Monday, June 30, 2008

Millennium Films executive producer to leave

The following was reported in Saturday's paper:

Michael P. Flannigan is leaving his job as an executive producer with Nu Image/Millennium Films. Flannigan, who has helped the company make seven films in Shreveport, is moving to Lithuania to work with director Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2," "Cleaner").

Flannigan's departure will not affect Nu Image/Millennium Films' plans for Shreveport, spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolfe said. The company is building a $10 million studio in the Ledbetter Heights neighborhood and plans to continue making five to six movies a year in the city.

"I've really enjoyed my time with the company," Flannigan wrote in a farewell e-mail. "And to all my friends in the 'Shreve,' I'll be back for the ribbon cutting."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pie looks yummy but lacks flavor; Get ready for liftoff

"My Blueberry Nights," a movie made by one of my favorite directors, opens today at the Robinson Film Center. The Norah Jones starrer is a dud story-wise, but the eye-candy visuals are soothing. As a director, Wong Kar-wai is one of the best stylists working today. I just wish "Blueberry" offered a bit more narrative.

And families should get their outdoor movie plans in order. The Movies and Moonbeams program will present "Apollo 13" on July 3 at Riverview Park.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Training course grooming 40 students for grip and electric jobs

Today, I visited the grip and electric training course being held at Mansfield Studios. For four weeks, about forty students are getting a free crash course in craft, terminology, and set etiquette. It was made possible by Louisiana Technical College - Mansfield Campus and an LCTCS: Pathways to Construction grant.

What's cool about the course is that it's being taught by experienced pros Bob Bates (gaffer) and Ted Sapp (key grip). Hands-on opportunities like these are essential to growing a qualified crew base. If these students get hired on a union movie project, they'll start by making a bit more than $22/hr. The freelance job would last about 25 (movie of the week) to 50 days (feature), and it would typically include significant overtime.

You'll learn more about the students in Saturday's paper.

Six questions for Kristi Woodard

Kristi Woodard is an aspiring director.

What was your most recent job in the movie industry, or what are you working on now?

My most recent job was as a location scout for indie filmmaker Glen Grefe. I found locations for him to shoot his promo trailer for "The Hurting Kind."

I'm not working on anything right now. Someone … please … HIRE ME!!!! :)

What's the coolest part about your job?

I prefer to work behind the scenes so the coolest part of the job is meeting other industry people … actors, crew members and other pros and picking their brains. And of course seeing the scenes set-up, shot and broken down.

What is your main career goal?

To direct music videos and possible feature films or documentaries. But I'd settle for producing for MTV if they'll have me :) I honestly just want to tell great stories through film/video. I plan to do that whether I make it big or not.

What single experience has proved most valuable?

I believe every experience on a set is valuable. Even if you're just an extra, it gives you a chance to meet new people, get the latest about future jobs ... Any experience on a set should be a resume-builder and a chance to learn … whether you're an aspiring actor or director.

In what movie or show can we see your work? Highlight a scene you like.

I only did background work for "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" (the newsroom scene). I personally hate being on camera but I needed some extra money! I have credits as crew for both "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins" and The Hurting Kind, as well as BPCC's movie currently filming this summer.

What's your favorite movie of all time and why? (You must choose one.)

Honestly, it's "Grease." I loved musicals and as a child (and even now as an adult), anytime I would get sick (or was just bored at home), I'd watch old musicals like "Mary Poppins" and "Oliver." Anytime "Grease" is on, I have to watch it ... It's sad really, but I love anything that takes me away from my reality (guess that's why I love cartoons too). I'd love to produce or write a musical one day.

PHOTO: Woodard and director Malcolm D. Lee on the set of "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

John Grindley resigning from Robinson Film Center

If you haven't caught the news yet, check out this story. John Grindley, executive director of the Robinson Film Center, is resigning. He's taking a job with a streaming video company in Ruston. Grindley began working with RFC in Sept. 2005.

Six questions for Joyce Sanborn

Joyce Sanborn has worked background in four locally made movies.

What was your most recent job in the movie industry, or what are you working on now?

My most recent job was background in "W." I was a diner in the midland cafe.

What's the coolest part about your job?

The coolest part of my job is being able to see actors and actresses that you thought that you would only see on television or the big screen and then you get to see them in person and to be in the movie.

What is your main career goal?

I hope to make acting a career it is a lifelong dream and now being background has made that dream come true.

What single experience has proved most valuable?

That the actors and actresses are real people and they mess up just like everyone else so it is a learning experience.

In what movie or show can we see your work? Highlight a scene you like.

I am a partygoer in "Disaster Movie."

What's your favorite movie of all time and why? (You must choose one.)

