State film office hosting workforce training seminar
by Martha Sparks
CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Film Office will host a two-day, hands-on workforce training seminar June 22-23 in Huntington. Skills training will be provided by the Los Angeles-based company Production Assistant Training Seminar (PATS) which will offer skills training for entry level production assistants in the film industry.
Pam Haynes, director of the West Virginia Film Office, says the seminar is a key component for building the state’s film industry workforce.
“Participants in the workshop will gain a thorough, hands-on orientation and understanding of proper set etiquette and procedures, production paperwork, script breakdown, scheduling, walkie-talkie protocol, film set ‘speak’, and job search and resume-building skills.” Haynes said, “The added impact for our state is, when a region has a skilled labor pool with a strong understanding of the unique needs of the film industry, it becomes a built-in financial incentive for in-state production and particularly for outside production companies because it reduces the burden of having to hire specialized workers from out-of-state.”
Lisa Wells, industry relations coordinator for the film office, said “Our goal here is to identify the best avenues to assist West Virginia residents who want to get started in the film industry, or who are currently working in the film industry and want to learn a new skillset, to have access to outstanding training opportunities that will increase their chances to be hired when production companies film in the state.”
The West Virginia Film Office encourages a wide range of people to attend, from those already working in the industry who want to brush up their skills to those with zero experience who desire to break into the industry. While the workshop is open to the general public, current West Virginia residents who complete the training will be eligible to become listed in the film office’s online Crew and Vendor Directory.
“Normally, to become listed, a worker must have one professional credit for a certain skillset,” Wells said. “We hope that anyone who has yet to be hired on a production, but has a strong desire to work in the film industry, will take advantage of this program.”
Haynes is delighted that the Huntington Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the Greater Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau and Trifecta Productions have stepped up as co-sponsors of the workshop.
“It is clear that a special synergy relating to the film industry is currently taking place in Huntington,” Haynes said. “Mayor Steve Williams is spearheading a targeted effort to make Huntington a film friendly location to conduct business. These two companies have joined forces with the Mayor’s Office to act on these efforts by actively recruiting the industry to the city.”
Production Assistant Training Seminar is considered one of the top traveling training programs in the nation for teaching production assistant skillsets. The lead instructor for the workshop is Gary Fiorelli, who has worked on numerous feature films, including “In the Line of Fire,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Major League 2,” “A Few Good Men,” and “The Firm.” Fiorelli is also a member of the Directors Guild of America and has worked as an Assistant Director on such films as “The Pirates of the Caribbean” (1 and 2), “Runaway Jury,” “Blades of Glory,” and “Body of Lies.” In his role as first assistant director, Fiorelli recently completed the first season of the Starz original TV series “Magic City.”
The PATS workshop will begin each day at 10 a.m. and wrap at 5 p.m. at Trifecta Productions, 555 Fifth Avenue. The building is also home to WOWK-TV. Lunch will be provided both days, courtesy of the Mayor’s Office and the Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Advance registration is highly recommended due to limited seating in order to maximize attention to each participant. If you are not a current member of the film office’s online Crew and Vendor Directory, register by June 7 and pay only $35. After June 7 or at the door, the cost will be $45. Current members of the film office’s online Crew and Vendor Directory pay only $25. High school senior and current college students can take advantage of the workshop for $15.
Registration is open now. Don’t delay. To get your spot in the workshop, send an e-mail to Lisa Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions, or for additional workshop questions, call 304-957-9366.
The West Virginia Film Office is a section of the West Virginia Division of Tourism, under the West Virginia Department of Commerce. Visit the film office at www.wvfilm.com.
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