Category Archives: MCA News

This Month’s MCA News and Newsletter


MCA Meeting November 2015
Written by Mary J. Schirmer


The November MCA meeting, hosted by Patrick Barlow in the studios of Barlow Productions, featured a panel who discussed setting up your media company to avoid legal and tax problems.

Moderator:  Lou Stemmler — operates two LLCs:  Silver Streak Studios and Midwest Legal Video Services

Chad Carpenter – in October 2014, formed Middle West Movies LLC as a non-profit motion picture company

Tom Daiber — St. Louis District Office of Small Business Administration (SBA), loan guarantee program through Federal Government, free counseling for small businesses, and help with getting some of the 25 percent of government contracts set aside for small businesses.  Four programs:  SCORE (more below), Veterans Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center, and Small Business Technology Development Center.

David Houlle — operates S Corporation Sight and Sound Production Services, 37 years in business, Missouri’s largest rental house for grip, electrical, and lighting equipment including trucks and generators

Stephen Pidgeon — operates S Corporation Pulse Media Technology, formerly Pulse Productions. Software consulting, animation, virtual reality, content for upcoming technology.

Kathryn E. Van Voorhees — attorney in private practice through Van Voorhees Law, franchise and small business law, former insurance lawyer.  She attended as a representative of St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

Panelists emphasized the importance of setting up a legal entity to separate your personal assets from your business assets, to limit liability.  “Every time you fix a problem, you learn how to prevent a problem,” Van Voorhees said.

Consider your legal entity a business pre-nup, she said.  We all want to work with people we trust, but things happen, like illness, moves, and loss of interest.  Talking with an accountant to help set up the financial deal, and then talking with an attorney to formalize a contract, and then having the accountant and the attorney talk with each other will help business owners get what they need.

The SBA provides match-ups with retired business executives, who volunteer to help you write a business plan, market, and deal with media, through a program called SCORE.  “They help solve growing pain problems,” Van Voorhees said.

Many business owners form a limited liability corporation (LLC).  Missouri charges $50; Illinois $600.  An LLC allows you to separate your personal assets from your business assets and pay taxes through your personal tax forms with designations for business income and expenses.

To form your LLC, you need a business name, a manager, a registered agent (here’s a tip:  pick someone you know), and a statement of the purpose of the LLC.  Van Voorhees said you could search State and Federal websites for trademarks, or you might need to hire a trademark lawyer to research the name.

If you apply for a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN), be sure you’re applying to the Federal Government and not to some copycat business that’s trying to capture some of your personal information.

If you have a lot of property and businesses (like Donald Trump), you want separate LLCs for them.  If one goes bankrupt, creditors can’t touch the others.  Stemmler suggested that you start with one.  If your business spins into a different direction, or another direction, you could form another LLC.

An S Corporation allows the business owner(s) the tax benefits of and LLC, while paying yourself a salary.  If you start with an LLC, you can become an S Corp later.

You want separate insurance policies on yourself and your business, too.  What if you get hurt on the job?  What if you accidentally erase a tape or destroy some equipment?  If you’re working for someone else, put in your contract that you’ll be covered by the employer’s Errors & Omissions policy.

Van Voorhees suggested that you notify your insurance agent “every single time” to be sure you’re covered.  Inquire in writing, and save the reply.

Non-profit organizations with official 501C3 status should be sure to meet qualifications and reporting requirements.

The SBA can guarantee loans for non-traditional businesses, Daiber said; however, you need to be clear about how you’re going to repay the loan.  Most lenders won’t fund you 100 percent.  You’ll put in 10-15 percent of your own money, counting equipment as part of the equity.

Build up your personal credit before you start the business so when you need a loan, you’ll have a good record.  Everything will cost more than you expect.

If you’re seeking investors, Pidgeon pointed out that venture capitalists will want “something in return.”  What strings will they attach?  You’re already working 100 hours a week for yourself, rather than 40 for someone else.

Keep a separate credit card and even a separate filing cabinet for your business, Houlle said.  Especially if your office is in your home, be careful about using that room only for business.

So if you have your own business providing services to other companies, keep clean paper trails.  Are you going to receive a 1099, if someone paid you?  Houlle said if you are “labor” and not “services,” you want them to pay you as an employee, not through a 1099.  A freelancer needs workmen’s comp.

