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Mass. film chat with Nick Paleologos

September 18, 2008
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About Our Guest
Nicholas Paleologos is the director of the Massachusetts Film Office, as well as a two-time Tony Award winning producer. Paleologos was also the recipient of an Emmy Award nomination for the HBO film "In The Gloaming," which marked the directorial debut of the late Christopher Reeve. He chatted with Boston.com readers on Thursday, Sept. 18.

Nick Paleologos: Nice to be here.

jartram: what upcoming movies can we look to possibly be filmed here?

Nick Paleologos: The latest picture filming is EDGE OF DARKNESS with Mel Gibson.

brbr2: What's the deal with the stoneham studio, any chance of that happening?

Nick Paleologos: Your guess is as good as mine. I hope one of these projects happens!!!

Interested: Hi Nick, how do you think the Plymouth Rock Studios project will affect the movie industry in Mass.?

Nick Paleologos: It will be a huge boost to the local industry.

chairhead: is it worth-while to show up at a filming site to see if they need any last-minute extras?

Nick Paleologos: I would always go through the local casting agencies (listed in our online production guide at mafilm.org).

standin: With other states upping the ante with regards to film tax credits, should we be worried about losing some productions? Should we work to make mass. even more attractive to studios?

Nick Paleologos: Michigan just jumped to 42%. But when everything is factored in (diversity of locations, crew base, etc), we are still among the most attractive states in the country.

cci43: How do I get my house to be considered for a movie? I know of a cousin's neighbor who's home was in gone, baby, gone. Do producers just look for houses they like or do homeowners solicit producers?

Nick Paleologos: Send us some pictures!!

jartram: Anything else besides the gibson movie?

Nick Paleologos: Lots of planes circling the runway. But nobody's come in for a landing yet. Studios are waiting for the SAG issues to resolve themselves.

jjn45: I see you've been a producer ... is there any kind of career track that can lead to becoming a producer? Where do you start?

Nick Paleologos: I wish there were. You find a project you like, raise the money, and you're off to the races!

arturo: Who hires graphic artists skilled in the use of computer-generated special effects? For example, Adobe After Effects Pro.

Nick Paleologos: We have some really good special effects companies in Mass. Like Brickyard, and Synthespians.

chairhead: what are the current SAG issues?

Nick Paleologos: Actors want more money. Studios don't want to give it to them!

spof4: what's the biggest reason for all the filming in boston lately ... the tax credit, more movies ABOUT boston being made, etc. ?

Nick Paleologos: Tax credit. Hands down. Boston is a great place to shoot, but the tax credit was the deal closer.

jartram: Whats the hardest sell about Mass. to the film industry?

Nick Paleologos: The weather.

spof4: what's your favorite mass-filmed movie?

Nick Paleologos: The Verdict

loohk_skie: whats the best way to break into the industry

Nick Paleologos: If you are interested in working as part of a movie crew, you might want to contact Tim Van Patten at Central Booking Service (781-364-1880). He’s a very valuable resource with a detailed knowledge of what’s going on production-wise in Massachusetts.

Nick Paleologos: If location scouting is something that might interest you, Jeff MacLean at NE Locations (nelocations@comcast.net) would be a good place to start. In addition to our website (www.mafilm.org)---which is aimed primarily at filmmakers---other online resources you may find useful include beanywood.com and imaginenews.com. I hope some of this info is helpful to you. Good luck!

furz: Can you talk a little about how movie crews staff their films? Do they tend to bring in a crew with them or hire local teams? Does it depend on the speciality (lighting, cameramen, etc?)

Nick Paleologos: They want to hire as many local people as possible. Saves money. So we provide an online production guide to them as a resource. And we list people in it free of charge. Also, the crew lists from previous pix is often used as a starting point for the next films on the ground.

shooting: Are tax credits available for independent films? Like, low-budget?

Nick Paleologos: YES! The minimum spend required is $50,000.

arturo: Are there any good film-making schools or courses available to learn how to make films?

Nick Paleologos: BU, Emerson, Fitchburg State, Curry, and many others!

wundah: Hi Mr. Paleologos, any words of advice for aspiring screenwriters? To whom should we pitch a screenplay/treatment?

Nick Paleologos: Keep writing. Good material is hard to find. Check out the producers listed in our online production guide. That's a great place to start.

mars: Hi, Are there jobs for assistants? I'd love to get involved in the creative field, not on camera. How do I find out what jobs are available for an MEd in Counseling with a creative streak?

Nick Paleologos: If you are interested in working as a production assistant on a movie crew, you might want to contact Tim Van Patten at Central Booking Service (781-364-1880). He’s a very valuable resource with a detailed knowledge of what’s going on production-wise in Massachusetts.

derby: how will the mass film office balance the new Hwood influx with the existing independent film community in the commonwealth?

Nick Paleologos: The independent films will be our future. Growing the industry locally will be helped dramatically by more business from LaLa Land.

junamoon: Hi-My daughter is currently in LA doing a Fall Internship Program through BU. She is at Panavision and aspires to be a DP..tough for women. She intends to stay out there and make a go of it. Can the Massachusetts Film Industry lure her back here!

