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The History of the Networks: Warner Brothers

We all know Warner Brothers as one of the major film studios that has produced thousands of pictures including Argo, The Dark Knight trilogy and the Harry Potter series. But, Warner Brothers has many subsidiary companies involved in television, interactive entertainment, animation, home video and music. Now known as Time Warner, Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc. was once an independent and thriving production company started by four brothers named, you guessed it, Warner. So, how did four brothers from Pittsburgh break into the movie business in Hollywood and later become a major force in television with The WB and the CW television networks? Let’s find out.

The Warner brothers were actually four in number; Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack. Their real name was Wonskolaser, changed to Warner after the family immigrated to North America from Poland following the take-over by Russia of their home region. Sometime around the turn of the 20th century, the three older brothers (Jack was the youngest) got their hands on a movie projector and traveled around the mining towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio, showing films to the miners. One of the first pictures they showed was The Great Train Robbery, the first motion picture to tell a definite story.

With the profits from their traveling movie show, in 1907 they converted a small store into a nickelodeon movie house in New Castle, Pennsylvania which they named the Cascade Theatre. The brothers did everything; sold the tickets, ran the hand-crank projector, and even got their sister, Rose, to play piano and sing songs during the intermissions. Within a year, the Warner brothers had opened two more theaters in New Castle. In a short amount of time they had acquired about 200 different film titles and began to distribute films around the Ohio River Valley under their newly formed company, the Duquesne Film Exchange. As business grew, they expanded their distribution network to include Norfolk, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia.

Not satisfied just to show movies, or even distribute them, Harry Warner (the oldest) decided to get the brothers into the movie making business; a bold move for immigrant brothers from Poland. He established a film production company, which he called Warner Features, and the brothers were off to Hollywood. Their first full-scale picture premiered in 1918, a film called My Four Years in Germany, which was based on the best-selling book by America’s German ambassador. The film grossed an amazing $1.5 million (around $30 million today).

Over the next decade, Warner Brothers expanded and established itself as a complete film company, showcasing both successful commercial and artistic properties. They produced F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned, and hired Fitzgerald to adapt his novel for the screen. They also produced Beau Brummel, which starred the great stage actor John Barrymore. In 1924, they created the world’s first animal superstar, Rin Tin Tin, whose popularity would always bring money into the studio. They also hired the famous German director Ernst Lubitsch as head director, and his movies The Marriage Circle and Kiss Me Again brought critical acclaim to the studio.

Despite all of these successes, the Warners were still unable to be seen as equals to the other Hollywood powerhouse studios. That all changed when they produced The Jazz Singer. Released in 1927 and starring Al Jolson, The Jazz Singer was the first “talking picture” to be released to the public, and was an instant blockbuster, playing to standing-room-only crowds throughout the country. The Warners quickly followed up with the first “all-talking” movie and their first “talking” gangster film, The Lights of New York. By late 1928, all of the other studios were scrambling to get in on the sound craze, and the Warner Brothers were well out in front.

Warner Brother’s television story began in 1955 when the studio decided that they had to be in the new arena and debuted a show called Warner Bros. Presents; which featured a rotating series of shows based on three of the studio’s film successes, Kings Row, Casablanca and Cheyenne. The company expanded Cheyenne into a one hour TV show and began the era of television Westerns with such later hits as Maverick, Sugarfoot, Bronco, Colt .45, and Lawman. By the 1960’s Warner Brothers television began producing a series of popular private detective shows beginning with 77 Sunset Strip, followed by Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside Six.

By the 1970’s, Warner Brothers created another innovative concept when they were at the fore-front of a new genre of television programming–the mini-series. The studio produced some of television’s most-watched and most-honored productions, including Roots, The Thorn Birds, North & South and Alex Haley’s Queen. In the late 1980’s, Warner acquired entertainment powerhouse Lorimar Studios, a highly regarded production company that had created such Emmy Award-winning series as The Waltons and Dallas, as well as a number of other noteworthy series, including Knots Landing, Falcon Crest; Eight is Enough, Full House, and Family Matters. The new consolidated network went on to produce such giant hits as ER, Friends and The Drew Carey Show.

The 1990s were critical for the Studio, starting with the 1990 merger of Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc. to form Time Warner, Inc., one of the world’s largest communications and entertainment companies. In 1995, Time Warner launched The WB Network, finding a niche market in teenagers. The WB’s early programming included an abundance of teenage fare like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Dawson’s Creek, and One Tree Hill. The WB also helped launched the careers of such writer/producers as Joss Whedon, who was able to get Buffy on the air because the fledgling WB network was eager for innovative programming.