Get a deal memo before you do any work, and include everything you can think of – hourly/daily rates, how many hours in your day, meals, overtime, mileage, hotels, coverage if you’re injured on the job, etc.  You sign, and they sign.  Be especially careful if their company is out of town, because it becomes difficult to collect your pay.

If they insist on paying you as an independent contractor, then figure out how much more you’ll need to add to your rate, to cover the expenses of taxes and insurance.  This is important if you don’t have a representative to negotiate for you.  If they take advantage of you, be smarter next time.

More information:

Steve Pidgeon recorded the meeting, with audio here:  Audio Online

Form and templates:  State websites, SBA, Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts

Networking:  MCA (of course), St. Louis Film Network on Facebook, Script Mechanics, Venture Café, Missouri Venture Forum, StartLouis


Interview with Erin Bernhardt

Interview with Erin Bernhardt
by Mary J. Schirmer


Erin Bernhardt, producer of feature-length music documentary IMBA MEANS SING.  

age: 30

school, degree: University of Virginia, History and Government

grew up in: Atlanta

live in: Atlanta

husband’s name: Richmond

kids: Not quite yet

job besides filmmaking: Throughout the last four years of making IMBA, filmmaking has been my main job though it was not sustainable financially. On the side I produced commercials, videos for non-profits and schools, helped with a feature film, housesat, babysat, freelanced as a journalist… now I am excited to start helping two of my favorite organizations in the world as IMBA begins to have a life of its own: the Art Farm at Serenbe and Creative Visions Foundation.

film production history: IMBA is my first indie feature film. Before this I worked on several short films for non-profits and social enterprises and was a writer and producer at CNN.

Please describe your film IMBA MEANS SING in a few sentences.

It’s the journey of three children from the slums of Uganda on their life-changing world tour as part of the GRAMMY-nominated African Children’s Choir. Angel, Moses and Nina raise support for their educations to chase their dreams of becoming a pediatrician, pilot and Uganda’s first female President!


(1)  What drew you to produce this story?

I met the Choir eight and a half years ago…
(2)  Please tell the readers about the special challenges of filming a group of children in several countries to make this documentary.

There were many! I’ll just tell you about one of the hardest days to keep it simple. We were in NYC for 24 hours for the Choir to do a bunch of press and a gala with Connie Britton, Big Kenny, Carla Gugino, and other celebrity supporters. We had a couple free hours for the kids to somehow see all of NYC that a child could possibly dream of experiencing. Chasing the Choir, the chaperones, my crew, all around the city was a wild ride. I lost my glasses in the midst of it and had to wear my prescription sunglasses to the gala, which was fun since everyone assumed I was a star, too. On a more serious note, the Choir leaders and I took our responsibility for these precious children to heart. I made sure my pro-bono attorney had just as great of agreements and information for the on-camera releases for these Ugandan children and their families as we would for any American child or family. We all took great strides and pride to not objectify any of them or
their situations.

(3)  How long was the filming process?

We filmed for almost two years – from selection, training, the entire tour, and the first few weeks back home.

(4)  After studying these children for so long, what do you make of the arbitrary nature of life, the challenges to utter survival for a child who’s born into dire poverty as opposed to a child born into a more economically secure family?

It would take me days of discussion to answer this question. My heart was, and continues to be, made and broken and made again many times a day working with these children and this film.

(5)  What gave you courage to make this film?

What a great question, thanks for asking! A few things:

1. My mom. She was an incredible single mom with tremendous strength and courage herself and has dedicated her life to helping educate low-income youth and inspired me to do the same.

2. My then boyfriend/fiance/now husband. While it seems like sharing this story is the most kind and unselfish thing to do, it was actually a constant act of great self-centeredness. This film has been my priority for four years, which made me not be the best friend, girlfriend, fiance or wife. Richmond has been a saint loving me through it all. Knowing he loved me no matter what helped give me the courage to try harder, knowing that even if I messed up, I’d still have him.

3. My faith. This is very personal to me but I would be lost without it.

(6)  How did this subject change you, and how do you hope it changes the audience?

The Choir kids changed my life over eight years ago and continue to make me a better person almost every day. My goal is for this film to help inspire, encourage and activate many more people to follow their hearts, appreciate their gifts, and share their love more as well.

(7)  During what part of the production process did you feel most joyous? most stressed?