My all time favorite movie is "Dream a Little Dream," it makes you realize that all dreams can come true and that even when you get old you are only as old as you feel in your heart.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

‘Blood & Oil’ to screen at Columbia Café

The local arts and film group called minicine? will show "Blood & Oil" on Monday (June 30) at Columbia Café. The free screening will start at 8 p.m. while a prescreening gathering will begin at 7.

The 52-minute documentary investigates the notion that oil motivates American military interests in the Middle East. Based on the work of Nation war correspondent Michael T. Klare, it also takes a historical look at how oil influences foreign policy decisions.

Columbia Café is located at 3030 Creswell Ave. For more information, log on to or call David Nelson of minicine? at (318) 426-0852.


'Disaster Movie' trailer hits MySpace

Well, that was fast. The Shreve-made movie hits theaters Aug. 29. Thanks, CR.

What do you think? The Juno-Carrie-Zohan mash-up is pretty funny. (But by the way, what do any of those characters have to do with disaster movies? Methinks their spoof's too loose.)

Disaster Movie

Monday, June 23, 2008

Community college needs volunteer extras

Just received the following note from Bossier Parish Community College:

BPCC Film Institute is close to wrapping it's summer movie titled "Anything For The Game"

Volunteer extras are needed for a baseball park scene on Tuesday. Filming will be at Fairgrounds Field in Shreveport .

PLEASE ! come and bring a friend, or two or three. Please arrive between 9am-9:30am. Attire is that which you would wear to a high school baseball game. Please do not wear big or recognizable logos. The scene is the High School State Championship Baseball Game. We realize this is a no pay gig, but we would ask that you consider giving of your time to this great endeavor. BPCC Film Institute is fast becoming a recognizable contributor to the local film industry. Some of you will no doubt become "featured fans" as well. Should be great weather and a great day. How about a great showing? We also may be in need for fans for an evening shoot at Tinsley Park in Bossier City the same eveningnight. Hope to see many of you there. NO NEED TO CALL UNLESS YOU HAVE A QUESTION.

For more information, please contact (preferably by phone since we shoot tomorrow)
Eric Tuxen, Director/Editor
Paula Kaszuba, Producer/Associate Professor

Six questions for Eric Patrick

What was your most recent job in the movie industry, or what are you working on now?

Right now I'm wrapping up the last few weeks of shooting for "Living Proof" where I functioned as the art department coordinator. It's a film starring Harry Connick Jr. about a real doctor who found a new treatment for breast cancer. It also stars Bernadette Peters, Amanda Bynes, and Jennifer Coolidge. During pre-production, the director, Dan Ireland mentioned that he was going to sketch out some storyboards so I quickly let him know that I had experience with that type of illustration. Since then I've earned the credit as the production's storyboard artist and boarded many key scenes for the film.

What's the coolest part about your job?

I get to work with the director (and the director of photography sometimes) to map out the way the film will be shot and really get inside their head to tap into their creative vision. It's particularly gratifying to overhear a member of the crew taking a look at a scene that I have boarded and yell, "oh, I get it now!" It's very fulfilling to know that the work that I do helps everyone get a solid understanding of what the final product should look like.

What is your main career goal?

I want to do it all when it comes to illustration. I'm really sharpening my storyboard skills but I'm also using digital programs like Photoshop to create visually compelling concept illustrations. A production designer I have worked with has asked me to do concept illustrations for a project he has coming up. It's a horror film with a metaphysical twist, so I get to draw some really creepy stuff, and when is that not fun? For now I would like to be the go-to guy for production illustrations and storyboards in northwest Louisiana.

What single experience has proved most valuable?

Wow. Tough question. Not fair. If I could qualify that a little, the single experience since moving to Louisiana to be an illustrator and storyboard artist for the film industry is this: I was working as a featured extra on a film shooting in Shreveport and the costume designer walked past me during a little down time and saw some sketches of mine. Next thing I knew I was being paid to help with wardrobe concept illustrations. From there one thing has led to another, all the way until right now.

In what movie or show can we see your work? Highlight a scene you like.

In the Avi Arad film "Robosapien" that wrapped in New Orleans in May, there are several times when my work is featured. In the film there is a car (I call it the "Frankencar") that was custom made from several different car bodies. The production designer and I sat down and I illustrated what he wanted the car to ultimately look like. The car in the film is EXACTLY what I drew. Kudos to the guys who built it! Also, there is a kitchen scene where I painted a mural of fish and bubbles and flowers. Very "day-glow" trippy, but if you see the movie it will make sense.

What's your favorite movie of all time and why? (You must choose one.)

Aww come on! Ok, ok, if I have to pick one, I would have to say the first Chronicles of Narnia film, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." It was my favorite book as a kid and they actually added to the book in the film and made it BETTER. At least in my opinion. I could watch that movie over and over again. It made me an instant fan of Tilda Swinton.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mac attack at the Robinson Film Center

Got a Mac? Make movies? Go here.