Two dramas produced by Spelling Television, 7th Heaven and Charmed also helped bring The WB into the spotlight, with Charmed lasting eight seasons and “7th Heaven” surviving eleven seasons and being the longest running family drama and longest running show for The WB. In 2006, Warner and CBS Paramount Television decided to close The WB and CBS’s UPN and jointly launch The CW Television Network.

So, the company that began one hundred years ago became a dominant force in the production of movie megahits and first-run syndicated programming. Adding to the innovations that Warner brought to light was the early adoption of the internet as a promotional tool and outlet for original content, and they led the development and the launch of both DVD format and now Blu-ray. Pretty amazing accomplishments for four Polish immigrant brothers who started with a movie projector in Pittsburgh.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner_Bros.

http://www.warnerbros.com/

http://www.warnerbros.com/studio/about/company-history.html

 

Hatfields and McCoys Move Feud to the Golden Triangle

The Hatfield-McCoy feud, which has been used for over 100 years to allude to the most bitter of disputes, is making its way up the Big Sandy River (a tributary of the Ohio) to unleash its wrath on modern-day Pittsburgh. Executive Producer Charlize Theron is working on the pilot, which as far as we know will be called “Hatfields & McCoys.”

 

Set in present-day Pittsburgh, the drama begins when a startling death reignites the legendary feud between the families. Unleashing decades of resentment, the blue-collar McCoys will put the Hatfields’ wealth and power at risk as they go to war for control of the city.

 

The pilot will be written by John Glenn (“Eagle Eye,” 2008 and the upcoming “Warriors”) but the specifics of the individual stories are still unknown. But as a Pittsburgh-based studio with roots in the area, we’d like to posit some plotlines the show should address:

 

Idea 1: The wealthy Hatfields try to sink the blue-collar McCoys by using their powerful Eat’n Park-chain to buy up and destroy all of the McCoys Kings Family restaurant franchises. The Kittanning King’s and Natrona Heights Eat’n Park restaurants wage war along Route 28, leaving the icing of thousands of wounded Frownie Brownies and Smiley Cookies in their wake.

 

Idea 2: The Hatfields of 941 Penn Avenue cut off the supply of Primanti’s sandwiches running from Market Square to the McCoy’s South Side slopes split-level by taking control of the Smithfield Street Bridge. A battle ensues as a lack of soggy fries cripples the McCoy’s South Side-starch trade.

 

Idea 3: The Hatfields of the North Hills declare war on the McCoy’s of South Hills as the two families battle for market share of Stussy-hat sales between the PacSuns of Ross Park and South Hills Village malls, respectively. The dispute ends reasonably, as both parties realize customers want Ocean Pacific gear instead.

 

Idea 4: The Hatfields buy Sandcastle and the McCoys buy Kennywood. The two families wage a war across Homestead using bacteria-laden, blue-hued water from the Raging Rapids and bottom-shelf spiced rum from the Sandbar.

 

Idea 5: The Hatfields and McCoys both plan a hostile takeover of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The feud is squashed by the Nuttings.

 

The time-tested feud is in viewer demand as History’s six-hour miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys” (Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton) is rated the highest-rated mini series or movie on cable since 1998. So perhaps the Pittsburgh pilot has a good chance to be picked up. Here’s hoping.

 

Tweet us your ideas for Pittsburgh-based Hatfield-McCoy feud plotlines @NewShowStudios

‘Jack Reacher’ to Premiere in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Weekend plans for residents of the Pittsburgh area can be somewhat unpredictable (other than watching the Steelers).  But, on the weekend of December 14th, area residents can scribble “Attend Tom Cruise Premiere!!” on their kitchen calendar.

tom cruiseAccording to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Mr. Cruise, along with fellow actors Robert Duvall, Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo, are expected in Pittsburgh on Saturday, December 15th for the U.S. premiere of ‘Jack Reacher,’ known as ‘One Shot’ during filming here in fall 2011 and early 2012.

“Also scheduled to attend the Saturday afternoon event are director Christopher McQuarrie and novelist Lee Child, whose presence should confirm his stamp of approval of Mr. Cruise as the ex-military investigator Jack Reacher. Paramount Pictures plans to take over the SouthSide Works Cinema — all 10 screens and 1,659 seats — for the 2 p.m. showing on December 15th.”

Tickets will not be sold for the screening, but there will be chances to win tickets from local media outlets, including one from the Post-Gazette on Thursday, December 6th.

