Thursday, September 25, 2008

Transformers Update

From ACE Showbiz:

On-the-Set Videos of 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'

On Tuesday, September 23, Entertainment Tonight and The Insider have aired an exclusive look at "" and now the on-the-set videos have come out. Presenting fans with many of the sequel's behind the scene footages while the cast and crew are filming at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the video let out some of the actions as well as the explosions on the set.

The videos which have been combined in one YouTube player below also display the interviews with several of the main cast, , , and , as well as with the director of this action fantasy film himself, Michael Bay. In the footage, it can be seen that LaBeouf gives out his comment about this forthcoming film to ET's Mark Steines saying, "I would say this is the craziest action I've ever been a part of. Just pound-to-pound footage of the stuff we've seen back - the content is massive!"

From the man who brought "Armageddon" and "Bad Boys" franchise comes a second "" movie. Set for June 26, 2009 release, it also features the likes of John Turturro, Isabel Lucas, Matthew Marsden and Rainn Wilson. Undergoing its production since early June, the action fantasy film written by Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci centers the story on the battle between Autobots and their new strong enemy, the Fallen...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clooney and McGregor to shoot in New Mexico

Book cover of Book cover via Amazon
From Dan Mayfield in the Albuquerque Journal:

'Goats' To Bring Clooney, McGregor to New Mexico
By Dan Mayfield
Journal Staff Writer

Two of Hollywood's biggest stars are coming to New Mexico to shoot a major film.
George Clooney and Ewan McGregor will star in the big-screen adaptation of the book "Men Who Stare at Goats," the film's publicist, Rob Harris, confirmed on Tuesday. The film is expected to start shooting in northern New Mexico in November.
The Hollywood Reporter has said Jeff Bridges and Oscar winner Kevin Spacey also have signed on to be part of the film.
The book "Men Who Stare at Goats" was written by British journalist Jon Ronson. It tells the story of the U.S. Army's attempts at psychological warfare techniques — like using brain waves to kill goats and Fleetwood Mac records to torture suspects.
Not many film details have been released, but critics have said the book is funny and many expect the movie to be a comedy...
More at 'Goats' To Bring Clooney, McGregor to New Mexico
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Mexico's Emmy Connection, Take II

Monica Winter Vigil rightly pointed out another Emmy connection I'd missed:

Jay Roach, director of the Austin Powers movies, is an Albuquerque native, and graduate of Eldorado High. He took honors the other night for his direction of "Recount"

Elsewhere Sunday, "Recount", a drama depicting the events following the 2000 election, won in the outstanding made for television movie category.

The film's director Jay Roach said he hoped this November's presidential poll would follow a different script.

"We don't want to go somewhere and do 'Recount 2: The Sequel'," Roach said.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Locals win Emmys!

Between other events and the "Legal Hawks" premiere last night, I missed out on that other show -- where two locals won Emmy's. Pretty incredible.

Of course, Bryan Cranston is only a part time New Mexican, but his support for the Duke City Shootout, humility in a bunch of interviews and knock-out performance in Breaking Bad are all good reasons to be proud he has a home in New Mexico.

From KRQE: NM-Based Breaking Bad Wins Emmy

LOS ANGELES (KRQE) - Sunday brought Emmy gold for the lead actor in the New Mexico-based television series "Breaking Bad."

Bryan Cranston won the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy for his portrayal of Walter White, a high-school chemistry teacher who turns to selling drugs to provide for his family.

The series on the cable channel AMC is set in New Mexico, and films around the state and at the Albuquerque Studios in Mesa del Sol.

The USA Network series "In Plain Sight," also set and filmed in New Mexico, was not eligible for this year's Emmy Awards because it was first broadcast on June 1, the day after the Emmys' May 31 cutoff date.

For more on Cranston and Breaking Bad, you might check out their blog here:

Even more pleasant news came when Santa Fe's Kirk Ellis was awarded an Emmy for writing the HBO miniseries, "John Adams." However, things got a little interesting -- Awards Daily has it from there...

...But while Don Rickles and Jimmy Kimmel got to ramble at length as if they were a pair of witty Poets Laureate, Kirk Ellis had barely stepped onstage before the Emmys gave him the hook:

The Emmy-winning writer for “John Adams” was ironically cut off by producers during his acceptance speech while talking about public oratory in Adams era, calling it “an amazing opportunity to talk about a period in our history when articulate men articulated complex thoughts in complete sentences.”

