orleans has to offer: the food, the culture, the architecture, the music. We felt it would create a great environment for artists to bring their visions to life. And we had to change the perception in Hollywood that you couldn’t get post-production done in Louisiana. Now, with advances in technology and local expertise

last looks |



Inside Maison Post | 21

FILM | last looks



and the industry’s interest in tax incentives, we are doing just that. Hollywood’s provincial approach to post-production is giving way. ” With that mindset, Maison Post is also producing its own home-

22 | January 2010

grown product, encompassing all that is unique about New Orleans. The first is a documentary short about a local character, entitled Mr. Okra. Directed by Herrington and executive produced by Andre Jones and George Hutchinson, the endearing short has already won audience awards at the Austin and New York Food Film Festivals and was recently accepted to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. S

last looks |


SUNDANCE 2010 The icy weather of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival will be melted this year by a blast of warm Louisiana films offering a taste of the state’s recent cornucopia of productions. Skateland, an ‘80s coming of age story shot using local crew and several homegrown actors in Shreveport, will debut at the festival as one of just sixteen feature films selected for competition. Also on the shortlist is the dysfunctional family drama Welcome to the Rileys, which filmed in New Orleans last spring with James Gandolfini and Oscar nominee Melissa Leo. In the documentary category, the locally produced short Mr. Okra hopes to introduce a wider audience to its titular character, who feeds more than mouths with his mobile mini-market. | 23

FILM | review

the open road by Ben Adams


he Open Road is a familiar trip down a well-worn highway. Fortunately, this cross-country expedition includes enough familiar faces to keep the carsickness at bay. Pop superstar-turned-actor Justin Timberlake stars in his first leading role as Carlton Garret, a minor league baseball player in a selfinduced slump. His muted professional crisis is compounded by his hospitalized mother (Mary Steenburgen), who refuses surgery for a serious heart problem unless Carlton returns to her side with his estranged father. He enlists his ex-girlfriend, played with grounded elegance by Kate Mara, and sets off to find his phoneless father. Here, the film’s slow build finds its muse in Kyle “Lonestar” Garret, a major league legend portrayed by veteran Jeff Bridges. Decades past his playing years, Kyle now spends his time touring with sports memorabilia shows, amusing himself along the way with one-night stands and Big Gulps full of bourbon. “Lonestar” is comfortably within Bridges’ considerable range and he effortlessly manages to turn his underwritten part into the heart of the film. The seldom awkward Timberlake often looks uncomfortable portraying Carlton, a character with insecurities. But, to his credit, his performance is subdued. In a role pleading for melodrama, Timberlake manages to keep his natural charisma in check, if doing so at the expense of the film’s need for genuine sentiment. The film’s actual road trip ran throughout south Louisiana, basing in Hammond and shooting in locations from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, with one week on location in Memphis, TN to shoot at the historic Peabody Hotel. A 24 | January 2010

Justin Timberlake with Kate Mara filming at the New Orleans Airport

reduced unit crew also retraced the film’s journey in reverse, traveling by Hummer and capturing B-roll along the way. The tepid road trip storyline is no doubt drawn from director Michael Meredith’s own experiences, being the writer son of Dallas Cowboys legend Don Meredith. While some emotional notes ring true, the film ultimately offers little more than familiar faces and an all too familiar plot. In the end, Meredith’s The Op­­en Road is a contemplative film without enough to contemplate. S ­­


Ryan Glorioso and Elizabeth Coulon hosting a casting workshop

Louisiana’s Talent: CAMERA READY by Thomas Merkel


ouisiana’s talent pool is diverse and growing. With record numbers of productions filming throughout Louisiana, the opportunities are vast. From big budget studio projects to microbudget independent films, local faces are getting looks and proving to be camera ready. What does it take to “break in” to such a seemingly elusive profession? Professionalism and persistence are essential. While most principal roles are still cast in Los Angeles and New York, the opportunity for aspiring actors is arguably greater in Louisiana. For example, the biggest four or five parts may be cast before a film is on the ground in Shreveport, but producers have significant financial incentives to hire as much local talent as possible. For instance, local actors do not require the cost of round-trip flights. If the actor lives close enough, producers also save on the cost of hotels, travel and per diem. But one of the biggest incentives comes courtesy of the State of Louisiana: a 35 percent savings in the form of a tax credit. To producers, that means saving money on talent while keeping their good reputation with the Screen Actors Guild. Some directors even prefer to cast locally, opting for unique local flavor over West Coast conformity. Veterans Werner Herzog and David Fincher have both commented on their appreciation of the uniqueness of Louisiana’s local talent base. A film’s producers will also hire a local casting director. Louisiana’s community of casting directors is relatively small, creating an opportunity for local actors to cultivate an awareness of their talents by auditioning for the same casting directors many times. As soon as a cast list is received, even before a casting call 26 | January 2010

goes out to agents, a veteran casting director will begin to think about the talent with whom they are already familiar. To land one speaking part may require hundreds of auditions, but persistently pursuing roles is essential to success. But how does a new actor even begin the process of auditioning? While open casting calls occur, the majority of speaking roles are cast in auditions scheduled by an agent. While there is some truth to the common perception that it is difficult to get an agent in Hollywood, it is relatively easy to find representation in Louisiana. When you set meetings with local agents, keep in mind that their decision to choose to represent an actor is in part based on how that actor will represent them. While different than nursing or computer programming, acting is a job and should be approached with the highest level of professionalism. Whether applying to be an extra or auditioning for a principle role, good professional practices will be noticed. Be early for auditions and meetings. Answer and return phone calls in an urgent manner. Check email regularly and compose emails as if writing a formal letter. While seemingly small details, these are practices neglected by many in Louisiana’s budding talent pool and observing them will benefit aspiring actors tremendously. “I have seen some people who have primarily worked in film as extras come out and blow everyone away with their hidden talents,” said Robert Larriviere, who works with Glorioso Casting and Coulon Casting in Louisiana. “I have also seen some people who had never stood up and read lines in front of anyone before. It is always impressive to see new actors take that risk. With fortitude like that and continued training, their efforts will pay off.” S

FILM | above the line

Sandra Bullock at the New Orleans premiere of The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock Blind Sides New Orleans


he Prytania Theater in New Orleans was again the host of a red carpet celebration that shined a light on a good cause and a great film, The Blind Side. Sandra Bullock, director/screenwriter John Lee Hancock, and producer Gil Netter walked the red carpet together with Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. Also in attendance was the Tuohy family, whose true story was the basis for the film. Bullock looked beautiful and typically down to earth, wearing a floor-length Alberta Ferretti gown to the New Orleans premiere. The New Orleans premiere of The Blind Side benefited Warren Easton Charter High School in its efforts to acquire and improve much needed green space for athletic teams, physical education and band and spirit teams. Warren Easton is Louisiana’s oldest public high school and is still recovering from the fallout of Hurricane Katrina. Since Hurricane Katrina, Bullock has become a major patron of Warren Easton, the first public high school for boys in 28 | January 2010

