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Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1404

This week on Oklahoma Horizon, we look at the business of filmmaking here in the Sooner State.
Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1404

Oklahoma Horizon TV Show 1404

For more information visit these links:

August: Osage County

W.M. Creations, Inc.

CareerTech – Oklahoma SkillsUSA

The Only Oly

Green Country Technology Center

Metro Technology Centers

CareerTech

Show Details

Show 1404: Oklahoma Horizon TV
Air Date: January 26, 2014

 

Transcript

 

Rob McClendon: Here’s what’s coming up on your “Horizon.” And the Oscar goes to? Well, very possibly Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep, stars of a film written and shot right here in Oklahoma.

[Movie Excerpt: You ready for this? No, no way. Hey, Mom, I’m here. Look at your boobs; last time I saw you, you looked like a little boy].

Rob: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “August: Osage County” was shot on location in north central Oklahoma. Today, we look at the business of film making here in the Sooner State, both big and small.

Brandon Bergin: I think if you shoot a movie in Oklahoma, you get a kind of feel that you don’t get anywhere else.

Rob: In our “Oklahoma Standard,” we visit with an Oklahoman who has literally changed the face of Hollywood.

Matthew Mungle: Winning the Academy Award was just amazing; it was just, “Oh, OK, I’ve kind of arrived.”

Rob: We meet some young people learning the craft of filmmaking. And see how one former student is fulfilling his movie-making dreams right here at home.

Tyler Roberds: Most producers in Hollywood would probably just laugh if they saw the way we were doing things. But I like it. There’s enough resources here, the crew and talent, to do a full-length feature here. And I know everyone here.

Rob: Stay with us for “Oklahoma Horizon.”

 

Male Announcer: “Oklahoma Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Female Announcer: Oklahoma’s investment in CareerTech provides more than nationally recognized technology education and training. It produces solid financial returns for the state’s economic future. Oklahoma CareerTech, elevating our economy.

Male Announcer: And the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, helping good people grow good things. And now, from the CareerTech studios in Stillwater, here’s your host, Rob McClendon.

 

Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” Well it’s been a big year for Oklahoma-shot films; several are now under release, but one in particular is garnering some national attention and Oscar nominations. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play by Tulsa native, Tracy Letts, “August: Osage County” is a darkly comic film that explores family ties during a crisis when three daughters return to the Oklahoma house they grew up in and their dysfunctional mother, played by Meryl Streep.

[Movie Excerpt: I have an Indian in my house. They’re called Native Americans, Mom. They aren’t any more native than me. In fact, they are].

Let’s call the dinosaurs native Americans while we’re at it [laughs].

Rob McClendon: An Oklahoma tale that was shot in late 2012 near the small town of Pawhuska in north central Oklahoma, a location that wasn’t by accident. Joining me now to talk more about the business of how Hollywood chooses where it shoots its movies is our Andy Barth.

Andy Barth: Well, Rob, the movie industry is just that. It’s an industry that’s very competitive, especially when it comes to shoot locations. Titanic director, James Cameron, announced he will shoot the sequels to his movie Avatar in New Zealand, not for the scenery, but because that country is offering him a 25 percent rebate on production costs once his company spends at least 413 million dollars in New Zealand making those films. And while that’s the largest rebate offer to date, such incentives have become commonplace across the U.S. in an effort to attract Hollywood dollars into town.

 

There’s something to be said for Oklahoma’s scenic backdrops that help paint a pretty picture for the big screen.

[NATS: Cut! Action!].

Andy: But it’s Oklahoma’s film incentives that give filmmakers a rebate that gets films to the state.

Jill Simpson: I track what’s going on in L.A. all of the time. And they’re desperate to get a bigger film incentive program. Because what we’ve seen happen, since about 2000, is that the films are going where the incentives are.

Andy: Jill Simpson is the director of the Oklahoma Film Commission and says film incentives are growing nationwide.

Jill Simpson: What started out as a handful of states offering the financial incentives are now 44, 46 states.

Andy: And Oklahoma one of them.

Julia Roberts: I think being in Oklahoma was a huge help in really understanding the history of the Plains and that mentality.

Andy: And for actor Julia Roberts the authenticity of shooting on location helps her get into her role. But for Hollywood studios, it’s often more about the bottom line.

