Backyard Productions signs directors Mac Eldridge and John M. Lopez

Backyard Productions announces the additions of Mac Eldridge and John M. Lopez to their roster of acclaimed directors for US commercial representation.    Mac Eldridge is a multidisciplinary director with a rich background in crafting films, branded content, and commercials. Acclaimed for bringing his captivating visual style and narrative-driven storytelling to the sporting industry, his work … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs directors Mac Eldridge and John M. Lopez”

Porchlight announces Broadway in Your Backyard series

Porchlight Music Theatre announces the dates and cast for its Broadway in your Backyard summer concert series, directed by Michael Weber and music directed by Justin Akira Kono. Nik Kmiecik, Michelle Lauto, Lorenzo Rush Jr and Bethany Thomas perform this 90 minute performance of Broadway songs celebrating family, friends, community and inspiration.  Broadway in your Backyard is suitable for all ages and many of the events … Continue reading “Porchlight announces Broadway in Your Backyard series”

Backyard adds director Julia Ngeow to roster

Backyard Productions announced today the addition of Julia Ngeow to their roster of acclaimed directors and producers. CEO Kevin Allodi and Executive Producer Kris Mather are thrilled to bring forth Julia’s storytelling talent for commercial representation. Julia’s passion for filmmaking is originally based on her own explorations of the human condition and background in neuroscience, … Continue reading “Backyard adds director Julia Ngeow to roster”

Backyard Productions signs Director/DP Max Gutierrez

Backyard Productions announces that Award-winning Director/DP, Max Gutierrez, noted for his authentic lifestyle and warm family oriented work, has signed with the internationally acclaimed production house. With a passion for visual storytelling and capturing authentic slice of life moments, Max approaches his craft with a steadfast vision for finding the truth in a scene, having … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs Director/DP Max Gutierrez”

Director Paul Stone joins mountain of talent at Backyard

Bi-coastal commercial director and documentary filmmaker, Paul Stone, known for his visually striking and honest storytelling, has joined the roster at Backyard.  Paul’s contemporary and intimate style of filmmaking combines an authentic, documentary sensibility with a highly polished cinematic feel.  He has directed commercials and content for many brands, notably Airbnb, Verizon, P&G, Fidelity Investments, PNC Bank, DeWalt, American Family … Continue reading “Director Paul Stone joins mountain of talent at Backyard”

Backyard signs ‘Renaissance Man’ Anthony Furlong

Interdisciplinary Director Anthony Furlong has joined the evolving and expanding roster at Backyard Production. Anthony brings his diverse expertise as a live action Director, VFX/graphic artist, and animation director to the creative alliance. Often, two or more of these genres are included as part of his films. With a background as an actor, programmer, auto … Continue reading “Backyard signs ‘Renaissance Man’ Anthony Furlong”

Chace Strickland returns to Backyard Productions

One of the first directors to sign with Roy Skillicorn comes back to his old friends Director Chace Strickland, noted for his authentic lifestyle and warm family oriented work, has again signed with Backyard Productions. By making the move, Strickland rejoins his longtime friends, original founder / Managing Director, Roy Skillicorn, Executive Producer, Kris Mathur, … Continue reading “Chace Strickland returns to Backyard Productions”

Backyard signs Jeff Aron Lable

Production shop hires LA director known for working with celebrities and creating “awkwardly funny” humorous vignettes Production company Backyard Productions has announced the addition of award-winning Los Angeles-based director Jeff Aron Lable to its roster for both US commercial spot representation and content creation. A humor director with a flair for strong art direction and … Continue reading “Backyard signs Jeff Aron Lable”

Director Greg Popp swings into Backyard

Former DDB Chicago Senior Vice President brings top-notch comedy and celebrity experience to LA- and Chicago-based production house Greg Popp has joined Backyard Production’s roster, bringing his seasoned comedy and performance skills to a smart, enthusiastic team. Popp and Backyard CMO Roy Skillicorn have had a strong personal and professional relationship for more than twenty-five … Continue reading “Director Greg Popp swings into Backyard”

Patrick Creadon signs with Backyard Productions

Award-winning, docu-style storyteller brings “captivating” talent to West Coast shop Culver City, CA-based production company, Backyard Productions, has signed director Patrick Creadon for exclusive U.S. commercial representation. Known for his strong visual approach and unique ability to draw authentic performances out of his subjects, Patrick marries bold and striking visuals with compelling storytelling. Based in … Continue reading “Patrick Creadon signs with Backyard Productions”