Louisiana. Founded in 1845, the school that survived going coed and desegregation was having trouble opening after Hurricane Katrina because the storm caused $4 million in damages to the brick Canal Street building where it has operated since 1913. Last year, Sandra Bullock was inducted into the Warren Easton High School Hall of Fame, an honor presented by Arthur Hardy, the committee chairman. The Hollywood star did not actually attend the New Orleans school, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she became actively involved with it, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars, including funds for its scholarship program, new band uniforms and for the renovation of the school auditorium. Bullock’s generosity drew attention to the school’s mission of public school education in post-Katrina New Orleans and generated much publicity for the school, resulting in significant donations from around the country. “I wouldn’t call myself a resident of New Orleans,” said Bullock, “but I am a great supporter of New Orleans,

above the line |


The Blind Side premieres at The Prytania

Quinton Aaron

Bryan Batt

L-R: Sean Tuohy, Sandra Bullock, Michael Lewis, John Lee Hancock, Gil Netter

Photos by Ashley Merlin | 29

FILM | above the line

New Orleans Saints players attend The Blind Side premiere. L-R: Jeremy Shockey, Drew & Brittany Brees, Fred McAfee, Rita Benson LeBlanc

its architecture and its people. I have been a semi-resident for the last 15 or 20 years and I like giving back where I have taken away.” Overwhelmed with the story of The Blind Side, Bullock struggles to find the right words: “I don’t have the words or capability to express what this story makes you feel. It may sound lame and simple but it makes me feel hopeful. Or kindness and humanity for what is possible, instead of leaving something and feeling down, which we do every time we turn on the TV. In this story you see real people doing things like this, and you go ‘there’s no reason we can’t do it.’” Having a premiere in New Orleans was Arthur Hardy’s idea, according to Bullock. “There’s a big New Orleans connection with Michael Lewis as well as Sean Tuohy and his father. I think the themes of the movie are so applicable to so many schools in the United States, but since I had the relationship with Arthur and what they’ve accomplished [at Warren Easton High School], it sort of parallels what happened in the movie. Sometimes we do these things and you roll your eyes asking ‘Why do we have to do another premiere when it’s such a waste of money?’ But if you look at it, we did a premiere and it actually made money while showing people what’s happening in their community. I didn’t realize how many people didn’t know about the good that was happening here. I think that’s a shame because of all communities, 30 | January 2010

this one deserves to know about all of the positives happening.” Bullock has called her donations to Warren Easton “the best investment I ever made.” She said she wanted to invest in a school, and Easton’s history and architecture caught her attention. “This school is an architectural gem,” she stated. Sandra Bullock began her career with memorable performances in Demolition Man (1993) and Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993), but did not achieve the stardom that seemed inevitable for her until her work in the smash 1994 hit Speed. She now ranks as one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood. The past year has proved to be especially good for Bullock, giving the actress two record highs in her career. Released early 2009, her film The Proposal proved to be a huge hit, raking in more than $314 million at the box office worldwide, making it her most successful picture to date. Released in November 2009, The Blind Side opened at #2 behind New Moon with $34.2 million, making it her highest opening weekend ever. The Blind Side is unique in that it had a 17.6 percent increase at the box office its second weekend. In its third weekend, it eclipsed box office phenomenon The Twilight Sage: New Moon. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie cost $29 million to make and has grossed over $131 million to date, a feat any actor can be proud of. S

FILM | above the line

Warren Easton Senior High Marching Band

The Tuohy Family

32 | January 2010

Sandra Bullock takes photos with fans



NOVAC’s Camera Workshop


hanks to the generosity of Panavision, a group of lucky students received hands-on experience with 35mm film cameras and equipment last month at NOVAC’s Camera Assistant Training Workshop. The workshop was designed to prepare students for entry-level work as film loaders and other camera assistant positions. Professional cameramen taught students with the high-end camera equipment critical to the final film product, a rare opportunity for any aspiring filmmaker. The class was provided free of charge, made possible by a Recovery Workforce Training Program grant provided by the Louisiana Recovery Authority in collaboration with the State Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit and the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Marketing executive James Finn of Panavision’s U.S. Regional Operations explained their involvement. “Panavision is a global company committed to making the finest motion picture equipment in the world available, but we are also dedicated to training people to use that equipment,” says Finn. “And with the tax incentives in Louisiana, it just makes sense for us to work with NOVAC to help grow the crew base for the growing film industry here.”

34 | January 2010

“This training will be a valuable asset to the individuals attending and the community as a whole. It will certainly benefit the film community as well,” says business agent Jack Nealy of the International Cinematographers Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 600.

NOVAC’S PRODUCTION ACCOUNTING CLASS CONNECTS WITH PROFESSIONALS On the heels of her senior thesis and with a book about to be published, Meredith Fraser wasn’t really sure what her next step would be. She moved to New Orleans with three interesting but not necessarily marketable degrees in sociology, english and women and gender studies. She was a great conversationalist, but that didn’t necessarily make for good job prospects. A friend told her about NOVAC and despite her lack of an accounting background or any experience in film at all, Meredith signed up for the Production Accounting class. “The course was really great because I felt comfortable and confident on the very first day,” Meredith explained.

CREW UP Her aptitude attracted the attention of one of her instructors, who sought her out after graduation to hire her as accounting clerk on Disney’s Secretariat, which filmed in Lafayette. The film stars Diane Lane and John Malkovich. “I can attest to the fact that NOVAC gives you marketable skills,” says Meredith, an obvious fan of her experience with the production accounting class. She never dreamed she would be in the movie business, but signing up for a class at NOVAC led her down the path to the world of Disney.

APPLE CERTIFICATION AVAILABLE AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE A little known secret is that NOVAC offers Apple Training at a fraction of the price found elsewhere in the country and now offers financial assistance for those who cannot afford the registration fees. The Apple Certified Pro program creates a benchmark for assessing an end user’s proficiency in a specific Apple Pro application. By taking and passing this exam, a user is given Apple Certified Pro status,

NOVAC’s Final Cut post-production workshop

allowing them to distinguish themselves to colleagues, employers, and prospective clients as skilled users of the chosen software application. This certification gives individuals a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing job market, giving potential employers and clients confidence. Any technical certification is a very expensive process for which many

must travel. NOVAC makes the process easy and convenient with a portable lab. Final Cut Pro and other classes at NOVAC are taught based on Apple Certified standards, greatly increasing the likelihood of passing certification exams. Apple also provides an exam guide and practice exam on their training Web site at S

UPCOMING CLASSES – NEW SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS AVAILABLE Descriptions for our classes in January are below and the schedule for classes will soon be available. For updates on class offerings and scheduling, be sure to check out our Web site at or call 504-9405780. Tuition is very reasonable and if you join NOVAC (for the ridiculously low price of $55 a year) the class tuition is even cheaper. New grants are being provided in 2010 to make even more classes available at low or no cost. If you are interested in a class but need financial assistance, contact NOVAC to find out if funding is available for you.

