Thursday, June 12, 2008

Training workshop 1 a success; No. 2 about to be announced

Very shortly, Linn Sitler, Commissioner of The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission is going to announce the next film crew training workshop. Here's her wrapup of the one held last weekend:

The Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission's first technical training workshop last weekend was a huge success! We've received an overwhelmingly positive response from the 40 graduates of "Memphis Movie U: How to Be a Set Production Assistant." Written responses from our first graduating class include such descriptions as : "inspiring"..."fantastic educational experience"..."a magnificent endeavor." We're even getting thank-you letters from parents.

This brand-new city/county-funded training workshop series is patterned after several of the most progressive workforce development crew training programs in the U.S. and Canada. What's different about this publicly-funded training program? First, applicants must compete for a place in the workshop; secondly, it's free to the successful applicant -- no fees! And, as it's funded by local taxpayer dollars, only legal residents of Memphis or Shelby County can be accepted.

Also, the make-up of our first workshop's student body was truly representative of Memphis & Shelby County --- a diverse group of women and men of all ages from throughout Memphis, Bartlett, Germantown, Lakeland, Cordova, Collierville, and Arlington. Some had production experience and/or training; others had none. Educational levels ranged from a G.E.D. diploma to an M.A. from Harvard--all in the same class of 40. Finally, workshop graduates will have priority consideration for real production jobs --- from those employers who wish to take advantage of incentives offered by the City/County/Commission to hire them!

Like our first workshop's teacher, film and t.v. producer James Spies ("The Contender"..."Commander-in-Chief"), the instructor of future workshops will always be a nationally-known industry veteran. Besides spending time with Spies over the two days during the 10 hours of intense instruction, students were also thrilled by a surprise lunchtime visit from Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer. Long-time local crew members Ty Coke (Gaffer: I.A.-Studio Mechanics) and Talent Agent Lisa Lax also spent time answering students' questions about their respective fields.

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