Ellis attempted to continue: “They used words –” but the mic faded out in the middle of his sentence as ABC abruptly cut to commercial. Backstage Ellis was quick to hit back:

“I love freedom of expression and as soon as I opened my mouth they were signaling to wrap it up,” Ellis says backstage. “I find it interesting we can do 30 minutes devoted to reality show hosts but none for the people who actually [write the shows].”

More at Awards Daily
...more also at BuzzSugar

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Italian production, Doc West, to be filmed in New Mexico

For Immediate Release Contact: New Mexico Film Office
September 22, 2008 (505) 476-5600

Governor Bill Richardson Announces Italian production, Doc West, to be filmed in New Mexico

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the De Angelis Group/HDNM Entertainment production, Doc West, will shoot in New Mexico.

The production, a movie-of-the-week for Italian television, will be shot in and around Santa Fe from October 9th through December 6th and is expected to hire approximately 90 local crew members and over 200 actors, including principal and background talent.

Doc West will star Terence Hill (Lucky Luke, My Name is Nobody, They Call Me Trinity) and Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas, Dick Tracy). Giulio Base will direct, and Anselmo Parrinello and local Santa Fean Luca Ceccarelli will produce.

The movie tells the tale of Doc West who arrives in Holysand to hustle the locals at cards but finds himself caught between two warring families. Because of Doc’s exceptional and entertaining abilities – gunslinging, prowess of wit, and secret past as a doctor – the Sheriff, an orphan boy and a beautiful, strong-minded school teacher want to keep him around, but that’s going to be tough.

This marks the 108th major film production since Governor Richardson took office, adding close to $1.9 billion dollars in economic impact.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

USA Today Locations Round-up

Not a huge presence, but it's nice to see more pieces highlighting the work of local actor, Luce Rains.

From Hooray for Locations Outside Hollywood

Character actors such as Luce Rains, who lives in New Mexico and works a lot in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, may be reaping the biggest benefit by making movies away from Hollywood. He lived in Los Angeles for 10 years, but ultimately chose New Mexico for a better quality of life — and more work.

"I've done everything from Westerns to urban cop movies," Rains says. He got a plum supporting role in 2007's 3:10 to Yuma. "New Mexico is good in that it has that much variety. It's a pretty clean place to work."

While living in New Mexico doesn't prevent him from crossing the border, he's very thankful he doesn't have to deal with Los Angeles' traffic on a regular basis...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Duvall to Ride into NM for TV Miniseries?

Lots pf buzz in Michigan over the new productions coming there way... one of them involving another western, this time with Robert Duvall...

Robert Duvall to film miniseries in West Michigan
by John Serba | The Grand Rapids Press
Wednesday September 17, 2008, 10:38 PM

Oscar-winning actor Robert Duvall will be directing and starring in a TV miniseries filming in West Michigan in 2009.

"We're negotiating a deal with two different broadcast networks right now," said Jerry Zandstra, vice president of the project's production company, American Saga Productions. "Duvall will definitely be filming here."

The series is "La Linea" (Spanish for "The Line"), in which Duvall plays a U.S. Department of Agriculture horseman policing diseased animals crossing the Mexican border.

He witnesses two human traffickers, dubbed "coyotes," commit a crime just over the border, and shoots them, causing a social and political uproar.

It's written by Alan Geoffrion, who also penned Emmy-winning miniseries "Broken Trail" starring Duvall. James Caan, Duvall's "The Godfather" co-star, and Wilford Brimley also are cast.

"The script really highlights all the mess and human tragedy that happens along the border," said Zandstra, of Caledonia, who is also a part-time pastor at Caledonia and Wayland Christian Reformed churches and is president of the Pro-Life Federation of Michigan.

Because of the setting, portions of the shoot will take place in New Mexico or Arizona, where pre-production will begin in October, and filming will tentatively begin in January, according to Zandstra. Interiors and some exteriors will be shot in West Michigan, most likely in March and April.

"Some of the story takes place in rural country Texas, not the desert, and we've already looked at locations in Coopersville and Lowell," Zandstra said. "Most of the shooting will happen in Kent County."