Jake Sherry signs with Backyard Productions

Renowned for his work with people, the director is “on his way to being a superstar,” according to CMO Roy Skillicorn Backyard Productions is pleased to welcome NY-based Director Jake Sherry to its roster. Recognized for his ability to tease out natural performances in both actors and real people, especially kids, Jake manages to capture … Continue reading “Jake Sherry signs with Backyard Productions”

LA-based director/writer Ashley Avis joins Backyard

The multi-disciplined pro offers the versatility and enthusiasm that have become the company’s hallmarks Busy commercial and feature director Ashley Avis has followed Managing Director Roy Skillicorn’s to Backyard Productions. The move complements the support that Skillicorn has shown Avis throughout her career and reinforces Backyard’s climb to the top. Avis has written and directed … Continue reading “LA-based director/writer Ashley Avis joins Backyard”

Backyard Productions signs new Midwest, East Coast reps

“The best, most progressive, culturally relevant reps that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.” Roy Skillicorn, Backyard Productions Backyard Productions welcomes Nathan Skillicorn of Heart, Brains and Nerve for Midwest representation, and Perry Schaffer and Corey Rogers of Schaffer/Rogers for East Coast representation. Backyard’s founder, Roy Skillicorn, who recently rejoined the company … Continue reading “Backyard Productions signs new Midwest, East Coast reps”

Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions

The former rep who helped put Chicago on the national production map while building a $50 million company brings it all back home. Roy Skillicorn is back leading Backyard Productions, the company he founded and guided for 20+ years, recently partnering with Kevin Allodi, President & CEO of Philo Media, which acquired Backyard in 2017. … Continue reading “Roy Skillicorn returns to Backyard Productions”

Ewan McGregor, Backyard, Whitehouse industry moves

Ewan McGregor joins RSA as commercial director RSA Films president Jules Daly announced Monday that “The Force” is now with RSA as former Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor, has joined the Ridley Scott-owned company. The acclaimed film, theatre and TV actor, who won a Golden Globe this year for Best Actor in FX’s Fargo, joined for … Continue reading “Ewan McGregor, Backyard, Whitehouse industry moves”

Hugo Awards to honor Backyard Productions

Twenty years ago this fall, Roy Skillicorn, who was at the peak of his career as a top print and motion rep, and his friend, director Blair Stribley, whose young commercial company had recently dissolved, were at Skillicorn’s home talking about the production company they planned to start.

“What should we call it?” they pondered as they sat and sipped lemonade in Skillcorn’s backyard.

And Backyard Productions it was.

Flash forward to April 22, 2009.

The town is jumping with movie and TV projects; Backyard’s Kevin Smith shoots a short this week

DIRECTOR KEVIN SMITH of Backyard Productions of L.A. and Chicago departs from his role of directing commercials to helm a 20-minute short titled “Bubblerama” around town this week. Leigh Jones is producing.

The story is about a young woman played by actress Annie Paresse, a bohemian artist type, who reinvents herself during the process of researching an upscale life style.

“Bubblerama” will head for the festival circuit when completed.

Former DDB GCD Immesoete does double-duty at Backyard’s new Seed content company

Backyard Productions is never one to stand still, always finding a new way to serve emerging trends?like its newly-formed Seed, a content company led by former DDB award-winning group creative director John Immesoete.

Immesoete is Seed partner/creative director and also a director for Backyard.

Seed will concentrate on “entertainment opportunities such as TV shows and Web-based films,” said Backyard partner/principal Roy Skillicorn.

Since signing with Backyard in December, Immesoete directed the “Lady” Bud Light Super Bowl spot in collaboration with DDB.

Backyard plants Seed for future growth

Seed, a new L.A.-based commercial company, is the joint venture of Backyard partners Roy Skillicorn and Blair Stribley and Science+ Fiction founders Steve Mendelson and Kevin Townsend. Their focus is developing young directorial talent for commercials and programming content. Backyard COO Dan Bryant is Seed’s executive producer.

Seed starts sprouting with recent Pasadena Art Center grad Michael Chaves, who has directed McDonald’s and Char Broil spots, and Jim Byrkit, now helming a McDonald’s spot via Mad Films, which reps him in Canada.

