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Thursday, 11 August 2011 15:45

P3 Update Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

Written by  Frank & Margie Barron
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mar-98coverThere’s a sense of pride that comes with longevity, thus we celebrate an important milestone: the 25th anniversary of P3 Update’s service to the production community. It all began with a great idea 25 years ago, as James Thompson set out to create a publication to fill the needs of the entertainment industry that was underserved.

The 25th anniversary of P3 Update began with an idea that was sparked in 1986 after a discussion by an advisory committee to the Mayor of Los Angeles that conveyed a need to inform the movie industry about on-location production. As a member of the committee, Thompson saw an opportunity to create a journal as a means to getting important messages out to the Hollywood community. He started publishing Location Manager Update, a unique newsletter that focused on filming on location in L.A. “At that time, there was nothing that reported about filming on the streets of L.A.,” says Publisher Jim Thompson. This new publication kept location professionals informed about their dynamic industry and highlighted the impressive locations available for productions.

 It wasn’t long before the secret was out and the publication started to stretch beyond California. “After the magazine launched, film commissions started sprouting up to advertise, because they wanted to promote their regions to Hollywood,” says Thompson. “When more productions began to go on location, I saw an opportunity to reach outside of L.A.”

jamescameronAs the world became increasingly savvy about new technological changes, a newer version of the magazine was developed to feature the latest trends in international locations, equipment and technology. “Producers wanted to know more about the production and postproduction side, and, after reading some of our stories, they would come up to me and say, ‘I had no idea these cameras could do this or that. We should see about using them on our set,’” says Thompson. “Our readers wanted to know more about technology and equipment in easy-to-understand terminology, so in 2001, we changed our name to Production Update.”

Bob Fisher, a journalist and honorary member of the ASC, reminisces on his introduction to writing for the publication that has led to the celebration of P3’s 25th anniversary. “I remember getting a letter from Jim Thompson asking me if I was interested in writing articles about cinematographers, which provide insight for enhancing the collaborative process with production and location managers and other people who work behind the scenes,” recalls Fisher. “That opened the door to a new world for me. I have lost track of the number of articles I have written about cinematographers working on films in literally every corner of the world. Thank you, Jim, Sally and everyone on your team. I look forward to reading every issue of P3 Update from cover to cover.”

bruckheimerThompson explains how the expansion served the production community better. “Once we started incorporating all the technology, the book became more resourceful,” recalls Thompson. “It was valuable information that got the producers, directors and studio executives understanding the tech side of the business a little better and helped to create a good dialogue with cinematographers. When some ASC cinematographers indicated that they were interested in seeing more on the shift to digital, we listened,” Thompson adds. “So I believe we helped them adapt to the changes while they played a big role in helping us make it to our 25th anniversary as an industry staple. 

P3 celebrates its 25th anniversary with a dedicated and professional staff, including a fine editorial team and Creative Director Lan Hoang Vu, all guided by Editor Sally Kemper who has been instrumental in P3’s growth. “As more and more global incentives were introduced, production equipment became smaller and portable and technological advances continued to rapidly progress, I realized how Jim Thompson’s idea was coming together more than ever and the name P3 Update was never defined better,” says Kemper.

Kemper attributes recent developments to reader feedback and the digital migration. “I think it’s key to listen to your audience while considering the state of the economy and the industry before making any modifications,” she explains. “This information helped me tremendously when refining the layout geared for seasoned preproduction, production and postproduction professionals. It also led to the expansion of the P3 community with an improved digital edition, a rejuvenated website, social networking connections and other digital platforms conducive to a new generation of filmmakers.

filmcommisionersHighlights from P3’s 25 years of production include its evolution from a newsletter format to a four-color magazine and going from six issues a year to monthly. Over the years, support from readers, sponsors and advertising partners have brought P3 to where it is today, and their comments reflect the dynamic legacy of what has led to the publication’s 25th anniversary.

Executive Producer Ronald G. Smith (The Invasion) sees the publication as an important resource. “P3 always has interesting information about different locations and technology being offered around the U.S. and important countries that encourage filming outside the U.S. that I’m interested in,” he says. “I also enjoy reading about the updates on incentives now being offered that have become essential when we take a production on location. Congrats on your 25 great years.”

“I’ve been reading P3 for years and look forward to getting my copy each month, and now I’m reading each issue from cover to cover on my iPad,” says Jerry Ketcham, senior VP of feature production at Disney. “Congratulations on 25 years of providing the industry with this essential information.” And Blue Field Productions Director Jim O'Keeffe says, “I have been a faithful subscriber from the beginning and have always found the information on trends and techniques in the industry helpful and insightful. Congratulations to you, Jim, and to all your staff on this achievement.” 

p3anniversary__new-image1_sfwP3 Update is my go-to source for innovation and new technology,” says Shane Hurlbut, ASC (Terminator Salvation). “I love their content and unique perspective on this ever-changing film industry. Congratulations, P3, on your 25-year anniversary! I can’t wait for the next 25.” Legendary Cinematographer and Oscar-winning Steadicam Inventor Garrett Brown also has kind words: “Congratulations on your anniversary from a fan!”

