Beast Editorial adds its first Smoke artist

BEAST EDITORIAL IS SMOKIN’ with the additon of Smoke artist Mark Anderson hired last month upon his return home from a two-year stint at Crash & Sue in Minneapolis. “The first day I got there I learned the company had been sold to an employee,” Anderson says. “It wasn’t quite what I had expected.”

Last summer he heard through a friend about the Beast job opening and called Beast executive producer Melissa Thornley and quickly found “we were on the same wave length.” Anderson says, admitting he’s very glad to back. He’s currently installing Beast’s first Smoke and finalizing his room.

“Not only is he an amazing Smoke artist, says Thornley, “but he can fix your motorcycle if it breaks down.” Not necessarily a qualification for an editor, but good to know.

Before he Crashed in Minneapolis, Anderson spent a decade at the late Avenue Edit, where his spot clients included Disney, Toyota, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. He’s also been an offline editor and audio engineer. In the Twin Cities, Target, Best Buy, Subaru and FedEx were his clients.

Beast’s other editors are Angelo Valencia, John Dingfield and Sean Berringer.

AN EXPANDED WHITEHOUSE is in the throes of stretching its River West space to “a more modern and cleaner” 13,000-sq. ft.—that’s a full floor and more than the 9,000-sq.ft. offices the post house has occupied since 1995.

The space build-out is taking place in two phases, says operations director Lacy Walsh, who worked with Reed Construction Company to facilitate the project. The first phase has been completed and the next phase is scheduled for April completion.

The Whitehouse has a staff of about 35 “and we were really cramped in our old space,” she says. One of the beneficiaries of the expansion will the Cap Gun production division that now gets its own spacious office.

YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN, discovered Nikke Piazza, who just rejoined her former company, Red Car, after a two year stint as CRC, originally as production manager and for the past year as producer.

When studio manager Jon Desir was tapped as Red Car’s executive producer a few months ago, succeeding Craig Duncan, who’d been wooed away by Cutters, Desir thought of Piazza to replace him. “We had stayed close while she was at CRC and when I was promoted, I felt she could fill my former producer’s job and reached out to her. I always knew Nikke was a rising star.”

ONE OF NAPTE’S BIG HITS was the half-hour pilot for “Jr. Cuisine,” the Chicago-created and produced kids-for-kids TV cooking show, from Cherise and D’Shaun Ragland of Red Dove Record productions and directed by Jim White.

“Distributors from both U.S. and foreign markets are eating it up,” reports entertainment lawyer Linda Mensch, who accompanied the Raglands to the TV programming expo held last week in a chilly Miami.

“LOUDER THAN A BOMB,” the locally-produced, multi award-winning doc from Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs has won a coveted slot on “OWN Documentary Club,” a doc showcase running monthly on Oprah’s new network. No date set as yet.

You can see this touching and impressive film about a local poetry slam and its participants when “Bomb” starts its theatrical run Feb. 4-10 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

SAG AND AFTRA are moving closer to forming a single talent union. AFTRA passed a resolution authorizing the continuation of the Listening Tour of major AFTRA locals, which includes Chicago. AFTRA’s national board will hear the findings May 14 and make recommendations about the next steps to unite the two unions.

OUR FILM INDUSTRY will lose a potentially strong advocate if Rahm Emanuel doesn’t make it to City Hall. Emanuel’s people were very interested in proposals on how to increase the city’s film business, which needs all the help it can get to effectively compete for Hollywood entertainment projects. —Ruth L Ratny