Another great question! I often felt both pretty intensely within an hour of each other. It was like a four-year rollercoaster ride. I’d say the most joyous was any time I was with the kids with the cameras put away and could simply enjoy time and life with them. Those moments filled me up to keep me going through the hard parts. One constant stress was money. I always worried I would not be able to pay our crew on time, or that we would not be able to afford the travel for the next shoot. Thankfully, we had the most generous donors who sometimes gave over and over again because they believed in our mission and work so much. All of you out there reading this who supported us financially (or really in any ways) thank you! I can never thank you enough. I hope the film makes you proud and that you continue giving to indie filmmakers!

(8)  You’re taking this film on the festival circuit.  How do you decide the festivals that might help you attract producers, distributors, and/or future investors?

I got a ton of advice from the wonderful team we’ve built around the film. I knew nothing about any of that, but we’ve been very successful thanks to great, passionate people, who gave so much time to answer all my questions.

(9)  What is your next project in development?

I’m still really focused on making sure IMBA is as huge a hit as it can be. We are donating 100 percent of profits to help build a secondary school for Angel, Moses, Nina and their friends in Uganda so I really hope everyone buys the film digitally or VOD Friday, Dec. 4, when it comes out worldwide!


October 14 MCA Meeting Report by Mary J. Schirmer



What did you miss at the Oct. 14 MCA meeting?  An informative panel discussion on makeup, hair, and costumes for stage and screen by local professionals who shared their insights and varied experiences.


MCA-I chapter president Natalie R. Toney – produces art, writes, makes films.  She’s a licensed cosmetologist and former salon owner whose experience includes makeup and hair for print, film, TV, and video.


Teresa Doggett – fashions costumes and special effects makeup and appliances for opera theater and other stage performances.


Carmen Loera – does makeup for feature and short films, TV commercials, fashion shows, and rock performances.


Kimberly Moore – operates Loop Luxe salon in University City.  She’s done hair and makeup for photo shoots and events including weddings and professional sports benefits.


David Schwartz – provides period costumes, especially from 1940-1945, for films, shows, museums, and events.


Catherine Wilke – does hair including wigs, makeup, and costuming for films, fashion shows, and print.

These artists step up to provide hair, makeup, costumes, set design, art direction – whatever the producer and director need for film and stage productions and other events.  Most got their start in the industry outside St. Louis, ranging from England in Doggett’s case to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.

They took classes, sought mentors, researched, shopped, mixed their own materials, sewed fabrics, and mainly just did their duties as assigned.

Their work entails all ages, all skin tones, all types of hair, all body sizes, and the wide range of personalities the creative arts attract, all the while working on a minimal budget.  And they have to work quickly (sometimes given only 10-15 minutes), unobtrusively, and pleasantly, even if those around them are “incredibly rude,” as Schwartz said.

In a smaller market like St. Louis, your reputation precedes you – i.e., word gets around. People won’t hire you if you don’t conduct yourself professionally and calmly.

They find work because of networking, agents, friends, and Facebook.

Sometimes the artists get interesting requests.  One man wanted Wilke to cut his hair (she didn’t).  One actor asked Schwartz for marital advice (he didn’t provide it).  One actor playing a zombie wanted Doggett to make his eye look like it was falling out of its socket (she did).  An actor already on set wanted to check his hair, and his wife asked Loera for a hand mirror (she had a little pink one).

Maintaining a good relationship with cast and crew is essential.  The hair, makeup, and costume artists’ work depends on decisions they make with the director, but it also depends on what the other technicians and production team decide to do with lights, camera angles, and colors on set.   The crew really appreciate it when other people take time to acknowledge their part in the total production.

Things can and do go wrong, and the artists have emergency kits on hand, including scissors, 3-inch painters tape, safety pins, duct tape, clamps, extra makeup for each actor, hair spray, nail polish, and lint roller.



A Crowd Funding Appeal From Middle West Movies

A Crowd Funding Appeal From Middle West Movies

Those from MCA and Script Mechanics/CinemaSpoke will remember that Chad Carpenter came to MCA meetings and networked with all of us and that he let us read his script at a Script Mechanics meeting a while back.

He is shooting now, and needs the support of the filmmaking community! So pitch in if you can!

Dear St. Louis Filmmakers,

As you may be aware, I’m involved in an exciting new project that has the potential to positively impact many lives here locally in the Midwest.

Below you can read about our non-profit motion picture company (Middle West Movies) and the first feature movie that is currently in production.

