On Monday October 4th, La Grande Orange in Santa Monica hosts Windy City West, a private party for those from Chicago working in the entertainment industry. It is a hot ticket item and is over-RSVP’d I’m told with a crowd expected to top 400. Expect to see all the top names of Chicago walking the red carpet to be greeted by Bill Zweker, the evening’s MC.
Chicago is a tight-nit community with everyone knowing at least someone who is somebody in the buisness by at least one degree of seperation. It’s a great group of people to be a part of and as with most tribes, is very loyal to their own.
The Entertainment Industry may not be as small as Second City, but I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts on making sure my readers take stock of their reputation so that it continues to stay intact.
You’re only as good as your word. Sure, deals go south, and everyone understands that, and not everyone will be your friend, but too many of these and you may never work again. I don’t care if you were the manager of a hundred million dollar fund or the director of five 1 million dollar movies that didn’t recoup. For example, both Alec Baldwin and director John McTiernan were on top of the world after Red October, but due to negative industry word of mouth, they each had to rebuild their careers from scratch.
Point being, use the connections you have from the communities you are in and don’t burn them. My relationships are the people I look to before a play is executed. Do I know this person? If not does someone I know know this person by at least one degree of separation?
Now, back to Chicago and film… I still think that Chicago is one of the best (and most underrated) production centers in the country. In addition to first rate crews and talent, there is a strong 30% transferable tax credit, so if you’re considering shooting in Chicago your first call should be to Betsy Steinberg at the Illinois Film Office — she’ll help you navigate the entire process. On the production side, seek out Julie Friedman at Friedman Properties — they manage the best new and historic buildings for shooting (like Public Enemies), as well as the top hotels, restaurants, clubs, banquets halls, office space, and more (see FriedmanProperties.com).
Brenda Sexton, the former Illinois Film Commissioner, is hosting the event and is one of the best connectors ever. The Melman boys with their siter Molly will also be flying in from Chicago to host the evening. If you plan on attending, please introduce yourself on this blog or at the event. Look forward to hearing whether you’re Cubs or Sox.