INTRO TO FINAL CUT PRO A three day, hands-on course introduces students to the primary feature set and basic interface of Final Cut Pro. This course teaches basic editing functions while familiarizing the student with the user interface. Topics include basic setup, adjusting and customizing preferences and settings, capturing video and audio, various editing and trimming techniques, Ripple, Roll, Slip and Slide tools, audio editing and audio creation, finishing and final output.



A two-day class provides students with the concepts and skills to use Adobe Photoshop effectively with handson practice working with basic through advanced techniques. Students learn layer basics, photo retouching and image editing. Whether the user is a designer, illustrator, photographer, video artist, webmaster or just a beginner, Photoshop offers many opportunities to make images look great.

A one-day class teaching the basics of video and audio podcasting, using examples and hands-on group exercises. Students also discuss the many uses of audio and video podcasting.

VIDEOGRAPHY A comprehensive 13-day training program. Participants will have three days of intensive Final Cut Pro training, using the Apple FCP 7 101 curriculum. The next three days are devoted to learning camera, sound, lighting, and interview techniques in preparation for a two-day shoot that will focus on a local non-profit. The material filmed during the two-day shoot will then be edited, resulting in a useable promotional piece for the local non-profit. The non-profit featured during the first Videography/FCP workshop (held October 14-30) was Innocence Project/New Orleans.

INTRO TO 3D ANIMATION FOR VIDEO GAME DESIGN AND FILM A three-day intensive class that is a crash course in the ins and outs of basic 3-D animation principles, preparing students for more advanced study in a particular software application. Students will learn the basics tenets of 3-D modeling including modeling, compositing, lighting, rigging and rendering.



THE END OF CLICK by Greg Milneck


oint and click. It’s as ubiquitous as peanut butter and jelly or plug and play. It communicates ease of use, no hassle photography. But almost as soon as it came, it appears to be going away. With the proliferation of high-end video in reasonably priced digital still cameras, the point and click is quickly becoming simply point. Consumers are using their still cameras for family videos, kid’s recitals and, yes, even professional commercial video productions. Video cameras are pulling double duty as well. High Definition (HD) video cameras are producing high enough resolutions that photographers are able to pull out single frames from the video and use them as high-end photography. The RED camera, a personal favorite of mine, was recently used for a Time magazine cover spread. The result was a super high-end resolution still image with video to accompany it. The video and photography industries are seeing a monumental shift in the product lines and uses for folks in the video and photography industries. Cameras are no longer still or video, they are both. Already, there’s a new term for it coined by RED - the Digital Still Motion Camera (DSMC). The Canon 5D is a perfect example. Right now, there are high-end commercial productions going on across the country using only Canon 5D cameras for video. It’s relatively inexpensive, produces superb HD footage and it’s small

36 | January 2010

and lightweight. Best of all, because it is a full-frame 35mm camera, it produces a very shallow depth of field for that film look and feel. I’m a technology freak. I love new gadgets. But I can’t help but feel a bit nostalgic about this digital shift. I started my career with film. I fell in love with photography using Kodak’s legendary Kodachrome. The images are real, they’re organic. No, they’re not perfect, but it’s that imperfection that makes them feel so natural. Digital on the other hand, seems to seek to make the imperfect perfect. Plus, I like to click. I love that moment when you know, you just know, you’ve captured THE moment in a still format. Nothing will ever replace the impact of still images. But when you can pick and choose from hours of video footage to pull out one frame for a still photo, it’s almost cheating. Digital has already taken much of the skill and art out of photography, now the moment, the click, is going the way of 35mm. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don’t really know. But I have a feeling that I’m going to miss it. S

Greg Milneck is founder and president of Digital FX, Inc. The Baton Rouge based company specializes in commercial and feature film production and visual effects work for broadcast and features for clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood studios and advertising agencies.



teven Seagal: Lawman premiered last month with two back-to-back episodes and a record-breaking 3.5 million total viewers and 2 million viewers in adults 18-49, making it the most-watched original series launch in A&E’s history in all key demos. The series was shot on location in Jefferson Parish, LA in conjunction with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff ’s Office. S



ouisiana had a small but notable presence at the 33rd Annual American Film Market (AFM). From November 4-11, 2009, industry professionals converged in Santa Monica, CA for eight days of deal-making, film screenings, seminars, red carpet premieres, networking and parties. Over 400 distribution and production companies were involved in the screening of over 500 films, 100 of which were world premieres. Unlike a film festival, AFM is a marketplace where pre-sales for film productions and acquisition and distribution deals for films are closed. Several companies were screening and shopping films that had shot in Louisiana. Moonstone Entertainment was selling Sinners and Saints starring Johnny Strong, Tom Berenger and Method Man for Most Wanted Films. Bold Films had Louisiana Media Productions’ Middle of Nowhere with Susan Sarandon and Anton Yelchin. In the pre-sales arena, Nu Image/Millennium Films was pre-selling rights to Jason Statham’s latest project, The Mechanic, which just finished shooting in New Orleans. Territories were also available for Drive Angry, the Nicolas Cage film currently in pre-production in Shreveport. Party-goers were in for some cool swag at the locations reception, where representatives from Southeast Louisiana were among the hosts. 38 | January 2010

Jefferson Parish film representative Cherreen Gegenheimer and St. John Center’s Coy Pierre handed out t-shirts and Zapp’s Potato Chips. Sherry Smith and Bill Hess from Central Louisiana in Film were also hosts, handing out hats and information to producers and filmmakers. In addition to the reception, Southeast Louisiana and St. John Parish had booths at the Loew’s Hotel trying to lure filmmakers and producers to Hollywood South. They were joined on the exhibit floor by Patrick Mulhearn, director of studio operations for Raleigh Studios Baton Rouge at the Celtic Media Centre. Raleigh was also giving away hats and bags to prospective clients. Despite the parties and the swag, disappointed faces could be found in hallways of the market, especially for those looking to sell small independent films. Some blame it on the economy and decreased DVD sales or lower licensing prices for broadcast TV, but the changing face of distribution seems to be more complex. Distributors and sales agents grappled with the slump in the market while panelists in seminars analyzed the current situation. But Louisiana production companies and service providers may benefit from the crisis. Tax credits, rebates, and incentives are now absolutely critical for producers trying to put together deals in this tumultuous climate and may result in more work for locals in state. S