Nick Paleologos: If things keep going the way they've been going, they'll be work for her here. Tell her WE WANT HER BAK HOME!

Steve: I see a production company snoping around MIT. I've heard Nicolas Cage's named mentioned. Any idea whats up?

Nick Paleologos: They're definitely snooping. But no commitment as yet.

Tim_at_CB: best to email Tim first with a resume..tim@centralbookingservice.com

Nick Paleologos: Sorry Tim!!!!

kff-cp: I have extensive camera experience in tv, but would like to break into movies. How do I do it?

Nick Paleologos: I would start as a PA in the Camera Dept on a picture, and work my way up. Again, Tim Van Patten is a great resource.

HM: What is your primary role, and the role of the Ma Film Office?

Nick Paleologos: Get filmmakers to spend their production budgets in Massachusetts, and then help them once they get here.

lstreet: whats the deal with the southie sound stage? And how important would it be to have?

Nick Paleologos: Its very real. The proposal for 2 soundstages is presently wending its way through the BRA.

HM: And are you a state or private enterprise?

Nick Paleologos: We are a 501c-3 that receives a state grant.

Strolzy: Can Massachusetts support the two proposed studios?

Nick Paleologos: Los Angeles County alone has over 400 sound stages. I think we could support at least 10. Maybe more.

lstreet: what would the sound stage mean for jobs here?

Nick Paleologos: It would mean that we could get longer term projects (TV series, mini-series, etc). Also, it solves the weather problem--allowing producers to comfortably shoot all year round. In short, more projects, more jobs.

derby: it seems the job question is being dangled in front of anyone and everyone in the state, but what about specific outreach to the film/media community FIRST? is there any kind of database or directory to consult to give film jobs to actual filmmakers who were committed to MA before the tax credit passed?

Nick Paleologos: We have an online production guide (at mafilm.org) that is aimed at prospective filmmakers. And we invite anybody and everybody in the local film community to list themselves there free-of-charge. Most producers are eager to hire locally because it saves them money on air-fares, hotels & per-diems.

HM: What is the general consensus in Hollywood, or the industry, regarding MA as a location to make a movie?

Nick Paleologos: Outside of LA (and maybe NY), we are now in the top 3---depending on who you ask.

ahab: What is the current timetable for the Plymouth studio to be up and operational?

Nick Paleologos: They say they can open by late 2010 in a best case scenario. So, probably 2011 is a better guess.

Jarhead: Hi ,so what kind of job are actually available?

Nick Paleologos: All departments on a picture from set carpenters, painters, electricians, to hair & makeup, to craft services, to transportation. It really runs the gamut. Oh, and don't forget actors, directors, and producers!

ey: How can a first time screen writer find an agent at least willing to read their script?

Nick Paleologos: I think you just have to keep sending them out. Frankly, you're more likely to get a producer to read it.

HM: Is there still development talk about the S Weymouth Air Station?

Nick Paleologos: I haven't heard much lately. They had publicly stated that their project was wholly dependent on a new proposed infrastructure tax credit--which did not pass. So, I'm not sure where it stands right now.

roger: Do people who do construction on movie sets specialize in it, or can a general contractor become involved? And if so, how?

Nick Paleologos: Many do. But, for example, many carpentersand painters have transitioned into the business during the housing slowdown. Their entree is through IATSE Local 481 --- 781-376-0074.

shell08: Everyone says you need to move to Hollywood to make it. What opportunities are available to people in Boston?

Nick Paleologos: Hollywood will always be number one for filmmaking. We're just trying to be number 2. Like Avis. Every day there are more and more opportunities to make it right here. So stick around!

Jarhead: What would be the best media source to find jobs in the industry

Nick Paleologos: In addition to our website (www.mafilm.org)---which is aimed primarily at filmmakers---other online resources you may find useful include beanywood.com and imaginenews.com.

Movie_buff: HI Nick..Where can I find out about when and where films are being shot in the Boston area?

Nick Paleologos: Check out mafilm.org and click on MADE IN MASS. Then CURRENT PRODUCTIONS.

shell08: How did you make the transition from Mass Rep to producer? I'm trying to transition/change my career but not sure what the first step is.

Nick Paleologos: I started producing plays in Boston while I was a Rep.

Nick Paleologos: Ahhh, to be single again! I'm not sure my story is particularly instructive. But I'm happy to chat about yours. Just give me a buzz.

Movie_buff: whats up forupcoming filming done in Mass.? There's a company in Canton that has a sound stage. How's business?

Nick Paleologos: HIGH OUTPUT is the Canton company. They're great! Lots of stuff on the horizon, but nothing to officially announce as yet. Keep checking our website mafilm.org.

bostonvideo: What would you tell a high school student who is looking to join the film & video industry here in MA?

Nick Paleologos: Do a summer internship with some production related company.

fox2: Can someone who majored in French find work in movies?

Nick Paleologos: Bien Sur!

Boston_com_Moderator: Chatters, that's all the time we have. Thanks for all the questions and thanks to Mr. Paleologos for taking the time.

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