Jill Simpson: Many of the studios have an edict. If the state doesn’t offer something, we’re not going there. And that was never truer than in the case of “August: Osage County,” which filmed here in 2012. And we didn’t have the best incentives, but we had something.

Andy: Attracting not only big names and big cameras, but big money as well. In 2012, movies and television produced in Oklahoma impacted our economy by more than $65 million. While the movie “August: Osage County” alone added more than $38 million to the economy.

Simpson: They wanted to make the house look as intrinsically Oklahoman as possible. So they shopped all of our antique stores, second-hand stores, the Frankoma Pottery, everything you see is local.

Andy: And to shoot on location, housing had to be purchased for everyone, from the talent, to the crew.

John Wells and Chris Cooper: We all lived in and around Bartlesville, which is about 40 minutes from the house. And shot around Pawhuska and Bartlesville. They found newly finished condominiums and everybody was living right next to each other and running into each other, you know, throughout the day when they weren’t working.

[NATS: Dear Lord we ask that you watch over this family].

Jill Simpson: This is an industry. It’s not just a hobby or a pastime. It’s an industry that diversifies our economy.

[Music].

Andy: Now according to the Oklahoma film and music office, since 2005 we have seen more than 500 percent increase in impact dollars from films being shot in the state.

Rob: So what exactly are these movie crews, what are they spending their money on when they come into the state?

Andy: Well, Rob, the crew was in northeast Oklahoma for quite some time, and they spent money on things like permits, food, equipment rentals and then also production costs and design costs as well. And all of that was purchased in the Bartlesville-Pawhuska area. So it had a big economic impact on the community, plus it was really fun for locals to see their community filled with Hollywood stars.

Rob: Yeah, absolutely, certainly an interesting industry. Thank you so much, Andy.

Andy: You’re welcome.

 

Rob McClendon: Well, probably no state is better identified with a movie than Oklahoma [music]. But our movie roots go well beyond that iconic musical. A new Oklahoma-made musical drama called “Rudderless” is the closing-night film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a coveted spot that has springboarded some smaller films into box office hits [music]. Several Oklahoma musicians are making a crossover into film and TV. From NBCs record-breaking “The Sound of Music Live,” starring Checotah, Oklahoma’s, multi-platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood [music] to the All-American Rejects’ front man Tyson Ritter, who was born and raised in Stillwater landing the coveted role of Gregg Allman in the movie bio pic “Midnight Rider,” Oklahoma musicians are also showing some real acting chops. Oklahoma musicians Kings of Leon are also making their off-screen debut by providing music for the soundtrack for “August: Osage County.”

[Music].

We never wrote a song specifically for a film until this. We’ve been offered movies that spent $300 million to make. We’ve said no to it just because we had no connection to the movie. And we had a really strong connection when we watched this one. It’s just an amazing film, so I’m glad that we held out, and this is the one that we’re involved with.

Rob: Now, both “Rudderless” and “August: Osage County” were able to increase their rebate from 35 to 37 percent by spending at least $20,000 for the use of music created by an Oklahoman and recorded here in the state. Now when we return, we meet an Oklahoman who has literally changed the face of Hollywood.

 

Male Announcer: You’re watching “Oklahoma Horizon,” featuring some of the good things that are happening in the great state of Oklahoma.

 

Rob McClendon: Well, when it comes to making movie magic, probably no one does it better than Atoka Oklahoma’s very own Academy Award winner Matthew Mungle. And while you may not know the name, you have seen his work.

Matthew Mungle: Come on in; I’ll show you the house of horrors.

Alisa Hines: You may know Oklahoman Matthew Mungle by his work on popular TV shows.

Mungle: Heads, bodies that we use on episodes of “CSI,” “NCIS,” “House,” “Criminal Minds.”

Alisa: A Hollywood makeup artist, Mungle credits early horror movies for sparking his interest in movie makeup.

Mungle: Around 1965, ’64, ’65, “Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” came out with Tony Randall. And I was amazed at how his appearance changed in the movie, not knowing that he had shaved his head at that time. And how did they actually get his character to look like that? And that’s what really got me involved in makeup. And then in of course in 1968, “Planet of the Apes” came out. So that was all she wrote, you know, right there.

