New England Production Industry Leaders Share Their Predictions for 2014

Every year IMAGINE gathers some predictions from industry leaders. They are thoughtful and sometimes extremely clever. However, most of these 2014 predictions tell us what the future of our industry may look forward to. Our predictors say the future is promising, exciting, interesting and that the region has positioned itself for a big pay-off.

Part of the optimism is hinged to the opening of new studio facilities in Massachusetts, but most of it is still banking on the regions attractive Film Tax Credits – hard won, but not yet nearly well enough promoted or advertised.

We present submissions that made our cut alphabetically here.

Obviously, again this year we will have to learn something new. –PUB

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.21.50 AMBecki Dennis, Actor, Producer & Owner of Talent Tools

I predict that we will have the busiest year ever for film production in Massachusetts and land our first TV series.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.27.44 AMSteven Feinberg, Executive Director Rhode Island Film & Television Office

I predict that there will be an amazing IMAGINE Magazine party in Providence in 2014!

I predict that INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana, filmed entirely in Rhode Island, will win critical acclaim and some awards in 2014!

I predict that there will be an ongoing major television show filmed in Rhode Island in 2014!

I predict that an Academy Award-winning cinematographer will film a feature in Rhode Island in 2014!

I predict that 2014 will be a banner year for independent filmmaking in Rhode Island!

And I predict that three local talents will each have break-out years and be catapulted into the stratosphere of the movie heavens, and their stars will shine very brightly.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.38.38 AMSteve McGrath, Senior Broadcast Sales Engineer HB Communications, Inc.

I think 2014 will be the one of the most transitional years in recent memory. People will be eager to push things up to the
cloud, but if 4K gets off the ground, that won’t happen. (Read Steve’s explanation about 4K here) So people will have to make a decision if they want to pursue 4K or not. Storage companies will be pushing 4K as it sells storage. Cloud service companies will be dismissing 4K because current network speeds don’t support it in the cloud. People will have to make decisions to re-invest in storage to support 4K, or go with cloud storage. And while on the topic of 4K, non-linear editing systems will start to support 4K with compression like ProRez or DNx.

Another big change will be to choose the new Mac Pro or keep their PCI cards and move to PC.

With the new MacPro, people are going to be buying a lot of Thunderbolt adapters to accommodate their old PCI card based infrastructure. People say the new MacPro looks like a trash can, but I think it will look like an octopus once all the Thunderbolt adapter cables start dangling out of it.

I will also go out on a limb and say that 2014 will be the beginning of the end for video editor rendering. I think people have been editing long enough where it should be expected that rendering can be done in the background now. Autodesk Smoke will render in the background today, but by the end of the year, I think that ALL editing programs will render in the background.

Steve also regularly contributes to our TECH EDGE column. You can read more of his writing here.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.52.10 AMSusan Nelson, Executive Director SAG-AFTRA New England

New England is trending as one of the best filmmaking destinations in the country. The region has been enjoying a wave of production as filmmakers come to take advantage of our unique history, culture and architecture, wide range of shooting locations, and our deep pool of skilled talent. And it looks like the momentum is only building.

Just a few examples of the high-profile productions that have filmed here recently include THE HEAT, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy; AMERICAN HUSTLE, starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence; THE JUDGE, with Robert Downey Jr. (SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard also appears in THE JUDGE); THE FORGER, starring John Travolta; and THE EQUALIZER, with Denzel Washington.

A significant motivating factor for producers has certainly been Massachusetts’ compelling film tax incentive, which provides a twenty-five percent production credit and a twenty-five percent payroll credit for qualifying productions.

While critical in drawing productions here, when combined with our ever-increasing local resources, it often tips the balance in our favor. In fact, this year we were successful in convincing a major feature film to choose Massachusetts over Louisiana where they also offer a tax incentive.

New England’s terrain is another plus: Picturesque seaside towns, urban environments, rural settings and unparalleled historic
streetscapes are all within easy travel. With the opening of New England Studios, state-of-the-art production facilities will be in easy reach, as well.

Another exciting trend for our union members is a significant increase in principal roles cast locally, as producers become more familiar with our local talent and realize that they can save costs by hiring true professionals locally. We predict this trend will continue.

Asked for my predictions for the upcoming year, I would say that all signs point to a banner year for local production in 2014, topping a fabulous 2013. SAG-AFTRA will continue to support local talent and promote favorable legislation. Our goal is to keep this area a destination. It’s a great time to be an actor in the Northeast.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 9.00.24 AMDon Packer, Co-Owner and Senior Editor Engine Room Edit

2014 is upon us. 2013 is in the rear view mirror. However, I have a large sign on mine that says “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” in that Jurassic Park sort of way. Brrrr…. So, it ain’t over yet. But I see the light.

We have a new Mayor in Boston. The old one was pretty good. But this one made a lot of noises about the arts community here and I predict it’s going to happen in a large way. Even to the point of embracing filmmaking in town. What a concept. All boats rise on the tide.