WHAT: Shreveport Mac Users Group meet to discuss iMovie 08, iDVD 08 and YouTube.
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. June 26.
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
COST: free.
RSVP: or call Thomas Avallone at (318) 773-2346.

The group will be utilizing the multimedia capabilities of the Robinson Film Center's multipurpose room. It has many screens. Projectors. WiFi. Lots of bells and whistles that confuse Analog Alexandyr. I think there are chairs, too. Cushy ones. Neato. And a couch.

Here's what Thomas had to say about the event: "In keeping with the spirit of the venue, our featured presenter, Grant Chapman of Tyrosys Corp, will demonstrate the finer points of importing and editing video with iMovie '08. He will also discuss how to prepare and export the finished project to iDVD '08 and YouTube. WiFi will be available. Admission is free. No outside food or drink, please. Abby Singer's Bistro will be open to satisfy your refreshment needs."

Kevin Rahm offering scene study workshop

WHAT: scene study workshop and Q&A with Kevin Rahm ("Desperate Housewives," "Judging Amy," Bossier City native).
WHERE: location TBA, Shreveport.
WHEN: 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday (June 22).
COST: $70.
TO REGISTER: contact Tara Duncil at (318) 573-0039 or; or Jamie Baremore at (818) 203-5186 or

PHOTO: Kevin Rahm in "Desperate Housewives." (ABC/Ron Tom)

Six questions for Michael Allen

Michael Allen, from East Texas, has worked background in six locally made movies.

Q: What was your most recent job in the movie industry?

A: My most recent job was background in the movie "W," I was a presidential aid in the Situation Room. Really an experience doing a scene with James Cromwell and Richard Dreyfuss, they were fantastic!

Q: What's the coolest part about your job?

A: I believe the coolest part is seeing the people I have enjoyed in movies over the years and getting a new wrinkle in my brain from the experience of how everything is put together.

Q: What is your main career goal?

A: Even though I am not a 'young' actor, I am a 'new' actor. I hope to make acting a career not just for money but in fulfilling a lifelong dream. I was born to act, I'm just a little slow. :)

Q: What single experience has proved most valuable?

A: I believe the most valuable experience so far was to get to audition for an independent horror-type movie for a speaking part. I could work a dozen background jobs (and all I have done so far is background) and not get as much valuable insight as I did on that one 'real' audition. It was a grand learning experience!

Q: In what movie or show can we see your work? Highlight a scene you like.

A: Well, After "The Great Debaters," where I was a Sharecropper Beating Blur in the barn scene, I am hesitant to mention much until the movie comes out. But I did enjoy being a New York City cop in "Soul Men." Funeral scene at the Apollo Theater. Don't we all want to dress up like a cop or cowboy or something like that?

Q: What's your favorite movie of all time and why?

A: My all time favorite movie has to be "It's A Wonderful Life," whenever I feel low … whenever I feel discouraged in life, I watch that movie. I smile, I laugh, and yes even tear up at points but it just makes me feel good and I keep going. I have been diagnosed and lived with Crohn's disease for over 25 years now and no matter what happens I can count on "It's a Wonderful Life" to help motivate me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Six questions for Banks Lee

There you have it. Honest-to-Clark proof that somebody's reading my blog. Banks Lee, a stage actor from Texarkana, responded to my need for interviewees. Below are his answers to the all-important six questions.

Q: What was your most recent job in the movie industry?

A: My most recent job (as of now my only job) was an extra in the movie "Year One." I played a Sodom Citizen (insert Sodom joke here).

Q: What's the coolest part about the job?

A: Just being there on set, seeing how things are done was the coolest part of it all. Actually, the 'coolest part' was the weather, as it was around 40 degrees the morning I was on set for "Year One." It felt like if I were to stub my toes they would chip off.

Q: What is your main career goal?

A: My main career goal is to be an actor. I am about to become a Cast Member at Walt Disney World in Florida, where I hope to get into their entertainment department.

Q: What single experience has proved most valuable?

A: One single experience that proved valuable would be working at UNT on their local TV shows. Up to that point I had only done theater, and that showed me just how different it is between theater and television/film.

Q: In what movie or show can we see your work?

A: Well you may be able to see me in the background of "Year One," but my college television shows are available to see on Google Video (search for "The Post Cognitive" or "Elvis and Slick Monty"). One scene I liked during "Year One" was Oliver Platt in front of a giant bull head where he sacrifices virgins. He is doing a hilarious dance, wailing his arms around and rubbing where his nipples are. It was hard not to laugh.

Q: What's your favorite movie of all time and why? (You must choose one.)

A: My favorite movie of all time? Geez, there are so many. Thanks for making me narrow it down, Alex. I'm gonna have to say the it is "Casablanca." Such wonderful performances and memorable lines. That movie never gets old for me.

If you want to be featured in Six Questions, click here. Who's next?