He added that American Saga has an $80 million annual budget, and plans to shoot more projects in West Michigan two in Lowell and two in Grand Rapids. Another in the works is based on Stephen Ambrose's book "Nothing Like it in the World: The Men who Built the Transcontinental Railroad."

In August, American Saga, which has 70 percent of its investors located in Michigan, shot Grand Rapids firefighters at the LaGrave Avenue firehouse for "Station House," a reality-TV pilot. The footage is currently being edited into a feature-length documentary to be premiered in local theaters this fall. A six-minute promotional sample of the pilot is currently being prepared to show to TV networks.

"That should be done by Friday, and shopped around next week," Zandstra said.

Utah Pushing Incentives as Well...

Utah film industry has $138M impact
Brock Vergakis - The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY -- The governor's office told state lawmakers Wednesday that Utah will need to offer more generous financial incentives to the film industry if they want to continue attracting the kind of productions to the state that had a $138 million economic impact last year. Utah offers filmmakers who spend $1 million in the state up to $500,000 in incentives, but the head of the state film commission said Utah is being beat out by other states that offer movie and television crews greater rebates and tax incentives.

" 'Footloose' currently is a project that is not in production or preproduction yet, but it is on the table," said Marshall Moore, director of the Utah Film Commission. "However, we're struggling to compete right now with Louisiana, and most recently Georgia, to commit that movie."

The Governor's Office of Economic Development is preparing a bill that will request additional financial incentives.

On Wednesday, economic development and film commission representatives sought to allay any fears lawmakers might have about what kind of return on investment the state gets for its incentives.

The governor's staff told lawmakers Wednesday that while filmmakers only spent $54 million in the state last year, the economic ripple of that spending was 2.5 times greater.

It was the first time an economic analysis has been done on Utah's film industry.

"This is a pretty significant multiplier," said Juliette Tennert, chief economist in the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget. "Multipliers (for other industries) usually range between 1 and 3, so a 2.5 for the film industry is relatively high and we think a good place to invest dollars in Utah."

Economic development officials told lawmakers the film industry created 1,100 new jobs last year , $25.7 million in personal income and $2.9 million in new tax revenues.

The state spent $3.9 million in film incentives last year, up from $1 million the year before.

Moore said Utah is an attractive place to do business for television and movie producers, but studio executives often force production to occur elsewhere. He said that's leading many Utah-based crew workers to seek jobs elsewhere.

Jason Perry, director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, wouldn't say what incentives his office would ask lawmakers for, but said they would help Utah capture its "rightful place in the motion picture industry."

Currently, Utah offers a 15 percent rebate on every dollar spent by film crews in the state. Like many other states, it also offers sales and hotel tax exemptions.

By comparison, Moore said Utah lost the television series "Army Wives" to South Carolina. That state offers up to a 20 percent cash rebate on in-state employee wages and a 30 percent cash rebate on in-state supplier expenditures.

New Mexico, another state Utah has lost productions to, offers a 25 percent rebate on all expenditures, up to $15 million in loans per project and up to a 50 percent reimbursement for wages paid to train local crew members.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Novint Falcon in WIRED

(images from

Great news for Novint, and good news for New Mexico's game and tech development communities:

The Novint Falcon's pistol grip adapter just got covered in WIRED. They've already gotten a bunch of coverage in the game and gadget community, most of it very positive (they've got links to much of this coverage --as you might expect -- at the Novint site).

Review: Novint Falcon Gaming Controller Takes Aim on Your Mouse

Behold, the Novint Falcon. This menacing orb has taken upon the lofty task of replacing the mouse as the PC gamer's preferred implement of destruction, letting you feel, lift, push and grope every bit of the action. It sits on your desk and provides force feedback — but not the vibrating-controller effect that console couch surfers are familiar with. Instead, powerful motors within the device provide a full range of responses, whether you're bouncing a ball on a string or reloading a shotgun. Because really, what good are advances in technology if we can't focus them on the obliteration of our gaming peers?

