All posts by Stephen Pidgeon



Whether you already have a media business — or you’re thinking of starting one — you’ll want to come to this meeting. We’ll have a panel of legal and business experts, as well as some of more successful media business owners in St. Louis. Whether you’re planning to build a media powerhouse — or you’re an independent contractor (actor, writer, director, editor, etc.) — there will be significant insights for you at this meeting.

You’ll learn

— the best way to structure your business to avoid legal problems and maximizing tax benefits

— financing options for small business owners

— tapping into the best small-business resources in St. Louis

— navigating the burgeoning local entrepreneurial eco-system.

— how to find your own profitable niche (or niches)

— how to make the most of the boom times, and how to survive the busts.

There will be plenty of time at the meeting to get your questions answered — and for those who like to stay out later there is our unofficial Afterglow for more networking and camaraderie.

The meeting will be at Barlow Productions in Olivette, one of St. Louis’ oldest and most successful video and photography studios.

TIME: Networking starts at 6:30, meeting at 7:00.

DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2015

LOCATION: Barlow Productions
1115 Olivette Executive Parkway
Olivette, MO 63132

COST: MCA-I members: FREE
Students: $5.00
General: $10.00


Tom Daiber has been with the St. Louis District office of the U.S. Small Business Administration for three years and is the Lead Lender Relations Specialist.  Tom serves as a senior member of the District Office Team and is primarily responsible for marketing all SBA lending programs and services, conducting outreach, training and recruitment with all of the lenders in the District and working with lenders that need assistance on complex transactions, those who are new to SBA lending, those who are growing their loan volume and diversifying into the use of additional SBA loan programs and services.  Prior to joining the SBA, Tom worked in the banking industry for 28 years where he gained valuable banking experience serving in a number of roles including senior lender, chief risk officer, chief financial officer, president and chief executive officer for several St. Louis area banks.

Chad Carpenter is a user experience designer by trade, and always wanted to create video and motion pictures. Chad is the Executive Director and founder of Middle West Movies. Middle West Movies is a non profit formed to provide Midwestern movie makers experience producing features. Chad wrote, directed, and produced MWM’s first feature, Dog Days in the Heartland, in August/Sept 2015.

David Houlle, the owner of Sight & Sound Production Services, Inc., is Missouri’s largest grip and lighting rental house. Over the 36 years, Mr. Houlle has worked on film & video projects from coast to coast but mainly working in the Midwest area. Projects Mr. Houlle has worked on varies from Paramount’s  production of “Up in the Air” to a small two man lighting situations. Sight & Sound is the go to rental house from these larger lighting setup as well as the last minute call for that one light that is needed.

Lou Stemmler owns Silver Streak Studios, LLC  which provides all types of video, audio, and multi-media production to corporate and non-profit clients, primarily in the Greater St. Louis region.  He was the Associate Producer of “Fatal Call”, a full length thriller.

Stephen Pidgeon owned and operated Pulse Productions, Inc from 1976 to 1983 which produced film and multimedia and now owns and operates Pulse Media Technology, Inc. which produces digital media, animation, motion capture, and content for augmented and virtual reality.

PS: Don’t forget to check out our new web site, designed by our board member and webmaster, Stephen Pidgeon … You’ll find Mary Schirmer’s write-up of our last meeting on hair, make-up, and costuming … another article by Mary on Erin Bernhardt, producer of the feature-length music documentary, “Imba Means Sing.”

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.



Citizen Jane Film Festival October 22-25

Hi, Script Mechanics folks.  The Citizen Jane Film Festival screens in Columbia, Mo., from this Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 25.  It’s a non-competitive celebration of the accomplishments of female filmmakers (not at all about male-bashing either).  The festival aims to encourage women and help them break into the film industry.

Read about the free workshops and see the film line-up at  It’s not a football weekend in Columbia, and the Cardinals aren’t playing (darn it), so why not get yourself and some friends to Columbia for some independent films.

Also, be on the lookout for the St. Louis International Film Festival, which runs Nov. 5-15.  See you at the movies.