Alisa: So Mungle bought the Richard Corson “Stage Makeup” book and taught himself makeup techniques. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Mungle: What we have to do is we have to take a face cast of the actor, and once that’s done, then we have to duplicate it in silicone so it looks just exactly like the actor so we can make them look dead or alive. We have to cut their head off. We have to cut their arms off like this body here. And if you look at them really close, you can see that all of the hairs are punched in one at a time, eyelashes, sideburns, everything. It’s very time-consuming.

Alisa: At 56, Mungle says he still loves to do the art of makeup.

Mungle: That’s what I really enjoy doing, is making, doing the makeup so that it really can, totally fools the audience. Like we, for “Schindler’s List,” we had to take the eight principle women and basically make them look like they’d had their head shaved. And that’s what really intrigues me, and it’s just still, every job is so creative.

Alisa: And his art is rewarding.

Mungle: Winning the Academy Award was obviously one of the highlights of my career. I didn’t get into this business saying, “OK, I’m going to win an Academy Award, Emmy awards,” you know, it was about the passion for me of doing this. And winning the Academy Award was just amazing. It was just, “Oh, OK, I’ve kind of arrived.”

Alisa: Oklahoma creativity at work, helping to keep our entertainment realistic and amazing.

Rob: And it is that ability to turn the real into the unreal that makes Matthew Mungle an “Oklahoma Standard.” Well, while Matthew had to gain his expertise on his own, young people interested in special effects makeup now have the ability to hone their craft while still in school. Students in Oklahoma’s CareerTechs’ cosmetology program compete in an event called fantasy makeup that lets them turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Fantasy makeup is just one event offered through the SkillsUSA competition that allows students to compete for scholarships and prizes. And since the fantasy makeup event was started in Oklahoma in 2005, its popularity has helped it grow into a national competition.

 

Rob McClendon: Want to share something you’ve see here today? Well all of our episodes are streaming on our YouTube channel at OklahomaHorizonTV. Or you can subscribe to our weekly free podcast on iTunes.

 

Rob McClendon: Well, while Hollywood producers may be looking for higher and higher rebates and incentives, for many local filmmakers, they’d just be happy to see their credit card limit raised. Oklahoma is home to a growing number of locally produced films, the majority these independently financed.

[NATS: I need a woman like Emily Robinson].

Brandon Bergin: Everyone that worked on it, you know, had a full-time job. So took a week and shot for a week. And then we took a off and went back to our day jobs. And then took another week of vacation and shot that week. And then we used nights and weekends just to pick up anything else that we needed.

Rob: Brandon Bergin is a Tulsa filmmaker who wrote and directed the movie, “Self-Delusion and Other Obstacles.”

[NATS: Would a young lady like you be interested in dating a guy like my son? Oh, no; I mean, I’m practically married].

Bergin: We spent two years refining the script. I knew the script was decent, but it wasn’t in the shape that we should actually be shooting. Finally in 2010, we had something that was ready to go.

[NATS: So when did you start dating Richard again? Oh, we never stopped dating].

Rob: So using volunteers both on and off screen, Bergin turned his dream into a feature film debuting at the United Film Festival in Tulsa.

[NATS: How long do we keep up this ruse? What ruse? That awkward feeling].

Rob: And while such labors of love may never become a blockbuster, the head of Oklahoma’s Film Commission says local filmmakers are key to the growth of Oklahoma’s film industry.

Jill Simpson: You’re helping them tell their stories and get their films out in the industry. But also, if we support them when they’re starting out, hopefully they’ll stay here and want to build their careers here.

[NATS: All I’ve got to do is propose, and she will say yes. You want to do that? No! Don’t propose to her].

Bergin: I think if you shoot a movie in Oklahoma, you get a kind of feel that you don’t get anywhere else.

[NATS: I’m so glad I found you, Nick. Every girl deserves to have a friend like you].

[Music].

 

Rob McClendon: Well, our Alisa Hines was there as cameras began to roll in 2011 on another independent film that has become a true family affair. Alisa?

Alisa Hines: “The Only Oly” is the story of a learning disabled young man and his efforts to be like his dad. Filmed in Okmulgee, Okla., it’s been cheered by parents and teachers for its unflinching portrayal of the challenges special needs students face. But how this movie was shot is what makes the film even more unique.

Tyler Roberds doesn’t make a movie the way Hollywood normally does.