Novint_falcon_05_660x The first version of the Falcon we saw was a bit of a renaissance — well for games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 anyway. When gripping the original control interface (a small, multibuttoned round knob), controlling Tiger's swing becomes a matter of muscle coordination — for better or for worse. In our vain attempts at perfecting our line drives, we hit dozens of shots, each wildly different from the next, by simply adjusting the angle and force with which we moved the knob. Suddenly, following through on a swing becomes incredibly important, as the slightest adjustments to the pressure you apply can wildly alter the ball's flight.

But chances are, you're not checking out the Falcon for the fully immersive golfing experience: You want to light shit up with a high-caliber firearm. Well, Novint has got you covered. Using the Falcon's new Pistol Grip, titles like Half-Life 2 suddenly become an entirely different game.

Forget fragging as you know it. With the pistol grip coming dangerously close to flying out of your hands after a few quick bursts with a submachine gun, you may wonder how you got along without this level of feedback in the first place. Every weapon takes on new life, from the meager jostling of the standard pistol, to the forceful thunder of a rocket launcher's blast.


Half-Life 2 is just one of many games currently supporting the peripheral, and many more (including upcoming Left for Dead) are in the works. Supported games will have to be patched, to add on the haptic functionality. When we met with Novint CEO Tom Anderson, he mentioned that there would even be haptics-only servers on some games, so gamers could choose to only play against others who were dealing with this entirely new control scheme.

A glaring issue with the device is how well game developers choose to implement it. With Half-Life 2, there were a wide range of options for tailoring the experience to your liking. Battlefield 2 also featured many nice touches, with reload animations that were replicated by the device. With Quake 4 however, the whole notion of haptic feedback felt tacked on: You can adjust sliders to determine some of the sensitivity, and there's definitely a difference in recoil with weapons, but overall, it doesn't add much to the game...

WIRED Incredibly precise feedback. Very stable, with strong motors that resist lots of abuse. Makes playing Virtual Pool a lot more interesting.

TIRED Time-intensive learning curve might turn off folks used to their controls. Takes up quite a bit of desk space.

$190, Novint

More at Review: Novint Falcon Gaming Controller Takes Aim on Your Mouse
For more info about the business side of things, you might check out this Venture Beat article here.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NM Film Praised in Idaho

The story title seems a little ominous, but add Idaho to the list of other states using New Mexico's example to promote film industry growth in their own back yard.

New Mexico Film Industry Explodes

How the film industry fell for the Land of Enchantment

About 25 miles south of Santa Fe, residents of the dusty old mining town of Madrid (they say MAD-rid) woke up one day on the set of the Hollywood feature film Wild Hogs. John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, Ray Liotta, and the film’s crew became Madrid’s honorary, if temporary, citizens. If you added them all together—the well-heeled of Hollywood and the boot-heeled of the burgeoning artist enclave—the population swelled to more than 400, in an increasingly common scene in this southwestern state.

The film’s crew painted buildings, put in grass and white picket fences, and compensated just about any of the town’s 350 residents for the inconvenience and loss of business. Some Madrid residents also requested that their town’s name be used instead of the fictional one written into the script, and the director, Walt Becker, obliged. All in all, Madrid came out ahead.

“How many towns have $200 million worth of advertising spent on them?” says Honore Hackett. The Madrid resident and her husband own two Southwestern and American Indian jewelry stores in town. But they were more than smitten locals for Wild Hogs. They became vested partners, surrendering their empty lot so crews could build from the ground up Maggie’s Diner, the remote desert battleground where Woody (Travolta), Bobby (Lawrence), Doug (Allen), and Dudley (Macy), as middle-aged suburbanites turned “hardened” biker gang, defended their turf and Madrid against the Del Fuegos, a real bike gang led by Jack (Liotta).

Since Wild Hogs wrapped last year, the Hacketts have used Maggie’s Diner for storage, but the vestiges of Hollywood remain. Tourists have started streaming into town to take photos in front of the building. Director Adam Marcus is also in the area filming the Val Kilmer movie Conspiracy. And all this shooting centers on a single tiny town in New Mexico.

