Finish in Boston

Rob Bessette is winning awards and working on his fourth major motion picture in the last twelve months….

The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit is doing amazing things in Boston these days. It is allowing local companies to get in on the conversation when it comes to big budget filmmaking. Companies like Finish Post, located downtown on Columbus Avenue, are leveraging this massively successful government program. Artists and entrepreneurs like Rob Bessette and Tim Montgomery are finding new and creative ways to get involved.

Finish has several edit rooms with many comforts for the client. Photo by Marc Graham.

The Film Tax Incentive is changing the dynamic and the industry is changing along with it. Once all the
talent and facilities were centrally located in NY or LA; they are now spread out across the country and the world including places like Boston. Critics of the Film Tax credit say it’s an unnecessary government subsidy, but no one can debate that subsidies are needed to stay competitive in this global market. Massachusetts’ incentive program is truly working to lift this industry locally.

Luring the movie magic to Massachusetts has always been a struggle for local shops like Finish Post.
Even when films would use the gorgeous backdrops of the Bay State for production, they would wrap
their shoot, put the negative in the can and overnight right back to LA for post. “Hollywood is not
an easy nut to crack,” Montgomery said. “The business of fi lmmaking is risky, the studios have their
pipelines in place and deviation from workflows increases risk. So getting new people or facilities
involved becomes a very difficult decision for them to make”.

That’s where the Film Tax Incentive comes in. “It’s given us a seat at the table and a chance to show
that we’ve got the skills, talent and infrastructure to do it just like NY and LA,” said Finish’s Senior Colorist, Bessette. And that’s not just lip service, Bessette is currently working on his fourth studio film in the last twelve months “They’re starting to know that we’re here… and we’re good.”

After a long day or when you plan a party, there’s nothing like a roof deck just one or two floors up. Photo by Dez Adkins

Color Correction, Digital Dailies and highend digital workfl ows are a few of the ways that Finish is doing it in this ultra-competitive market. Bessette uses tools like DaVinci’s Resolve to ingest camera files, grade the material, and output fully prepped bins for editorial. All the outputs are packed with meta-data and ready for the most robust pipelines in the industry.

Another avenue for growth as a facility is Finish’s has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed screening room. With a Barco DP2K projector casting to a seventeen foot screen and full surround sound; it is high-end viewing to critically analyze footage. “Our clients have put in a lot of time and effort to achieve the look of their footage. They want to see it with a very high level of clarity. Our minitheater is the perfect venue. It’s fun to see clients get excited about what they’ve shot,” Montgomery said.

Want to see how your movie looks on the big screen or rush your dailies, Finish has a room for that. Photo by Marc Graham.

The Film Tax incentive is stimulating the local film business and it is having a major impact on local companies with local employees. It’s a program designed to lure a highly competitive and lucrative industry to The Commonwealth. Oh yeah, they also have one of the top ten roof-decks in Boston. Not a bad way to unwind after a long day at the office.

Check out Finish and their capabilities at www.finishboston.com or email bret@finishboston.com.

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Film Tax Credits Working in Quincy

The City of Quincy, Massachusetts is known as “The City of Presidents” because founding father and second President of the United States John Adams and his eponymous son President John Quincy Adams lived here. John Hancock, a Quincy resident, successful merchant and a President of the Continental Congress was the first and most robust signatory to the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is considered one of the finest documents ever penned by the hand of man. He went on to lead the free Commonwealth as its first Governor.

This City of one hundred thousand proud current residents has quite the birthright and deserves to be in the spotlight of American attention. When men such as Adams and Hancock pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor it was not a light or trivial concern. Quincy is one of the building blocks of American success. Literally; the granite in their quarries was used to build our cities and Quincy citizens transported that rock on the Granite Railway. This granite was
transported to build, for example, the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. This was our nation’s first commercial railroad with access to the sea. Quincy also played a significant historical role in American shipbuilding at the Fore River Shipyard on Quincy Point.

Massachusetts own Academy Award winning Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward in THE COMPANY MEN. Scenes were shot in Quincy. Photo by Claire Folger 2010 / Weinstein Co.

Placing this City in the limelight again to remind the rest of America of its importance is a worthwhile endeavor.

The Massachusetts Film Tax Credit helped bring more than six major motion pictures to this worthy American City in recent years and there are more on the way. The Quincy delegation representing the City on Beacon Hill has been unanimous in unwavering support for the credits and these efforts over many years have paid off for residents and business owners alike on the south shore. We owe a debt of gratitude to House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, Representative Bruce Ayers, Representative Tackey Chan, and Senator John Keenan.

“For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better.” – Owner of the Fore River Shipyard Dan Quirk

The Quincy Chamber of Commerce was an early supporter of the credits working with Mayor Koch. Mark Carey serves Media Communications in the mayor’s office. A working film professional, Mark facilitates filming in Quincy. They all have had success creating jobs for Quincy and boosting
the regional economy. The new Chamber President, Tim Cahill, is equally enthusiastic.

THE BOX stars Cameron Diaz who is presented with the opportunity to open a box for a million dollars — knowing it’ll cause someone she doesn’t know to die. A supermarket on Sea Street was used for a dream sequence. AP Photo/Warner Bros.
The production industry is currently our country’s largest net export to the world. No more fitting a place to expand than where it all began. The modern day owner of the Fore River Shipyard mentioned in Quincy’s illustrious past is a proponent of filmmaking and the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. As a successful Auto Dealer on the South Shore with fifteen and counting dealerships, he is helping to develop the Bay State’s infrastructure for filmmaking.

Dan Quirk of Quirk automotive has a successful slogan for his businesses, “Quirk Works” to save you money. Outside his office is a sign stating, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that more than six major motion pictures were shot here is not luck. It is a testament to the hard work of the elected delegation, residents and business leaders working together to make Quincy a film friendly environment.

My visit to Quirk Chevrolet to interview the auto magnate Daniel J Quirk. How did they get that pristine 1958 Corvette into his second floor office? An IMAGINE Photo.

Many major studio productions have found locations in the Quincy area including Martin Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED, the 2006 Oscar winning movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson and featured the underbelly of the Irish Mafia. Nicholson’s character was assassinated in a scene at the Fore River Shipyard recalls the shipyard owner and Quirk Auto magnet Danial J. Quirk. He said, “I was amazed how many people, including my own two daughters, who stood in the rain and the dark to watch the scene shot overnight just to get a glimpse of Matt Damon.

THE DEPARTED, the 2006 Oscar winning movie starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson. Some scenes
from the movie were filmed in Quincy in the Fore River Shipyard, one where Jack
Nicholson’s character was assassinated. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Warner Bros.

“People are in love with the film industry,” he says. Quirk believes Film Tax Credits are a small investment to pay for the millions that are spent in our local communities. For example, Dorothy Aufiero’s THE FINEST HOURS spent fourteen months in Quincy and put a crew of 150 local contractors and construction specialists to work for the full fourteen months.

“There’s no better way to grow the brand of your own community. For the last ten years Quincy has done a wonderful job creating a brand for its city and when a movie comes to town it just gets that much better. Whether it’s catering, construction, equipment rental – we rent them trucks and cars. And the film people are great to do business with.” adds, Quirk.