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hen Shreveport turned up on the big screen in November, a local crowd showed up in full support. On November 22, 2009, the Robinson Film Center (RFC) organized a special presentation of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Starring Michael Douglas, the legal thriller transformed the northwest Louisiana city into a setting for suspense, high-power corruption and journalistic intrigue. The movie was produced in Shreveport and Bossier City in 2008, premiering in New York and Los Angeles in September 2009. For a post-screening Q&A session, RFC invited Diego Martinez, President of Studio Operations, a local division of Nu Image/Millennium Films, and Ryan Glorioso, casting director with Glorioso Casting, to share behindthe-scenes insights into filmmaking in northwest Louisiana. Getting access to courtrooms and correction facilities is much easier when a production company has a proven track record in a local market and city officials cooperate hand-in-hand with the film industry, said Martinez. Nu Image/Millennium Films has produced nine movies in Shreveport since late 2006 and is currently prepping Drive Angry with Nicolas Cage for 2010. What happens when filming scenes inside an operating correctional facility? A crew member with unpaid parking tickets might do best to take a vacation day, Glorioso hinted. He also noted that real correctional officers were used as extras to make scenes look authentic. The Sunday afternoon screening, which was part of an exclusive five-day run at RFC, attracted 120 patrons and a boatload of questions. “Offering opportunities like these are exactly what the Robinson Film Center is all about,” said Alexandyr Kent, the film center’s director of community outreach. “We provided patrons with a window into the local film industry that they’ll never find on DVD extras, and we had a lot of fun digging into a locally produced movie.” S

Alex Kent, Diego Martinez, and Ryan Glorioso at RFC | 39

SCENE | extras

Mitch Landrieu and Mayor Ray Nagin with members of the The Princess and the Frog production team



isney brings back the art of classic, hand drawn animation with The Princess and the Frog, a children’s film set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Released this past December, the film features Disney’s first African-American princess, Tiana, who lives in New Orleans during the Jazz Age. Other characters include Louis, a trumpet-playing alligator, and Ray, a love-sick Cajun firefly. The Princess and the Frog marks a return to this particular style of animation from the revered team of John Musker and Ron Clements. The film features a score by Randy Newman, the Oscar-winning composer of Monsters, Inc., Cars, and Toy Story. Newman features the music of Grammy award-winners Terrance Simien,  Dr. John and Terence  Blanchard.  “It’s the first time our type of music will be featured in a Disney film,” said Simien. “This film captures the raw unfiltered sound of New Orleans. The movie is historical for Louisiana and Zydeco music as well. This will give us a unique opportunity to  introduce and educate  a  whole new  audience about the music of Louisiana...specifically [about] our indigenous Zydeco music.” The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is currently presenting Dreams Come True: Art of the Classic Fairy Tales from the Walt Disney Studio, a major exhibition featuring more than 600 original artworks that shaped legendary animated features including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. The exhibit also includes artwork from The Princess and the Frog. More than 70 percent of this exhibit has never been seen outside Walt Disney Studios. S 40 | January 2010

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Banners for The Princess and the Frog adorn NOMA

Louisiana musician Terrance Simien with actress Elizabeth Dampier

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SUPER NOW FILMING IN SHREVEPORT A comedy written and directed by James Gunn. After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions and no heroic skills. The film stars Ellen Page, Rainn Wilson and Liv Tyler.

TREME CONTINUES FILMING IN THE BIG EASY David Simon’s follow-up to HBO’s critically acclaimed The Wire. The dramatic series will chronicle the rebuilding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurrican Katrina through the eyes of local musicians.

THE HUNGRY RABBIT JUMPS IS CURRENTLY FILMING IN NEW ORLEANS Roger Donaldson directs starring Nicolas Cage and January Jones. After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score.

GREEN LANTERN IN EARLY PRE-PRODUCTION IN NEW ORLEANS After leaving Australia, this comic book tentpole has set up shop in New Orleans. Starring Ryan Reynolds as a man granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as part of an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace in the universe.

EARTHBOUND IN PRE-PRODUCTION IN NEW ORLEANS Nicole Kassell is set to direct Kate Hudson in a comedy about a woman who finds out she’s dying of cancer. But when she meets her match, the threat of falling in love is scarier than death.

RED IN PRE-PRODUCTION IN NEW ORLEANS Robert Schwentke directs Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren in a film about a former black-ops agent who returned to action to take on a high-tech killer.

BROTHER’S KEEPER BEGINS FILMING IN NEW ORLEANS Starring Patricia Clarkson and John Cena, the star of 12 Rounds, returns to New Orleans to shoot the second of five films from the newly formed WWE Studios.

42 | January 2010

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THE NIMS CENTER STUDIO EXPANDS A recently announced $3 million federal grant will be paired with state funding to expand one of the region’s full service film production facilities. The new federal grant will be combined with a $1.5 million grant from the State of Louisiana to further develop the Nims Center Studios for Entertainment Arts in Jefferson Parish. The money will be used to build a 10,000-squarefoot sound stage and an additional office building at the facility. The Nims Center has become a hub of film production and economic activity in the region, providing studio space for major films, television commercials and music videos. “Louisiana is now the number three film-making destination in the country, behind only Hollywood and New York,” says GNO, Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht, “and the Nims Center is one of the main reasons why. While the rest of the country is retrenching,

Get On The Scene

Greater New Orleans continues to expand its production capacity, positioning our region to be a major film force in the future.” The design and construction phase of the Nims Center expansion should provide an additional immediate boost to the region’s economy. The Division of Economic Research at the University of New Orleans reports that the infrastructure project will generate 400 new jobs and $132 million in private investment. The Nims Center Studios is a division of the University of New Orleans Foundation and is operated in cooperation with the University of New Orleans, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Film & Television Development, New Orleans Office of Film & Video and the Jefferson Parish President’s Office. For more information, visit S


Digital & Print Subscriptions Available | 43

MUSIC | sound speed


by Thomas Merkel

Metric is a Canadian indie rock band based out of Toronto with a dance rock sound frequently heard in venues around the world. Giving their fans a great live performance is the heart of Metric and creating new fans along the way is their business. The band consists of vocalist Emily Haines, guitarist James Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key. Their first fulllength album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now, was released in 2003 and earned a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. Metric is sometimes labeled as an indie phenomenon. Their records have gone gold, they get regular play on commercial radio, their songs can be found everywhere from Grey’s Anatomy to Hockey Night in Canada, and they play sold-out shows to crowds of thousands. As one reviewer states, “Metric continues to straddle the line between independent/underground and straight-up mainstream. They’re young, hip, and largely inoffensive. “Edgy” enough to stay cool but pleasant enough to win over my mom.”