I predict that the tax incentive battle will stupidly rise again. And once again statements like “ … lets spend the money elsewhere” will be bandied about. I predict that the people who make those statements will once again fail to realize that, THERE IS NO MONEY. Sorry for the all caps. It’s a tax INCENTIVE. But I also predict that in the end, with sound reasoning and for the fact that hotels, restaurants and tourism have all seen a huge boost due to movie making in our town, that it will continue unimpeded. You know, those guys in Devens didn’t stick thirty million in the ground just because they didn’t know what to do with their money.

I predict that I will once again write a script that isn’t worth reading, but I will be entertained by many that are. Among
them will be some that will actually happen because people have great ideas for shooting in Boston and they’ll continue to.

I also predict that this will be the year we find out that both Kanye and Kim K are aliens. Face it. They named their kid a direction. They did an Imovie edit that they think looks good. They walk around in T shirts in freezing cold weather. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started to say they were from France and loved fried eggs and beer. Wait… Aren’t they getting MARRIED in France??!!!

I predict I’ll finish what I started. Which is a VERY good documentary from Rough Water Films about beer and well, I’ll try to not to put on any weight doing it.

I predict that the replacement for Dona Somers at SAG, Sue Nelson, will be wonderful and well liked by everyone. Not that we didn’t love Dona.

And finally, I predict a big TV show is finally coming. It has to. We’re primed. Why not? I’m not talking a reality show but a drama that will work. That will be based here. Shot here. Edited here. Come on, even a dog gets a bone once in a while.

2014. I’m going to love you like a long lost brother.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 9.19.14 AMJohn Rule, President Rule Boston Camera

2014 will be a very exciting year from a technology perspective. Due to advances in electronics and a global supply network, innovators and inventors now have ready availability of all manner of motors, sensors, and specialized processors, which will bring forth a tidal wave of new camera dynamics products of all imaginable types. We’ll see many new stabilization rigs, flying
drones, motion control rigs, sliders, cranes, jibs and dollies. Additionally, I think that the burgeoning robotics industry
will this year introduce us to the first semi-autonomous camera robot, just you wait! We may never have to endure a static shot again (kidding!). 3D printing is also coming into its own, so every key grip, gaffer, DP and AC will be able to design and build his or her own signature line of production tools. And (I am hoping) that 4K workflows as used by Hollywood will become more practical, and will start to trickle down to more real-world production environments.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 9.22.32 AMJohn Stimpson, Director John Stimpson Productions

2014 will be a big year here in Massachusetts! The tax incentive will continue to draw big projects to the Commonwealth, and our fabulous new facility, NE Studios will house some exciting productions. Some of the films shot here in 2013 will win Academy Awards. Many of our talented filmmakers and production professionals will get attention, acclaim and some big new opportunities. More of our local actors and creative talent will shine. And, with any luck, I personally, will premiere my newest film, and start production on two new projects.

Meanwhile, we will all continue to grow and change in the ever more volatile world of distribution and exhibition. The disparity between big studio projects and independent films will expand further. Television as we know it will continue to morph into a hybrid of online and broadcast content. Web based projects will be more plentiful and gain more notoriety. And binge-watchable series will start to overtake stand-alone, long format projects as the preferred form of narrative storytelling.

Have a great year! Keep plugging, stay creative, and let’s all self-generate some cool stuff here at home in Massachusetts!

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 9.30.49 AMErnest Thompson, Writer, Director, Producer Whitebridge Farm Productions

Since it’s been scientifically proven that the universe is simultaneously expanding and contracting, as in nobody can see that far but can now Tweet about it in 140 characters, it’s only fitting that film follow suit. Film in 2014 is sort of where it was 100 years ago when no one knew what to think of the medium or its potential and went about making movies anyway. The old paradigm, and this is where Einstein steps in, still works except it’s bigger. A budget of 150 million is nothing, it’s a joke, provided that it recoups in its first weekend; if it doesn’t, don’t call me. But, relativity speaking, a newer paradigm has taken root in the shadows of the skyscrapers: Independent film will become more independent than ever.

Community filmmaking, we call it, those of us probably not conversation starters at 150 mill but with stories to tell just the
same. Through my company Whitebridge Farm Productions, I’ve made two movies in the last few years, TIME AND CHARGES and HEAVENLY ANGLE. We offered them as On Location Training and more than 800 people participated. The movies’ budgets were modest, even by 1914 standards, but their collective hearts are huge and the response from the few film festivals we’ve visited has been colossal. And we’re just getting started, we nouveau pioneers. Communities will be springing up all across the frontier; we’re expanding ours and we’re not alone. In the digital age, anyone can make a movie, which means a lot of bad movies will get made – they weren’t all masterpieces in 1914 either – but great, profound, provocative films will be created, too; it’s an exciting time to be a storyteller. 100 years from now, people will look backand marvel at what we accomplished. Einstein would be proud.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 9.32.40 AMDave Talamas, President Talamas Sales and Rentals

With the impending sale of spectrum above 600 MHz, wireless microphone and intercom manufacturers will become more spectrum-efficient. While 4K has been heavily promoted in 2013, most content will continue to be created in 2K since it has more than enough resolution for commercial and motion picture production, is cost effective and is supported by the cable and network infrastructure, whereas 4K presently is not. However, 4K production can be valuable for motion picture production for future proofing, as well as for computer graphics for film and commercial production.