The reason I’m writing is to let you know our crowdsourcing campaign has officially launched.  To access the campaign, please go to:


What We Need & What You Get – Middle West Movies needs your support and contributions to provide the wages and experience for producing our first feature. All contributions to our campaign go towards, wages, food, transportation, lodging, and expenses to create the production. The only people getting paid for this project are the production crew. You get to be a part of a new movement in motion picture production, while stimulating the local economy of the Midwest.   There are also some very exciting prizes for various giving levels that may peak your interest.

If you decide to participate in the campaign, we ask that do so by August 28.  This gives the campaign  a great head start, showing it has legs.  Then when it’s launched to the broader public it will already be viewed as a success, worthy of support.  In fact, Indiegogo would consider listing this as a feature campaign on their home page if a certain percentage of its’ goal is achieved.  You can imagine the impact if we get this global exposure!

Thank you for considering supporting this campaign and please pass this email along to others as well.


Chad Carpenter


Middle West Movies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit motion picture company that provides Midwestern millennial movie makers experience producing features in the Midwest, rather than have them move to more competitive markets with a high cost of living.

Dog Days in the Heartland is the first feature project, giving an opportunity for our members to earn a living wage producing a feature picture, and the seed fund for future features of Middle West Movies. Dog Days is about a small Midwestern town the summer before big box corporations move in and fray the self-sustaining community. It is six short stories set in the same space and time, showing the struggles with progress and prosperity that is present in all ages and walks of life in a small town.!dog-days/c1xql


Hi, Script Mechanics folks.  On Saturday, July 11, we’ll read a feature comedy by Rick Majzun, titled STEALATHON.
Here’s Rick’s logline:  At his ten-year college reunion, a former party animal turned workaholic veterinarian battles his college nemesis in Stealathon, an all-night, over-the-top, winner-take-all stealing competition.  Tonally close to SUPERBAD and HANGOVER, with more heart
The reading will take place in the Buder Library downstairs meeting room, 1 p.m.  The library is on Hampton just south of Chippewa.
Also, Script Mechanics regular, actress Carol Sjelin is having a big birthday this week, and to celebrate we’re going to meet at Denny’s, 1515 S Hampton Ave., St. Louis, MO 63139 (just north of Manchester) at 11:30 a.m. before Script Mechanics.  Here’s a map, if you aren’t sure where that is.
If you can make it to both Denny’s and Buder, that’d be great.  Otherwise, just get to one or the other.
Many of you know Vanessa Roman and her work, and she’s got an Indie GoGo campaign underway to fund her next film.
Dear Sandy and Script Mechanics,
I want to tell you about my Indie GoGo campaign to raise money for the feature film The Importance of Doubting Tom.  I would love for you to take this journey with me and commit to making a donation.  Your support is crucial.  This project is putting local actors and crew to work and bringing attention to the wonderful community of dart league in the St. Louis area.
Here is what you need to know-
This screenplay was inspired by none other than Oscar Wilde and is a modern update of his incredible play, The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve set it on a backdrop at dart league at Blueberry Hill in our own U City Loop.
This screwball comedy has won several screenwriting contests and has been steadily gaining support in the last few years.  Now, all that hard work is finally coming to fruition. Private equity investors have brought me this far in the process and now I need your help taking it all the way.
There are several exciting perks that I want YOU to pick from.  We are set to start shooting in late July and I want you to be involved.  Would you like to be an extra in the movie?  There’s a perk for that!  Would you like a signed picture?  A digital download of the finished movie? And many more…
And please, share with your friends.
Help me hit the bullseye with this campaign.  You can help all these dreams come true as we take this film from start to finish.
Donating is so easy.
Step One: Click on the link below
Step Two: Click on the CONTRIBUTE NOW link
Step Three: Choose your perk and enter your information!
You’re done!
Thanks so much for all of your support!
Every voice is welcome, and fewer roles than most films, but each has meat!
Script Mechanics’ monthly screenwriting workshop and script reading this Saturday, and we also discuss the writing life and the art of screenwriting.
Actors — Practice your Audition skills by participating in the COLD READING at Script Mechanics’ table reads!
WRITERS — We are currently looking for scripts to read this summer at Script Mechanics. If you have script that you would like coverage on, please contact Sandra Olmsted or Mary Schirmer.
Script Mechanics aims to assist screenwriters in polishing their scripts by having actors read the scripts aloud. The writer hears their dialogue and get fresh insights into their character from the actors’ take on the script. The actors and other writers in the organization offer suggestions and comments at the end of the reading.  The cold read provides the actors with the opportunity to practice an important auditioning skill.
Script Mechanics meets the second Saturday of the month at the Buder Library. The library is just south of the Chippewa and Hampton intersection; the address is 4401 Hampton Ave, 63109. It’s the brick building with turquoise and glass trim. We have a meeting room downstairs from 1:00 – 5:45; however, the reading may not take quite that long. Parking is available behind and south of the building and in the lot in front of the bank across the side street to the north.
The table read of an entire screenplay by one screenwriter or several scenes by different writers is followed by discussion of the script and the questions that the writer has or writers have about the readers’ interpretations and audience’s response to the script, story, and characters.  We assign roles at the reading, which provides an opportunity for actors to practice cold reading, which is an important audition skill.
If you have a script to read, we request have two requests: 1) that you make arrangements in advance and provide a logline and a brief break down of characters at least one week in advance of the reading so that the reading can be publicized and 2) that the script be properly formatted as a spec script and that complete scripts not exceed 125 pages, because it is difficult to read more than that and provide adequate coverage.  You will need to bring a minimum of 6 copies for an average size cast.  If the number of roles is large, you will need more copies of the script. You will also need a break down of which scenes each the character appears and which characters can be read by the same actor so that readers can be assigned multiple roles and get a chance to read a meaningful number of lines.
We also often get something to eat afterward, and anyone can join us.
Please contact Sandy Olmsted, at for more information, however, there is NO NEED to RSVP or to send head sheets.
Please DO NOT email headsheets or Resumes!