Please allow me to introduce you

During the past few months, I've been getting emails about:
  • Your recent successes in the industry
  • Building résumés and jumpstarting new careers
  • Indie film projects
  • New or established vendors
  • Working as an actor in movies, TV and local theater
  • Training opportunities for local actors and crew members
  • Your frustrations about not moving up.

I hear you, and I think I can help a bit. How? I'm Superman. OK, I'm not, but Clark, who sits next to me in the newsroom, offered up a good idea.

Tell me about your work, and I'll tell my readers about you.

If you're game and want to be featured on this blog, answer the following questions; send me a picture of you or your work; and provide links to your website. Email me all of it by clicking here.

  1. What was your most recent job in the movie industry, or what are you working on now?
  2. What's the coolest part about your job?
  3. What is your main career goal?
  4. What single experience has proved most valuable?
  5. In what movie or show can we see your work? Highlight a scene you like.
  6. What's your favorite movie of all time and why? (You must choose one. That's it. One. No wishy-washy whining, now. Just choose.)

Come on, now. Answer the questions. You can't say no. I want them to want you. And remember: Being first is hip.

Happy, happy, joy, joy! You've been suckered into reading the fine print. What are the guidelines? They're simple, really.

  • You are working in the movie industry, or want to work in the industry and have necessary experience. (For example, you're a budding location scout. Or, you're a local filmmaker. Or, you're an industry vendor. Or, you're a theater actor working to transition to film/TV. Or, you're an artist now doing storyboard work. Etc.)
  • Your answers are specific, sincere, honest, concise and informative. (Two to four sentences per question should suffice. No novellas, please.)
  • You're entertaining. Come on, now. It's showbiz.
  • Shameless self-promotion is OK, but blatant advertising is not. I'll be the judge of that, thank you very much.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Studio project moving forward in Ledbetter Heights

If you haven't driven through the Ledbetter Heights neighborhood in the past few weeks, you should. In addition to the recent demolition of the Pendleton apt. building, crews are clearing the 6.7-acre site for the $10 million Nu Image/Millennium Films studio project. It should take about nine months to complete, I was told today by a studio exec.

‘W.’ seeking extras now

Oliver Stone's "W." needs extras to work now through July 11. The movie stars Josh Brolin. Contact BAM Casting if the following sounds good to you:

  • These are paid positions
  • Most commitments are one day and last 12 to 14 hours.
Needed looks include:
  • clean-cut women and men (shave that scruff, dudes) who look political
  • White House aides and assistants
  • Military men and women
  • Soldiers and sailors
  • Professionals such as attorneys, lawyers, police officers
  • Applicants of all ages, but mainly ages 25 to 65.
To sign up:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Plastic meat? Fake flashlight? Giant ice cream cones? Yup, it's a prop house

I found myself inside Studio Operations today, a prop house in the Shreveport. It stores everything -- and I mean everything -- that Millennium Films has used since the company began making films here in late 2006. Meg Ryan's fat suit? Katie Holmes' shoes? Taxi cabs? Rows and rows of wardrobe? It's all there.

Studio Operations also rents props to local productions. Both "Disaster Movie" and "W." have rented stuff -- fake meat and office supplies respectively -- in recent weeks. They're currently awaiting the arrival of a jet fuselage that will sit on a 40-foot trailer.

If you have questions or needs, contact's Karrie Shockley at 318.635.6794 or

Wade Marshall and Karrie Shockley staff Studio Operations, which is located at 2154 Midway Street in Shreveport.

They kept some meat that was used on "Disaster Movie." No word on whether it was from the art or catering department.

Bar stools from "Blonde Ambition."

Car from "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park"). Look close and you'll see bullet holes in the passenger side door.

Must have been one costly fare to get this cab to Shreveport.

Studio Operations warehouse spans 20,000 square feet and is packed to the gills.

This was my favorite prop. A cop's flashlight, made of foam, which I believe was used on "Cleaner." Anybody remember a scene where someone got cracked in the noggin?

PHOTOS: Alexandyr Kent/The Times

Friday, June 13, 2008

This weekend’s big dilemma: ‘Grand Canyon Adventure’ or ‘The Incredible Hulk?’

If I were marketing "Grand Canyon Adventure" – and if I were a little misguided, which I am – I'd pitch:

"Has $4 gas curbed your summer vacation plans? Sci-Port Discovery Center has a solution to your travel woes.

"On Saturday, the downtown science center will open 'Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk' in its IMAX Theater. Tickets are just $8.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids.

"Buy tickets now, save a few tanks of gas and prevent yourself from repeating 'Don't make me turn this car around!' At Sci-Port's IMAX, everyone in your family can experience nausea, dizziness, and if you're lucky, vertigo in the comfort of an air-conditioned movie theater."