Quirk’s Fore River Shipyard is just completing new construction in the Shipyard that includes a warehouse that will be large enough for location sets.

In addition to THE DEPARTED and THE FINEST HOURS written by local luminary Casey Sherman, Ben Affleck located scenes for THE COMPANY MEN, starring our own Oscar winning Kingston resident Chris Cooper, in Quincy. Kevin James filmed HERE COMES THE BOOM all around Boston including scenes in Quincy. GONE BABY GONE, The Oscar nominated film — starring Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Casey Affleck — used scenes from the Quincy quarries as two Boston detectives investigate the kidnapping of a young girl. The movie is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name.

THE BOX shot in 2009 stars Cameron Diaz who is presented with the opportunity to open a box for a million dollars — knowing it’ll cause someone she doesn’t know to die. The movie focuses around the struggle whether or not to open the box. A supermarket on Sea Street, The Adams Shore Supermarket near Houghs Neck, was used for a dream sequence.

Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey star in the 2008 movie about six MIT students that partner together with their professor to become
expert card counters and try to take down Vegas. The true story filmed scenes in the Quincy Center train station. Photo courtesy of image link.

Business leader Dan Quirk has the aforementioned sign with his adage, which you can’t miss when entering his private office, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” The fact that over a half-dozen major motion pictures were shot here took hard work. Film Tax Credits are working for Quincy.

This great American city earned and deserves the spotlight. Keep shooting in Quincy. Keep Shooting in Massachusetts. Keep shooting in New England. There is much more to come.

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The Importance and Impact of Film Tax Credits

By Carol Patton

Late last year I hosted a panel at the Media Resource Expo in Danvers, Massachusetts at the annual Media Resource Expo with extraordinary panelists Representative Ann- Margaret Ferrante, Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative Executive Director Diane Pearlman and Filmmakers Collaborative Executive Director Laura Azevedo.

Our topic was The Importance of Film Tax Credits and How to Defend Them in 2017. The major take-away from this panel discussion was suggested by Representative Ann- Margaret Ferrante and that is to not wait until the legislative season began to remind our elected legislators and the Governor’s Of ce how important MA Film Tax Credits are to each and every one of us. And to tell our own individual stories.

In December IMAGINE called for a letter writing campaign to begin early in the year doing just that before the Governor gave his State of the Commonwealth Address and before he prepared his budget.

After two years of literally everyone in the industry responding to the Governor’s rst try at eliminating our credits altogether in favor of earned income tax credits for the working poor, and then his second year in of ce trying to limit our credits severely by capping them, no one was quite sure of what to expect this third year. Would he be thinking “third time is a charm” or perhaps realize the merit and strength of the production community. Letters were sent.

Meanwhile, there has been no mention of MA Film Tax Credits in the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth address, nor are our Film Tax Credits mentioned in the Governor’s proposed budget.

certified cleaning company film set cleaners MA
Tom Derian, President of Certified Cleaning at Film Set Day. His poster says it all. An IMAGINE Photo.

In our industry’s favor on February 16, 2017 the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC) sponsored “Film Set Day” in the Great Hall of the MA State House for the express purpose of recreating the execution of a major motion picture production from pre-production, scouting locations, set construction, set decoration, art and costume departments, casting, stunts, shooting, crew, catering, stages and staging, all the way to post-production and special effects. This process effectively demonstrated to legislators and their staff the entire process and showed how many ancillary businesses and tradesmen are actually essential to the business. Yes, everything from lumber and paint companies to talent trailers, mobile restrooms and waste management.

Many new jobs and businesses have incubated in Massachusetts since we passed lm tax credits in 2005; there were no catering companies in the state that catered to motion picture sets. Productions brought their caterers in from LA and New York – these huge trailers that could house their operations and feed the crews two meals a day. This practice greatly increased production costs. That production need alone created both challenge and opportunity for local caterers to create on set catering businesses for themselves.

On Film Set Day, Dolce Catering fed the legislators and their staffs as if they were on the set of a major motion picture. Later I spoke to Jessica Halloran of Dolce Catering. She was there, ‘It was a great event and awesome turnout supporting the industry,” she enthusiastically said.

“The Film Tax Credits are vital to sustain and grow the production industry in Massachusetts. It’s reassuring to meet legislators that support them and comprehend the development process necessary to establish a new industry in the Commonwealth. It’s important to businesses like Dolce Catering to know that there are people on our side interested in establishing the production industry as a permanent xture and source of revenue like it is in New York City. As you’ve seen here today, we have the resources to make that happen.”

Terie Michon
Cape Cod Real Estate Broker, Terie Michon
combines her vast knowledge of the Cape and
her love of film to create MakeAMovieHere.com, a concierge services company for studios, major producers and independent filmmakers. Photo courtesy of Terie Michon.

Terie Michon, who is a longtime resident and realtor on Cape Cod, is transferring her knowledge and expertise into a “concierge” service for the beautiful area she lives in, which she happens to know like that back of her hand. Her “MakeAMovieHere.com” offers studios, major producers and independent filmmakers Transportation-Air, Land or Sea; Location Scouting, Location Negotiation and Acquisition; Permitting; Accommodations for cast and crew, as well as catering, marine services for large and small vessels (including Captains and Crew), Cleaning/Housekeeping, Nannies and Child Care, Lawn/Landscaping, Hauling, Masonry, Painting, Carpentry – if you need it on The Cape, Terie will arrange it for you.

There are big time beneficiaries of production industry, too, like the transportation and accommodations sector. The state of Massachusetts prospers when studio Films are on location in the area, and the benefits touch a wide range of businesses and organizations. Within this is the luxury hospitality industry, showing a significant growth in the entertainment segment following the initiation of the film tax incentive in the state. Four Seasons Boston, the premiere luxury hotel in the city, spoke with IMAGINE about the beneficial impact the tax incentive has had on their business specifically.

Four Seasons Boston Presidential Suite

Four Seasons Boston MA
Four Seasons Boston Director of Sales Jason Bossenberry. Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Boston.

Director of Sales at Four Seasons Boston, Jason Bossenberry, shared that the entertainment segment of business received at his Hotel has increased by more than 90% over the past several years. Though this is not all related to lm (music and sports also fall within this sector), a signi cant portion of the increase can be assigned to feature film production.

Four Seasons maintains a strict code of confidentiality for their guests, creating a particularly attractive environment for high pro le individuals in the industry. “As a luxury hotel, we often have an opportunity to host the Talent, Directors, and Producers for long term stays,” says Bossenberry. “We operate with the highest levels of discretion, which is attractive for these individuals while they’re in town. We also have seventy-seven Suites, significantly more than most properties, allowing us to guarantee a larger, luxury environment and make guests feel like they have a true home away from home during their time in Boston.”

Even Entertainment Attorneys get more work. Elaine Rogers, Entertainment Attorney at Meister, Seelig & Fein LLP says, “I represent Jeff Bauman (Boston Marathon survivor and double amputee) with regards to his book “Stronger” and option/purchase of the book rights for the upcoming Lionsgate movie STRONGER starring Jake Gyllenhaal which was lmed in the Commonwealth. I have found that this lm and other productions coming to the Commonwealth have provided additional opportunities for local talent. From my perspective, the attractive tax incentives have certainly contributed to the increase in entertainment business here in the Commonwealth.