“Everyone at Production Consultants & Equipment [PC&E] enjoys reading P3,” says PC&E Business & Marketing Associate Loren Swinton. “It is filled with information for people in the industry.  Whether you work at an equipment rental house or on the set, it keeps you in the know on all events and trade shows and highlights different areas of the world and their stories.” Swinton also uses it to help with marketing initiatives. “Since we are focused on the equipment aspect, we can see who is carrying which products and any information on brand new gear,” she adds. “It wouldn’t be included in the handful of magazines that we advertise in, if we didn’t believe in it. All in all, it is extremely informative.”

p3anniversary_new-image44_sfwLocation Manager Ilt Jones, currently working on The Dark Knight Rises, appreciates the magazine’s importance to the industry. “Congrats to P3 on 25 years of admirable service to the location community,” he states. “P3 has consistently published a wide variety of interesting stories about an often overlooked but nonetheless crucial component of the entertainment industry. Many thanks to Jim Thompson for being an enthusiastic documentarian of all things location related for as long as I can remember. Happy Birthday, P3!” International Location Manager Bill Bowling (Speed Racer) has similar sentiments: “For 25 years, through waves of production, technology, locations, incentives and worldwide expansion, P3 has been a valuable resource in this changing industry. Congratulations, Jim, on a great achievement!”

Veteran Location Manager Ron Carr has high praise for the magazine. “Congratulations to Jim Thompson and staff for 25 years of riveting, informative, current technological trends and updates,” he says. “P3 has great articles from around the world on unique locations, infrastructure and photos of film-friendly countries and states that have helped me through the years to suggest scouting options. Keep up the great work.”

Locations Guild Managers of America (LMGA) President Lori Balton, a longtime reader of P3, is pleased with the magazine’s growth over the years. “Congratulations on 25 years of educating the production community! I have been reading Location Update, now P3 Update, since 1989 and greatly appreciate your advocacy of location professionals,” she says. “The LMGA is proud to have the support of established leaders in the industry, like P3. We look forward to years of continued collaboration!” The Teamsters Local 399 have been big fans for quite a while too. “P3 Update has always reported with integrity and consistent information and knowledge from around the globe that we all appreciate,” says Business Agent Ed Duffy.

p3anniversary_new-image3_sfwFrom the beginning, Film Commissioner Chuck Elderd of the Palm Beach County Film & Television Commission has been a fan of the magazine. “It’s very special that P3 has reached this milestone but more important is the service it has provided the industry,” says Elderd.  “Before P3, there was no voice for the industry in a trade journal about locations and for our partners in production about what is really going on in our sector of the industry. P3 has filled that role magnificently for 25 years. It’s a journal that stood up and made a difference, and I think its voice is going to become even more important… carry on.”

Montana Film Office Manager Sten Iversen is also complimentary of the publication. “The Montana Film Office is proud to have been a P3 partner for 25 years,” he says. “They have such a great team, and we are looking forward to our partnership in the future.” And Nevada Film Office Director Charles Geocaris says, “P3 has always been a must-read by the Nevada Film Office. Every facet of production is covered and the articles are well written and researched. We’ve been a supporter of the publication for many years, and we value our friendship with [their] excellent team of professionals. Congratulations, P3, on your first 25, and we look forward to celebrating 50.” Geocaris’s celebratory message was affirmed by Ed Harran, Brian O’Hare, Danette Tull and Veronica Quarles from the Nevada Film Office.

p3anniversary_sfwPat Rasberry, head of the Tupelo Film Commission, reflects on the magazine’s 25-year history. “P3 Update has been very helpful in promoting and supporting the film industry in all facets,” she says. “The Tupelo Film Commission has been a part of this publication for several years and congratulates them on the 25th anniversary of their publication. It has always been a pleasure to work with Sally and the team at P3 Update. Even in our time of changes and economic challenges, their service and dedication remains faithful to the industry. The Tupelo Film Commission wishes P3 Update the best in all they do as they continue to recognize film and the role their publication plays in helping to get the stories and information out there to those in the industry.”

Utah Film Commission Director Marshall Moore is happy to offer the magazine his well wishes. “Congratulations Jim and P3 Update for 25 years of excellence! I remember reading the first issue of Location Manager Update in 1986, and I have been an avid reader and a fan of the magazine ever since,” he says. “Today I still keep that first-edition copy on my desk at work to remind me how small and simple things can turn into great things if we just stick with it.” Art Umezu of the Kauai Film Commission also offers congratulations to the magazine for reaching the “big 25.”

Steve Bornn, development manager of the U.S. Virgin Islands Film Office, has been a fan of the publication since its inception. “It’s been 25 years since the debut of a magazine called Location Update, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are really pleased to have been there at the beginning and [to now see] its transformation into P3 Update Magazine,” he says. “I don’t think the U.S. Virgin Islands would have gone as far as they did without the magazine and the market to which it speaks. It grew from the location viewpoint to the preproduction, production and postproduction elements as the industry changed. It is very important to be part of the publication.”

P3’s VP Diane Lesko Thompson, another founding force behind the publication, recently arranged an intimate gathering to celebrate P3’s 25th anniversary at the D’Cachè Restaurant, Tapas Lounge and Bar in Toluca Lake, Calif. D’Cachè Owner Patty Gamba deserves high praise for her restaurant’s delicious modern Latin-fusion cuisine, comfortable setting and Old World charm. The evening included live-music entertainment as guests sipped sangria and recalled highlights from the magazine’s 25-year history. It was a great place to enjoy memories while also looking to a promising future. 

Writers Frank and Margie Barron have been with P3 from the beginning and continue to support the publication as contributing editors on an ongoing basis. Frank is an erstwhile editor of the Hollywood Reporter and his wife Margie is a feature writer for various Hollywood and travel publications. 

Kemper has edited P3 for more than six years and sees a bright future for the publication. “We recognize that the industry and how its information is delivered are constantly changing, and our team is dedicated to fulfilling these needs efficiently and effectively,” she says. “We’re appreciative of where we’ve been and very excited about where we’re going with the next phase of communication.”

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