Chuck E. Cheese kicks-off Summer of Fun with Navy Pier Concert Series

Chuck E. Cheese, the number one family entertainment venue, announced today that their second annual national live tour with Mr. Munch’s Make Believe Band will kick-off June 4 in Chicago at Navy Pier. The iconic group will return to the stage this summer to jam with families across the country, with shows in Chicago, Miami, Santa Monica and Dallas-Ft. Worth. One lucky fan will … Continue reading “Chuck E. Cheese kicks-off Summer of Fun with Navy Pier Concert Series”

Chicago Fire has wrapped for the season

Chicago Fire has wrapped for the season. The cast and crew will be on hiatus for about 8 weeks. Chicago Fire had a difficult season to get through with a short shut down caused by positive Covid-19 testing, extending their shooting days beyond Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. If your’re like me, you’re wondering what … Continue reading “Chicago Fire has wrapped for the season”

Official trailer for Chicago made series, Night Sky has been released

The official trailer for the series, Night Sky with Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons has been released by Prime Video, with a premiere date of May 20th. The sci-fi drama was filmed last summer in Chicago and the south suburb of Blue Island, and  Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. It is a co-production of Amazon Studios and Legendary Television. … Continue reading “Official trailer for Chicago made series, Night Sky has been released”

Lightyears changes name to Night Sky and sets show launch date

The Amazon sci-fi drama series Lightyears that filmed in Chicago last summer, with Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons has changed the title of the show to Night Sky. They are currently finishing up post production for an expected show launch date of May 20th. Amazon will drop all eight episodes at the same time. Night … Continue reading “Lightyears changes name to Night Sky and sets show launch date”

The Distillery Project says ‘Get Real’ in Fresh Thyme Market campaign

Independent, creative and strategic agency The Distillery Project has created a new marketing campaign for Midwestern full-service specialty retailer Fresh Thyme Market that urges shoppers to “Get Real” and find more authentic, healthy and affordable ways to make living better a reality.   Fresh Thyme Market focuses on value-priced fresh, healthy, natural and organic offerings. Stepping into a … Continue reading “The Distillery Project says ‘Get Real’ in Fresh Thyme Market campaign”

Heart, Brains & Nerve adds Hue&Cry to their roster

Acclaimed design-centered animation studio, Hue&Cry, announces this week that Heart, Brains & Nerve has signed on to represent the award-winning Richmond, Virginia company for commercials, film, and content in the Midwest. The creative artist management company is led by its founder, Nathan Skillicorn, who brings Hue&Cry a wealth of diverse marketing experience from working with premier production and post-production talent across a broad spectrum of … Continue reading “Heart, Brains & Nerve adds Hue&Cry to their roster”

Exclusive set photos of Lightyears filming on location in Blue Island

Chicago’s southwest suburb of Blue Island had an exciting day of filmmaking when the TV series Lightyears starring Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons (Spider-man, Spider-man: Far From Home, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) filmed on location at a home near 127th and Western, and at the Blue Island Police Station. Reel photographer, Sandra Plaza-Javier, captured the … Continue reading “Exclusive set photos of Lightyears filming on location in Blue Island”

Technology leader Cisco selects Chicago as new midwest regional hub

Cisco, a worldwide leader in technology, has announced Chicago as the company’s Midwest regional hub — complete with new offices in Chicago’s famed Old Main Post Office. The announcement was made by Gerri Elliott, EVP & Chief Customer and Partner Officer, Cisco, and Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.   Cisco will move its regional offices from Rosemont into … Continue reading “Technology leader Cisco selects Chicago as new midwest regional hub”

Ace reveals what Dads really want to do on Father’s Day

According to a new Ace Hardware survey, an overwhelming number of Dads—74 percent—said they would rather man the grill on Father’s Day than have someone else grill for them. In addition, 29 percent of respondents said they would buy a grill for dad (or themselves) on Father’s Day.  Summer Grilling Trends: Ready to Reunite: When asked … Continue reading “Ace reveals what Dads really want to do on Father’s Day”

Laughlin Constable expands pro bono program

Laughlin Constable, an independent, creative agency, announced it is expanding its pro bono program to specifically seek nominations and applications from minority-owned businesses in its own office cities of Chicago and Milwaukee that can benefit and grow from marketing services. The agency is aiming to “Increase the Piece” of success for minority businesses, which account … Continue reading “Laughlin Constable expands pro bono program”