Noah Lydiard, Conductor Productions co- owner and executive producer adds, “We are seeing more commercial and lm work come in from out of state since the addition of the tax credit. We’re pulling in jobs from California and New York. At least part of the reason they are here is our ability to keep our prices competitive by utilizing the tax credit. These are jobs that might not be here otherwise.”

Perhaps the Governor has noted that in ten years Massachusetts has hosted 170 Major Productions, which have been shot in 190 cities and towns spending more than $2 billion in our state while creating 14,500 new jobs with an average salary of $67,000.

Perhaps someone told him that in 2016 background artists, known as Extras, worked over 11,000 days on Massachusetts based productions averaging $320 a day and that Day Players, actors with speaking lines, had their best year ever. Over 400 were hired at $1000 per day. And there will be residuals paid in perpetuity – paying taxes to the Commonwealth in perpetuity.

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante offered this comment to IMAGINE, “I am encouraged that Governor Baker has relented in his efforts to eliminate the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit. Numerous initiatives and brie ngs have done an effective job explaining the bene ts of the Film Tax Credit, such as job creation and support for so many small businesses,”
Our economic engine is roaring.

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Red Sky Studios Opens in Allston

redsky-banner
Clockwise from Top Left: Frans Weterrings and Dave Cambria launch Red Sky Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. Photo by Carolyn Ross. / Comfortable newly redecorated working space at Red Sky Studios. Photo courtesy of Red Sky Studio. / Space to hang out at Red Sky Studios in Allston, MA. Photo courtesy of Red Sky Studio.

By Carol Patton

When a recent occupant of 184 Everett Street left its Harvard University owned set of buildings in Allston, MA, an unusual and rather extraordinary opportunity opened up for someone who would make the decision and who could ultimately be accepted by the landlord. Several individuals and companies considered the prospect, some local and some from far away. But, Harvard believed her best interest would be served by finding just the right local entity that had both local and national ties to the film industry and struck a deal with two young men who have worked in the industry in New England since 1997.

New life was once again breathed into the well known studio complex and Red Sky Studios was born. New paint, new furniture, new ideas all began to take shape and business in this venerable place began to thrive again. Like their preceding owners at this location, both new owners believe the location is a premium asset.

The pair who six months ago were busy operating Red Herring Motion Picture Lighting and working regularly on motion pictures like BASIC MATH, THE EQUALIZER and AMERICAN HUSTLE as gaffer and rigging specialist had no idea they would become owner operators of a studio complex today. To Frans Weterrings and Dave Cambria this opportunity came as a total and complete life changing surprise.

Frans and Dave incorporated Red Herring in a small loft in the South End of Boston, with an ARRI Kit and some Kino Flos’ in 1997. Now Red Herring has a 12,000 square foot warehouse in North Attleboro, with several 48’ tractor-trailers, generators and enough equipment to service several feature films. They’ve provided equipment to most of the large projects that have shot in Boston and serve local and national clients like Element Productions, Redtree, Sony Pictures, Columbia Studios, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios, NBC Television, ABC Television, Disney Pictures and Fox Searchlight Productions.

Both Dave Cambria and Frans Weterrings have considerable experience in the industry. With their combined New York City and Los Angeles working history and relationships, many Boston bound productions contact them before their arrival for guidance, equipment and crew. Both consider Red Sky an excellent opportunity to create a hometown atmosphere run by local folks who really know the business and want to help you with yours.

Tiffany Kinder, a Los Angeles experienced transplant (she married Frans Wetterings) will serve as General Manager and plans to fashion the operation and interior after the west coast trappings studios and major producers have become accustomed to. When you walk in you can see and feel the Red Sky presence. The changes they have already made are visible and impressive.

She believes the studio’s commissary is an important center for social and commercial activities. A functional kitchen for food styling and preparation is a must, which is why this kitchen has a working oven. One day Red Sky will have a model full functioning kitchen designed to attract TV food shows and demonstrations.

Everything Tiffany does is geared toward what every account executive, photographer and director wants including competitive pricing.

Red Sky is fully functional and already has hosted productions, commercials and photo shoots in their short tenure and they have an appreciative eye for the exploding webseries bonanza and its studio requirements for the future. An entertainment component is next on their agenda – parties, special events and fashion shows, for example.

Red Sky’s two studios are complemented on the premise by production offices, high tech communications, equipment rental, conference rooms, production services, commissary and customized rooms for makeup, hair and wardrobe. Park your trailers in their enormous parking lots and a production could live there for months. So the Red Sky stage is set with two New Englanders through and through at the helm.

Both have and intend to maintain their Massachusetts roots. Frans began his working career right here at 184 Everett Street. It was his first job and he was working for the biggest equipment rental house in New England that also operated the adjacent studios. Frans says he is, “truly grateful and excited for this opportunity to expand Red Herring Motion Picture Lighting, Inc. I consider myself a family man in both my personal and business life. I reside in Medfield, Massachusetts. I have a terrific local crew, a wife (who owns two Boston based companies), a four and a half year old son, three dogs and two horses.”

David entered the film production community in1992. After an internship at CF Video in Watertown managed by his Boston College Professor Paul Reynolds, he was hired to run the production camera and equipment rental department and started the day after graduation. Never looking back, David decided to go out on his own and started freelancing as a lighting technician in 1995. He enjoys cycling and running, and has completed five Pan Mass Challenges, raising over $100,000 for the Jimmy Fund on two Pan Mass cycling teams. David resides in Barrington, Rhode Island with his wife, Rachelle, and children Andrew (six), and Ellie (four).

Both owners are accomplished, hard charging and energetic with a great deal of optimism, enough to share. Both enjoy the continuing challenges and experiences as a full fledged self-started business owner now in their second enterprise, which they believe is full of promise in our burgeoning content producing marketplace.

Carol Patton is the founder and publisher of IMAGINE Magazine and an advocate for the film tax credits and industry growth.

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Meet The AMERICAN HUSTLE New England Cast & Boston Casting Director

By Becki Dennis

Filmed almost entirely in Massachusetts last spring, David O. Russell’s recent cinematic masterpiece American Hustle has already received three awards from the NY Critics Circle, including Best Picture, and has been nominated for seven Golden Globe and two SAG Awards. This is the second time David O. Russell has filmed in Massachusetts; he filmed the FIGHTER here four years ago, which also garnered rave reviews and award season success. It is always exciting for the Massachusetts film industry, and all of the local businesses who were involved, when a major motion picture produced in New England receives so much positive attention. But as the nationwide media focuses on the stars of the movie, and which actors may or may not win an Oscar for their performance, we’re taking a moment to draw attention to all of the local stars who worked on this film. It is an amazing feat in and of itself how many New England actors landed roles in AMERICAN HUSTLE – roles that could have otherwise gone to NY or LA actors – and it’s time to recognize them and the casting directors who gave them this opportunity. Here is IMAGINE’s spotlight on our regional talent: (Spoiler Alert)

“Publishers Note: Becki Dennis has brilliantly interviewed Casting Director Angela Peri and a host of actors who had significant roles in AMERICAN HUSTLE. Here is the full compendium of her work. These responses were contributed by the actors themselves by either phone or email. Please note that there are other Boston actors who had roles in “American Hustle” who did not contribute to this article.” -PUB”
angelaperi

Angela Peri

1. What was your experience like casting this film?

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I love working with David O. Russell. He’s like Picasso. He is a cinematic genius. I knew that when I worked with him on “The Fighter.” He pushed us really hard (in a good way.) He always challenged us to bring him more options and to show him what else we have. Like with anything in life, you gel well working with some people and others you don’t. Him and I immediately gelled and have a kinship, where I can see his vision through his eyes. I knew what he wanted for this film. I’m from the 70’s and remember the time period completely. I knew the look, the feel, and the type of people he likes to cast. He loves shooting in Boston and he cast almost all of roles except the leads here. He’ll come back to Boston.

