Ever want to be on TV? Start practicing your best zombie moans and hobbling walks tonight, because locals are being cast as undead extras for the second season of Syfy's Z Nation series being filmed in and around Spokane.
The last local audition session for the show is being held tomorrow, Saturday, March 28, from 9 am-4 pm in Spokane Valley, at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Interested actors must be at least 18 years old and live in Washington state. There's a $5 fee if you're not with a talent agent or don't have a Casting Networks Account.
Pre-registration for tomorrow's auditions is open online until 6 pm tonight, but those who miss this deadline can still show up — just be prepared to wait.
While the next season of the Walking Dead lookalike is set to resume filming in Spokane later this year, the future of the Z Nation's impact on regional film industry professionals and actors in the coming years is a less clear. Right now, a bill in the state legislature (SB 6027) is seeking to boost Washington's film incentive program, which industry advocates argue is necessary for projects like Z Nation and others to continue being made in the Evergreen State.
Washington's film incentive program essentially offers cash rebates for qualifying productions made within state borders. Funded by a portion of the state's business and occupation tax liabilities (corporations/individuals can choose to contribute to this fund, getting a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, up to $1 million), qualifying productions can apply to get 30 percent of what they spent here back from the state.
That fund, however, is currently capped at $3.5 million, making Washington's the fifth smallest incentive program in the nation — well behind many other states with enormous incentive pools for filmmakers. It's why so many movies are made in Vancouver, British Columbia (which has no cap on its incentives), and other states like Alabama, Louisiana and New Mexico. As of now, Washington Filmworks, which oversees the program, has already received more requests than it can award to qualifying projects seeking to get some money back in return for the economic impact of locating work in-state.
The bill being considered (no vote on it has been set yet; the current session ends on April 26) would gradually boost Washington's program to an annual cap of $10 million by the year 2019. This increase would result in a $3.5 million loss in state revenue during the current budget biennium and a $17 million loss during the 2017-19 biennium. These numbers are the biggest factors working against the request for an increased program cap, as state lawmakers work to balance the state budget while maintaining basic programs.
Film industry supporters from around the state testified on Wednesday during a Senate Ways & Means hearing (captured in the video below), including several Spokane residents whose livelihoods rely on their home state remaining competitive with its neighbors, like Oregon. Our southern neighbor caps its program at $10 million a year, allowing it to sustain several ongoing projects for films and television series.
If not for generally favorable regional market forces, Spokane would easily be on par with such prosperous communities as Rochester, New York; Flint, Michigan; Youngstown, Ohio; and Scranton, Pennsylvania. The gods of economics have been charitable, however, and granted us the indispensable virtue of being a regional cosmopolitan and financial market center for a broad international geography. Thus, instead of suffering a fate akin to rustbelt communities of similar size, we’ve managed to glide on the contrails of metropolitan areas that have experienced rapid growth since 1990—Boise, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico.He sees something symbolic in how long it took the city to find its "Near Nature, Near Perfect" slogan.
And now we come full circle back to “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” Dwelling on a simple city slogan may seem trivial but it’s emblematic of a larger challenge that faces the community. The scale of cause and effect accomplishments within Spokane’s political arena has diminished to a point of such insignificance that even fruit as low hanging as changing a slogan takes months of consensus building and, in the end, they still only get it half right and about a decade too lateMost interesting, however, is Tedesco's assessments of the political culture:
Of course, as any local will tell you, the financial and political trauma created by the River Park Square fiasco has yet to wane. The transaction wrought such a large degree of paranoia that Average Joe citizens will no doubt compare the next proposed public/private partnership to that of River Park Square and, worst yet, community leaders will no doubt continue to hesitate from entering into the next public/private partnership for fear of being chastised as creating another River Park Square. Thus, the political environment has diminished to such a state that any prospect of attracting significant investments is paralyzed by speculation and fear on both sides.
This comes as no surprise, however, because the puzzle that is Spokane politics is often an irrational one. The allogamy between people, organizations, business and political interests is fluid and often veiled beneath the surface. Veterans of the local political arena, in particular executive level public and quasi-public officials, choose their words wisely because expressing direct opinions that challenge the status quo, however irrational the status quo might be, is dangerous territory that may well end with a termination notice.
Happy First Friday, Spokane! The spring-like weather has arrived just in time for a new art space to sprout up in Kendall Yards. West Central's new neighborhood continues to blossom into one of Spokane's up-and-coming developments with various dining options, small businesses and now a growing art community.
Marshall Peterson, the man behind the Marmot Art Space, beamed when talking about his new project.
"There are frogs and there are lizards, and all of them are important. I believe that Marmot Art Space will be a part of the ecosystem of Spokane's art community," Peterson said, adding that he hopes to create a space to showcase local artists and provide a gathering space for the community.
The artist of the hour has been concealed behind butcher paper on Adams Alley up until tonight, however it's now been announced that Marmot's first show features celebrated Spokane artist Melissa Cole. Cole cuts the ribbon to the Marmot at tonight's First Friday grand opening, with events starting at 5 pm.
It only took 48 hours to blow up.
Spokane filmmaker Adam Harum, a co-creator of the locally-produced sci-fi web series Transolar Galactica, wasn't expecting his parody remake of the 50 Shades of Grey trailer — in which he splices Lord of the Rings wizard hero Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) in place of the overhyped BDSM film's male lead character Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) — to gain much traction. But since he posted the video on a few blogs and Reddit two days ago, it's gathered up an impressive
(as of this posting) 80,500 144,800 views on YouTube.
Several thousand of those more recent clicks are in part thanks to a pick-up by the Onion's (not fake) entertainment news site, the A.V. Club.
The parody took three hours for Harum, an audio engineer for local studio ILF Media, to produce and while he didn't think it would "go viral," he decided to try an online social experiment, posting it on various sites, then sitting back to see if it would take off.
"I try the same channels to get my work out there, and I used the same pattern I've always done with my content of where, what time and what sites," he explains. "This is one of those things that is easily digestible and quick and fast, and people could easily click and share," unlike some of the professional video work Harum says he's shared through similar channels.
"It's been interesting to see the process," he says. "Most people don't get to see how this type of online content works, and the way Google and YouTube allow you to track data."
And for those wondering, Harum says he indeed saw 50 Shades of Grey in theaters.
"It was hilarious. One of the greater comedies that's recently come out."
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