Playing to a packed house at Republic New Orleans this past year, the band enjoys the variety of venues and places their tour takes them. “We have done such a spectrum of things and events with this band, it’s hilarious,” said Emily. “Like, playing with the Stones at Madison Square Garden, playing for 20 thousand people at a festival in Brazil, and then we do a club tour through England and then back to the states to New Orleans. It keeps you limber as a musician. But we know that some fans are just finding out about us, and we want to play for you with out trying to over market ourselves.” Their fourth studio album Fantasies was released in Canada and the United States on April 7, 2009. “We took a long break, focusing on a putting together our own recording studio, working on individual projects, and the new record,” said James. “The album Fantasies is the revived Metric.” Their songs continue to find screen time, “Monster Hospital,” “Police and the Private,” “Gold Guns Girls” and “Front Row” have all been featured on television shows

44 | January 2010

sound speed |


Metric on stage at Republic New Orleans | 45

MUSIC | sound speed

such as CSI: Miami, Gossip Girl, Zombieland and Entourage. “It’s interesting to know that our music is out there in TV and film and new people are experiencing and enjoying our music,” added Emily. “It’s great to have our music function for their project and its really cool how people don’t just go for the obvious thing; they find our music, like it and want to make it work!” After years of learning the music business, Metric takes pride in focusing much of their attention the business side of their music. “When we started out in the late 90s, music was starting the decline, people knew the internet was going to change everything,” said Emily. “It was a terrifying period at the end of the 90s. The A&R guys were the rock stars; they were too afraid for their jobs to sign anything interesting, and everyone got rich on not creating or investing in a new artist. It was all about prefab music. The new beginning for us was when everything went back to zero with rock and roll, and the Strokes put out their album. It really helped us out to see a leather jacket and someone being like this is about attitude and song writing and hang out with your friends playing guitar. Remember that!” That was the new beginning for Metric, deciding not to be a band trying to make it through dead end record deals and studio demos, but to be the best live band they could and hit the road. “Now we feel live music is all there is and we started our own record label,” said James. “We are having a really good time on our own terms and selling records. The one thing that needed a radical shift was to know that the band is your own company. Musicians 46 | January 2010

were too much a slave for their labels. Everybody sold their music and themselves, but now its shifted so that the band and artist are in charge. We tell indie bands don’t buy into the myth.” S

Metric’s latest album, Fantasies.

MUSIC | sound speed

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Swell Season THE

by Lana Hunt

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova captivate their audience at the House of Blues New Orleans


In a rare moment in modern music, obsessed with gimmicks, lights and auto tune microphones, Glen Hansard of The Swell Season stepped away from his mic and belted a hair raising melody completely unplugged at the House of Blues in New Orleans. It was a moment straight from the streets of Dublin, where he no doubt spent countless hours singing in the streets. That sincerity and pure passion for the music carried the entire show, awing the crowd and bringing tears of raw emotion to many faces. The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova gained

48 | December 2009

international recognition after their song “Falling Slowly” won a 2008 Academy Award for Best Original Song from the 2007 film Once, in which they also starred. Recognition and fame may be new to the artists, but producing achingly moving music is in their bones. Glen, who gave up school at 13 to pursue music, had success early on, signing with Island Records at 17 and appearing in the 1991 cult hit The Commitments. He formed the influential Dublin rock group The Frames in 1990, which has released 6 albums, the most recent in 2006. The significantly younger Marketa, affectionately

sound speed | Mar, is a classically trained pianist and vocalist who met Glen and began working with him at 13 years old. At just 17, she was the youngest woman to win an Academy Award in any music category. Their history of collaboration, and perhaps more importantly their widely publicized story of falling in - and out - of love oozes off the stage with an inescapable emotional impact on everyone fortunate enough to witness it live. Glen and Mar’s voices harmonize so beautifully it’s sometimes impossible to tell if there are two voices filling the room or just one. Lyrics like “This time I’ve lost all hope, I cannot take it no more, I’m stuck here killing myself and you’re out there laughing somewhere” make every patron feel like the duo has stepped in to their lives and stolen their most coveted thoughts. It is surreal and intimate at once. They sing of heartbreak, of struggling to fight heartache, of passion, of joy, of life and living, of figuring it all out and the way it feels when you can’t. Glen also made the show fun, flirting with the crowd and teaching them to sing his melodies, reaping laughter and a room full of voices trying to stay in tune. Their humility and slight inability to understand their growing fame is endearing and keeps the live show personal. Leaving the venue many people were just shaking their heads, ranking The Swell Season show in their top five or better. The Swell Season is currently on tour in the US and internationally promoting the release of their second album, Strict Joy. S


The Swell Season’s newest album, Strict Joy | 49



PROSPEROUS by Dave Weber


urrounded by 19th century houses, Piety Street Recording sits on the corner of Piety and Dauphine. Located in the Bywater, the place just oozes New Orleans. The Bywater and a handful of other neighborhoods are known as “the sliver by the river” that escaped Katrina’s floodwaters. An occasional boat horn is part of the area’s soundtrack, announced from unseen but nearby vessels traveling along the mighty Mississippi. Inside, New Orleans-in-microcosm is experienced full bore. A quartet of musicians is in the large studio recording a jazz piece that is both relaxing and bright. Welcoming smiles come freely from the people here who keep the place humming. A sweet, mixed-breed dog named Oliver walks by. The walls are cypress, some vintage furniture is scattered around and small throw rugs are underfoot. And I can tell that someone’s been cooking. The feeling is overwhelmingly one of having entered a friend’s house. After two years of working to obtain the building, doing necessary demolition work and the build out required to make it a world-class studio, owners Mark Bingham, Shawn Hall and John Fischbach opened the space in the fall of 2001. Since some of the greatest studios ever were named after their locations (think Abbey

50 | January 2010

Road), Bingham decided to name it Piety Street Recording. Musicians from near and far soon discovered the jewel of a facility and Piety Street has been a popular destination for recording artists ever since. “The first thing we did here was a Vida Blue record,” recalls Bingham, who is an accomplished producer, engineer, arranger and musician. “They were a subset of Phish. Since then, our business has been a good mix of local and out-of-town artists coming here to record their albums.” In early 2009, the Dave Matthews Band traveled to New Orleans to work on their first studio album in four years. Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King was recorded at Piety Street in January and February that year. Not only was the effort praised by Billboard as the band’s “best album yet,” it also recently earned Grammy nominations both for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album. It’s one of a handful of projects recently done at the facility to benefit from the state’s new sound recording tax incentive program. The selection of Piety Street by Dave Matthews, an artist who could record anywhere he wants, speaks to the studio’s first class reputation. The facility was designed from inception to be a premier sound recording studio. But a handful of forces conspired against its success. The first was Hurricane

Katrina, which wiped out a number of New Orleans’ other professional studios. Another was the music industry itself, which has changed completely during Piety Street’s eight years in business. “Analog ended almost entirely around two years ago,” says Bingham. “All the tape manufacturers went out of business. The digital formats are a lot easier to deal with since they require less maintenance, break less often and cost so much less.” “The core of studios hasn’t changed much over the years. You need microphones, microphone preamps, speakers and a mixing desk,” Bingham says. “But now, the mixing desk is in a computer, although we still mix on a console here.” Despite the sweeping technological changes and the decline of the record industry, Piety Street’s place in the local production landscape is stronger than ever. “Unless there’s some place I don’t know about,” Bingham says with a shrug, “we’re probably the most well-equipped studio in the New Orleans area. We have the most microphones, the most outboard equipment and a terrific console.” In fact, he believes that if their gear were cut in half, Piety Street would remain one of the city’s top recording studios. “It’s like overkill in a sense, what we have. But that overkill allows you to be an artist