In all seriousness – well, with as much seriousness as I can muster on a day when "The Incredible Hulk" will market rage and destruction to the popcorn crowd (present-party included) as hip pop psychology (am I prejudging at the risk of sounding foolish? "Bad critic!") – "Grand Canyon Adventure" looks like a worthwhile educational flick for moviegoers who give a lick about conservation.

The movie's tour guides are a river advocate and an anthropologist. (They're smart, I take it.) They take us (and the proverbial IMAX family) on a run down the Colorado River. They will point out how the landscape has changed dramatically during a century's worth of industrialized human pressure, and how a once free-flowing river sometimes comes to a trickling halt on its way to the ocean. That's not good.

You'll learn about rivers. You'll learn about the mega-drought that's paralyzing the Southwest. And you'll learn about the power and fragility of one very vital resource: water.

And who knows: Perhaps its message will give Hulk a whole new reason to go green. (Not.)

"Grand Canyon Adventure" opens tomorrow and runs for three months. Show times:

11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

11 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays.

2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Sundays.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Locals push to renew infrastructure tax credit; Kilmer dishes on 'The Doors'

Times reporter Adam Kealoha Causey followed the mayor and film industry leaders down to Baton Rouge yesterday. They pressed their case that the infrastructure tax credit must be renewed before it lapses at the end of the year.

With Nu Image/Millennium Films pushing ahead to build a $10 million studio and hoping to build a second phase thereafter, the company wants to make certain that the tax credit is in place during all phases of construction.

(Understand that the production and labor tax credits will not change at the end of the year. It's only the infrastructure credit that's in jeopardy.)

There's an assumption that the legislature will revisit the credits during the next fiscal session -- beginning spring 2009 -- but the industry in northwest Louisiana wants to see a more proactive response. If they don't address the infrastructure credit this year, there essentially would be a six-month gap before the credit could be renewed.

Basically, local leaders don't want to see any gap whatsoever. They want to see the legislature call a special session before the year is out and solidify and/or strengthen the infrastructure tax credit, and look again at all the credits, before other states pass more agressive incentives. (Michigan, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Connecticut you name it: Lots of states are working to up the ante and get their share of the Hollywood pie.)

It's also important to note that Nu Image/Millennium Films is not the only company interesting in the infrastructure tax credit, which specifically applies to the cost of building and rennovating production facilities.

Lampton Enochs, a founding partner of Louisiana Production Consultants, co-manages the busy Mansfield Studios in south Shreveport. The facility has attracted 17 projects in 16 months. Enochs said there are long-term plans to soundproof its soundstages and add production office space, but a sunsetting tax credit – or even just a six-month lapse – would change them.

"If you shut down (the tax credit), you can’t make plans," Enochs said.

The same would go for the operators of StageWorks of Louisiana, Stage West and the Louisiana Wave Studio, local studio/production facilities that can take advantage of the infrastructure credit when they do renovations.

How important is the infrastructure credit to sustaining the local film industy? Is it as important as the production and labor credits, which will remain in place? I'd like to read your thoughts.

P.S.: We also provided a recap of what Val Kilmer said Sunday about "The Doors." Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Raised on Rice and Gravy' made by Bossier City native

Remember Allison Bohl, who made "I Always Do My Collars First" with Conni Castille? Their short documentary about ironing and Cajun culture in French Louisiana played at the New Orleans Film Festival last year and garnered some pretty nice attention.

I remember hearing a clip from it on public radio's "American Routes." (Trust me: If it makes Nick Spitzer's list, it's worth your time.)

Bohl and Castille have made another flick about Louisiana life and culture. This time around, they're focusing lunch plate houses. The doc is called "Raised on Rice and Gravy," and it looks pretty neat. Check out the preview above.

Scene-study workshop planned for Sunday

Theresa Bell will host an acting/scene-study workshop this weekend. For more info, log on to

If you go
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 15.
WHERE: TBA, Shreveport.
COST: $100, or $25 to audit.
TO REGISTER: contact Tara Duncil at or (318) 573-0039.

Monday, June 09, 2008

What? No bell-bottoms for the mayor?

The Shreve's head honcho got squeezed out of his shot at the big screen in 2003. While Mayor Cedric Glover was a state legislator in 2003, the movie "Ray" came to film a scene at the House chamber in Baton Rouge. Apparently, many Louisiana elected officials got first dibs at being extras. Many, that is, except Glover, who couldn't find a 70s get-up.

"What they had in central costuming obviously didn't fit yours truly," the mayor said today while hosting a meeting at the Robinson Film Center.

There, Glover and local industry leaders were working to rally support for the film industry's tax credits. In specific, the infrastructure credit will lapse at the end of the year without intervention. Glover wants a special legislative session to be called before the end of 2008, which would specifically address the state's tax credit program. While the legislature could revisit the infrastructure credit in the spring, Glover and the group want to be proactive and keep the incentives going.

Keep them internationally competitive, keep them going, the gist is. Glover and the group head to Baton Rouge Wednesday to talk with anyone who will listen.