2. How many principal (speaking) roles did you cast at Boston Casting?

Approximately forty speaking roles.

3. Have you seen a trend of the numbers increasing for local principal casting, versus them casting all in NY and LA for the big budget motion pictures?

Absolutely. The SAG-AFTRA membership went from around 700-800 members in 2007 and now we are at over 3000 members (including film, television and broadcasting) because of the Massachusetts Film Tax Incentive. Everyone has stepped up their game. Everyone knows the stakes are really high. They’re taking classes and taking it seriously. Everyone preps for auditions. There was no difference between the Boston and NY/LA actors for the AMERICAN HUSTLE auditions. The only thing they have that we don’t is more options. I have complete confidence in every Boston actor to come out and do a good job. Before 2007, the films only came here to shoot exteriors for about two days and hired the local actors as extras only. It wasn’t until the movie PINK PANTHER 2 in 2007 that things changed for us.

4. A good number of background actors were upgraded to speaking roles in this film. What are your thoughts on that?

It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Don’t shun extra work. You never know what could happen, plus it’s a great way to fill your acting resume.

5. How many actors did you audition for this film, and what is the average number of actors that auditioned for each role?

Over 1000 actors auditioned in total for the film. It depends on the role, but we auditioned around 20-30 actors for each part.

6. What made you and/or David want to call in an actor for an audition, callback an actor, and cast them?

I would call in actors that look the part and put them on tape. David O. Russell and the LA Casting Director, Mary Vernieu, would make a decision as to whom to callback. I made suggestions, but David O. Russell had the final casting say.

7. What did the auditions consist of?

All improv.

8. How does it feel to give Boston actors roles in a big movie like this?

It feels tremendous.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m so fortunate to be chosen to work with David O. Russell and Mary Vernieu. The LA producers were shocked that they didn’t have to fly in talent (besides the starring roles) and that we had what they needed here. It took me a while to beat them over the head to realize that, but now they’re getting it; largely due to David O. Russell. We have cast tons of locals in all of the recent films we worked on: TED, THE JUDGE, etc. We are now on the map.
aaronflanders

Aaron Flanders

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

Arthur, Carl Elway’s Friend.

2. What scenes did you act in?

Three scenes in the museum chasing Irving (Bale,) Richie (Cooper,) Edith (Adams,) and the Sheik Plant (Taghmaoui) as they enter the museum, then following them as they head up the stairs; confronting the group and Irving, and being blown off by them, and then concluding with the scene in front of the Rembrandt painting, where I accost Irving (Bale,) and am interrupted by Edith (Adams,) introduced to Richie (Cooper,) and then again blown off rudely by the whole group.

3. Which of these scenes made the final cut and which scenes didn’t?

According to my friend, who saw the Coolidge Corner pre-screening, I think all my scenes might actually have made it! I haven’t seen it yet!

4. What other actors did you work with?

Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Said Taghmaoui.

5. What was your experience like working on this film?

Singularly unique and amazing experience, walking into such a talented group of actors, and immediately being thrown into three intense, improvised, in-your-face scenes with them!

6. How did you get your role?

Auditioned at Boston Casting.

7. What are your upcoming projects?

I’m primarily a musician and have just released a brand new album, body of original music, and band, “Aaron Flanders – The Third Floor.” Our CD Release concert is going to be on March 7, 2014, at 7:30 pm, at Johnny D’s in Somerville! For more info., please visit: www.facebook.com/AaronFlandersTheThirdFloor

8. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I live in Cambridge (Boston) because I went to music school here, and because I’m mainly a musician, and Boston is a great music town!

9. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Just to be honest and project an inner glimpse of yourself in every character that you portray.
aluracarbrey

Alura Carbrey

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

Elizabeth (Betty) Polito. Carmine Polito’s daughter.

2. What scenes did you act in?

I acted in the casino scene, the arrest of Carmine Polito scene, and a family breakfast scene.

3. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I had the opportunity to work closely with Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Rohm. I also had the chance to meet Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale. As an aspiring actress, it was an exciting opportunity to work with such a talented and experience cast.

4. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was an unforgettable experience that will stay with me my entire life. I became very close with the cast and crew, and it was an emotional goodbye. Working with the talented David O. Russell was inspirational to me as a young actress.

5. How did you get your role?

I got my role through the casting agency, Boston Casting.

6. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I’m currently studying business and theatre at Endicott College. I hope to continue my acting career in the future!
ayanabrown

Ayana Brown

My role was Cosmopolitan Girl #1. Mr. David O. Russell cast me on set, and it was truly an amazing experience. DOR is a masterful visionary, intense, and knows exactly what he wants. Some would quip that his style of directing may be a bit unorthodox, however without a doubt there is a method to his madness. I am convinced he is one of the best in the business and it was truly an honor to work with him and the beautiful Ms. Amy Adams. I learned so much in that one day of shooting. The tools that I came away with under his direction are priceless. The biggest lesson: Be ready all the time. You never know when an opportunity will knock at your door….when it does you better be prepared to answer it!

I was raised in Amherst, MA where I started my acting career in the local theater circuit. I began working on films in 2007 in the Boston area. THE GREAT DEBATERS was my first film. I joined SAG in 2008; continued working in film and TV to date. I have had roles on Law & Order, Law and Order SVU, and Unforgettable. This was my first role in a feature film. I travel between NYC and Boston for auditions, television & feature film work, and am represented by Shirley Faison with Carson Adler Agency, NYC. Recently, I signed with Maggie Inc. for print modeling. Shortly after, I landed my first print ad with Keurig Coffee. Most recently, I auditioned for principal in a TV pilot. Other projects I worked on this year in the Boston area: THE FORGER, BASIC MATH, THE JUDGE, BUSINESS TRIP, Olive Kitteridge, Chasing Life, MA Lottery, Geico, & Bank of America Commercials. Currently I reside in Western, MA.
beckidennis

Becki Dennis

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

I play Rebecca, who is a friend of Amy Adams’ character. I am a nanny for the son of the Suburban Businessman, played by Jay Giannone.

2. What scenes did you act in?

I filmed five scenes and one made the final cut. I am walking with Amy Adams (Edith) and pushing the child, who I am the nanny for, in a stroller when Jay Giannone approaches us and asks Amy for a line of credit. Amy gets upset with me for sharing information with him that I shouldn’t have about her banking connections. I apologize and we walk away, with Jay calling after me “Rebecca, tell her I never missed a check… Rebecca.” (Rebecca was my name in the script, which just so happens to be my birth name.)