Skillicorn takes on partner moves Seed headquarters to LA

Seed Media Arts is expanding and moving their headquarters to Los Angeles. This originally Chicago-based company founded in 2011 by Roy Skillicorn has recently partnered with Los Angeles based Executive Producer Brad Johnson. As Johnson expands Seed to Los Angeles, Roy Skillicorn and Nathan Skillicorn are continuing in Chicago as the midwest representation.  “Chicago is where … Continue reading “Skillicorn takes on partner moves Seed headquarters to LA”

Mophonics, Energy BBDO & ATKPLN launch Claritin spot

Mophonics Music and Sound, in partnership with Energy BBDO, has created a lovable original song for Claritin’s “The Outsideologist Project”—a new online program designed to get kids outside 1 more hour per week. The original composition, “Unboring Starts with U,” written and performed by in-house Mophonics composer and ACD Casey Gibson, teaches kids weird facts … Continue reading “Mophonics, Energy BBDO & ATKPLN launch Claritin spot”

J.K. Simmons replaces Ed O’Neill in Chicago series

O’Neill was announced in March 2021, but had to leave Amazon’s upcoming sci-fi drama series Lightyears due to “family reasons” as reported by Deadline. Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons will co-star alongside fellow Academy Award winner, Sissy Spacek. Lightyears is one of the four new series to be filmed at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios this … Continue reading “J.K. Simmons replaces Ed O’Neill in Chicago series”

Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more

Cinespace Chicago Film Studios welcomes several new productions to its growing campus.  As the Dick Wolf, One Chicago series prepares to wrap soon for the season, Cinespace announced four new series filming at its facilities. The Midwest’s production hot spot and second-largest film studio outside of Los Angeles in North America, recently added another 105,000 … Continue reading “Cinespace is up and rolling with 4 new series and more”

Sci-fi drama ‘Lightyears’ preparing to shoot at Cinespace

Oscar winner Sissy Spacek and three-time Emmy-nominated Modern Family star Ed O’Neill are set as the leads in the sci-fi drama, Lightyears, currently in prep at Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Amazon has issued a series order for, Lightyears, an hourlong sci-fi-drama produced by Legendary TV, from writer Holden Miller and producer Daniel C. Connolly. Connolly will serve as showrunner and … Continue reading “Sci-fi drama ‘Lightyears’ preparing to shoot at Cinespace”

Bigger Picture adds directors Humbi Entress & Martines

The Bigger Picture has emerged from the complexities of 2020 to lean in to enhanced storytelling with the addition of two new directors Humbi Entress and Martines. Both bring a global perspective and award-winning, original style and voice to their collaborations via the LA-based company, which also features Directors Caswell Coggins, Jones, Amir Mokri along … Continue reading “Bigger Picture adds directors Humbi Entress & Martines”

Union Editorial chooses Chiara Chung as midwest rep

Chiara Chung will rep Union Editorial as well as its sister finishing and VFX company, Hunter. The companies are handled by Melissa Ross of Melissa Represents on the West Coast, and the team of Katrin Aul and Katie Goldstein on the East Coast. Keith Quinn is Union’s Director of Development.   “We’ve taken a long time … Continue reading “Union Editorial chooses Chiara Chung as midwest rep”

Snowman transforms into Beerman for Coors Light

In a holiday season when nothing feels typical, Coors Light is introducing a festive tradition just for grownups – because, let’s be honest, adults deserve to enjoy the holiday season, too. Meet Beerman, a perfectly imperfect drinking buddy designed to keep your beers cold and your spirits up. In fact, Beerman is the holiday hero … Continue reading “Snowman transforms into Beerman for Coors Light”

Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination

Daring to break the traditional agency mold, Highdive is producing exciting work that pushes the envelope in new ways. Most recently, the Ad Age Small Agency of the Year partnered with Jeep to create a Super Bowl spot celebrating the 90’s classic Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. The commercial resonated with audiences as it was … Continue reading “Diving into Highdive and their Emmy nomination”

Bears players vow to take action to effect change

In the aftermath of another shooting of a Black man by a white police officer—this time in Kenosha, Wis., Sunday night—the Bears cancelled their practice that was scheduled to begin at 9:20 a.m. Thursday. This afternoon, Bears players released the following statement: “In the wake of what has taken place in our backyard of Kenosha … Continue reading “Bears players vow to take action to effect change”

Court TV to cover trials of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery

Court TV to cover trials involving George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Robert Durst, R. Kelly & more in months ahead. Court TV, the only multi-platform network devoted to live, gavel-to-gavel coverage, in-depth legal reporting and expert analysis of the nation’s most important and compelling trials, today at the 2020 summer press tour unveiled the cases and … Continue reading “Court TV to cover trials of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery”

Mayor Lightfoot announces Chicago’s 4th of July events

Fourth of July signature events include a virtual House music festival, a virtual “Independence Day Salute” concert event, and at-home Salsa dance parties across Chicago.  Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced the City’s signature Fourth of July holiday events including a virtual House music festival, a virtual … Continue reading “Mayor Lightfoot announces Chicago’s 4th of July events”

Seed adds Director/Photographer, Sam Ciurdar

Roy Skillicorn, owner and EP of Seed, envisions Sam Ciurdar making it big. “Sam has an artist’s eye for beautiful imagery that blends perfectly with his vision as a director and his interest in compelling storytelling. A true visual thinker and focused artist, he is the right fit for us.  His films capture emotion within the reality … Continue reading “Seed adds Director/Photographer, Sam Ciurdar”

Director, Mat Fuller joins Seed’s award winning roster

Seed adds Emmy nominated VFX artist, Mat Fuller, to their award-winning directorial roster. Fuller has worked as an on-set Visual Effects Supervisor, a live-action Director, and a Creative Director.   Following the model Seed established in 2011, each director on the roster has his or her own production company that does direct-to-client work. Mat owns Dark Matter FX. It will continue … Continue reading “Director, Mat Fuller joins Seed’s award winning roster”

High-Speed cameras and ‘The Slow Mo Guys’

Noah Kadner, Editor-in-chief at AbelCine goes Behind the Scenes with The Slow Mo Guys. The Slow Mo Guys are creator/cinematographer Gavin Free and co-host Dan Gruchy. Free and Gruchy primarily use a Phantom Flex4K high-speed camera to capture various forms of natural and physical phenomenon in super slow motion at 1,000 frames per second. Popular episode subjects include … Continue reading “High-Speed cameras and ‘The Slow Mo Guys’”

Behind the scenes with “South Side’s” Bashir Salahuddin

South Side co-creator Bashir Salahuddin cannot talk for more than a few minutes without mentioning his mother. He name-checks the neighborhoods, the people, and the food that he got to know through her, especially the food. The memories shape his perception of Chicago’s South Side as a thriving mix of faces, places, and restaurants. Energized … Continue reading “Behind the scenes with “South Side’s” Bashir Salahuddin”

‘Sixteen Candles’ ranked as IL’s favorite romantic comedy

Chicago’s favorite romantic comedy is the John Hughes’ classicSixteen Candles, according to a report issued this week by research company Comparitech. The 1984 coming-of-age comedy tells the story of a family that forgets about the 16-year-old birthday of their daughter and sister, Samantha, played by Molly Ringwald. After Samantha’s parents ignore her and her private … Continue reading “‘Sixteen Candles’ ranked as IL’s favorite romantic comedy”

Director Magellan Rubin sets sail with Seed

Powerful storyteller “blends narrative sense with an impeccable eye for visual detail” Writer-Director Magellan Rubin has joined the directorial roster at Seed Media Arts’. Inspired by a passion for telling emotionally charged stories that are both visually distinctive and powerfully delivered, Magellan “blends narrative sense with an impeccable eye for visual detail,” according to Seed … Continue reading “Director Magellan Rubin sets sail with Seed”

Mosaic names Justine Greenwald ECD

Top brand activation agency bolsters leadership bench with addition of accomplished, multi-disciplined marketing executive Mosaic, a brand activation agency that delivers consumer experiences in store, online and in the community, announced today the addition of accomplished marketing executive Justine Greenwald as the agency’s Executive Creative Director. Greenwald will lead award-winning teams of creatives and strategists … Continue reading “Mosaic names Justine Greenwald ECD”

Reel Women: Emily Walton, advertising pro

OKRP’s creative phenom talks about family, work, evolving attitudes towards women, and tropical drinks Emily Walton is an Associate Creative Director (Art Director) at O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul where she helps lead the Chili’s business. Having visited over 40 countries, Emily looks to her experiences abroad to inspire her work, which has also made its … Continue reading “Reel Women: Emily Walton, advertising pro”

