Posted Online: March 04, 2012, 9:16 pm
Black Hawk to offer two-day film training class
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By Jonathan Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to work in the movie business, get a grip. You can get training to become a grip or another behind-the-scenes worker with a new two-day program starting this month at Black Hawk College.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Brooks Canaday|
Doug Miller, left, production executive at Great River Studios, and Steve Faust of Des Moines-based Light-Wise Productions pose in Rock Island on Thursday, June 23, 2011.
The college is partnering with Rock Island-based Great River Studios, Light-Wise Productions, Midwest Producers Services Ltd., and IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States) to present Motion Picture and Theatre Grip Training.
The March 17-18 training will prepare students to work in entry-level crew positions in feature-film production. The registration deadline is Friday, March 9.
Doug Miller, co-founder of Great River Studios, is working to bring shooting of one to two feature films a year to the Quad-Cities area. "The Pizza Man" -- a low-budget horror film by Mel Brooks' Brooksfilms -- will go into pre-production in late spring, and shooting will start in early summer.
"We need a good crew base. We want to fill the needs of productions coming into the area," Mr. Miller said. Brooksfilms plans to hire 100 people to work on "The Pizza Man." In order to acquire tax incentives from the state of Illinois, "they need to hire more Illinois Quad-Cities workers," Mr. Miller said.
Training local residents in film production will help attract productions here, as will success of "The Pizza Man," Mr. Miller said. "They ask what the crew base looks like. It's getting across to the public that these jobs pay well -- they're short-term, like a construction job, but you can make $150 to $200 a day."
For the Black Hawk class, students will learn from seasoned instructors in motion-picture and theater grip training. The teaching trio has a combined 100 years of experience in the industry, with many national and international movie and television credits.
A grip is responsible for setting up and using equipment that supports the lights, cameras, dolly tracks, cranes and scenery used on film sets. In the class, you will learn to prepare film equipment for operation, load and unload trucks, set up camera cranes, and rig lights for lifts. Instruction in on-set rigging, the basics of knots, set etiquette and awareness, and finding work will be offered.
Required attributes for a grip are careful attention to safety, ability to take directions, ability to problem-solve quickly, and the ability to bend and lift.
"If they get hired, they're not going to instantly become a grip, but work with grips," Mr. Miller said of area students. "It's learning by doing."
"The Pizza Man" writer/director Steve Haberman is a longtime collaborator of Mr. Brooks, having written two movies with him: "Life Stinks" (1991) and "Dracula -- Dead and Loving It" (1995). He also co-wrote the 1999 feature "Screw Loose," which starred Mr. Brooks. Denny Hitchcock of Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse will be in charge of casting the new movie, as he has with other films shot in the area.
"You couldn't do better than having a production connected to somebody like Mr. Brooks," Mr. Miller said of the comedy legend, whose production credits include "The Elephant Man."
This will be the first in a series of film-production training classes at BHC, covering different topics and jobs, Mr. Miller said.
The first class will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, at the college's Quad-Cities Campus, 6600 34th Ave., Moline. For a complete course description, visit bhc.edu/motionpicture.
Cost is $175 for residents of the Black Hawk College District. Call for out-of-district rates. The Workforce Development Board of Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties, through the Dare to Dream Foundation of the Quad Cities, is offering $100 scholarships that will be awarded to the first 10 qualifying students.
For more information or to register, call Black Hawk College at (309) 796-8223.