3. Which of these scenes made the final cut and which scenes didn’t?

My apology to Amy was cut, but the rest of the scene remains. If you listen carefully you can hear my voice at the top of the scene. Amy, Jay, and I also filmed a second similar scene, which was omitted from the finished film. I am still so grateful to have made it into the film, period. Additionally, in the original script Amy Adams’ character was from England (not New Mexico as it says now in the completed film.) I and two other female actors were playing her friends and we were all nannies. They filmed us all getting our passports stamped together at customs, traveling in a taxi together, and arriving in New York City with our luggage. We also enter the pool party scene together arm and arm. All of these scenes were cut; the pool party is in the film, but it doesn’t show us walking in with Adams. Because we were supposed to be from England, I delivered my lines with a British accent, which I luckily felt pretty confident with since I had taken a dialect course when I was a Theatre major in college. Interestingly, David O. Russell didn’t hear me speak with a British accent until the day I was to film the scene with it, so he must have just trusted that I could pull it off and I received no dialect coaching on set. Another interesting tidbit: Amy had originally filmed all of the opening scenes with a British accent, but they did ADR work in post to change her to have an American accent in this first few scenes because of the script re-write. She now only has a British accent in the film when she is conning as Edith Greensly.

4. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I worked mostly with Amy Adams and she was so awesome to be around. She was so surprisingly normal and easy to talk to and super funny. My nanny friends were played by Hannah Yun and Rachel Bartolomei, who were also great. We became close working long days together. And, of course, the day I worked with Jay Giannone was unforgettable. It went so smoothly and was of one of the best days of my life. I also had my make-up done sitting next to Christian Bale while he was getting into hair and make-up. I didn’t really get to know him, though, as he is quiet and likes to focus on getting into character, which obviously seems to be working for him given his track record of outstanding performances.

5. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was truly a dream come true and life-altering. This opportunity came at a time when I least expected it, which was the ironic part about it. Having a principal role in a major motion picture had long been a dream of mine and having it come true really rekindled my faith in my acting career. I was very nervous before it was time to film my big scene, but found myself feeling really prepared, relaxed, and in the moment once the cameras were rolling, which I surprised even myself with. On the day I was given lines, I was not given a script, and David O. Russell just fed me the lines during a rehearsal right before shooting. He is very hands-on and walked through the scene with me as if he was in it. I think my experience with improv and interactive theatre prepared me well for this type of directing, as it didn’t scare me at all. When I was done for the day, I couldn’t wait to come back for more. It really left me yearning to experience more on a film set like this with the world’s best actors and crew.

6. How did you get your role?

While I have had hundreds of auditions over the years, the amazing thing about this is that I didn’t have to audition for the role. I had first been selected and narrowed down from a bunch of pictures. I was then asked if I’d be willing to wear a bathing suit for the pool party scene, and initially hesitated, but then said I would do it if I could wear a one-piece suit since I don’t have what you would exactly call a bikini body. They agreed and I was given the role of one of the nanny friends of Amy Adams. The costume department even ended up making me a whole new bathing suit cover-up specifically for me. I was told I would be featured background with the possibility of an upgrade. The awesome casting associate, Ashley Skomurski, of Boston Casting recommended me to David O. Russell as being an actor good at improv, who could handle an upgrade. The upgrade to principal did happen and I am forever thankful to her and Boston Casting for putting in a good word for me.

7. What other work have you done recently?

I recently had a principal role in a MA Health Connector commercial, which is still airing frequently on several channels. I produced and assistant directed the short film MILDRED’S MILLIONS, which is now starting to play at film festivals. And, I am always busy running my company, Talent Tools, as well.

8. What are your upcoming projects?

I have the lead role in an indie feature film, which begins filming in March (title TBA,) which I am really looking forward to. I am also keeping my fingers crossed about other projects I am currently being considered for… Stay tuned!

9. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I grew up here, my family is here, and I love the acting community in New England. I’ve been a part of the film scene in Massachusetts since the tax incentives were first put into place and I’m invested in helping to build the industry here. I have tried my hand at the New York scene and it’s not for me, nor is LA, which I’ve visited. Boston is my home and I’m here to stay. Plus, the opportunities that I have received here would have been harder to achieve in a larger, more competitive market.

10. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Persistence, preparation, and positivity. When I decided to pursue acting as a career I had people tell me to get my head out of the clouds and to stop dreaming. I’ve also had people tell me I was too big (physically) to act for a living. If I had listened to them, I would have never had the success I have had. I have worked hard for over ten years at this. I have taken dozens of acting classes. I have auditioned for countless jobs that I didn’t get. But it doesn’t go unnoticed. Remember that when you audition, you are auditioning not just for that role; you are auditioning for all future work. If you do a good job you will be remembered, and some day, if you don’t give up, a role will come around that will be right for you and it will make it all worth it. Also, this may be obvious, but – be nice. Being nice to people goes a long way and makes you likeable. And be professional – show up on time, prepared, and ready to work at every audition and job. Likeable, professional people get hired.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

The last day I worked on AMERICAN HUSTLE was the same day the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. Luckily, we were filming in Worcester that day and were not in any real danger. It was a very bittersweet day, with this tragedy that occurred. Boston has had a tough year, but we have also had a great year. When the Red Sox won the World Series it was a moment for us to feel pride in Massachusetts. I feel “AMERICAN HUSTLE is another “Boston Strong” moment for our state. This is a movie for us all to feel proud of.
billyv

Billy “V” Vigeant

I did a scene with Amy Adams. I play an FBI Security officer. I escort her to a cell and toss her into a padded room. The scene was cut shorter than originally shot. I was filmed walking with her by the arm and I then approach the cell door and open it and fling her into the room. She then runs back towards the door and I close it on her. They filmed me closing the door and then just standing in the hallway after all that. The final cut shows the back of me walking with her and then throwing her in the cell, but closing the door and me standing there were excluded.

Amy Adams was a treat to work with. Very personable and very friendly. I was surprised how small she is. David O. Russell is a blast to be directed by. His non methodical thinking and creating on the fly is a treat to watch and be a part of. I was amazed how he remembered me from working on THE FIGHTER. He’s very kind and very flexible with his on set creation of scenes on the fly approach. Sadly enough I was to film a scene with Robert DeNiro and the following day, after being fitted for the scene, I was called to be told David O. Russell canceled the featured background for that day.

I’m from Rhode Island, but work mostly in the Boston Market. I have worked in New York and Connecticut, as well, but consider Boston my home base. The Boston film market is incredible and quickly becoming a Tour de force in the filmmaking industry. It has it all and I’m very proud to be a part of it and to be considered an adopted son to it.

This year I’ve worked on eleven film projects and most recently “Self Storage” and “Army of the Damned” were released to over 100,000,00 million homes, with VOD and nationwide releases in January. Also, I just finished the film KILLING KHAN, a Vendetta Motion Picture, in which I co-star as Ivan. It was filmed in Boston and surrounding towns. Next up is BLUE SUEDE, in which I graduate to a lead role as Mafia Don Franco Pizzan alongside Robert Miano, who starred in DONNY BRASCO with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. This is an epic crime drama that is scheduled to start filming in February 2014. All in all, I’m excited and proud to be a part of the Boston film community and look forward to working on the projects to come. It’s going to be a great 2014 and thank Angela Peri for the opportunities to be a part of such legendary films as AMERICAN HUSTLE.
ericamcderm-AH

Erica McDermott

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

I am a con artist/ the girlfriend of character Carl Elway.