WTTW premieres season two of ‘Urban Nature’ March 20

Watch host Marcus Kronforst eat a salad made of greens picked from an alley in Chicago at If you know where to look, you’ll find the most surprising slices of nature thriving amidst the urban jungle of America’s largest cities. In season 2 of WTTW’s digital series Urban Nature, University of Chicago evolutionary biologist … Continue reading “WTTW premieres season two of ‘Urban Nature’ March 20”

Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant

Chicago-based equipment rental house to award winning filmmaker with nearly $10K in cash, gear, and goodies Camera Ambassador is offering creators a chance to win nearly $10k worth of funding, gear, and other goodies by way of a Builders Grant designed “to recognize accomplished individuals, as well as provide opportunities for young and emerging artists.” … Continue reading “Camera Ambassador announces Builders Grant”

‘Garage Squad’ finale caps off another growing year

Nearly a million viewers are expected to tune into tonight’s finale of the show that celebrates car culture as one of America’s most treasured pastimes   There’s a story behind every broken down car in America, and the creators of Garage Squad work around the clock to bring nearly a dozen of them to life … Continue reading “‘Garage Squad’ finale caps off another growing year”

Brands see red over white supremacist movement

If you’re a khaki-wearing, Detroit Redwings sporting, and tiki torch bearing white nationalist, the brands want you to know in no uncertain terms that they don’t want your support.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the size of Chicago, you are probably aware of the horrific event in Charlottesville last weekend where hundreds of white nationalist, neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan idiots descended upon the University of Virginia’s campus performing classic hits including, “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and soil.”

City becomes a popular set for spots, films ahead

BUSY PRODUCTION IN WEEKS AHEAD on the streets of Chicago.  On the feature side: “Batman vs. Superman” moves after months in the Motor City to the Windy City and opens an office at Cinespace next week.  Shooting starts Nov. 3-14.  Scheduled locations include the farm house in Plainfield, the subway and the “Daily Planet” atrium at Willis Tower. 

The Art Directors Club looks like it’s here to stay

REVIVAL OF THE ART DIRECTORS CLUB after a long absence was a smashing success, judging by the creative community that turned out for two events.  Partnering here with Otis Gibson’s GERTRUDE, New York-based The Art Directors Club renewed its presence here with a turnout of 50 of city’s top creative executives at the Oct. 1 inaugural, invitation-only dinner honoring one of the city’s best, Bob Scarpelli, former chairman/CCO of DDB Worldwide.

HY Connect shows enviable account, staff growth at 10

We’ve said it many times before.  And no matter how often we say it, the truth doesn’t change.  The past decade has not been kind to the Chicago advertising community.

Too many agencies have shrunk or endured a painful death. Too many pieces of business have looked for greener pastures in other markets.  And too few agencies have demonstrated the kind of leadership that might have changed the fate that befell this city’s ad industry since the turn of the century.

Staging pro John Kavanagh joins Lakeshore Audiovisual

THIRTY-YEAR STAGING VETERAN John Kavanagh has left the Show Department after 27 years to join national, full service production company, Lakeshore Audiovisual, Inc. (LSAV), as VP/business development.

LSAV, founded and operated by Michael Giglio in 1995, specializes in staging, special events and conventions.

Headquartered on Chicago’s Northwest Side, it has offices and warehouse facilities in the major convention centers of Las Vegas, Washington, D.C. and Orlando.

Dan Bryant back from L.A. as The Whitehouse’s new EP

After 14-years in Los Angeles as an executive producer of commercials, Dan Bryant is thrilled to be working Chicago again, as the Whitehouse Chicago’s new executive producer.

Joining The Whitehouse was a matter of perfect timing on both sides.  A month ago, Bryant and his wife were seriously considering returning to the Midwest after the post house he’d worked for had closed.  

Comedy web portal series on tap

A COMEDY WEB PORTAL called “Fooblik” is being built by Kamath “Kayenn” Nilesh of Argeli Vicar. The production team is producing the series “Fooblik News Network” and “Day Job,” and they’re developing a “quasi-docu” series.  

The production team includes director/editor Brin Hill, James Vozella and Tony Lentino from Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, and writer/actors Briana Hanson, R.J. Thieneman, Erin Breen, Alex Thompson and Dan Bush. 

Nilesh is shopping “Fooblik” for celebrity cameos and Silicon Valley investors. 

