Important things are happening, Connecticut. I”m pretty sure that by this time next year I’ll be famous and it’s all thanks to the first ever New England Film and TV Expo, held at the Bushnell on November 7. Brace yourself!
After taking advantage of the Bushnell’s ample free parking, it seemed like most of the people attending were looking to break into show business as actors or models. “Serious” actors and models just have a look about them…they’re easy to spot.
I checked in (press pass!), got my “bag o’ information” and started poking around. There were three floors of booths to investigate, ranging from production companies, to talent agencies, to acting instructors, and film fests (like our good pals at Silk City Flick Fest.) Leigh FX, a CT company, had one of the more notable booths. They are a special effects company specializing in horror. Bloody good stuff! They had a few subjects painted up like they were hacked to bits with a machete. It was eye catching…and gouging.
The main attraction was a series of speakers. One of the first people to talk was George Norfleet, the director of the Commission on Culture and Tourism, film division. According to him, approximately “$700 million dollars worth of production has gone on in the state of Connecticut,” mostly due to the generous tax credit (up to 30%) productions can receive. Nothing to sneeze at.
When I asked Norfleet if he’s seen other states trying to jump on the tax credit bandwagon, he said yes, but Connecticut is still doing very well for itself. “There are two projects in Bridgeport” being filmed right now, as a matter of fact.
Two representatives from The Johnston Agency fielded questions from the eager crowd on how to get an agent, what they’re looking for, the perfect head shot, etc. It was a little disappointing that the Actors Technique that was scheduled to talk about nailing an audition pulled a no show, bumming out the fame hungry.
As I was leaving the Bushnell, I ran into the organizer and overall head hancho of this event, Luz Ramos, and she’s very optimistic about the future of film in Connecticut. She sees the building of the studio and sound stages in South Windsor as a sort of “if you build it, more will come” type thing. Hey, nothing wrong with that. When asked if she intends to put on the Expo next year, her response was, “Absolutely.” Can’t wait!