Dave Matthews at Piety Street

in a way. I have some microphones I only pull out twice a year.” In addition, the studio’s flexibility makes it a unique space. “A lot of recording studios have a particular sound, and people go there to get that sound. But if you listen to the Dave Matthews record next to others made here, like the John Scofield record or the Nicholas Payton record, they don’t sound anything alike. There’s no identifiable sound to this place and I think that’s a good thing,” he states. “It’s very flexible acoustically and electronically.” Co-owner and studio manager Shawn Hall adds, “We provide an excellent service. We have a small staff, but everyone here knows what to do and how to repair equipment if needed. We’ve had some big sessions here and everyone is always impressed with the level of service we provide, in every way.” She explains that they are happy to extend help outside of the studio as well, hooking clients

up with things like hotels, musicians, catering, or “…Finding a violin at two in the morning,” Bingham adds with a chuckle. “But I also think it’s the vibe of this place,” says Hall. “It’s very laid back. It’s a place where people feel really comfortable, like they’re coming into a home, rather than a very sterile situation.” The vibe she mentions extends to the historic neighborhood outside and is a familiar one to those who know and love the Crescent City. “The neighborhood, like New Orleans in general, doesn’t get all worked up about celebrities,” says Bingham. “You know, Dave Matthews himself could walk over to the bar and play pool and nobody would bother him.” Hall agrees. “We have neighbors who will say, ‘Hey, that was Elvis Costello standing in front of your door the other day.’ And we’ll say, ‘Yeah, that was him.’ And they’ll just say, ‘Cool.’ | 51




They’re totally relaxed about it.” Piety Street Recording has also served several big-budget, Hollywood productions. Films that have done recording there include Madea’s Family Reunion, All the King’s Men, Last Holiday and Skeleton Key. And in the coming months, Piety Street is set to be seen on the screen as well. Two high-profile projects - one a feature film and the other a television series - will use the facility as a practical location, each shooting scenes there that take place in a recording studio. With Louisiana’s tax incentive programs luring more entertainment projects to the state each year, Piety Street seems uniquely positioned to serve the sound recording needs of practically any job that comes through its door. “The people are here and the space is here that anyone might need, whether the job is big or small,” says Hall. Many entertainment professionals who bring a project to Louisiana end up coming back again and again. Maybe it’s the strong tax incentives. Perhaps it’s the culture, our architecture, music, food and history. Or maybe it’s the unique locations they find here. They are certain to find impressive resources, worldclass facilities and eager professionals who offer a very high level of service, without the egotism that tends to accompany talent and experience elsewhere. If we can keep those ingredients in the gumbo, they will become as authentically New Orleans as…well, as a place like Piety Street. S

Dave Weber is an Emmy and Telly Awardwinning writer and producer. He and Duane Prefume own Digital Bayou HD Productions, Inc. in the New Orleans area. Alec Ounsworth recording at Piety Street with George Porter on bass

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Photo by Zack Smith | 53

MUSIC | sound speed


FESTY by Adam Tustin


arge sunglasses, funny hats and portable furniture are some tell tale signs of the “Festy,” the Louisiana festival enthusiast. All over the state, these disciples of leisure gather en masse to celebrate just about anything with food, drink, friends and music. The state of Louisiana enjoys more festivals than there are calendar days, featuring celebrations as varied and eccentric as the festival-goers who attend them. While funnel cakes and beer are bountiful, the music is the draw for most in attendance. Whether it’s an army of college Festies faithfully attending each and every Widespread Panic show, Louisiana ex-patriot Festies returning annually for their favorite party or a Louisiana native who keeps his Festy accoutrement always at the ready, all come to commune under a patchwork of some of the most eclectic and inspiring music in the world. Each experience is unique. Infant Festies with painted faces are pulled in red wagons and stare bewildered as senior citizen Festies apply extra sunscreen, drink water between beers remember years past. Everyone dances. The mob becomes a conscious, living organism kept breathing with each measure of music.

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Second Lines and live music at the Po-Boy Preservation Festival

A relatively recent addition to the state’s catalogue of musicrich festivals is the Oak Street Association’s annual Po-Boy Preservation Festival. The event took place on Oak Street, in the historic Carrollton district of New Orleans on November 22, 2009. Promotional posters for the event proclaimed in bold letters: “S.O.S.! Save our sandwich!” Though the delicious union of French bread and Louisiana staples, such as oysters, soft-shell crab, and alligator is likely not in any danger of disappearing, the call to action seemed to have resonated with the mob of hungry festival goers as they devoured variations of the famous sandwich in support. Two stages book ended the feasting mob, featuring local music acts such as Papa Grows Funk, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes and the Rebirth Brass Band. Since its inception three years ago, the popularity of the singleday Po-Boy Festival has exploded. With an estimated 25,000 attendees this year, attendance was up a full 10,000 from 2008. The proceeds of the wildly successful event will go to the restoration of the Oak Street area, a neighborhood that recently underwent a major facelift and continues to attract new businesses to its storefronts. S | 55

Saree’s Bag

FASHION | saree’s style What’s in

by Saree Schaefer



very woman has certain products and apparel she can’t live without. I hate it when people ask the “what is-theone-thing-you-would-bring-to-a-desertedisland” question. Why? Because I’m confident that I will never be deserted anywhere. Still, I do get emails from readers and clients asking me about my favorites. No matter the time of year, I do have several pieces that don’t change from season to season. Everyone should have at least a few things that are part of your signature look. Things that make you feel good and flatter your shape. We all have that one pair of jeans or favorite dress that guarantees a compliment every time it’s worn. If you’re scratching your head, it’s time for a shopping trip with a stylist! But before dashing out to the mall or local boutiques, have a plan. Never go shopping without a list of items already identified as the “must haves” or you could end up in the food court. Stuffing yourself. With the variety bag of minis from the Cookie Company. And a fist-sized cinnamon roll from Cinnamonster. Or a new Crème Brule torch from Williams Sonoma that you will never use. In the spirit of a brand new year and since it’s almost time for spring cleaning anyway, take the opportunity to build a wardrobe that makes you look and feel confident. Here are the things that I know I could survive without but really don’t want to. S

SAREE’S STYLE RULE I love to have fun with my wardrobe and experiment with color, fabric and new styles. I have the same outlook on fashion as I do life… it’s meant to be fun and adventurous. My style has changed so much in the past few years and now I only really follow one rule: no matter what the trend may be, I never wear anything I’m not comfortable in. What makes me so passionate about fashion is that, like life, I’m comfortable in almost anything. For fashion questions or to contact Saree, e-mail