Two companies combine with a Mighty good idea

Backyard Productions and Optimus are sharing their mighty resources in a newly formed “creative production home,” operating autonomously out of Backyard’s Venice, California office.  

Backyard president Blair Stribley and Optimus president Tom Duff and his partners on Feb. 1 launched Mighty Film Co., as a separate new venture.  The two companies will share some overhead.

Around the New Year, Stribley says he approached Duff about a possible new venture.  “He got interested in it quickly and we decided to partner,” Stribley says.

Grossman & Jack settles into new offices

GROSSMAN & JACK TALENT, the popular agency owned by veteran agents Mickey Grossman and Linda Jack, are now settled into their more comfortably configured new offices at 33 W. Grand.

The company moved over the July 4th weekend, after 17-years at 230 E. Ohio to 5,000 sq. ft. offices accommodates the talent agency (Grossman for on-camera and Jack for voiceovers), G&J Models, lifestyle models for print, and Agency Galetea for fashion and runway.

Ace New York editor joins Red Car

New York editor Michael Coletta exchanges the Mad Ave scene for Michigan Ave – more accurately East Illinois St. — when he returns home Aug. 16 after a nine-year absence.

He joins Red Car from Nomad Editing, bringing with him that New York panache from having worked with bi-coastal A-list spot directors for the biggest agencies and the most famous brands.

Red Car managing director Craig Duncan characterizes Coletta as “a natural storyteller with impeccable comedic timing.

Hungry Man is the Hugos’ top TV choice

HUNGRY MAN of New York, famous for its creative directors and take on comedy commercials, has won the Commitment to Excellence Award for TV commercials from the 2010 Hugo Television Awards, announced Jesse Berkowitz, competitions coordinator at a party Thursday night.

Hungry Man’s managing partner/executive producer Kevin Byrne will accept the Gold Hugo on behalf of his company at the April 15 awards ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel.

Famous for comedy commercials, Hungry Man’s work is always a dominant force on the Super Bowl.

“We are more than Mafia!” states indie film

Director/producer Jenna Maria Constantine’s $350,000 feature “A Sicilian Odyssey,” the fictional journey of a young American writer uncovering her mother’s deepest secret, is also Constantine’s odyssey.

Its Dec. 20 premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center marks the second anniversary of when Constantine, of Chicago-based Jade Entertainment & KaplaniKid Productions, started filming in Italy.

I hope to generate a different image than we have of Sicily with a different focus and goal,” said Constantine.

“Bucky Badger” wins Wisconsin Festival award

THE AUDIENCE AWARD for the best documentary went to Fulton Market Films’ “Being Bucky,” at the recent Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, one of only films so honored out of the festival’s 199 entries.

Award-winning Scott Smith, who grew up in Madison, directed the 80-minute doc about the seven students who play “Bucky Badger,” the University of Wisconsin/Madison mascot during the 2007-2008 school year.

A 5-year, $500 million tax credit for California

California is determined to keep its feature film and TV production in its own backyard with a stunning new five-year $500 million tax credit that will make producers think twice about shooting in states with tempting government incentives.

Passed by the California legislature Feb. 19, the Production Incentive Program covers 20% of below-the-line expenses for production of up to $75 million and 25% of expenses for indie feature productions of up to $10 million and for all TV series relocating to California.

“Peep Show” for Spike TV appears to be the
only new TV pilot set to shoot in Chicago soon

THE ONLY NEW TV SHOW on the Chicago horizon seems to be “Peep Show” for Spike TV. The pilot of the Americanized version of the British hit series is scheduled to shoot here in September or October.

Tenner Paskal Rudnicke is casting eight or nine actors for lead roles, “but no one is officially cast yet,” says TPR partner Jennifer Rudnickne.

On the commercial front, TPR’s recent casting was for 59 Films’ two-day shoot for Coors/DraftFCB, calling in the four “regular guys” for the latest entry in the ongoing campaign.

Another TV pilot hits town; producers head to L.A.-Chicago bash; adwoman takes on new challenge

“LEVERAGE,” a TV pilot from Dean Devlin’s TNT Entertainment goes into production Oct. 6-15 in Chicago, having won out over Portland, Vancouver and Montreal, thanks to the abundance of perfectly suited office space available here that’s required by the story.

“That and Illinois’ tax incentives cinched the deal,” says the IFO’s Todd Lizak, who heads IFO scouting.

