Video production in Portland OR?
When thinking about the state of Oregon many images come to mind, such as the Oregon Trail, lumberjacks, deep evergreen forests, wild terrain, and untamed landscapes to name a few. This stereotype is certainly a far cry away from that of California with its massive city blocks, cutting-edge fashion industry, consumer-driven economy and tourist attracting palm trees. Oregon and Los Angeles now have something very similar in common however: both states are home to a booming film and video production industry. Oregon may not have the famed reputation of Los Angeles and Hollywood, but that doesn’t mean Oregon isn’t putting video production on the map.
Since 1908, more than 300 movies have used Oregon as a backdrop, including “One Flew Over the Cuckoos” Nest, “The Goonies,” “Stand By Me,” “Animal House,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Homeward Bound,” “Free Willie,” “The River Wild,” “The Postman,” “Bandits,” “Twilight” and “Coraline.” Portland was even recently named the third best city to produce films in the United States. With the success of recent Oregon productions, Oregon is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
There are many reasons Oregon video production industry has been growing rapidly in the last several years. For one thing, it has an outstanding variety of locations. Leonard Henderson of Chambers Productions is happy he found such a central, practical location to build his career as a director of photography; “Chambers Productions is located in Eugene, Oregon, which is in Lane County. It is the second largest city in the state of Oregon, and it is conveniently located a few miles from going skiing and a few miles from being at the ocean.” In Oregon, you can find mountains, beaches, ghost towns, deserts, lakes, rivers, streams, little towns, modern cities, and lava flows to match any filming desire, as stated on the Governor’s Office of Film and Television Web site. “Oregon does have a lot of locations that are really visually stunning, or just fit a story really well. There is a reason to come here!” Says the owner of Moving Image Productions, which is also located in Lane County. One of the rarest attributes about these locations is that most of them are fee-free. Oregon has 20 cities and two counties that do not charge for film permits at all.
In addition to the natural beauty, Oregon has been enticing producers with financial incentives. To start, Oregon has no sales tax whatsoever. This is unusual around the United States and saves major productions countless dollars. As if that weren’t enough, the Governor’s Office of Film and Television recently implemented additional financial incentives for filming in Oregon. The programs rebate 20 percent of Oregon-based goods and services, and an additional cash payment of up to 16.2 percent of wages paid to production personnel. Unlike other states’ programs, these incentives are cash rebates as opposed to tax credits so the money is back into the pocket and can be ready to spend much quicker. “I have been working at Chambers for about four years. In the last two years, we have seen quite a bit of business from the incentives in the film industry here in Oregon. Chambers has produced two feature films in the last two years, and has plans to do at least three more in the next coming year,” says Deborah Rezell, a producer at Chambers.
The largest media company based in Oregon is Chambers Communications, which was established 45 years ago by Carolyn Chambers. Chambers specializes in corporate and commercial video, yet has been getting more involved with independent films in recent years. Its recent films include “Fire on the Track,” “Puerto Vallarta Squeeze,” “The Sisters,” “Chamaco,” “Arcadia Lost,” and the newest addition yet to be filmed, “Something Wicked.” Even though all of these movies are considered “independent,” Chambers has drawn several recognizable actors to work on its films, including Harvey Keitel, Martin Sheen, and Nick Nolte. Chambers plans on starting production on “Something Wicked” this April, and intends on doing all the work in and around their 100,000 square foot studio complex located on eight acres in Eugene, Oregon. According to Chamber’s Web site, “Something Wicked,” is a current day action thriller set in a mid-sized American community (Eugene, Oregon) in the Pacific Northwest.” Even E.V. Di Massa, Jr., the producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show, was surprised by the production quality available in Oregon stating that “during a 35 year career of producing film and television all over the world…who knew that I would find the finest facilities and creative people that I’ve ever met in Eugene, Oregon.”
Film isn’t the only video medium being produced in Oregon either. On February 26, 2009, Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, announced that Electric Entertainment and TNT will relocate the hit television series, “Leverage,” to Oregon, “creating long-term job opportunities and higher than average wages with benefits for Oregonians hired as cast and crew.” This show alone will invest millions of dollars into the Oregon economy helping to boost Oregon’s ever growing reputation for video production. Dean Devlin, Electric Entertainment Founder and “Leverage” executive producer, said that him and his crew were very impressed by the professionalism of Oregon’s film industry and locations, which made them very confident in their decision to relocate to Oregon for the second season of his show.
Moving Image Productions, located in Eugene, Oregon, focuses the majority of its videography on educational programs, training videos, and documentaries. By avoiding the commercial side of video production, Moving Image Productions has found a fulfilling career niche helping out the community and being creative. Will Doolittle, the owner, director, and producer of Moving Image Productions, says that “Ever since I came to Oregon, one of my personal focuses has been to get involved in social change activities.” Doolittle has followed this passion and says that to this day he tries to “actually use my skills and my energy to do more than just make a living and get rich, but to move things forward in the world to change society in a way that makes it more fair and just for everybody.”
Video production Portland Oregon is an amazing industry in today’s technology-driven day and age because it promotes artistic expression, brings in millions of dollars for the economy, and has an ultimate power to greatly influence others. Video has become very mainstream with technologies such as TiVo and digital video recorders, as well as the international use on Internet sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Video has the power to seriously influence, or to simply entertain. It has become so pervasive in society that it seems almost impossible to have a successful business that does not use video to promote itself. Luckily for Oregonians, the video production industry has made its mark, claimed its territory, and seems to be here to stay.