Coming this Wednesday, October 14 from the St. Louis chapter of the Media Communications Association — Int’l…
    With Halloween coming up, it’s a good time to start thinking about hair, makeup and costumes.
But for filmmakers, it’s ALWAYS a good time to think about hair, makeup, and costumes.  They play
a vital role in character creation.
    At this month’s MCA meeting, we’ll have a panel of some of St. Louis’ finest hair, makeup and wardrobe artists.   We’re still getting confirmation from our panelists, but,  so far,  our confirmed lineup
    — Catherine Wilke, who has costuming, makeup, and hair credits in several major feature films that were
shot in St. Louis, including “The Lucky Ones,” “”Showdown at Area 51,” “The Black Hole,” “Saving Shiloh,”
and “The Big Brass Ring.”
    — Carmen Loera, who has done makeup for such local films as “Love Stalker” and “Grandmother’s
Murderers Club”.  She began her career in Los Angeles, where she was mentored by famed makeup artist,
Don Cash (“Planet of the Apes,” “All the President’s Men,” “Charlie’s Angels“).  Besides films, Carmen
has also done makeup for television commercials, runway fashion shows, and stage makeup for
rock bands.
    — Rommie Martinez, a hair stylist and makeup artist with 20 years experience, who works in television
and film.  Her credits include the 2016 film, “The Layover,” shot partially in St. Louis this year, with William H. Macy
and Kate Upton.
    — Nakita Smith is a owns the Loop Luxe and does hair and makeup, primarily for photo shoots and fashion shows.
    — Theresa Doggett, who has done costuming for many  theater groups in St. Louis.
    — Moderating the panel will be current MCA-I Chapter president, Natalie R. Toney, a licensed cosmetologist,
turned artist, writer, and filmmaker.  Her experience includes print, film, TV, and video, as well as hair, hair
replacement, and wigs.  She is a former salon owner, former salon manager, and former educator for the American Cancer
Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program.
    Whether you’re an actor, model, producer, director, or an aspiring hair, makeup, or wardrobe artist, there
will be something for you to learn at this meeting.
  What’s more, we have a brand new location that we’ve never been to before:  the studios of
The St. Louis Photo Authority, owned by St. Louis photographer, Edward Crim.   The studio is on the
east end of The Loop.  The address is 858 Hodiamont Avenue, which is the street on east side of the
Delmar Metrolink Station.  FREE PARKING is available in the studio’s private parking lot.  As usual,
we’ll have complimentary pizza, sodas, and bottled water.
    So, if you’re just looking for some ideas for a Halloween costume … or you’re looking for ideas for
your next film, photo, event, or video project — you’ll want to come to this meeting.
TIME:  Networking starts at 6:30, meeting at 7:00.
DATE:  Wednesday, October 14, 2015
LOCATION: St. Louis Photo Studio, 858 Hodiamont Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63112
COST:  MCA-I members:  FREE
            Students:  $5.00
            General:   $10.00


Screenplay Table Reading and Workshop

Actors needed Writers Wanted Screenwriting Workshop Table Read
Script Mechanics Screenwriting Workshop Sat Oct 10, 1-6 pm
Script Mechanics FREE Screenplay Workshop and Table Read — Actors Needed, Writers Wanted!
Oct 10, 1-6 pm
When:  Sat Oct 10, 1-6 pm
Where:  Buder Library 4401 Hampton Ave, 63109
What:  Screenplay Table Reading and Workshop
Please join us this month on October 10 for the reading of a feature fim script by Bryan Larimer.  In this drama, a soldier returns to St. Louis for a two week break over Fourth of July, 2007. While on a float trip with his best friend from high-school, the soldier meets a girl and falls in love.
a table read of short scenes by a half dozen writers.  Short scripts by tall people!
Every voice is welcome, and we will need a minimum of 9 readers!
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 fall and winter at Script Mechanics. If you have script that you would like coverage on, please contact Sandra Olmsted or Mary Schirmer.
Actors, writers, directors, producers, and film fans are all welcome to attend.

Script Mechanics Screenwriting Workshop Sat Sept 12, 1-6 pm

Script Mechanics Screenwriting Workshop Sat Sept 12, 1-6 pm
Script Mechanics FREE Screenplay Workshop and Table Read — Actors Needed, Writers Wanted!
Sept 12, 1-6 pm
When:  Sat Sept 12, 1-6 pm
Where:  Buder Library 4401 Hampton Ave, 63109
What:  Screenplay Table Reading and Workshop
Please join us this month on September 12 for a table read of short scenes by a half dozen writers.  Short scripts by tall people!
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.
Actors, writers, directors, producers, and film fans are all welcome to attend.