Meet the new face of Hollywood, what Hackett calls “Hollywood Southwest.” The state has stolen more than 80 feature films and television projects from mighty Tinseltown, adding more than $1.2 billion dollars over four years to the economy. That’s up from a meager $8 million just five years ago. The industry created 3,000 new in-state jobs. The crew base in the state shot up from 60 technicians in 2003 to more than 1,400 today. At the time of this article, there were about a half dozen feature films being shot in New Mexico and a couple had just wrapped. The alkali salt flats outside Lordsburg served as the setting for the nowhere-to-hide final confrontation between Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson in Seraphim Falls. The Gilman Tunnels, blasted through the Jemez Mountains in the 1920s for logging trains, “collapse” behind a fleeing Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in 3:10 to Yuma. The 1957 version of 3:10 was shot on the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank and in Tucson, Arizona; it’s a one-movie indicator of Hollywood’s decline and New Mexico’s rise. And then to Galisteo—a small town in the cradle of the Cerillos Hills and the Jemez Mountains and Sangre de Cristo Mountains—where Gulf War veteran Kilmer looks for the marine who saved his life in Conspiracy. “As directors realize the diversity in New Mexico,” says Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office, “they see it as a canvas to make their films come alive.”

Hollywood has always loved the beauty and culture of New Mexico in a nice-place-to-visit sort of way. Just a short flight from Los Angeles, actors like Kilmer, Julia Roberts, Gene Hackman, Jane Fonda, Alan Arkin, and Dennis Hopper have flocked to the state. Dozens more actors appreciate arts culture, the sabor of Spanish and American Indian cuisine, the warmth of the Southwestern sun, and the comforts of luxury spas in Santa Fe. “It is kind of an idyllic, quaint, and sophisticated place with great food and a big art community and spas and horseback riding,” says Strout. “This is the type of place that people fall in love with.”

But the latest Hollywood influx is not about pleasure. It’s about business. And much of it happened because of one man: Governor Bill Richardson.

Richardson came into office in 2003, telling New Mexicans that the state needed to attract new businesses and making the film industry a priority growth target for the state. Then he convinced the state government to roll out an incentive package for filmmakers. Today, as many as 32 states offer similar perks, but few are as established or as generous as New Mexico’s. They include a 50 percent reimbursement of wages for on-the-job training of state residents, a tax rebate of 25 percent on all direct costs and labor (or no sales tax on most production costs), and a film investment loan program that offers no-interest loans for up to $15 million...

More at: New Mexico Film Industry Explodes

Why Idaho? Here's the run-down on what they offer.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Mexico helping the next US Space Race

A Computer Generated photo of what the Earth w...Image via Wikipedia
Like some railroad that's looking pretty close to completion, "Spaceport America" is on of those initiatives that have been fairly controversial -- but still feels like it's doing a good job of positioning New Mexico as a place where the future is happening.

Articles like that in the current Space Review and promotion of the ISPCS continue to help...

Visionaries of Commercial Spaceflight

Like the airline industry of the 1930s, today’s personal and commercial spaceflight business is being driven by visionaries who recognize its tremendous value for serious advancements in science, research, earth monitoring, and the commerce of human space exploration.

Gone are the days when personal and commercial spaceflight was the stuff of science fiction. Today, we’ve entered a new and different space age. Many experts predict that the first suborbital space tourism flights will occur in this decade. In just a few decades, we’ve gone from science fiction to science fact.

Gone too are the days when space was the exclusive territory of the United States and the former Soviet Union. Instead, space has become the purview of many nations and many commercial enterprises, even as space priorities are now driven increasingly by financial considerations and less by government policy.

Since the 1990s there has been a growing recognition that the United States needs to redouble its efforts in space. Experts say the US should increase its capacity and access to space for multiple purposes, including point-to-point travel, cargo delivery, and research payloads. A July 2008 front page Washington Post article summed it up clearly, “U.S. Finds It’s Getting Crowded Out There: Dominance in Space Slips as Other Nations Step Up Efforts”.

But there are encouraging signs that the US and many other industry players have recognized that it’s time for a renewed effort in this final frontier. For example, New Mexico is emerging as a key hub for personal and commercial space travel. The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is a focal point for leading-edge developments in personal and commercial spaceflight.

New Mexico is also the home of Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, designed with the needs of the commercial space business in mind. And New Mexico’s importance as a center for personal commercial spaceflight is highlighted by its October 21-28 “Space Week” featuring the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) conference, the Leonard R. Sugerman Public Forum on the business of space, and the Global Spaceport Federation meeting...