Summary of Film Financing MCA Meeting

St. Louis MCA Meeting
Written by Mary J. Schirmer

June 10, 2015


Srikant Chellapa, producer-actor-director-writer

Jay Kanzler, attorney-executive producer-director-writer-actor

Michael H. Ketcher, producer-casting director-actor-writer

Michael J. Sewell, attorney-MBA

The topic was film financing, and each panelist offered helpful suggestions and valuable insights into the filmmaking business.  Following are some of the highlights.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ( is a government agency that attempts to protect investors and maintain fair markets.  Filmmakers need to be aware of changing regulations regarding even speaking with investors before you have your own business in legal order and before you’ve vetted them in terms of their financial ability to do business with you.

Before you attempt crowdfunding, read about the SEC JOBS Act of 2012 (  This allows companies to sell stock, debt, or ownership interest in a film project online and allows film production companies to advertise for investors.  Better read it for yourself, and then discuss it with your entertainment attorney before you make a “huge, stupid mistake that tells an investor to run away,” Kanzler said.  You still have to find “rich people.”

Besides and, some equity crowdfunding portals for film projects are:,,,,, and

The likelihood of finding millions of dollars in funding online are slim; however, name actors and directors have had success.

Kanzler suggested that crowdfunding works as an easy way to ask your friends and families for small donations.  The process is especially effective for a short film.

Successful projects are usually the result of lots of hard work on the part of the “askers,” who have a long list of rich friends and social media contacts.

Sewell suggested thinking big, asking for $25,000 rather than $500.

Chellapa, who himself has invested in crowdfunded projects, said your film needs to have a hook to interest investors.  Still, he said you’d be better off using your time on the telephone, calling friends, then friends of friends, and then their friends.

Ketcher, who has some experience launching a crowdfunding campaign, added that if you don’t meet your goal with some funds, you won’t get anything.

If you can find a tie-in with a not-for-profit agency, you might be able to make an arrangement with them to receive donations and pass them through to your company.  The donor gets a tax write-off because the money goes to a not-for-profit, the agency gets the opportunity to further its mission as a result of the content of your film, and you get funded.  You are allowed to make a profit on the film, either documentary or narrative.

The non-profit should provide a service to you as well, such as giving you access to its mailing list, who are part of your target niche audience, or they may help you write grants, Ketcher said.

Kanzler suggested you provide 2- 5 percent fee to the agency for its administrative assistance.  He said to examine the success of the movie FIREPROOF, as an example of building a niche audience.  (

The Midwest Artist Project Services ( is a new 501C3 agency designed to provide these types of services for filmmakers and other artists.  St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts ( provide forms, seminars, and information about setting up your company.

