Ohe head of the Adirondack Film Commission, Andrew Meader, has been busy helping the Lake George Wine Outlet, a new business he manages, get started, he hasn’t let down the area’s film community.
Meader said the COVID-19 pandemic has actually changed the film industry in that people realize there are places outside of New York. Filmmakers are finding other suitable places to live, film and work.
“The local film community has really grown during the pandemic. As the filmmakers begin to consider out-of-town filming options, they slowly move up the Northway. A lot of projects came into the Hudson Valley area and then a lot of projects started in Albany, so it’s not a lot for teams to come a little further north,” Meader said.
A prime example is Animal Planet’s 2022 “Puppy Bowl” which aired ahead of the Super Bowl on February 13. The event was filmed for the second consecutive year inside the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls in October 2021.
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In addition to “The Puppy Bowl,” Meader said the commission gets requests to use venues “all the time.”
He was very happy to share a new “unofficial alliance” with the film offices of Albany, Schenectady, Troy and Saratoga. The projects underway in one of the local counties were a progressive step for the upstate New York region, he said.
Meader noted that the “Pretty Little Liars” TV series reboot that is currently filming in Schenectady is a result of the area’s “talent pool” increasing.
“More projects that come to the surrounding area will eventually come to us. It doesn’t make much difference to drive an extra hour on the Northway to reach the place they’re looking for,” Meader explained. “Between Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga and us, we can play the role of many parts of the world.”
He was also eager to announce a movie day on May 19 at the Albany Capital Center. The event will aim to bring together people from the film industry for networking opportunities and expert panels, including one on a panel of film and television composers, one on how to finance a project and another on how productions infuse the local economy.
“It’s designed to be educational, but it’s also a networking opportunity for people in the film industry. If you’re in town, you’re connected; it’s a little more difficult when you’re here,” Meader said.
He talked about the benefits of those events, citing a recent mixer in February, where as a Lake George town resident, Meader met two other townspeople in the film industry that he was unaware of.
“They are there, people just don’t know it. We are still in our infancy, in this sense, but the more projects there are in the region, the more the network can continue to grow,” he said.
Black Mountain visuals
Cameron Gallagher met Zack Porlier in 2017 at Ray Supply Audio and Video in Glens Falls while buying equipment as a wedding and portrait photographer.
“I guess I seemed pretty knowledgeable, so Cameron asked me if I wanted to help out with some work,” Porlier said.
The duo began working on weddings together and pitching commercial video production to companies, but the two had a creative itch that needed to be stamped out.
“I think we both got into it hoping to do something more creative, but realized we actually needed a job and weddings were the easiest way for both of us. to get us going,” Porlier said as Gallagher nodded.
Gallagher, as founder and director, and Porlier, as producer and creative director, realized that their small business, Black Mountain Visuals, was starting to grow, they now had all the equipment they needed to start creating their own content.
They started with low-budget projects that they put together in their spare time, “just for fun”, until they realized bigger possibilities.
“In November 2020, we really decided it was time to step up our game a bit and do something bigger,” Gallagher said.
He searched online and found a screenplay that had been chosen as a finalist in a competition, “The Rickety Man,” written by Jeremiah Lewis.
After contacting the writer, the company purchased the rights to the script and began the months of planning to turn the script into a short film.
The trio enjoyed working together and recently completed a low-budget short, “Lucid,” using another of Lewis’s scripts.
Accustomed to working on the fly, at a fast-paced celebration, or on a deadline for the Cornell University client, Gallagher and Porlier spent five months planning the production.
“From January (2021) to May, we planned. We had a national cast to fill the roles and had to fly in actors. It was a different experience for us, just being able to lead rather than Zack and I splitting all the chores and running around getting it all done,” Gallagher said.
The short was shot over five days, using The Mansion of Saratoga and outdoor locations in the town of Hartford, Washington County. The audio was also recorded at the company’s home offices in the WorkSmart building, located on Glen Street in Glens Falls.
After an additional five months of post-production, the film was entered into 20 film festivals across the country and received 11 recognition or awards. The short premiered, without the producers due to COVID, at TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
“We have like this impostor syndrome, where we feel like little kids who don’t know what they’re doing. But we’ve talked to some people in the industry and found that feeling never goes away, even after working on multi-million dollar projects. So we just took what we already knew and tried to start doing things in a more legitimate way,” Porlier said.
After deciding to go ahead with the project, they launched a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com, a website designed to raise funds for creative projects or new products.
It was a concept neither of them was familiar with and they were shocked at the support they received. The horror short ended up with a budget of $25,000, a much larger production than the shorts they had shot over the weekend with pals.
“We’ve done a bunch of Zoom calls with people we’ve never met who have invested and are now receiving some of the benefits, and we just can’t believe there are people out there who didn’t know us. not, but had enough faith in our project to say “here’s $1,000,” laughed Gallagher.
“It definitely gave us a boost,” Porlier said. “Having people who believe in us.”
They have been in contact with several major production companies interested in seeing more or turning “The Rickety Man” into a feature film, but no deal has been brokered at this time.
Jana is a general reporter covering Moreau, Queensbury and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-742-3272.