Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Article/Interview With crewnewmexico.com!

The following interview appears on the Albuquerque Examiner online news site.

by Juanita Lee, Albuquerque Examiner
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Whether you are interested in making a name for yourself in the film industry or are on the production side looking for talent, crew, a location, industry-supporting vendors, or the best place to house your actor while they are on a shoot, you need look no further. New Mexico's premier film industry resource, crewnewmexico.com, is where you can find all your answers.

Home to a booming film industry, New Mexico offers locals many opportunities to shine in a variety of movies and television productions. For example, the film "Let Me In" will need over 500 background extras, meaning job opportunities for many people. In addition, most movies need around 100 on-set crew members, and the support of dozens of companies and hundreds of individuals that provide services to that particular film.

Founder of crewnewmexico.com, Daniel Taras, recently provided more insight, not only into the industry as a whole but also to what other opportunities are coming for New Mexicans that would like to work in the film industry.

You are the founder of crewnewmexico.com. How did you get into this industry?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial life, but also a creative one. Photographer, professional writer and editor, traveler, safari guide, documentary cameraman.

When I started working in New Mexico film, I kept hearing the same question: “How do I get involved in the film industry.” Another big question – this one from the production side - was “Where can we find who and what we need to make this movie?” I decided to answer both questions at the same time, in a really cool way.

I felt that if we were to grow into the major film destination that’s been envisioned for New Mexico, we needed to have a production resource commensurate with the scope of what was happening. Since the film industry is largely here due to tax funded film incentives, I also wanted to ensure that the citizens of New Mexico have a way to feel informed and involved in the industry that’s right in their backyard. In a state that is as large as New Mexico, with a population spread so far and wide, I also saw a great need for networking and connectivity.

In just one year, we’ve added over 600 New Mexico individuals and businesses to our directory, receive around 10,000 site visitors per month, and send out our New Mexico Movie News industry newsletter to 8,000 filmmakers. Based on those numbers, I know we’re doing it right.

What sets crewnewmexico.com apart from other similar companies?

crewnewmexico.com was built from the ground up as a dynamic and interactive online tool that takes advantage of how business and networking are done in the year 2009. There have been print directories in the past, but they are expensive to publish and use a lot of natural resources to deliver a final product that is often out-of-date.

crewnewmexico.com is built on sustainable principles. We use very few natural resources. We only use digital format in all of our communications. No printed mailings, no print-outs, no fax machine. We can telecommute. We had a visit from an office supply salesman who wanted to set up an account for us. I said, “Nothing personal, but we don’t use office supplies.” You’d be amazed at how it helps minimize overhead and lessen environmental impact. All those paper clips come from somewhere.

In two years since the inception of crewnewmexico.com we’ve used a total of 5 packs of printer paper and a few ink cartridges. I never go to Staples. I have 3 printers collecting dust in the closet if you want one.

What has been your best experience, thus far, in the film industry?

The amazing interaction I have with such a wide variety of New Mexico film people and businesses – that’s the most rewarding. In one day, I can be doing business with an actor, caterer, grip, realtor, lawyer, location, hotel, producer and ice-delivery man. It’s like a Mr. Rogers tour through the economy.

Being in a place where we can bring together such a wide variety of people and services, all with the ultimate goal of helping make great movies and helping keep business flowing – that’s the best experience. Our goal is to make sure that anyone considering shooting in New Mexico is fully informed of the amazing array of talent, goods and services available to them. And for local individuals and businesses to have an opportunity to be involved.

I also love seeing people I know on screen or in the film credits. That’s brilliant.

What advice would you give to aspiring actors?

Hone your craft. Follow your heart. Get great headshots. Life is short. Live your passion. If you’re not doing what makes you happy, you’re wasting very precious time. Whatever happens, you’ll be richer for the experience.

What should people who want to get a foot in the door avoid doing?

I always go by the 3 Ps. Be polite, professional and persistent. Oh, and if you do get on a movie set, never run. It looks like you forgot something.

As an extra or a cast member, what should one expect as a typical day?

Days on a set are long, usually never less than 12 hours, up to 16 or more. In New Mexico, weather conditions can swing wildly, so be prepared. If you’re going to be an extra, bring snacks, a book, and a pillow for your bottom because you might spend half the day waiting for your scene.

Making movies reminds me of football games. They spend a lot of time preparing for the next scene, and then there’s only a few seconds of action. Now I know why people drink so much beer on Superbowl Sunday.

What would you like to see happen in the NM film industry in the next few years?

New Mexico is becoming synonymous with film-making, and that’s free advertising for us as a movie-making state. The longer the industry is here, the deeper its financial impact and the more ingrained it becomes into our economic culture.

Productions are here largely because of financial incentives. Keeping the New Mexico film incentives competitive is critical to the ongoing success of the industry, and we need to keep proving to the citizens of New Mexico that having film as an economic backbone for the state is a rare and amazing opportunity. I have 600 people in my directory alone who are involved in film, and a lot of them make a great living.

There’s talk of new film studios, a tentative opening of Santa Fe Studios, and a deepening of the industry to include digital media, gaming, and more post-production. Plus, citizens around the state are rallying to bring production to their cities. That’s all good news.

Is there anything specific coming up that people should know about right now?

There are currently six projects shooting in New Mexico, including Due Date starring Robert Downey Jr., Breaking Bad, starring Bryan Cranston, and Passion Play starring Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke.

You can stay up to date on what’s happening in the New Mexico by reading our New Mexico Film Blog, and our Who’s Filming Now pages.

Of course, using our directory, or contacting us directly, is an excellent way to help you get set-up for a scouting trip or production.

Do you have a favorite scene in a movie or a favorite line from a movie?

Any scene and any line from “When Harry Met Sally.” And, of course, anything made in New Mexico.