Tyler Roberds: Well most producers in Hollywood would probably just laugh, if they saw the way we were doing things. But I like it.

Alisa: Just one of the reasons he decided to make “The Only Oly” movie right here in Oklahoma on a shoestring budget.

Tyler: Which is probably why we did it here, because I had nowhere to go.

Alisa: So with the help of family and friends, Tyler began a journey of turning words on paper into pictures on a screen.

Tyler: I knew that there was enough resources here, the crew and talent, to do a full-length feature here. And I know everyone here. So I knew that I’d have resources that I need for locations. So that’s kind of why it was just a little bit easier starting from scratch, which is pretty much what we had, it was nothing. To go out and get the things we needed, the places we needed, the props we needed, the resources we needed. So, that’s kind of why we did it here. And I think it worked out.

Alisa: And Tyler has one advantage that most startup producers don’t, the location, more specifically, Green Country Technology Center.

Tyler: Because I went to school here, and my mom teaches digital media here, I had a whole lot of resources.

Julie Roberds: I was fortunate that I had a classroom full of students here at Green Country that helped crew.

Tyler: Just the building alone. We used the building for a school in the film. And the nursing department, we used that for a hospital, which is a different location in the film, the interior, and the nursing students, so that’s awesome, and that’s all a part of this. And another really good thing is the multimedia students here, they got to help.

Julie: We shot this film in 2011, so that was almost three years ago. The students here worked a lot on this film. Most of it was shot here at the school. So not only the community but the students here at Green Country, the faculty and the administration here were behind us.

Tyler: So on days, like I said, whenever it was just me being a one-man band, when we were here on Green Country, whether we were shooting school scenes or we were shooting hospital scenes, they were actually here and they got to get some on-set help with me and just a little bit of experience, kind of me bossing them around telling them what to do. But they had a, I think they had a good time. They were excited to be there anyways. So it was just an enormous help. One of the main things, a lot of my filmmaker friends were asking me, is they would just say, “How did you get a hospital? How did you get a hospital scene? And you have a bus, you have a bus full of 100 extra kids. How did you do that?” I’m just like, “Ah, I can’t tell you.” [Laughs].

Julie: And because we had the good press, I think that everybody wanted to come out and be in a film. And we got some really good response from that.

Tyler: It was, you know, because of Green Country, all the students, all the different departments helped out; it was great. It wouldn’t be what it is without Green Country.

Alisa: Tyler and lead actor Matlock London wrote the screenplay and hired a local cast and crew to film the movie, all unpaid.

Tyler: For “The Only Oly” we didn’t have anything. I mean, we really didn’t have anything. We didn’t need a whole lot of resources. I mean, we were feeding people and paying for people’s gas and really that was about it. There are a lot of things visually that I could do a whole lot better with finances. But I mean, when you don’t have stuff, you got to work for it. And I think that’s why I see a lot of, not big films, but larger films that just people dump money into them so they can run at a certain time of the year to hit a certain market. And I’m sitting there watching, and I’m thinking, “You know, a lot of money went into this movie, and its bad [laughs]. It’s really bad.” I hate to say that, but it’s because, it’s like someone just dumps a bunch of money in your hands, and like, “Hey, go make a movie.” And that’s not the way it was with this, and I don’t ever want that to be the way it is for anything I do. I want to work for it.

Alisa: And while shooting wrapped in 2011, the real work for Tyler just began.

Tyler: And it took about two years for me to do post-production. Because at the same time, we had, me and my wife had a baby girl, and we were also building a house. So I was changing diapers at night, getting materials for my house, and then also editing a feature-length film [laughs]. So it took me quite a while to get it put it together.

Alisa: But at last it’s complete.

Julie: Premier night was a packed house at the Orpheum Theater. John, the manager there was wonderful to let us come in, and he really helped promote it. Everybody in the community, just, was behind this film. We were very fortunate to be able to do a film in Okmulgee, and Okmulgee is a great place to shoot a film. There’s actually several films shot here.

Alisa: And the reviews?

Tyler: More than one person said that “My uncle is mentally handicapped,” or, “My cousin is,” and they were just like, “I love it. I love your movie.” And I was like, “Thank you.” You know, that makes everything worth, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day, when your hands are bloody and you’re out of breath. It’s like thank you. That’s all that I wanted to do. And that’s all that we were trying to do.