For those not able to attend the film, media events and interactive activities will surround the red carpet festivities outside of SouthSide Works Cinema.

“Jack Reacher” (previously titled “One Shot”) is an upcoming film adaptation of Lee Child‘s 2005 novel One Shot. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film stars Tom Cruise as the title character. The film entered production in October 2011, and concluded in January 2012.

It’s great to see Pittsburgh get a chance to showcase its Rustbelt Renaissance to major media channels. Beyond its newfound glory as home to a variety of blockbuster films, Pittsburgh has reinvented itself from a town that once relied on the steel industry to a city that leads the nation in healthcare and robotics research.

 

Pittsburgh’s Film Tradition Continues with ‘Foxcatcher’ Starring Steve Carell & Channing Tatum

Pittsburgh has been a hotbed of filmmaking in recent years, and the region’s appeal for film crews isn’t slowing down. Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher,” Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and Emma Watson’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” have all graced the shores of Pittsburgh’s three rivers, which are now playing host to Channing Tatum & Steve Carell’s “Foxcatcher

channing tatum new film“Foxcatcher,” which is being shot in the suburbs of McKeesport, Sewickley Heights, West Mifflin and other locations in the Greater Pittsburgh area, is a true crime drama starring Steve Carell as John du Pont, heir to the du Pont chemical fortune who ended up shooting and killing his longtime friend, Olympic gold medalist David Shultz (played by Mark Ruffalo).

As the story goes, John du Pont graduated from Haverford School in 1957 and attended college in Miami, Florida, where he studied under and was mentored by scientist Oscar T. Owre. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology. Mr. du Pont went on to complete a doctorate in natural science from Villanova University in 1973.

In the 1990s, he established a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm, after becoming interested in that and the pentathlon events. He became a prominent supporter for amateur sports in the United States and a sponsor for USA Wrestling. Soon after, his friends and acquaintances became concerned about his erratic behavior.

In January 1996, John du Pont shot and killed David Schultz, a 1984 gold medal winner who came to live and train at the state-of-the-art Foxcatcher National Training Center that Mr. du Pont had built on his 800-acre property in Newtown Square, Pa.

“Foxcatcher” will be filming throughout the Pittsburgh area through Thanksgiving and was most recently spotted shooting south of Pittsburgh proper in the borough of West Mifflin. Film crews also utilized historic Wilpen Hall (built in 1899), which is located in Sewickley Heights, as the Foxcatcher National Training Center. Wilpen – a contraction of “William” and “Penn” — is the former summer home of Pig Iron magnates Mr. and Mrs. William Penn Snyder.

“Foxcatcher” stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall and is being directed by Oscar nominee Bennett Miller, who directed “Capote” and “Moneyball.”  The movie will be released in 2013.

 

Additional Photos (http://www.onlocationvacations.com/2012/11/03/channing-tatum-mark-ruffalo-take-a-break-from-shooting-foxcatcher-to-greet-fans-in-pennsylvania/)

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Q and A with ‘Pittsburgh Film History’ author John Tiech

Pittsburgh has a rich film history. Scores of films have been shot in the region, and now there’s a book that documents it all. John Tiech of Charleroi, Pa., has written “Pittsburgh Film History” – a project that developed over a decade of writing and research.

We spoke with Tiech to find out what makes filming in Pittsburgh an attractive proposition for filmmakers. Read our entire interview with Tiech below:

NSS: Is there a specific film that made you want to write the book?

JT: Two films actually. ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and the 1990 remake of ’Night of the Living Dead.’

NSS: What is the strangest movie shot in Pittsburgh?

JT: I never thought about it. Most of the people I’ve interviewed talk about one of the dozens of indie horror movies made in Pittsburgh. So, I’ll just take their word for it.

NSS: What is your favorite Pittsburgh film location?

JT: It WAS the old (Morganza) Western Center Administration building in Canonsburg. Sadly, it’s gone now. It was such an iconic building. Gov. Rendell’s office gave me permission to photograph the building several years ago, and I was so grateful that they did. I was able to go inside the building and take pictures of Dr. Chilton’s office and a hallway Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling traveled down. It’s very surreal to be on such an iconic movie set or location. Knowing that Anthony Heald and Jodie Foster made ‘Silence’ in the same room and hallway that I stood in is just mind blowing! Gary Streiner has been trying to save the Evans City Cemetery Chapel for a year or so now, and I respect the hell out of his efforts in trying to preserve a piece of Pittsburgh cinematic history. The best part of Gary’s efforts – he’s going to do it!