2. What scenes did you act in?

I am in the scene when Irving is first meeting with Carl Elway to discuss plans. I burst into the meeting with Edith and Ritchie. I am also in the scene when Carl is getting arrested; I am wearing an old school slip and freaking out.

3. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I worked with Shae Whigham, Bradly Cooper, Amy Adams, and Christian Bale. It was great to work with Christian and Amy again. I had a blast getting to know Shae and Bradley.

4. What was your experience like working on this film?

I work well with David O. Russell. He is smart, funny, and is able to get the best out of me. It’s exciting to be part of his films; the stories he tells are always so captivating. The people that I’ve gotten to know and had the privilege to work with have been the best teachers.

5. How did you get your role?

Although you may not see it from the few moments I have in the film, there really was a ton of work that went into this for me from the first audition in January to the last day of filming in May. I auditioned over the course of three months. Lots of improv, character development, and taping in between. Wigs, authentic retro outfits, dialect coaches to perfect my accent, and a day of screen testing were all part of it. I was officially cast at the end of March, and I was beyond excited.

6. What are your upcoming projects?

I will be doing quite a bit of theater over the next few months, we are in early discussions with producers about a feature comedy, and I’m looking forward to a busy pilot season.

7. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

With the Mass Tax Film Credits – opportunity is here for me. Boston is my home and this incentive makes it possible for me to live here and work.

8. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Practice, take classes, stay focused, and be in the moment during auditions. My friend, Kevin Lasit, gave me the best advice and I believe it’s true: “Ask for work, not fame.”
jaygiannone

Jay Giannone

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

Jim, the Suburban Businessman.

2. What scenes did you act in?

I acted in three scenes. One with was with Amy Adams and Christian Bale; I was one of the businessmen. Two were with Amy Adams and Becki Dennis.

3. Which of these scenes made the final cut and which scenes didn’t?

One of the scenes made it in, where I’m trying to get a line of credit from Amy Adams character.

4. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was wonderful. David O. Russell treats me like family and makes it an interesting, fun experience. David and I have been close since 1999, when I first met him working on WE THREE KINGS and we have stayed in touch since… He believes in me. We have a natural, organic relationship. I thank Mark Wahlberg for putting us in contact with each other.

5. How did you get your role?

I auditioned for Mary Vernieu, the LA Casting Director, in LA. I was booked off my first audition. David was familiar with my work and liked what I did.

6. What other acting work have you done recently and what are your upcoming projects?

I recently played Joe in GOD ONLY KNOWS with Toby Jones and Harvey Keitel, written by Emilio Mauro of Boston. I have a lead role in THE WITCHING HOUR filmed in Boston, and also have acted in THE LIFE and UNTOLD. I believe you shouldn’t wait for roles and should always be creating your own work, which is why I write, produce, and direct my own films, too. I am directing a movie about Alzeimers in April with Taryn Manning and a TV show I wrote, Diesel, is currently in development.

7. Where are you based and are your reasons for pursuing your career there?

I am originally from Boston, but am now LA-based and have been for eighteen years. I come to Boston a lot because it is where my heart is. Thank god for the wonderful casting directors back home. I have been blessed that Angela Peri and Carolyn Pickman call me in for projects. Because of them I have got parts in films such as THE GAME PLAN, GOD ONLY KNOW, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, and now AMERICAN HUSTLE. I have now done eight movies in Boston and many have been Blockbuster hits. For me to be able to go home and work is the best thing, so I can be with my family.

8. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Don’t give up. You’re going to get discouraged and get the door slammed in your face. Keep your chin up and don’t get down. Your performance can be great in an audition, but the director may not see you in the role. Just keep on moving forward and your time will come. Create your own projects. Do what you love. Don’t compete with anyone except yourself.
melissamcmeek-AH

Melissa McMeekin

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

I play Alfonse Simone’s assistant. Simone is played by Paul Herman from GOODFELLAS and SILVER LININGS PLAYBACK.

2. What scenes did you act in?

I filmed a few scenes, but not all made the final cut.

3. Which of these scenes made the final cut and which scenes didn’t?

The pool party scene and a key scene that I can’t get into or it would be a spoiler. However, my lines were cut from both scenes and they were a bit whittled down. But I’m certainly not complaining! That my face just pops up at all in this movie is pretty cool.

4. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I worked with Christian, Amy, and Bradley. It was great. This was my first time working with Bradley, although I had met him before at a visit to the editing room of SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. It was really fun to reunite with Christian and Amy (who I worked with on THE FIGHTER.) Christian is incredibly funny and charming and I really enjoy being around him and joking with him.

It was so great to work with Amy again, especially since our characters weren’t supposed to hate each other this time… she’s so warm and down to earth, and I enjoy being around her. Not only were they a lot of fun, but they were all so incredibly talented and focused. I learned a lot; it was really like a master-class. I’m so impressed and amazed by Amy and the way she immersed herself completely and the places she let herself go to. She really showed me how to be fearless and brave, and I’m very proud of her and really rooting for her. And Christian is like some kind of freak of nature in the way he transforms completely, and is without question one of the best actors of our generation. To have been given the gift to learn from him up close and just being around him is priceless.

5. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was nothing short of amazing. This movie is definitely going to be a loved and well respected part of cinematic history, and to be even the teensiest part of that is unreal, and the fact that I was with people that I have a rapport with just made it so great. I love working with David. I love the way he works and I love watching him work; he gets so in to it and it’s really inspiring to witness his passion and creativity in full force. And he has become one of my very favorite people, he’s very fun to be around, he shares my affinity for jokes second graders enjoy, and I love laughing with him.

6. How did you get your role?

I had an initial audition with Boston Casting, but all of the larger roles went to established actors out of LA as everyone wanted to work with David. He very graciously called me and told me he created a place for me and asked if I’d like to make a cameo appearance in the film. I was incredibly humbled and honored.

7. What other acting work have you done recently?

I just finished working on BUSINESS TRIP with Vince Vaughn and have been working down in NYC trying to build my TV credits. My goal is to get a series regular role on a show.

8. What are your upcoming projects?

I’m currently working in NYC on Steven Soderbergh’s new series, “The Knick”. It will air on Cinemax in 2014. I have a recurring role playing the real Typhoid Mary. I also am in the early development stages of a script that I wrote and am currently working on writing a TV pitch for a one hour drama.

9. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I love living in Boston. I am not from the area originally, I’m from Washington state. I moved here seven and a half years ago for no reason other than I wanted to live here. I had no family, friend, or ties of any kind to the area and had, in fact, never even visited the area before I stepped foot off an airplane to live here. The best way I can describe it is that when I would look at pictures of New England I felt homesick. And, indeed, it truly feels like home to me.

So it is very important to me to find a way to do what I love and still get to live where I love. It has certain challenges, sure, and I have to travel to NY a lot and have gotten very used to putting myself on tape, but it is all worth it to me when I walk around Rockport or meet a friend for lunch on Newbury St. And I believe there is just so much talent here in New England, so it has also become very important to me to write and do what I can to bring work here.

10. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Work on your craft. Train. Take classes. Both Boston Casting and C.P. Casting have one day workshops where you can meet the casting directors, and that is great and I strongly advise that, however, I am a believer in the adage that “success happens when preparation and opportunity meet.” So while it’s great to get on the CD’s radar, you need to be prepared for when that opportunity does come along, so you should look in to their other more in-depth classes, as well. I did stage for years, and worked on my craft taking classes and working with a private coach.

I also recommend to new actors to work as much as you can; do plays, short films, student films, etc. Work creates work and you will get better and more confident. This also helps you build a resume and have something for a reel. Outside of Boston you really need to have a reel to compete as a lot of submissions won’t even be looked at if a reel is not attached. This doesn’t have to be major films with major stars.

And we are so blessed here in Boston in terms of the colleges and universities that are here and the superb film programs. If you are willing to go to NY for work, NYU has an amazing film school and they are constantly doing student films of really great quality.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I’m just really proud to be a part of this dynamic and talented community and was so thrilled to see so many familiar faces on the screen in AMERICAN HUSTLE. I felt true and sincere pride and can’t wait to see the local industry grow.
dininni

Rob DiNinni

1. What was your role in American Hustle?

Desperate Businessman. I’m humbled and grateful to play a small role in a widely acclaimed film.

2. What scenes did you act in?

An office scene where I’m desperately asking for money; a loan. It was mostly improv and additional direction from DOR… I embezzled money from my own parents clothing manufacturing business located in the garment district NYC, and traveled to France numerous times and bought cars and boats on my parents company money for love. Or was it lust? Either way I’m in big trouble and my parents will disown me.

3. Which of these scenes made the final cut and which scenes didn’t?

Most of my scene was on the cutting room floor except a small part used in a montage. I’m one of three of the business types begging for money.

4. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

Amy Adams and Christian Bale: It was very rewarding to work with such generous actors fully committed to their characters.

5. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was an invigorating and inspiring process, which left me begging for more time on set with the desire to perform more with actors of their stature and a director/writer hitting his stride, enabling incredible acting performances and filmmaking.

6. How did you get your role?

Model Club, Inc. got me an audition with Boston Casting’s, Angela Peri. Angela put me on tape for an audition and after three callbacks I auditioned for a final callback directly with David O. Russell.

7. What other acting work have you done recently?

I played the lead, Cause, for a new comedy play, “The Break-Up of Cause and Effect,” which premiered at the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland and then performed in London – thirty shows from August through Sept 2013.

8. What are your upcoming projects?

As Principal of StageCoach Improv, I have a few holiday improv and sketch comedy shows and I’m also involved in writing a new comedy short film for a web series on dating and relationship traps.

9. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I moved to Boston for a sales job and was wishing to do stand-up and theatre, which I did to kick off my acting career on stage and film throughout New England, coming from Rotterdam in Upstate NY. I’ve been acting and performing since 2003 and am looking to go bi-coastal LA and Boston.

10. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

My advice for actors looking to land roles in a major picture is to keep working your chops on independent films and industrial videos to increase you comfort and confidence on a film set. Audition a lot and take classes for auditioning and improv so you focus on the role, the character, and the choices you make to emotionally commit to the scene and the moment so you can let go that it’s a major motion picture… it’s just another film. And, make sure you are visible to all casting directors by making them aware of your performances in fun and creative ways. And, keep an eye on who is casting for major motion picture films and find ways to get an audition, get yourself seen, and of course, an agent can also help.

11. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

You must love, love auditioning and prepare like you’re shooting that day and that mindset will hopefully translate into a more relaxed state to give you more impact and presence on film. Be true to you, showcase your personality, and take risk to heighten, not sabotage a scene.
seaneklund

Sean Eklund

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

I played a street punk.

2. What scenes did you act in?

My scene was to get into a fight with Bradley Cooper on the street.

3. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I worked with Bradley Cooper in that scene, but was able to be around the set and entire cast for days. They were amazing!!

4. What was your experience like working on this film?

It was a phenomenal experience, as is working on any David O. Russell film.

5. How did you get your role?

Through Boston Casting and David O. Russell.

6. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I live in Lowell and over the past few years there has been a major increase in major motion pictures being filmed in the Boston area.

7. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Just to audition as often as possible and never give up!

8. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Just how amazing everyone on the set was. From the entire cast and crew, nothing but true professionals and top tier talent!!
stevegagliostro

Steve Gagliastro

1. What was your role in AMERICAN HUSTLE?

Agent Schmidt

2. What other actors did you work with and what was that like?

I was fortunate to work with Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Louis C.K., Jeremy Renner, Shea Whigham, Liz Rohm, Erica McDermott, and most importantly, my partner, Chris Tarjan (Agent Stock.) It was inspiring to watch such accomplished actors find the right tone and perfect their timing. I realized the experimentation and methods they executed in front of the camera were universal. All actors use them in some form or another. What was clear to me was the preparation before they got to set. This is what separated these actors from their peers.

3. What was your experience like working on this film?

I was very fortunate to spend a good deal of time on set. Together with my partner, Chris Tarjan, we became very familiar with everyone who was there on a daily basis. From hair and makeup, to props, to AD’s and PA’s, they all got to know and trust us. This trust is important when it comes to the delicate issues of privacy and respect that surround high profile sets.

4. How did you get your role?

I auditioned through Boston Casting, had a callback for David and got it!

5. What other acting work have you done recently?

Most recently I was on the US National/North American Tour of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” and I am performing in the Hanover Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” in Worcester through December.

6. What are your reasons for being a Boston-based actor and pursuing your career here?

I am from Worcester originally and have settled here. My family and side work are here, as well. I am on the road so often that it makes sense for me not to have an expensive apartment in NYC or Boston when they are so accessible to me (one hour to Boston, three and half to NYC.)

7. Do you have any advice for actors looking to land roles like the one you had in a major motion picture?

Be yourself. Casting directors are seeking interesting, talented people, not cookie-cutter actors. And, of course, prepare.

8. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

As a full time performer, it is heartening to see the high level of work created here in New England. We are an excellent community filmmakers should utilize. Whether it is the exceptional talent base or the diversity/proximity of locations, Boston and its’ surrounding communities are ideal for shooting. Except desert locations, those we don’t have.
stevebarkhimer

Steven Barkhimer

I survived the cut. I’m one of the guys begging Christian Bale for a loan as Amy Adams looks regally on. David had me play the HBO producer in THE FIGHTER, the one making a documentary about crack addiction, so I had a working knowledge of his singular directorial style – not for the faint of heart, by the way. So when I was called in for AMERICAN HUSTLE he gave me a tremendously warm welcome at the audition and afterwards said there should definitely be a spot for me in the film (even if not as large a role as in THE FIGHTER.) They were keeping a pretty tight lid on information about the project, so I didn’t even know Christian Bale and Amy Adams were in it until I got to the shoot that day. Not surprisingly, I had to do a double-take before realizing it was actually Christian walking right by me onto the set, looking well-fed and skeezy in his purple velour jacket, with a hilariously pathetic comb-over.

