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Preproduction

Casting: East Coast vs. West

There’s been an enduring East Coast versus West Coast rivalry going on in production as far as casting is concerned –– and both sides have something to brag about. After 20 years of filming and giving legions of actors their first job in New York, “Law & Order” series Creator/Executive Producer Dick Wolf decided to bring a new version of the franchise to the distinctive West Coast with “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (also known as “LOLA”). And while the original series featured wonderful New York characters, the L.A. show can boast casting characters that are equally as colorful.

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Eastbound and Up

OnLocation_Canada_Quebec_04mtl-nuitEastern Canada isn’t the center of the universe, yet its production hub seems to provide everything universally necessary to re-create almost any location in the world. Toronto is currently doubling for various international sites for the CW action-thriller series “Nikita,” while the city’s less glamorous locations were used as a nondescript Eastern American city for the new MTV series “Skins.” And Montreal was chosen for On the Road, the upcoming film version of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel based on his road trips across America, while Halifax, Nova Scotia has become the familiar small town outside of Boston where Actor Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone mystery movies take place.

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The South Central Region

OnLoc_Alabama1338641America’s South Central Region is making a triumphant comeback to the production stage. The states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi all offer relatively competitive incentive packages to lure productions from across the spectrum –– and they’ve been able to do so while simultaneously deepening their crew base, with Louisiana’s most notably expanding by nearly 400 percent since 2002. And Alabama is turning heads by reestablishing its name with a brand new and robust incentive package, while Mississippi, with its diverse landscape and growing production capacity, is growing domestic talent and bringing in big-name productions like HBO’s “True Blood.”

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UNIVERSAL STUDIOS OPENS UNIVERSAL VIRTUAL STAGE 1 (USV1)

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS OPENS UNIVERSAL VIRTUAL STAGE 1 (USV1)

Universal Studios announced its opening of the Universal Virtual Stage 1 (UVS1). Sound Stage 36 has been converted into a pre-rigged, pre-calibrated virtual production studio with a green screen stage that includes motion capture and real-time camera tracking for on-set visualization capabilities. The facility also offers two editing bays, a 60 terabyte server room and production office space attached to the stage. 

The project transformed the 6,800 square foot Sound Stage into a self-contained facility with a 40 foot x 80 foot green screen cyc, a suite of editing bays and production office space with a conference room. The stage is a versatile addition to the Studios’ production and postproduction services for both internal and third-party productions. It comes as a package deal or "Ala Carte," says Jeanne Cordova, VP of Marketing, Publicity/Special Events.

 

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Payroll, Insurance and Finance

Most film and TV productions need insurance, finance and payroll. A standard entity in Hollywood for decades, payroll companies like Cast & Crew and Media Services take responsibility of all the onerous accounting tasks that no producer wants to be burdened with, from workers comp and residuals to taxes. Insurance companies are equally as important, as producing a movie or TV show without insurance is simply not an option. And for all the independent film projects that require funding, there are companies that offer financing and introductions to investors. Whether in California, South Carolina, China or Bulgaria, these companies take care of all sorts of insurance complexities for small indie films and studio blockbusters alike.

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