The Mayor's office is also organizing a Louisiana Film Summit – a meeting of the minds for the state's producers, crew, talent, businesses, etc. – for early August in Shreveport.

You'll learn a bit more in tomorrow's Times.

UPDATE 9:50 a.m. Tuesday: Here's the article.

La. Produces meetup set for Tuesday; 'Doors' recap coming Thursday

Tomorrow's 7 p.m. meeting of the La. Produces group will feature Cyndi Brenner of Louisiana Production Consultants. She'll talk about the new, free grip and electric training class currently being offered at Mansfield Studios.

If you're interested, the meeting will be held at the Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St.

Regarding the film center, last night's screening of "The Doors" attracted a healthy crowd. Despite a bummer of a projection problem – a 17-year-old, stretched print led to a temporarily stopped movie – attendees seemed to enjoy hearing Val Kilmer talk about his craft, Jim Morrison and Oliver Stone. The Times will offer a wrap-up of the event on Thursday.

Personally, it was fun to see Stone show up for the reception and pop into the theaters as the movie started. "Thirty years later and I'm still checking prints," he said.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What’s been shot in The Shreve, northwest La.

Because I like links (kielbasa and cyber), I offer up a list of recent movies shot in The Shreve and northwest Louisiana. Not my fault if you overdraw your credit card on DVDs.

Note: Movies are listed under the year they began shooting. If you notice the need for tweaks or additions, please let me know.

Happy clicking.

“Road House 2: Last Call” (Johnathon Schaech)
“Thief” (FX miniseries, Andre Braugher)
“Scarlett” (TV movie, Rebecca Gayheart)
“The American Standards” (James Brolin)
“Factory Girl” (Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce)
“The Guardian” (Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher)

“Premonition” (Sandra Bullock)
“Ruffian” (Sam Shepard)
“Not Like Everyone Else” (TV movie)
“Mr. Brooks” (Kevin Costner, Demi Moore)
“The Initiation of Sarah” (TV movie)
“The Year Without a Santa Claus” (John Goodman, NBC TV movie)
“My Mom’s New Boyfriend” / “Homeland Security” (Meg Ryan, Antonio Banderas)
“Blonde Ambition” (Jessica Simpson, Luke Wilson)

“The Last Lullaby” (Tom Sizemore, Sasha Alexander, directed by Jeffrey Goodman)
“Cleaner” (Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris)
“Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” (Kal Penn, John Cho, Neil Patrick Harris)
“The Mist” (Thomas Jane, Andre Braugher, directed by Frank Darabont)
“Secrets of the Heart” (music series TV pilot)
“For Sale by Owner” (Scott Cooper, Skeet Ulrich)
“Mad Money” (Katie Holmes, Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah)
Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins” (Martin Lawrence, James Earl Jones)
“The Great Debaters” (Denzel Washington)
“The Pardon” (Jason Lewis, Jaime King)
“Major Movie Star” (Jessica Simpson)
“Pulse 2” / “Pulse: Afterlife” (Dimension Films)
“Pulse 3” / “Pulse: Invasion” (Dimension Films)
“True Blood” (HBO series, one-week shoot)
“Queen Sized” (Lifetime movie)
“The Killing Room” / “Untitled Manbreak Project” (Timothy Hutton, Nick Cannon, Chlöe Sevigny)
“Wonderful World” (Matthew Broderick)
“Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds” (Dimension Films)
“Feast 3: The Happy Finish” (Dimension Films)
“Sordid Lives: The Series” (Logo channel series)

“The Midnight Man” (Dimension Films)
“Speed Freaks” (Comedy Central series, one week)
“Cheerleader Camp” (MTV series)
“Big Medicine” (TLC reality TV series)
“Tekken” (videogame adaptation)
“Soul Men” (Samuel L. Jackson, Bernie Mac)
“The Longshots” / “Comeback” (Ice Cube, Keke Palmer)
“Year One” (Jack Black, Michael Cera)
“True Blood” (HBO series, one-week shoot)
“Billy the Exterminator” (A&E TV series)
“Righteous Kill” (second unit reshoots)
“Pinks All Out” (Speed TV two-day shoot)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” (Michael Douglas)

"I Love You, Phillip Morris" (two-day shoot at La. Wave Studio)
“Streets of Blood” / “Microwave Park” (50 Cent, Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone)
“Disaster Movie” (Carmen Electra, Kim Kardashian)
“W.” (Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, directed by Oliver Stone)
“I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” (begins shooting July 21, 2008)

PHOTO: Gannett News Service.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Diego knows firsthand how the industry found a home in The Shreve

If you visit movie sets in Shreveport, you quickly discover that Diego Martinez is central to the success story of the local film industry. He probably owes his fast rise to hard work, reliability and chance.

Before Hurricane Katrina, Diego was living in Shreveport and helping with his father's business. In the summer of 2005, he was getting ready to move down south to find work in the movie industry.