NSS: What is your favorite film set in Pittsburgh?

JT: If I had to choose one, I’d say ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ I love ‘Creepshow’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ too.

NSS: What was the most surprising thing you learned while researching for your book?

JT: How much history there actually is [in Pittsburgh]. So many movies and television shows have been made in the Pittsburgh region. I never expected this during my initial research.

NSS: Who was your favorite person to interview?

JT: No real favorite. Every person I interviewed had something to offer. I talked to Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Russ Streiner, Bill Moseley, Tom Savini, and Chuck Aber to name a few. All of them are great people.

NSS: Did you get to meet any personal heroes?

JT: Anyone who contributed to this book is a hero to the Pittsburgh film community. Several people even contributed their personal set photos. They are my heroes for making this book what it is with their stories, information and pictures.

NSS: What (if anything) can you tell me about “Blood Sucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh”?

JT: I have some cool stories in the book for ‘Pharaohs’ along with some good info.

NSS: What do you think is the biggest factor in Pittsburgh going from a town that hosted movies like “Sudden Death” and “Striking Distance” to blockbusters like “The Dark Knight Rises,” etc.?

JT: When they announced ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ coming to Pittsburgh and that they weren’t receiving any benefits from the film tax credit, it felt very nostalgic to me. Christopher Nolan came to Pittsburgh for our look and the film tools we had available. That is the same reason many of the filmmakers used to come to Pittsburgh, so it was cool seeing that again. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is arguably the biggest movie to come to Pittsburgh. It’s still fresh, so it’s still interesting to see what it will do for our film community. I’m not sure if we’ve felt the immediate effects or if we even know what those effects will be.

NSS: What makes Pittsburgh attractive to filmmakers?

JT: Right now, it’s our geography and appearance as well as our cheapness. We have every ‘look’ for filmmakers.

NSS: How did you find the lady who owned the farmhouse for the “Night of the Living Dead” remake?

JT: The farmhouse is right outside Washington, PA, in a little place called Buffalo, PA. I knew the production used the Upper Buffalo Presby Church for makeup and all that, so I got in touch with the church and received her contact information that way. She was very, very nice. The house is currently owned by a local English teacher.

NSS: What else can you tell me about your research surrounding Romero films?

JT: It was a lot of fun. Over the years, I interviewed all of these people who contributed to those films. They were very nice people. I used a few books that were also key to certain facts – Joe Kane’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ book, John Russo’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ film book and Paul Gagne’s Romero book.

NSS: What must Pittsburgh do to continue being a film draw/improve our draw?

JT: Continue to be cheaper. More money needs to be invested into the film tax credit — somewhere between $100 million to $150 million. Plain and simple, the film tax credit only generates revenue for the state; the state loses no money. Example: If a movie production comes to Pittsburgh and spends $10 million, they get taxed, which generates revenue for the state. If a movie production comes to Pittsburgh, spends $10 million and receives a tax break, then they save 25-percent and the state still receives revenue. It’s a win-win situation. The state’s income doesn’t factor in movie productions. Whenever a movie comes to Pittsburgh, the state makes money no matter what. If we didn’t have the film tax credit, the state would actually pay more for our film community to receive unemployment. During a time of such political discord in our country, Democrats and Republicans have agreed to keep the film tax credit in place.

John Tiech’s “Pittsburgh Film History” is published by The History Press and is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

23 Must-See New Shows?

Fall. Don’t mourn the end of summer, set your sights on the endless parade of television premieres that the TV Guide article below dubs Fall TV-Must Watch New Shows.

Buck up, there are 23 new shows that earn this ‘must-see’ label.

Really, 23?

Among the 23 there has to be something for everyone who has ever grasped a remote control or paid a cable bill.

You’ll find all of the usual suspects on the list: Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi, Reality…

As well as plenty of faces – male and female – that you’ve seen before. With hospitals, suburbia, a firehouse, a courtroom, a police station, and a government agency, there are plenty of places that you’ve seen before as well.

Don’t misunderstand, shows don’t have to push the envelope and be completely, utterly different than anything that has come before to be ‘must-see!’ programming. I just happen to think that we, as a viewing audience, will be fortunate to have one of these shows end up on our own personal must-see list.

I’m hoping one of the comedy offerings does it for me. I love Matthew Perry (Friends) and adore Mindy Kaling (The Office), who I will get to see in Go On and The Mindy Project, respectively. And since I court controversy like it’s my job, I am looking forward to The New Normal, which has already been boycotted by a group of angry moms.