The Washington Post article referenced provides some good analysis of international competition for leadership in the next wave of efforts in space:

US Finds it's Getting Crowded Out There

Space, like Earth below, is globalizing. And as it does, America's long-held superiority in exploring, exploiting and commercializing "the final frontier" is slipping away, many experts believe.

Although the United States remains dominant in most space-related fields -- and owns half the military satellites currently orbiting Earth -- experts say the nation's superiority is diminishing, and many other nations are expanding their civilian and commercial space capabilities at a far faster pace.

"We spent many tens of billions of dollars during the Apollo era to purchase a commanding lead in space over all nations on Earth," said NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin, who said his agency's budget is down by 20 percent in inflation-adjusted terms since 1992.

"We've been living off the fruit of that purchase for 40 years and have not . . . chosen to invest at a level that would preserve that commanding lead."

In a recent in-depth study of international space competitiveness, the technology consulting firm Futron of Bethesda found that the globalizing of space is unfolding more broadly and quickly than most Americans realize. "Systemic and competitive forces threaten U.S. space leadership," company president Joseph Fuller Jr. concluded.

Six separate nations and the European Space Agency are now capable of sending sophisticated satellites and spacecraft into orbit -- and more are on the way. New rockets, satellites and spacecraft are being planned to carry Chinese, Russian, European and Indian astronauts to the moon, to turn Israel into a center for launching minuscule "nanosatellites," and to allow Japan and the Europeans to explore the solar system and beyond with unmanned probes as sophisticated as NASA's...

These are just some reasons why the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) next month in Las Cruces (October 22-24) is good for New Mexico and the US in general.

The impact of more aerospace work here (at the very highest end) is also something likely to boost our position in digital media, as the modeling and simulation work associated with aerospace also dovetails with skills and work in animation and game development.

The ISPCS has an impressive line-up -- and associated events bring in a good crowd of innovative people and companies from around the world. It's worth checking out -- and another good reason for northerners to visit the southern part of the state.

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"Sexiest" Soap Star in NM

Cane AshbyImage via Wikipedia
Okay, it's kinda lite, but, it's kinda nice too...

From the Albuquerque Journal:

Sexiest Soap Star Stops By

Poor Ethan "Cane" Ashby. He's stuck in a bad marriage with Chloe, the woman he thought to be the mother of his child -- but might not be. Lily, the woman he loves, pines after him. And his mother, Jill, spurns him.

It's all a day in the life of actor Daniel Goddard as Cane on the TV soap opera "The Young and the Restless."

Well, his day job changed a bit last week.

Goddard was in Albuquerque both to scout locations for an unnamed indie film he's working on and to visit family. His wife is the niece of Gail and Nick Smerigan, the folks who brought Albuquerque Studios to town.

Goddard, though, is living the high life of a soap star.

He was recently named by TV Guide as the Sexiest Man in Daytime TV, and his relationship with true love Lily (Christel Khalil) on "Y&R" has earned the couple the Sexiest Couple award.

That's a big deal for a guy who came to American soap operas just 10 months ago.

But for the first time in several months, he had a chance to come to New Mexico and hang out...

From Soap Opera

The Young and The Restless’ Daniel Goddard Spotted In New Mexico!

It’s tough to keep under the radar when you’ve been branded soap’s sexiest star!

During a brief getaway, The Young and the Restless actor Daniel Goddard (Cane Ashby) was spotted in Albuquerque, New Mexico! No, it wasn’t for a show location shoot, so what was the star doing there?

Although Daniel admitted he was there to explore a possible location for a new Indie film he is working on, the trip was also family related, as Daniel’s wife, Rachel, has an aunt and uncle (Gail and Nick Smerigan) who live there - the owners of Albuquerque Studios. Aside from enjoying a fun family visit, Daniel commented about how nice it was to look in the sky and see nothing but clouds - compared to the lingering smog in L.A.!

Should we hear more about Daniel’s new Indie film, we’ll be sure to update you on that project. Until then, keep your eye out, as you never know when you’ll spot a soap star!

Particularly, of course, if you're, um, here in New Mexico...

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fifth Mafia Relocates from Michigan

Despite the advantage a few other states now have in production rebates and other incentives, New Mexico's total package of incentives, crews, good weather and great locations still seems to be pulling productions in. Hopefully Fifth Mafia will have a good shoot when they're here.