Alisa: So now that Tyler knows what it takes to make a movie, he’s not stopping with this one, saying, and these are his words, “You really don’t know how to do it until you’ve trucked through the mud.”

Alisa: Now the movie is only an hour long, which is good because at the premier, they sold out, and it was standing room only. Afterwards they had a Q&A to find out what the audience thought of the movie, and one lady who was in tears said, “This movie changed the way I look at things and really touched me and my family.” Tyler says there are some really touchy, tough things in the film and a lot of unfair situations for the main character, Spencer, which makes the movie kind of rough to watch in places, and he was afraid it might make some people mad, but he was overwhelmed by the response.

Rob: Now wasn’t there a group that thought about even boycotting this movie?

Alisa: Actually there was. There was a local Special Olympics group that wanted to boycott the movie before they had ever even seen it. Someone had told them about how unfairly Spencer was treated in some of the scenes. Now Tyler admits that the hero of the story goes through some very tough stuff. And that unfortunately portrays how many people like Spencer are treated in reality. But the moral of the movie is how bad things happen in life, but you work hard and just keep on trucking along and you will prevail. In fact, Tyler had one lady come up to him, also in tears, and told him, “I have a mentally handicapped son, and this is the stuff that we go through. This is real life. You hit the nail on the head.” She said she loved the film. In fact, she loved it so much she bought five copies of it.

Rob: So you told me that when it comes down to creating the DVDs for this movie, Tyler did run into another problem, namely money.

Alisa: That’s right, Rob, to raise the money they needed to make the DVDs, they had to get a little creative and went to a crowd funding source called Indiegogo, where people can donate money to projects like Tyler’s. So far he’s raised enough funds to take care of his expenses and get his movie out.

Rob: So when will the movie be in a wider release?

Alisa: If everything goes as planned, the movie should be available this spring. Although Tyler is expecting another baby, so it might possibly get pushed back just a little bit. We will have a link to “The Only Oly” website. So if people are interested in the movie, they can just visit that link once the movie is available.

Rob: All right. Thank you so much, Alisa.

Alisa: You’re welcome, Rob.

 

Rob McClendon: Well several tech centers offer digital media training, and we had one of those classes at Metro Tech give us a glimpse into what they are learning.

Daniella Dominguez: The Metro Technology Center’s digital video specialist program focuses on the students who have an interest in film, digital video or the multimedia film. The course lends itself to individual projects, group projects and commercial and community projects. Students are introduced to the Apple ecosystem of programs, as well as the full suite of Adobe products. Metro Tech’s digital video specialist program possesses the latest advancements of technology such as the use of a drone to mount a Steadicam for incredible one-of-a-kind aerial cinematography. The program inspires students to get involved in community production projects that lends itself for networking and job placement opportunities. And I am one of those students, Daniella Dominguez. I’m currently enrolled in the digital video specialist program at Metro Technology Center. I am in 11th grade, and I photographed this project.

Rob: Now to see more on what these students produce, we have a link under our value added section we call “A Day in the Life,” plus a link to one of their recently completed projects.

 

Rob McClendon: You can keep up with us throughout the week. Just head to okhorizon.com, where you can see more of any of our stories, read our reporters’ behind-the-scenes blogs, see what others are saying about us on Twitter and face the facts with our regular updates. So reach out and touch us anywhere and anytime.

 

Rob McClendon: Next time on “Oklahoma Horizon,” from renewed calls for tax cuts to needed repairs at the State Capitol, Oklahoma lawmakers will be revisiting some old issues as the legislature reconvenes, while also debating some new issues like e-cigarettes and tornado shelters in our schools, and we’ll preview them all on Oklahoma’s show for the heartland, “Oklahoma Horizon.”

 

Rob McClendon: Well, that is going to wrap us up for today, but you can see more of any of our stories on our website at okhorizon.com. You can watch us on the go with our weekly podcast on iTunes, follow us throughout the week on Twitter at OKHorizonTV or just become a “Horizon” fan on Facebook. I’m Rob McClendon. Thanks for watching. See you back here next time.

 

Male Announcer: “Horizon” is made possible by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, helping good people grow good things. Copies of today’s show are available on our website, okhorizon.com. Thank you for watching “Oklahoma Horizon.”