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4 3 5

7 8

1. BOOTS: I have over 20 pairs. My friends try in vain to get me to stop buying them. When it comes to boots I say the more well-worn the better. This pair is my absolute favorite. The cognac color goes with everything and when they are finally worn out completely, a candle light memorial service will be held in their honor. 2. MICHAL GOLAN NECKLACE: The semi-precious stones and shape of the pendant make it look like a piece of art. My sister gave this to me for my birthday last year so I almost never take it off. So it usually gets layered with other necklaces. 3. JANE IREDALE DREAM TINT: I was convinced that I had tried every tinted moisturizer. Until my hair stylist told me about this one. It’s super lightweight, acting almost like full coverage makeup without the icky residue. The SPF 15 also keeps my skin safe. 4. DARK WASH SKINNY JEANS: I live for skinny jeans but right now I am obsessed with the Avadon by Citizen of Humanity. They fit like a glove and are almost a daily part of my uniform. 5. WHITE V-NECK TEES: I buy them in bulk, sometimes even in the men’s department and never travel without packing several of them. I love the laid back but also sexy look of a plain white tee with a pair of jeans. 6. DOUBLE-SIDED TAPE: I always keep this on hand, using it whenever I wear anything strapless. No one wants a wardrobe malfunction at a special event. Fashion Tape is what I hear people calling it now. I use Topstick toupee tape from the drug store because it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and a roll can get messy. 7. SKINNY SKINNY BATH SALTS: Bath time is sacred to me. These salts are organic and loaded with essential oils like rosemary and lavender. The small individual packs are a must for travel and pair well with a glass of Tempranillo. Salts available at 8. NOTES FROM THE UNIVERSE: Daily emails that encourage me and get me revved up to take on the day using the mantra: “Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.” Sign up for your notes at

FASHION | red carpet

John Delgadillo 58 | January 2010

red carpet |


ashion designer John Delgadillo recently featured some of his cutting edge designs at the Fashion Rocks show at Metropolitan in the New Orleans warehouse district. The multi-part event featured a live performance, silent auction, fashion show and after show mixer. Delgadillo is a seasoned designer who, now 39, was the youngest designer to be part of the Los Angeles Art and Fashion Group in Los Angeles, CA. He has worked as the head artistic designer of Casandra and Company Ballroom Gowns, the assistant designer of Dutchess, Sylvain Blanc and Christophe and as the stylist for Charmiana of California. After relocating to New Orleans in 2005, Delgadillo has become an industry leader in the state and an inspiration to local designers

with his classic, yet edgy style of design. He is currently gearing up for the launch of his own line, Cutting Edge Diva, which will be released in New Orleans and sold locally in shops on Decatur Street. Alegria, Delgadillo’s Project Runway style runway competition, will be held February 28 at the downtown W Hotel in New Orleans. Delgadillo held auditions to select five local designers to show full twelve piece collections in the competition. Alegria has also teamed up with the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, with proceeds from the event going to benefit the organization. The event will be hosted by Jennifer Flowers, whose band will perform live during the “Battle of the Catwalk.” Tickets to the event are available at S

photos by Christine Cox, Styling by John Delgadillo





t’s early afternoon in Los Angeles and I’m sitting on my balcony lacing up a pair of Nikes. Empty champagne flutes rest on a table beside me and from the East, a 65 degree wind jingles a strand of Christmas lights still decorating the banister. It’s January. Don’t ask me how it got here so quickly but fourteen hours in and I’m lacing up Nikes. A new year means a fresh start, which means a fresh crack at the long list of resolutions I have sitting on my lap. First up: get fit. I know its cliché, but January First is ripe for jumping back onto bandwagons and I’ve been off the fit wagon for months. I head back inside and tiptoe around various body parts of sleeping adults who, a mere fourteen hours ago, were swaying back and forth, butchering the harmony of Auld Lang Syne. I gather my things, take a longing look at my bed and slip out the front door. Laid out in four stories of exposed concrete, high ceilings and suspended walkways, Equinox gym in Santa Monica feels more like a New York loft than a hardcore fitness facility. The multiple rows of weight stations, flat screen TVs and state-ofthe-art cardio equipment, however, suggest otherwise. Energy in a place like this is unavoidable and the second I walk through the door, my lingering fatigue evaporates like steam. Pumping from hidden speakers flushed into the walls, house music guides spandexclad gym-goers from one physical challenge to the next, while trainers in too-small t-shirts walk about the scene surveying their victims’ form. The sound of shaved ice and frozen fruit blending out of sight mixes with the sweet smell of sweat to further support that this place is where calories go to die. I approach the reception desk, which glows like a nightclub bar in Vegas, and hand my gym card to a petite blonde behind the desk. She swipes it. “Welcome back, Ms. Paige. It’s been awhile,” she says, completely calling out my laziness. I smile, mumble something about bandwagons and head for the stairs. On the way up I catch a glimpse of the smoothie bar with a smorgasbord of powders, supplements and extracts big enough to intimidate even the savviest of Smoothie King patrons. Behind the 60 | January 2010

counter, a thick body of muscle with no visible arm hair blends a chunk of wheatgrass into a small shot. I quiver involuntarily. There is something wrong with people liking the taste of mowed lawn. Reaching the second level, I hear a thick Southern accent call out my name and spot my friend Tara waving me over to her elliptical machine. “Hey!” Tara huffs. “I didn’t know you work out here. Come join me.” I hop onto the elliptical beside her and take my first slide-step of the New Year. Bring it on. Get fit. “I’ve been here for almost an hour and I still don’t feel like I’ve burned off the holidays,” Tara says, punching buttons on her monitor. I glance at her size-four frame pumping away and roll my eyes. Coming from a struggling actress, this comment doesn’t surprise me. We chat about the holidays for a while and I spout on about my resolutions, slowly working up a sweat. “I’ve been working a lot back home, lately,” Tara tells me. “Georgia’s really raking in the film business these days.” This news perks my interest. “We’ve got the 30 percent tax incentive down there,” Tara continues, “so TV shows and movies are flocking to us.” Now she’s just bragging. I feel the need to inform her that Louisiana also provides a 30 percent tax incentive for TV and film. “Yeah but Georgia makes it real easy to get that last ten percent,” Tara goes on. “All a production company has to do is show the state’s Georgia Peach logo somewhere on screen or in the credits and voila! Twenty percent becomes 30 percent just like that.” She snaps her fingers in the space between us. “That’s pretty cool,” I say, not really appreciating the snap. “Louisiana’s law doesn’t require a logo, but we do have more than ten films slated for production this year already, including the new Warner Brother’s superhero film, Green Lantern.” I can’t help it. I have to one-up her. “Oh how fun!” She says, feigning excitement. “You know, Miley Cyrus just wrapped her new movie on Tybee Island in Georgia and she always brings a hit.” Tara smiles at me as if to say Miley Cyrus trumps Ryan Reynolds. I start to pedal a little faster. “Isn’t it wild how much infrastructure can be built around