My prior experience with David O. Russell served me very well on this day because time was getting very limited and the pressure became pretty intense to get it done. Several of the “businessmen” were lined up and one by one, and we were to go beg Bale for money. This is also when I found out Amy Adams would be in the scene as well. Okay. We were to be fired one after the other out of the torpedo chute into the room, do our scene, and get the hell out. Next! A revolving door, bam, bam, bam. Well, David’s films do have scripts; however, what he likes to do is prompt the actor as the camera is rolling. He suggests things that you aren’t expecting, and you just have to go with the flow and be ready to improvise. Or often he will just suddenly order you: “Do This. Now! Faster. Again. To the left? The left!!” It does give a wonderful immediacy and improvisatory sense to scenes, but it can be unnerving for the unsuspecting or the uninitiated. I’m sure it makes editing very interesting, too!

On other scores, a play of my own called “Windowmen” just finished a gratifyingly successful and well-received production at Boston Playwrights Theatre and is now in consideration by several theatres around the country.

Before I came to Boston back in 1998, I’d taken a couple years off the circuit to pursue a Master’s degree among other things, but I’m glad I didn’t run right back to New York as a sort of default. There are marvelously talented actors, directors, playwrights, producers, designers, etc., right here in Boston, and it is an extraordinary honor and pleasure to have worked almost non-stop here for most of the last fifteen years.

In January, I head back to the theatre with the Actors Shakespeare Project (now in our tenth season) in a production of “The Cherry Orchard” before I perform in Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” in March and April.

*These responses were contributed by the actors themselves, except for Angela Peri and Jay Giannone, who were interviewed by Becki Dennis. Please note that there are other Boston actors who had roles in “American Hustle” who did not contribute to this article.

Read on

Element: Post Production Integrated

By Carol Patton

Element ProductionsA year ago this September, Eran Lobel and Mark Hankey got together as businessmen. After their merger the new company would be called simply Element. It’s an interesting note that next month Element Productions would have been in business fifteen years and Picture Park for twenty years. Long time Element Production’s tech savvy Kristen Kearns became the third partner and the integration of Element was complete. The trio are all executive producers. Eran serves as the company’s CEO.

This integration of these three entities created one of the deepest creative resources in the Northeast and Element has spent its first year in the fast lane. Elements non-conforming business card size says we are formed to be different. There’s a big E and a little 3 on the front of the card, flip it over for plainly stated contact information on the back. It doesn’t say what they do. Most likely if you are handed one you already know.

The little three on the front represents what they do: Production Post Integrated. Element is prepared to do it all under one roof located in Boston’s fashionable Back Bay on Stuart Street. In a spacious, functional, attractive workplace that accommodates a constant staff of fifteen with room for the fifty to hundreds of freelancers that are frequently hired every month.

The newly created talent pool establishes a diverse stable of directors, editors and producers that offer integrated content development deliverable across all platforms. Eran explained offering premium production, which Mark Hankey (Hank) brings to the table from his immense experience and cache at Picture Park. He radiates within the advertising world, which, is at the top of the premium production food chain and according to Hank, “brings home the bacon.” I asked Hank about merging Picture Park after all these years.

Element Productions Stuart Street Boston MA
Element’s headquarters on Stuart Street in Boston’s Back Bay. Photo courtesy of Element Productions
Executive Producer Mark Hankey
Executive Producer Mark Hankey Photo by Carolyn Ross Photography

“It was hard to give up a company I’ve had and the people I’ve worked with for twenty years,” Hank said. But, he added, everybody came over here for new opportunities and to form new relationships. Having everything under one roof is what this industry is moving towards and that’s what we are building here.

In the second quarter of this year Mark Hankey was the production supervisor for the TV pilot The Hatfields and McCoys. It was a great experience to bring back to Element.

“It would be great to have a TV series in Boston,” Hankey said. To that end, he believes the opening of the New England Studios in Devens will be helpful. He visited it recently and gave it a thumb’s up. He also suggested it could be a great place to produce a large advertising campaign.

Executive Producer Kristen Kearns. Photo by Carolyn Ross Photography
Executive Producer Kristen Kearns. Photo by Carolyn Ross Photography

Kristen Kearns is passionate about post. It’s her bailiwick at Element. Premium Post is her responsibility and she has a firm grip on it. For thirteen years she has grown with new media technology. Kristen graduated from Emerson with a background in production. She found her way to Element Productions through Boston Casting where she worked for Angela Peri and met Eran by casting commercials for him. He offered her a position right when Final Cut Pro and After Effects were catching on. She embraced the technology, the concept of working lean and efficiently appealed to her. She has grown with it over the last thirteen years. Add to that, Eran says she is incredibly well organized.

She oversees a great staff of editors and graphic artists and has a talent pool of dozens of others to draw on. She is constantly put to the test. When a client comes in needing a couple of pieces with hundreds of assets to deliver she knows the best way to get it done. She’s always ready to look at new technologies and the latest camera formats. Her goal is to provide the best work for Element’s clients.

CEO/Executive Producer Eran Lobel
CEO/Executive Producer Eran Lobel. Photo by Carolyn Ross Photography

After Production and Post comes Integrated. Eran expands on how the word has evolved and why it is the key to the future success of production. He says, it’s a catch all component to the industry and is inclusive of new media, documentary, film, programming, television, multi-platform, innovative technology, web video, developing web series that can become television series and more.

“Moving downtown, having everything under one roof, creating amazing opportunities for writers, producers, directors and editors to collaborate openly contributes invaluably to integration,” says Kristen. Doing it all, from shooting to final color correction to delivery is amazingly efficient and extremely satisfying.

Eran elaborated on the Element three core values: creativity, efficiency and reliability. Those attributes along with the amount of full service capabilities Element’s has amassed will provide their clients who work in ad game space, turnkey production (not a low cost cheap solution as turnkey used to be known). But, giving their clients high quality at a good value. He believes there is a competitive advantage for clients working with premium resources in a comfortable environment where people collaborate really well together. The economy of scale really kicks in.

The biggest clients for Element are ad agencies in Boston and New York. And brands like UMass and Vistaprint along with local TV networks. Element produces all the content for Comcast Sports Celtics off court programming available on Comcast Video on Demand. Element produces video for the Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine, The Globe, Boston.com websites and content for traditional media channels, while incubating original web material and web television as well.

“Our future goals are to address the changing needs that marketing, advertising, entertainment and technology have put on every one of us,” says Eran.

Hank has a longterm relationship with TV and studio executives that call him when they are going to shoot in Boston whether it’s TV or film. He wants to stay well rounded, to continue to cross over disciplines when producing.

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A gallery of Element’s work. Images provided by Element Productions

Pushing up global production is important. Element has done a lot of it this year ramping up shooting in the United Kingdom and in France. They’re working to develop a network of production resources and clients.

“We will continue to push our core values, creativity, efficiency and reliability, and find those clients who share those values and work to maximize their goals,” Eran adds.

Kristen’s initiative is to grow post production by continuing the expansion of their internal capabilities and staff, to continue to get great creative work, to collaborate and do good work.

Hank says, “Finding work that is engaging for our directors allowing them to be creative and effective for the client and exciting for them (the directors) to work on. Pilot season is coming up again. It would be good to get one or two TV series to work on again.”

Content across all platforms is king and in demand. That is why Production, Post and Integration reign supreme for Element residing on Stuart Street where the three principles of creativity, efficiency and reliability live along with Element’s three principals, Eran Lobel, Mark Hankey and Kristen Kearns.

 

 

 

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