Good sign for commercial production

SOME POSITIVE PRODUCTION NEWS. Judging by how busy casting directors are right now, late summer spot production for the city is lookin’ good.

For instance, casting director Mickie Pasal of Tenner, Paskal & Rudnicke, reports a torrent of casting calls for commercials, including those for Leo Burnett clients Secret, McDonald’s and Eggo; Budweiser, DDB and the Illinois Lottery/Energy BBDO.

Paskal is most pleased at having cast six Chicago actors for a Blue Cross-Blue Shield shoot in New York Aug. 3-4, directed by Epoch Films’ delightful Phil Morrison (“June Bug”). “They were casting in three cities for 10 spots and we landed half the roles out of Chicago,” Paskal says.

The Manhattan-bound actors are Lea Coco, Erick Ratcliff, Vanessa Bayer, Joe Dempsey and Lucinda Johnston.

THE HIGH POINT of the rapidly ending summer’s social scene is the Optimus block party, coming up fast on Aug. 7, outside the post/production company’s building at Grand and St. Clair.

THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE. Director/editor Jerry Vasilatos hit the trifecta in the 2009 Star Awards, with his short picture, “The Dark Knight Project” produced on a shoestring budget last June. “The labor of love” for Vasilotas won Best Short Picture, Best Editing and Best Visual Effects.

“I just wanted the opportunity to shoot a short ?Batman’ story with high production values and share it with other fans in tribute to the character and to director Christopher Nolan, Vasilatos says.