From the Project Mayhem blog in Michigan:
Filming plans for 'The Fifth Mafia' in Grand Rapids: Stick a fork in it

What was supposed to be the first noteworthy movie filmed in Grand Rapids won't be shot here at all. I just received a letter from the producers of "The Fifth Mafia" stating that delays in the filming schedule have forced the production to warmer climes.

An excerpt from the letter:

"The executives have decided to shoot our film in New Mexico. Vito (Giambalvo, director), myself and Kevin (Carraway, producer) all would rather have come to Grand Rapids.

Vito really liked it there and made some good friends and contacts there. He and Don also really liked your city, and gave us all good reports about all the great locations they saw, and people they met.

Unfortunately, we have run out of good weather in Michigan. We are planning to shoot in Nov-Dec., and since we need to simulate a Guatemalan scene, we cannot do it at this time of the year in MI.

We want to thank you for the welcoming hospitality and graciousness that you and your city extended to us both in person and in correspondence with you.

Vito has another feature, a comedy up next year and he wants to shoot it there. It can be shot rain, snow or shine and he definitely wants to come back to Grand Rapids.

Take care and best wishes,

The Producing Staff,
Norrita May
Kevin Carraway
Vito J. Giambalvo
Philip M. Olsen

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Boom Touts Albuquerque Filmmaking

From the NM Business Weekly:

New Film Guide Touts Albuquerque to Production Companies

The film industry is booming in New Mexico, so it seems appropriate that a new guide to Albuquerque specifically for the film industry launched should carry the name “Boom.”

The publication, released the week of Aug. 29, was created by Miscellaneous Publications and will be published quarterly, said Missy Penor, publisher with Miscellaneous.

Penor said the idea came out of a conversation she had with Ann Lerner, director of the Albuquerque Film Office. Lerner told her she used “The District,” a Miscellaneous publication focused on downtown Albuquerque, in her recruitment efforts in Los Angeles.

Penor decided the company needed to do a guide specifically oriented to the film industry as a whole. (The cover features an illustration of a boom microphone to reinforce the idea.) She asked Lerner, other economic development officials and film industry professionals what they’d like to see.

“It’s two-fold,” Penor said. “We’re using it as a guide for people out in L.A. towards people who are currently here servicing the film industry.”

It’s also an economic development work to attract people in the industry to come here and open a branch of their business. Half the publication is guide that lists everything from costumes and construction to crafts services and grip companies. Companies pay a fee to be listed, based on the number of words.

The other half is a lifestyle magazine that helps people working on a production here to find restaurants, yoga studios and other attractions.

“We think we’ll service the industry in a way no one else is doing,” Penor said.

The first issue has an interview with Bryan Cranston, who is shooting the second season of “Breaking Bad” here, as well as restaurant and bar suggestions, a story on Los Poblanos and another on Location Manager Michael Dellheim...

More info at New Film Guide Touts Albuquerque to Production Companies
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Appaloosa hitting screens soon

With Hamlet II now playing in theaters, the next NM-shot movie to open wide will be Appaloosa, directed and co-written by star Ed Harris, appearing with Viggo Mortensen, Jeremy Irons and Renee Zellweger. In limited release on September 17th, it plays nationally starting October 3rd.

Having big stars tends to lead to big press -- so we might expect some more good coverage of New Mexico for a few weeks to come.
Trailer at:
Or visit the movie site at:

From Hollywood to Tollywood:
...Production of Appaloosa slowed when New Line Cinema and producers became concerned with how well a Western would perform at the box office during a season with such anticipated blockbusters The Dark Knight. Diane Lane originally signed on to play Allie French, but left the project when the film stalled. The movie got back on track due to the success of the Deadwood series on HBO and the film remake of 3:10 to Yuma. Harris enjoyed working with Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence and had him in mind for the part of Everett Hitch. While publicizing A History of Violence at the Toronto Film Festival, Harris handed Mortensen a copy of the novel and asking him to read it and consider playing the part. Harris said it was "a totally awkward proposition, handing another actor a book like that," but Mortensen agreed to take the part after responding well to the character and the relationship dynamic between the two characters. Harris said he wanted to make the film because he was drawn to the "unspoken comradeship" of Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. "Though they've been hanging out for years, they're not too intimate, but they know each other. Aside from in sports, or being a cop, I can't think of any other situation where a friendship like that is called for." Mortensen felt similarly, saying, "I like to ride horses, and I like Westerns, but there are a lot of bad ones. What set this one apart is just how the characters are a little more guarded."