"I was just about to move to New Orleans," Diego said. "The plans were already made. It was about two weeks before I would move."

Then Katrina hit and the industry pushed north. What he was trying to crack has just landed at his front door.

Diego stayed in Shreveport and began getting movie jobs and steadily moving up the ladder. In 2006, he worked as an assistant to the director on "Ruffian" and a production secretary on "The Year Without a Santa Claus."

Next came three movies as art department coordinator.

"It just snowballed," Diego said last week while on the set of "Streets of Blood." "Now I'm production supervisor."

"Streets of Blood" is his fourth consecutive Nu Image/Millennium Films project with that title.

"What I've done in less than three years would have taken me half of my life in L.A.," he said. "I bought a house here and this has just worked out perfectly. I hope that we keep this going."

While the industry has returned to New Orleans, it's also built itself a home in The Shreve largely because crew guys like Diego stuck around.

PHOTO: Diego Martinez (left) on the set of "Streets of Blood." (Douglas Collier/The Times)

Keeping up to speed locally, nationally

There are two stories to keep an eye on today. Locally, I reported on the making of "Streets of Blood" at the La. Wave Studio. The feature stars Val Kilmer, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Sharon Stone. One of the twists is that the movie is set in post-Katrina New Orleans, and a scene is being shot in a facility that wouldn't be in Shreveport were it not for hurricane damage in New Orleans.

(The wave tank was built for "The Guardian," which initially built the tank near Slidell but moved here in late 2005.)

Nationally, USA Today has an informative update on the possibility of a SAG strike at the end of the month. It's important for everyone to keep an eye on this.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June update: 16 projects in production or preproduction

Here's the latest update from the state office.

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of the Louisiana Office of Entertainment Industry Development. Here's what's happening for the first week of June 2008:

The feature film based on the book "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from July 21 through September 2. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at

The Nu Image/Millennium feature film "Bad Lieutenant" starring Nicolas Cage is in preproduction in New Orleans with shooting tentatively scheduled from July 8 through August 26. Resumes and inquiries are currently be accepted by e-mail at

The Films in Motion feature film "The Deadline" starring Brittany Murphy and Thora Birch is shooting in Houma through the last week of June. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at

The Lifetime Movie of the Week "Living Proof" starring Harry Connick Jr. is shooting in the New Orleans area through June 27. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 731-7114.

The independent feature film "Drones" is shooting in Baton Rouge with shooting scheduled through mid-June. Inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (225) 610-1664.

The Screen Gems feature film "Mardi Gras" is shooting in LaPlace and New Orleans through July 11. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 566- 8384.

The Bullet Films feature film "Leader of Wolves" is shooting in Lafayette through June 23. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Bullet Films feature film "Judgment Day" is shooting in Lafayette through June 6. Inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Nu Image/Millennium feature film "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park") starring 50 Cent, Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone is shooting in Shreveport through the second week of June. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at

The Sci-Fi Channel television movie "Lightning Strikes" is shooting in Baton Rouge through first week of July. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (207) 433-2972.

The Disney television series "Imagination Movers" is shooting in Harahan through July 18. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (504) 818-3840.

The Prescott Productions feature film "W." starring Josh Brolin and directed by Oliver Stone is shooting in Shreveport through July 12. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 603-9556.

The independent feature film "I Love You, Phillip Morris" starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor is shooting in the New Orleans area through June 30. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (504) 596-3221. For casting information, please visit

The A&E Network reality television series "Billy the Exterminator" is shooting in Shreveport through late June. Resumes and inquiries can be sent to

The Weinstein Company feature film "Patriots" starring Forest Whitaker and Lil' Wayne is shooting in Metairie through late June. Inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at

The Lionsgate feature film "Disaster Movie" ("Goodie Two Shoes") is shooting in Shreveport through June 6. Inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (318) 682-5644.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at

Is 50 Cent the hardest working man in show business?

The rap star is certainly making his case on the set of "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park").

I interviewed Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson during the wee hours of a recent late-night shoot at the Louisiana Wave Studio, a wave tank facility in south Shreveport.

I'm telling you, the guy I met totally upended my expectations. (I should know better by now; reputations and celebrity personas rarely stand in for the real deal.)

50 Cent, who goes by Curtis on set, never stops working. He gives an engaging, thoughtful interview. His enthusiasm for his work – be it music or movies – is infectious. According to his producers, he sleeps about three to four hours a night, and I'm inclined to believe them.

I asked the rap star if movie roles offer him a chance to show the public a different side? Is 50 Cent different than Curtis Jackson?

"50 Cent is a small portion of my character," he said. "50 Cent is who I had to be outside. Curtis is who I had to be in my mother's house. I had to be aggressive enough to get by in the environment I grew up in, and then I had to be my momma's baby in the house. A lot of times people misinterpret what the environment was like."

