REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Hollywood North?


As I wrote in one of my columns just before Pioneer Day, one of the clinchers for me when making my decision to move my family to Paso Robles from Los Angeles was the overwhelming and endearing sense of community that we experienced here. But one thing that has always kept one of my feet out the door is the lack of MY community, “my tribe” as we call it in Hollywood--fellow filmmakers. Until this recent breakout of scandals, of course, that has made my eyes roll, my stomach lunge and count my lucky stars that I’m not raising my kids there anymore.

While there is a very vibrant, artistic constituency here, filmmaking requires many people working together as a unit. While all an artist really needs is a place to work, their tools and her own individual talent and discipline, one simply cannot make a movie alone.

To create a film, the list of individuals needed is seemingly endless: camera operators, directors, actors, writers, still photographers, script supervisors, costume designers, set designers, location scouts, grips, gaffers… the list goes on. With this seeming void I have always felt like I was missing something by living here, until now.

Just recently, a good friend and highly-respected business woman in the area has made a valiant effort to call forth a tribe of our own right here on the Central Coast. Dina Mande, owner of Juice Media and also her recently opened portrait studio downtown has started a facebook group called Central Coast Film and Photo and the response has been more than heartening.

Having just recently directed a short film with fellow scribe and actor Casey Biggs, Mande has seemingly “got the ball rolling” here and the amount of local talent that are responding to her call is astounding. Actors, writers, camera operators, producers… all here and coming out of the woodwork. Who knew? And others like Sabrina Pratt, who you can read about in this issue’s entertainment section, offering top notch training to aspiring actors and comedians is just another example of how the area is evolving and becoming a potential “Hollywood Annex.”

While there are some in the area who may not be especially thrilled to hear of such “goings on” I believe so much good can come from it. Not just financially but in that it can offer so much to aspiring young artists whose poor parents are absolutely exhausted from the 6 hour round trip to Los Angeles for a single audition several times a week, a la Zach Efron from Arroyo Grande. Like my husband said the other night, “you can’t freeze dry a town,” but it certainly would be nice to retain its core values while offering expanded opportunities to those who choose to live here and want to contribute in ways they had not before thought possible.

So hopefully, the dream of some pioneers — such as Todd Fisher, whose Fisher Studios opened a few years ago in Creston; writer/director/producer Dina Mande, my multi-hyphenated self and film related professionals across the county can be realized--to be able to accomplish their goals and visions without ever having to leave this place so many of us call paradise.


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