Preparing your company to do business requires filing your business plan with the government.  You need a private placement memo.  Just remember that you can’t go public online or talk about your film project – even to friends and family – without all the legal paperwork.

Kanzler said that investors want to know one thing:  What’s in it for me?  They want to hear when they’re going to get their money back.  It’s show business, after all.

You might get the same investors for some of your projects, but you might not.  You might get distribution deals based on past success, but you might not.  It never hurts to have a “big name” attached when talking with investors and distributors.

Before you accept money from investors, have paperwork in place to explain how you’re going to divide up the money, once it starts to flow.  Legal obligations are one thing; moral obligations can keep you from sleeping peacefully.

Tax credits are one way to fund your project, if you can meet each State’s standards of minimum expenditure and residency requirements for crew.  Missouri has no film tax credit now, and the Illinois program is on hold.

Filmmakers shouldn’t count on money from product placement.  You might get in-kind services or gifts, though.  In fact, you have to get clearance to use a product on film, if that product will be visible.

Kanzler said some companies won’t want their products in certain films because they don’t want to be associated with the topic of the film.

If the company says OK but won’t put that in writing, you’ll run into problems when you go to distributors.  They’ll ask for the release.

While filmmakers might not be able to count on making a trailer to entice investors, you have to have something for a promotional website.

Sewell started a Meet-Up group, Equity Crowdfunding STL.  They’ll meet Tuesday, July 7, 6 p.m., at the Business Bank Building, 8000 Maryland Ave., 2nd Floor, in Clayton.  (


Recap of the “Camera in Action” Workshop and Announcing the Upcoming “Writing for the Screen” Workshop.

Recap of the “Camera in Action” Workshop and Announcing the Upcoming “Writing for the Screen” Workshop.
The recent “Camera in Action” workshop hosted by and taught by Dave Rutherford and Dave Berliner, was a fantastic learning experience from two guys who are at the top of their fields. “The Daves”, as we lovingly call them, pulled out all the stops with all the filmmaking toys anyone could ask for. Here’s a clip of the guys in action.
On the heels of this program comes the “Writing for the Screen” Workshop with Tim Breitbach and Jeramy Corray of Coolfire Studios; once again, two guys who are teaching from experience in their daily jobs. This workshop promises to be a fantastic learning experience, as Tim and Jeramy both have substantial writing credits for feature film and TV. The workshop will be held at the drool-worthy Coolfire Studios in St. Louis on May 30th.
As if that’s not enough and we can’t believe our lucky stars, film commissioner Andrea Sporcic will pay a visit to the “ Writing for the Screen” workshop to speak about the “Missouri Stories Scriptwriting Fellowship” offered by the Missouri Film Office. If you’re a writer looking for an immersive experience with top industry professionals, it doesn’t get any better than this. For more information on the “Writing for the Screen” workshop, go to



By Mary J. Schirmer

At the March 2015 MCA meeting, hosted by Patrick Barlow of Barlow Productions, experts on costumes and props took time from their busy schedules to offer insights on providing these services for stage and film productions. These panelists, noted below, have worked on major theatrical and film productions in Missouri and elsewhere, including the George Clooney-starrer UP IN THE AIR filmed in St. Louis, the Ben Affleck vehicle GONE GIRL filmed in Cape Girardeau, and the recent MARSHALL THE MIRACLE DOG filmed in St. Louis starring Lauren Holly and St. Louis native-gone-Hollywood Bill Chott.

The most successful props and costume crew members are able to think on their feet and improvise to solve unforeseen problems. Even so, the more notice a production can give them, the better.

Like many other professions, the best way to learn is to jump into the trenches.

Their motto: “Be Prepared for Anything.”


Property masters haunt resale and antique shops, props warehouses, college theater departments, and the basements and attics of family and friends.

They’re trying to build a look with accessories and props. The more comfortable the actor is, the better the performance will be.

For long shoots, the props masters might live onsite to be available for last-minute needs and to duplicate items that “walked away” or broke. In fact, on big budget movies, the crew keeps duplicate props along with a catalog of these items.

For both props and costumes, items that would have to appear perfect in a camera close-up don’t have to be in immaculate condition on stage. The 10-foot rule for stage productions says that the audience will be at least 10 feet away, so you might get away with a quick fix with duct tape or with nicked furniture.

If the script calls for weapons, even fake weapons, check regulations before putting these items into actors’ hands.