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Passion and Politics: 2 New Films From Whitebridge Farm Productions

Ernest Thompson at Whitebridge Farm, photo by P.T. Sullivan


A complicated young man rescues a little girl from her abusive parents and is instantly suspected of kidnapping. And the chase is on.


A college professor is far more interesting, witty and intelligent than the presidential candidates whose debate he’s moderating and is approached to run as a favorite son.

I’ve spent four years scripting and directing, acting in and writing songs for two new movies, TIME AND CHARGES and HEAVENLY ANGLE, offering both as On Location Training; more than 800 people participated. The movies’ combined budgets might keep a Hollywood movie stocked with M&Ms but both films are playing festivals now and the audience reactions have been gratifying, exultant crowds warming to what we all love in movies: a lot of heart, a lot of humor, a lot to think about. And now, along with my Whitebridge partners Morgan Murphy and Lori Gigliotti Murphy, I’m inviting distributors to help us expand that audience. Our trailers can be seen at www. and www.heavenlyangle. com.

We’re developing two new projects at Whitebridge. My script for ELYSIAN FARM is ready to roll, a ripped-from-the-headlines story of child endangerment, never, tragically, more timely. PLATO’S PARTY, about the bizarre state of our elective process, I rewrite every day because every day it gets, speaking of headlines, more bizarre.

ELYSIAN FARM asks a question we all may face and never know the answer to: if you saw a mother smacking her little girl in public, not in a TV What Would You Do way, but in real-life life- and-death, would you get involved? Gus Mullins does. Coming from a Dickensian childhood, too, he responds without thinking and, in no time, finds himself running from the police and the girl’s vindictive mother and step-father in a desperate race to find little Polo a safe haven.

Because of the implications of taking Polo away from her small town and because Gus tries, without immediate success, to enlist his own abuse-victim siblings, the frantic manhunt unfolds in the claustrophobic confines of the woods and streams of rural New Hampshire, ending, eventually, on Elysian Farm, the house of horror Gus grew up in. Bailey, a well-meaning, if bumbling, female cop trailing Gus, complicates matters further by seeing Gus for the hero he is and falling for him.

It’s a story of passion, more than compassion. Compassion means kindness, seeing a social problem and writing a check maybe, but this is the deep, hard emotion of FEELING the little girl’s agony and ACTING ON IT. First Gus, then Bailey, then most of the community in an uplifting, dramatic courtroom scene when the judge decides who will provide Polo with what she needs most – solace, safety, love.

We have our script and director; all we need is you. At Whitebridge Farm Productions we’ve demonstrated that we can make powerful films for next to nothing. With a budget of 5-7 million, ELYSIAN FARM could be the movie-star movie it deserves to be. Gus and Bailey are great roles. But we want it to be more than a film; it’s a cause. We want to shoot social media and TV PSAs to educate and reassure children in trouble that it’s okay to ask for help. And to encourage caring adults to follow their passion.

We have our script and director; all we need is you. At Whitebridge Farm Productions we’ve demonstrated that we can make powerful films for next to nothing. With a budget of 5-7 million, ELYSIAN FARM could be the movie-star movie it deserves to be. Gus and Bailey are great roles. But we want it to be more than a film; it’s a cause. We want to shoot social media and TV PSAs to educate and reassure children in trouble that it’s okay to ask for help. And to encourage caring adults to follow their passion.

In PLATO’S PARTY, Thaddeus Barker teaches political science at the small college hosting a primary debate and, with his superior knowledge, acumen and charisma, far outshines the conga line of candidates. On a whim, KB Hardy, a veteran operative fed up with what used to be HIS passion, suggests that the professor throw his hat in the ring; why not? Thaddeus, well-versed in the travesty American elections have become, surprises him by accepting the challenge, but only if they can do it old school – no war chest, no commercials, no lies.

For KB, it’s refreshing to back a candidate with nothing to lose – Thaddeus unbound is a resounding voice of clarity and unmitigated courage – until he starts to win. The voters are charmed by Thaddeus’s no-nonsense, take-me- for-what-I-am approach and he pulls ahead of the career politicians. When Thaddeus’s colorful past comes calling, he’s unapologetic. “People aren’t voting for my past; they’re voting for their future.” The cutthroat battle to Primary night is as suspenseful as a thriller and will end depressingly predictably. Or will it?

PLATO’S PARTY isn’t just a good story; it’s a good chance to make a statement, to make a difference. We’re looking for True Believers to join us in the campaign. For a million or two, we could change theheadlines. To get involved or learn about these projects and more, visit


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