The story’s about a team of high stakes, high-tech thieves who circle the globe to rob from wealthy criminals, corrupt businessmen and venal politicians.

Sign of spring: IFP’s 3rd annual Producer Series with stellar speakers starts March 31 to May 5

IFP/Chicago’s third annual Producers Series gets down to the business of film and getting it to market with lectures and panels by proven experts from throughout the country, including favorite Bob Brown, the business expert behind Jeff Daniels’ indie films.

“The Art of Getting it Done” series kicks off March 31 and runs Saturdays through May 5.

Each year the series outdoes itself over the previous year and the 2007 line-up should fill all 200 seats of the college theatre, said executive director Elizabeth Donius.

Memories of coconut shrimp dish enjoyed in Baja deliciously revived here at El Nuevo Mexicano

Some meals haunt me for years and I’m always on the hunt for something similar to those I’ve devoured in out of the way places, like the fresh coconut-coated jumbo shrimp served at a shack of a restaurant on the azure Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico.

Where’d I find it? Practically in my own backyard, of all places.

El Nuevo Mexicano, 2914 N. Clark St., is a lovable little restaurant that I always walk past and make a mental note to remember to visit sometime. Last week I just knew it was the place to meet a few friends and swill some margaritas.

5-25-77: How “Star Wars” Changed My Life

Patrick Read Johnson’s teenage visits to the visual effects stages of “Stars Wars” and “Close Encounters” launched him on a 20-year career as Hollywood effects technician and studio writer/director.

His credits include “Spaced Invaders” (writer/director, 1990), “Baby’s Day Out” (director, 1994), “Angus” (director, 1995), “Dragonheart” (writer, 1996), and “When Ghouls Go Bad” (writer/director, 2001).

Then he moved back into the house where he grew up in tiny Wadsworth, Ill.

Day puts sketch group GayCo’s satiric comedy on video with Split Pillow’s surprising budget assist

GAY IS THE GIVEN, not the punchline.

They’re funny. They’re gay. And when I saw their runway summer hit “Weddings of Mass Destruction,” my first thought was, “I can’t believe they’re not on television.” But if all goes according to plan, that’s about to change.

The Second City-born GayCo rolls in its ninth anniversary as a celebrated Chicago sketch comedy stage ensemble with the introduction of its newly completed series of TV-style sketch videos, “GayCo Presents?”

It was the most fun I’ve had producing anything for the screen.

Rewind to summer 2004.

REELSCREEN: News and Notes

TEST SPOT GURU and Daily Planet founder Fred Berkover continues to ply his years of expertise with a new company partnered with Swell president Mike Topel. Tentatively named Stealth, the company is located on the 14th floor of NBC Tower, as is 59 Films, Ron Lazzeretti and Ed Amaya’s production company.

OCT. 4 IS THE DATE set for the IFO’s “Sweet Home Illinois” party for Chicagoans who now work in the L.A. film industry.

REELSCREEN: News and Notes

THE FOUNDATION OPENS. When his 10-year Red Car contract ended, editor James Lipinsky decided the time had come to go into business for himself. On March 1, he opened the doors to the Foundation, located in spacious quarters at 200 E. Ohio St., and in West Hollywood, with three employees and a steady stream of major agency clients.

The current staff consists of editor Steve Morrison, who joined after four years at Superior Street, Producer Laurie Abels, an Element 79 associate producer, and assistant Rob Chambers, a Columbia College grad.

Up and Down the Avenue – 03/10/04

FLYING HIGH. IFO director Brenda Sexton returns from her sixth L.A. trip in 11 months reporting tremendous interest” in the wage tax credit bill from meetings set up by MPAA lobbyist Dans Stevenson. Paul Caselton, deputy general counsel of the Illinois Dept. of Revenue tax division went to explain how the credit workswage tax credit works. Freshman state rep Ken Dunkin, cosponsor of the bill, also made the trip. And Local 476’s Paul Oddo decided this would be a good time to shop the union’s low-budget contract in L.A.

Spot production up 70% over 2002

If it feels to you like the spot business has picked up over last year, you’re absolutely right.

The Chicago Film Office, which keeps track of these things, reports a whopping 70% increase in the number of commercials shot here to date (as of Aug. 13).

CFO noted 61 commercial projects have filmed in the city, representing 104 shooting days to date. Compare that to last year’s 42 projects and 74 shooting days.

Among recent commercials produced:

Artisan of L.A.