As a lover of comedy, I must admit I fail to give other genres their fair share in my viewing rotation. I count on all of you to sift through the sci-fi, drama, etc. to determine which shows are truly the winners among the list of 23.

Choose wisely!

Until Next Time…

http://www.tvguide.com/special/fall-preview/PhotoGallery/Fall-TV-Watch-1050580/1050596

Networks Must Embrace the Second Screen

 

There’s no question that tablets, laptops and smartphones have changed the way people watch television. But the appeal of using these devices goes far beyond simply being able to watch your favorite shows anywhere. Viewers are now using what the industry is calling the “second screen” to interact with other viewers, answer trivia questions and even be clued into recurring themes within the series in real time.

Recently, Nielsen performed a study called “Double Vision – Global Trends in Tablet and Smartphone Use while Watching TV,” which found:

“Whether to check email or to look up program or product information, using a tablet or smartphone while watching TV is more common than not according to a Q4 2011 Nielsen survey of connected device owners in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy. In the U.S., 88 percent of tablet owners and 86 percent of smartphone owners said they used their device while watching TV at least once during a 30-day period. For 45 percent of tablet-tapping Americans, using their device while watching TV was a daily event, with 26 percent noting simultaneous TV and tablet use several times a day. U.S. smartphone owners showed similar dual usage of TV with their phones, with 41 percent saying their use their phone at least once a day while tuned in.”

This trend has not gone unnoticed by app producers and other industry players as a way to capitalize on additional screens. Second-screen Apps like Yap.tv, Unami and Miso are quickly entering the market. According to their website, Yap.tv offers these interactive opportunities for customers while they watch their favorite show: “See TV shows you have in common with your friends”; “See celebrity and fan tweet for thousands of shows”; and “Like it, comment on it, share the wow with friends.”

There’s even a dedicated network designed to place content-rich ads on second-screen devices. SecondScreen Networks has designed and built a server-side automated content recognition (ACR) platform.  With this patent-pending technology, TV advertisers now can have high-engagement digital ads served to social TV audiences synchronized in real-time with their running TV spots. “Importantly, unlike other client-side approaches, SecondScreen’s technology requires no user action or device listening; ads are simply delivered in context, automatically, to complement TV spots,” according to the SecondScreen website.

Even the networks are getting into the act. AMC has second-screen platforms for shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.” AMC tempts viewers to enjoy snap polls, cool trivia and exclusive video while watching the broadcast of latest episodes.

Mac McKean, AMC’s SVP of Digital Media and Content, recently told LostRemote:

“You can use it on your computer, phone or tablet. We have optimized versions for each one. It will pop up different things. ‘Breaking Bad’ is an intricate show and there are all kinds of references from things previously in the show. If you have this viewing experience we’ll point out references. Walt might say something and you can like or dislike, and you can predict how a script situation will come out.  As you’re watching the show, as the scene is happening or just finished, pieces of content pop up. A picture of the scene that it relates to, a pole, instant replays and then as it’s going into commercial you can rewatch the scene, it’s called ‘reload.’ You can share each piece of content.”

Second screen is not a new trend, it’s simply more convenient than it once was when viewers would have to walk over to a clunky desktop computer, dial-up AOL and enter a crowded chat room to discuss Richard Hatch’s latest shenanigans on “Survivor.” And as this style of viewing becomes more and more convenient, app developers, networks and savvy TV industry execs must battle it out for a piece of the profit pie.

Move over Hollywood, it’s Tinsletahn’s turn

Pittsburgh has been compared to a lot of cities: Portand, OR, for its lush green landscape; Venice, Italy for its bridges; and Hollywood? That’s right. Pittsburgh is making a name for itself on the big screen with its booming film-production scene.

CNN Money reports: “In the last three years alone, 24 movies have filmed in Western Pennsylvania, including ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Promised Land,’ which stars Matt Damon and will be released next year. These films have infused the region’s economy with $300 million since 2009 and helped small businesses to thrive, according to Pittsburgh Film Office Director Dawn Keezer.”

The article attributes the success of Pittsburgh’s film draw on its alluring tax credit; a 25-percent credit goes to films that spend at least 60-percent of their total production budget in Pennsylvania.