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Transformers, Traditions! & Imageworks Update

'Transformers' Making Return Trip to Holloman for Sequel

There hasn't been *too* much NM media news of late, so it's good to see the Albuquerque Journal's Dan Mayfield with the latest on Transformers and the nature of the "Studio" at the Traditions! location...

By Reel N.M. DAN MAYFIELD Of the Journal

It looks like Holloman Air Force Base personnel will again be part of a "Transformers" film. The second installment of the "Transformers" franchise, called "Revenge of the Fallen," is going to be shooting soon in and around Alamogordo and this week. DreamWorks, which is producing the film, held a casting call at the base.

About 300 folks showed up at the casting call for extras, each hoping to get a spot on the film. The last "Transformers" film, which was a major smash last summer, was also filmed at Holloman and nearby White Sands Missile Range. Many of the military personnel in the film were people from the base, and several landed major roles in the film alongside Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel.

What makes a studio?

For several weeks now, the old Traditions! A Festival Marketplace and former outlet mall at the Budaghers exit on the way to Santa Fe has been flying a banner that says "Movie Studios."

"Last year, we decided that retail is not ideal and converted it into a film studio," said the facility manager Mohammad Haq.

Well, a studio is more than just an empty mall to be sure, but it's a start.

The place does have a large parking lot for the big trucks, a large area that could be used for a backlot with a view west and plenty of walking area to stage an outdoor shopping mall, provided the script calls for a Southwesternthemed outdoor mall.

More at 'Transformers' Making Return Trip to Holloman for Sequel

Also receiving a bit of coverage is the site redesign for Sony Pictures Imageworks. There was a little concern over the past year about some buy-out rumors and interest in how bringing Interactive into the fold might effect things... but I have to say I like the new site.

And it's good to have a dozen or so of their people in town.

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SAG & Studio Negotiations -- the CFO perspective

Screen Actors GuildImage via Wikipedia
Picked this up on a SAG blog by way of (which also got info from Forbes):

This Disaster Is No Movie
Stalled contract talks between Hollywood studios and the Screen Actors Guild provide a script for savvy negotiating
Kate Plourd - CFO Magazine

September 1, 2008

The summertime standoff between Hollywood studios and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) yielded some useful lessons for executives interested in honing their negotiating skills.

At press time, SAG was still rejecting an offer from the studios' negotiating arm, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, to replace a contract that expired in June. As with the writers and directors before them, SAG is focused on winning better terms for any revenue derived from new media entertainment, such as sitcoms that are downloaded from the Internet.

What can a CFO take away from this standoff, aside from a newfound desire to join a union where every member looks like George Clooney or Katherine Heigl?

Stay consistent. The studios' main strategy has been to stick closely to the terms it negotiated with writers and directors. Consistency is wise in this case, says David R. Ginsburg, executive director of the entertainment-law program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a former studio executive, since using an existing template allows studios to claim they are being fair — and protects them from requests to renegotiate contractual structures that have already been agreed to.

Divide and conquer. Even as SAG was digging in, the studios won an early settlement with a second, smaller actors' union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors. Since 44,000 AFTRA members are also part of 120,000-member SAG, the agreement had the side benefit of exposing a lack of solidarity among the actors.

Which brings us to a final lesson about what not to do: "Never interfere with your enemy if it's destroying itself," says Ginsburg.

Top 10 Highest-Paid Actors (2007 earnings)

  1. Will Smith, $80 million
  2. Johnny Depp, $72 m
  3. Eddie Murphy, $55 m
  4. Mike Myers, $55 m
  5. Cameron Diaz, $50 m
  6. Leonardo DiCaprio, $45 m
  7. Bruce Willis, $41 m
  8. Ben Stiller, $40 m
  9. Nicolas Cage, $38 m
  10. Keira Knightley, $32 m

Source: Forbes

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