the film industry?” I ask her. “We’re about to open a premier new soundstage in New Orleans called Second Line Stages. And it was built purely to accommodate the boom in business down there.” I increase my incline and Tara matches me. “I know what you mean,” she says. “A new hotel is being built outside of Peachtree just to accommodate all the production crews living out there for months at a time. Can you imagine? A whole hotel, just to accommodate all the new business!” She says it loudly so as to intimidate me with volume. I suppress a laugh. Here we are in the middle of an L.A. gym arguing about which state is better for pulling in the most entertainment business. I glance around, half expecting a New Yorker to step in with her ante for the pot. Tara’s hotel info is good but I have a sweet piece of news I know will trump her. “You know Raleigh Studios out here in Hollywood?” I ask her. Tara nods. “Well they have a studio in Baton Rouge and have started designing a back lot that can double for the French Quarter, New York, and a number of different cities.” Tara looks surprised. “No way! Really?” This time her excitement is real. The back lot is truly cool news. I nod and smile triumphantly. When Hollywood commissions a back lot in your state, it’s a safe bet they’re there to stay. Letting Tara marinate on my new news, I glance down

at my monitor and realize I’ve been peddling for over 45 minutes. “Well, good to see you, Tara.” I say, deciding not to give her any time for a comeback. “Sounds like Georgia’s doing really well. Glad to hear you’re finding work out there.” I stop pedaling and hop off my machine. “Well, we don’t have plans for a back lot but thanks,” Tara winks, admitting defeat. Our little workout-Southern-film-industry contest is over. My first endorphin rush of the year and I’m feeling good. So good, in fact, I’m inspired to give wheatgrass a little wink behind the smoothie bar on the way out. In the car, I think back on my conversation with Tara and about how proud we both are of our states adopting Hollywood. Clearly we’re not the only ones on a lean kick this year, Hollywood itself is shedding pounds and dispersing itself all around the country. It’s an interesting trend and I can’t help but think that if it keeps up, pretty soon Los Angelino’s won’t be the only ones calling Hollywood home. Back at my apartment, I spot my roommate out on the balcony digging through a box of pastries for breakfast and I plop down next to her. “Did you make it to the gym?” she asks. “Yep,” I reply and pull a delicious looking brownie from her box. My roommate stares at me. “What? It’s a New Year’s resolution.” I smile at her and take a bite. “Eat dessert first.” S | 61


Liz Coulon


LIZ COULON, C.S.A. Coulon Casting

“When production ended, most department heads went back to whatever state they called home,” added Coulon. “I saw an opportunity to fill a void, and the help of UNO’s incubator program, I co-created my first company, The Louisiana Casting Database, LLC. The database quickly grew to be the largest and most comprehensive database of background extras in the state.” In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, Coulon decided to move forward into the world of local principal casting (speaking roles). She became a sole business owner and formed her second company, Coulon Casting, Inc. Now a full service Louisiana Film and Television Casting Company, Coulon Casting is equipped to handle both the extras casting and local principal casting needs of productions. We applaud Coulon as she was accepted into the Casting Society of America in 2009. “In short, it is my job to find the best actor for each role in a film or television project. I meet with lots of actors to determine whether or not an actor would be believable or “right” for a particular role. Then I get this actor in front of a director and or producer.” “When hired for a job, I’ll read and analyze a script, discuss characters with my director and/or producer, create a character description of each role, then release this breakdown to talent agents. Talent agents will submit a list of actors and I’ll select which actors to schedule for a taped audition. After a full day of casting, I sort, edit, convert and upload tapes of the best choices for each role. I 62 | January 2010

Elizabeth Coulon graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2002, just as Louisiana began offering tax incentives to film productions. She then started her career as an extras casting assistant on the film Ray.

often watch these tapes with a director and or producer to determine which actors to bring back in for a second audition or “callback”. I am also responsible for negotiating deals with talent agents.” “I am thankful that we have an entertainment industry! Louisiana is now the third largest film-making destination in the country behind only California and New York.”

“When I was in college, I thought that I’d have to move to another state in order to work in the entertainment industry. But I was able to stay, thanks to the inception of our state’s tax incentive program in ’02.”


If you were not doing this, what other job would you like to do? I absolutely love what I do for a living. But if I were not casting, I’d like to do something in the music industry—maybe in A&R or start an independent music label.



Michael Douglas with Diego Martinez in Shreveport


DIEGO MARTINEZ Executive Producer/ Director of Studio Operations

Diego received an incredible opportunity in his career, when he worked as assistant to the director on a movie called Ruffian shot in Shreveport. He later met the production manager for the first NuImage/Millennium project in Shreveport and became an Art Department Coordinator for a few movies with NuImage/Millennium. Soon after, Mick Flannigan promoted him to Production Supervisor. Today Diego is director of Studio Operations and executive producer for NuImage/Millennium in Louisiana, which recently produced The Expendables and is in pre-production for Drive Angry. NuImage/Millennium is underway to build their new studio project in Shreveport. “This has been a priority for me and will continue to be until it is up and running,” said Diego. “I’m proud of what we have done so far. But I also believe that there is so much more to do. We need more support services to provide all necessary elements to film in Louisiana.”

64 | January 2010

“I believe that Louisiana has become the standard for location shooting. Not only because of our incentives, but because we have taken steps to build an infrastructure.”


If you were not doing this, what other job would you like to do? I was teaching English in Colombia about a year before I started in the industry. I would love to do it again. It was wonderful working in Medellin and making a difference in peoples’ lives.


66 | January 2010



68 | January 2010


THE UNSCENE Reel Companies On July 1, 2009, Louisiana again affirmed its commitment to growing the economy of entertainment. The State’s production tax credit was increased from 25 percent to 30 percent, and new provisions further refined the incentive program to solidify it as the most reliable in the country. Louisiana’s commitment to the future was made certain, as legally mandated scaledowns of the program were removed, clearing the way for investors to make long-term commitments with confidence. Servicing the ever-increasing flow of film and television activity is now big business, with new infrastructure companies emerging on a weekly basis to stake their claim in the new entertainment frontier. Some new businesses are start-up companies, staffed by locals and struggling to stay afloat. Some are well known West Coast names eager to expand into new markets. And some are merely shell companies, offering nothing more than a post office box. New law states that for a company to qualify as part of a production’s local spend, the company must be brick and mortar and have at least one full-time employee. No more storefronts. No more mailboxes perched in front of empty lots. The intent of the law’s new provision is to grow Louisiana, not defraud her taxpayers. Tales of pass-through credit cards and hotel home addresses are common. The new law is only six months old. The fisherman’s net is still sinking to the seafloor. But when the first whale is caught, you can count on criminal charges. - The UnScene Writer

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70 | January 2010

Scene Magazine - January 2010  

Sandra Bullock premieres "The Blind Side" in New Orleans and graces the cover of Scene's January 2010 issue.