A costume often begins as a drawing or photo of what the client wants. The costumer works to locate or sew the costumes, as opposed to the wardrobe crew who work with the actors on set.

If you’re the actor, tell the costumer if you have allergies — for example, to wool — or if you perspire a lot. Kindly wear underwear to a fitting. Tell the costumer if you’ve lost or gained weight since your measurements were reported. Sometimes actresses have a baby between the time they’re measured and production begins.

Also, if you have to hide props in your costume, such as a weapon, tell the costumer so appropriate adjustments in fabric seams can be made.

If you’re the costumer, take your “tools” to the set. You might have to sew on a button that pops off the lead actor’s trousers — while he’s wearing them. You might have to “fix” fabric folds with your all-purpose knife while an actress is suspended from rigging.

The costume defines the character, not only for the audience but also for the actor. Costume colors, fabrics, and accessories often change as a story progresses.

Panelists were:

Sandi Blair, costume (unable to attend) robert schmidt costumes

Kathleen Gratz, costume

Sheila Lenkman, costume

Bruce Mai, costume

Megan Power, costume

Tim Stephens, props

Jim Tudor, props

Cathy Wilke, costume (unable to attend)

Clark Woodman, props


Script Mechanics presents CinemaSpoke Finalist Jasna Palada’s CLARA

Script Mechanics presents

CinemaSpoke Finalist’s Reading #2

Jasna Palada’s CLARA

A Dark Drama/Thriller

This Saturday, September 13, at 1pm at the Buder Library, Script Mechanics will hold a table read of CinemaSpoke Finalist Jasna Palada’s CLARA!

CLARA logline: An alcoholic mother decides to kidnap her child after losing custody, resulting in an ill hatched plan to cross the border into Mexico where the circumstances become much worse before she is able to finally redeem herself.

Congratulations to the Top 3 finalists in the 2014 CinemaSpoke screenplay competition! Continue reading Script Mechanics presents CinemaSpoke Finalist Jasna Palada’s CLARA

St. Louis MCA Diamond Reel Awards

St. Louis MCA Diamond Reel Awards

First Annual St. Louis Corporate Media Awards

Call For Entries

The 2014 St. Louis MCA Diamond Reel Awards are sponsored by the MCA-I St. Louis Chapter. The awards ceremony will take place Wednesday, October 15, 2014, and will honor work completed during the past year.

There are 20 categories open to those who have produced corporate media during the past 12 months. Entries must have been completed after March 1, 2013, and must have been produced by or for a corporation or business or production house.

Label each entry with each Category, Title of Entry, Name(s) of those involved, and Running Time. We will not return any DVDs, jump drives, or media. Or load your entry into the MCA-I St. Louis Vimeo Channel:

The deadline for entries is Monday, September 1, 2014.

Personal Information:

Company: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Name of Person entering: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Street Address: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
City/State/Zip: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Phone: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Email: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Project Information:

Title: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Length: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Producer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Director: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Videographer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Lighting Director: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Writer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Editor: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Audio: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Graphics: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Talent: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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Production Date: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Completion Date: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Brief Description: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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(Check appropriate category.)

Corporate Awards:

[_] Best Corporate Campaign (Radio, TV, Print)
[_] Best Corporate Information Video
[_] Best Corporate Image Video
[_] Best Broadcast/Cable Spot (under :60 seconds)
[_] Best Cable Feature
[_] Best Infomercial
[_] Best On-line Spot
[_] Best Direction in a Corporate Video
[_] Best Camerawork in a Corporate Video
[_] Best Editing in a Corporate Video
[_] Best Graphics in a Corporate Video
[_] Best in Print
[_] Best in Photography
[_] Best Radio Spot
[_] Best PSA
[_] Best Web Design
[_] Best Web Video
[_] Best Writing in a Corporate Video
[_] Best Talent in a Corporate Video

Best of Show Award (picked from entries)

Entries can be submitted in person to Lou Stemmler or Peter Carlos of MCA-I, or mailed to:

MCA-I Louie Awards
Silver Streak Studios
413 Hanley Industrial Court
Saint. Louis, MO 63144-1511

The fee to enter is $25 per entry, payable to MCA-I.

Each entry received or postmarked after September 1 but received by September 12, 2014, is $35 per entry.

Each entry needs a separate entry form.

All judges’ decisions are final.