The truth is something he's revisiting and refining all the time in new music.

"You try to capture it perfectly so you continuously go back to certain areas to rewrite it," he said. "Because when it's done perfectly, you don't have to do it anymore."

About midway through the interview, he took me into his mobile recording studio where he's cutting his next album. No kidding, folks. A two-trailer mobile recording studio he brought onto the set of "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" is on the set of "Streets of Blood."

He said he has enough time to write and record music while prepping his movie character because making movies is always "hurry up and wait."

Some stars bring workout equipment to bide their time. Others scripts, books, music or DVDs.

"For me, I go cut a record," he said. "I got something to do regardless if there is nothing to do, every moment."

In the studio he played me a track, which offered this self-assessment: "Number one actor, number one dad, number one reason your punk ass mad. I'm sorry if you're angry at me, but I can't be less than I'm destined to be."

By the end of the interview, it was clear to me that Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson continues to be interesting to pop culture because he's totally self-aware of his public image, very open to talking about himself and how he's perceived, and able to communicate his experiences in direct yet mysterious, and provocative yet undeniably catchy ways.

One of the best interviews I've done.

My story on "Streets of Blood" publishes tomorrow.

PHOTO CREDIT: Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson talks about his role as a cop in "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park"), a New Orleans cop drama filmed in Shreveport and at the Louisiana Wave Studio. (Special to The Times)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

'I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell' to drink it up in The Shreve

The movie “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” has lined up for a hot summer shoot in Shreveport. The feature will be in production July 21 through Aug. 29.

Check out their hilarious production blog here.

The movie is based on a book of true short stories by Tucker Max, who is producing and writing the movie. The feature will be directed by Bob Gosse.

The book is currently no. 10 on The New York Times bestseller list for paperback nonfiction -- a three-year run, no less -- and is billed as “reflections of a self-absorbed, drunken womanizer.”

"We take a lot of elements and incidents from the book, but it is not a direct adaptation of the story," Tucker wrote in an email.

He said his production chose Shreveport for similar reasons than everybody else. “Great rebate, and a cheap place to film,” Tucker wrote. “We only have a $6 million budget so every bit helps.”

I also asked him if there was a connection between Shreveport and hell we didn't know about. "You live there, you can speak to that better than me," Tucker said. "I have a buddy who served at Barksdale, he says it's only a stone throw from hell."

I take it his buddy found my Hello Kitty shrine.

The team should arrive in The Shreve within a week for preproduction. If you're crew and need a job, send your resumes to

LTC offering free grip, lighting training course

Louisiana Technical College - Mansfield Campus is sponsoring a four-week grip and electric training course. The course is free for students who register. There are 40 open spots.

It will take place June 9 through July 3 at Mansfield Studios, 9595 Mansfield Road.

The course will train students for entry-level work in grip or electric departments for movie and TV productions. It will be split between classroom sessions and practical sessions that will mimic the workings of a film set. Students will study craft and safety lessons.

Anyone who participates should be able to handle set equipment. A fundamental knowledge of electricity is a plus. Basic math and reading skills are required.

Local movie industry pros Bob Gates, gaffer, and Ted Sapp, key grip, will teach the course. It will meet Monday through Friday.

The free course is being paid for through state grant money from LCTCS: Pathways to Construction.

To register, call (318) 682-5680.

View trailer for 'The Longshots'

See anything you recognize? The locally shot movie -- primarily in Minden -- opens July 25.

‘The Longshots’ trailer is online; ‘Fix’ gets awesomesauced

For the past few days I've been chained to a deadline or an airline seat. It's time for an Inbox exorcism.

  • "The Longshots" ("Comeback") trailer is online, and it has that cool movie trailer voice. It opens July 25. Click here.
  • Here's a production story on "Disaster Movie" we published Monday. Read how they are using Mansfield Studios.
  • The Moviesauce Film Festival awarded its prizes on Saturday. Best feature: "Monster Camp." Best short: "Vanished Acres." Awesomesauce: "Fix." Congrats. I was sorry to miss Saturday's programming, but a wedding party in Minnesota beckoned.
  • Natchitoches is holding a 20th anniversary party for the filming of "Steel Magnolias." They'll be screening the movie outdoors. Call the city's tourism bureau for more info: (800) 259-1714.
  • And I'm finally on Facebook, and a bit friendless. Don't let me be only the lonely, now.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Big story today: 2008 attracts 14 productions, $185 million

"W." has attracted a fury of attention to The Shreve, and I wrote a story today about its impact. Get a look at it here. We'll have follow-up story Monday, plus a feature on "Streets of Blood" (aka "Microwave Park") for Thursday. The last will be fun too read.

Today's biggest industry story, however, is breaking out of Los Angeles. There's a big fire at the Universal Studios backlot. It has destroyed a soundstage and several sets. Get a look at it here.