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Eye on Independent Films
Working In The Cloud
Studios and Soundstages
2013 Music & Sound Guide
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
If you watch a great deal of television, you’ve probably noticed a trend of late: There are a lot of men in hats. And I don’t mean some character trying to look hip by wearing an ill-fitting straw fedora. I am talking about characters who wouldn’t be the same without their hats; the hats are an extension – or perhaps a reflection – of who they are. Such accouterment helps viewers get into the story – and certainly helps the actors get into character. I’m rarely seen without some sort of chapeau, so this is a trend I can get behind.
Allow me to run down a list of some of the shows to which I am referring: Longmire (A&E), Dallas (TNT), Vegas (CBS), Justified (FX), Hell on Wheels (AMC), and Copper (BBC America). Granted, most of these programs are period dramas, reflecting times in which few men left their homes without a hat. Still, I think there is a deeper issue here than simply the idea of producing a TV show set in the Old West (Hell on Wheels) or Civil War-era New York (Copper).
These shows are reminders that America used to have ideals about working hard, living off the land, and actually producing tangible goods. The work was tough, but the men were tougher. Men wore hats more so out of need rather than want of being fashionable. They were outdoors all day – rain or shine – getting things done. Hats provided protection from the elements. Most of us today work in office buildings, sitting in front of computer screens. No hat is required for that!
Sure, we’re looking at our history through a romanticized lens. Everything wasn’t rosy, and these shows reflect that in many ways. But even today, you can look at a character on TV, or a man on the street for that matter, and know his character based solely on his choice of hat. One glance at Robert Taylor as Sheriff Walt Longmire, and you know he’s a gritty, no-nonsense lawman. (Remember our Jul/Aug 2012 cover?) There’s a heavy burden on this man’s soul, and that brown wool hat is the only thing keeping him from falling apart.
I don’t lament progress, and I don’t hate my desk job. I don’t wish to live in another era. But like the producers and viewers of these TV shows (I particularly enjoy Longmire and Hell on Wheels), I enjoy escaping into a world where the good guys wear hats – cowboy hats.
In the beginning, there was film. Images captured on light-sensitive material that could be shared among many viewers. Later came magnetic material called “videotape” and it was good for many things. Then a revolution! The computer and digital charged onto the field.Read more...
The western states, as a whole, are filled with more scenery than people. There are, of course, pockets of population that skew that logic – Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, and a few other cities – and they tend to be very urban areas, filled with views that can be found in cities east or west, But the grandeur of the land away from the cities is what attracts film makers from all over the world.Read more...
In the western United States, studios and soundstages often come with a distinguished Hollywood heritage. In Santa Fe, N.M., Garson Studios was founded by an Academy Award-winning actress. In Hollywood, Fox Studios carries the cachet of one of the legendary major studios. Moving north, the stages of San Rafael, Calif.’s 32TEN Studios once hosted Lucasfilm blockbusters, while the new Reno Tahoe Studios in Nevada seeks to establish its own heritage as production incentives promise to attract film and TV business to the state.Read more...
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FirstCom Music 2013 Credit Reel
A blue sky sprawls between ridges frosted in deep evergreen, framing Alder Gulch much as when Native American tribes traversed this landscape 800 years ago. The town of Virginia City sprang up virtually overnight in the summer of 1863; within one year, it was the largest city in the Inland Northwest, with an estimated 10,000 residents. These days, few people continue seeking gold in Alder Gulch. But for filmmakers seeking ready-made Old West locations, the towns of Virginia City and Nevada City offer one more chance to strike it rich.
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