Hollywood film crews are also drawn to Pittsburgh for its architectural variety, endless neighborhoods, and the skilled and inexpensive local unions. More than 50 major movies and films have been shot on location in the Pittsburgh area during the past decade, and Pittsburgh boasts film credits that include “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Silence of The Lambs” and “Hoffa.” Pittsburgh has come a long way from the days of boasting about being home to the filming of “Striking Distance” (starring Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker, 1993) and “Sudden Death” (starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, 1995).

The impact on the economy is phenomenal. Existing business are cashing in on catering to the large production staffs and opportunities for local studios to join in the act are flourishing. With the credibility of filmmaking in the region on the rise, maybe it’s time articles start comparing other cities to Pittsburgh.

An inside look at the production of Paul Haggis’ “The Next Three Days”

In October 2009, Director Paul Haggis and his staff were in the principal photography stage of production filming in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that filming of “The Next Three Days” was going to wrap after 52 days of shooting. Dan Short, who’s credits as a production assistant include “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Adventureland”, took the time to explain to us the ins-and-outs of his role in making the Hollywood blockbuster “The Next Three Days” — directed by Paul Haggis and starring Russel Crowe and Liam Neeson.

 

What Does a Production Assistant (PA) Do?

Dan: It’s a hands-on job that requires me to be on my feet all day (14 to 16 hours per day). I help troubleshoot any problems that may arise on set, whether trivial or large. For “The Next Three Days,” I ran all of the extras: signing them in in the morning, processing them through hair and make-up, bringing them to and directing them on set, wrapping them out at days-end, and finally filing all of their paperwork.

 

russell crowe next three days

What are some funny anecdotes from the shoot? 

Dan: Russell Crowe would never go to a costume fitting, so the costume department would constantly have to guess his size. In his defense, the majority of the crew loved him.

– During one scene, a child actor began crying for his mom. In the scene, the child’s on-screen mom was being taken away by the police. We secretly rolled camera to capture the child’s natural emotions. Then, of course, brought his mother in when we cut.

– One night, I was swinging around a toy lightsaber, just outside of set. Crowe popped out and saw me and shook is head disapprovingly. I laughed.

 

What were some of the more memorable production moments of the shoot? 

Dan: We shot in the Hill District (Pittsburgh) one night, and some of our extras were actual prostitutes. We also shot at the airport (Pittsburgh International) with 250 extras, which was challenging, because I had to work a way to get them all through airport security.

 

What was the most interesting scene you witnessed during the filming?

Dan: Probably the best scene that I got to witness was a simple dialogue scene between Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson. It was just two guys at a bar, but being able to watch two amazing actors perform live in front of me was really cool. I’ve been around many movie stars, but it never ceases to amaze me when I get to watch them work.

 

What was your favorite assignment during the filming?

Dan: My favorite assignment was essentially running a splinter unit (small group that shoots usually concurrently at some location, while the main unit operates somewhere else). During that shoot, I also got to somewhat stunt double for Russell Crowe. I drove the picture car through live traffic on the Boulevard of the Allies and onto the parkway while being filmed from a rooftop.

 

So, the next time you’re watching a movie and are thinking to yourself: “I could make a great movie like this,” keep in mind that your ingenious idea will still need the capable hands of professionals like New Show Studios … and probably at least one seasoned production assistant to swing the lightsabers.

 

Photo Source: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Pittsburgh IS a Movie Town

Great news!

The other day I overheard a lengthy conversation about all of the film projects happening in Pittsburgh in recent years. Not industry insiders, not coworkers, not PR people… just regular folks having a conversation about Pittsburgh becoming a hub for movie making!

Let’s forget for a moment that I was eavesdropping and hone in on what really matters: People are talking about Pittsburgh as a happening and hip town in which to film major motion pictures!

I have to admit, I was a little excited. I mean, I knew good things were happening here and I clearly have a vested interest and bias, but I was thrilled to hear that the average man on the street knows that Tom Cruise has been in town recently (more than once) to work on projects. And, he hasn’t been alone (Matt Damon, John Krasinski, Christain Bale, Emma Watson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, just to name a few).

These are not isolated incidents; these film happenings are clearly trends. The powers that be have made our city an attractive place to film through tax benefits, there are local powerhouses for pre and post production work right here and The Pittsburgh Film Office, Carnegie Mellon and others are leading the charge to make this city an industry player.

Pittsburgh is no steel town. It hasn’t been for ages. Long gone are the mills and billowing smoke. But now, in addition to getting some attention for its prowess in medicine, it appears possible that we might be able to add movie town to our credentials…

Here’s a great list: http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/movies/a/filmed.htm

It’s Showtime!

 

Until Next Time…

 

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