NFL Draft Town’s return to Chi-Town means labor jobs

THE MAMMOTH NFL DRAFT — which die-hard sports fans dubbed “the Academy Awards of Football” — returns to Chi-Town Draft Town for the second consecutive year, April 28-30, providing a myriad of jobs for film/TV union labor.

The Auditorium Theatre is again Draft headquarters, while the three-day football festival for fans expands to Grand Park and Congress Plaza for a 900,000-sq. ft. celebration of the Draft. Admission is free.

All the services needed to set up an event this large mainly will be supplied by members of Stagehands Local 2, Studio Mechanics Local 476, IBEW 1220, Projectionists 110 and Teamsters 714.

Draft Town activities will run from noon till 10 p.m. April 28-29 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 30. ESPN, the NFL Network and CBS will provide full coverage.

Prior to coming to Chicago last year, the Draft was held in New York for 52 years; Chicago had hosted Drafts from 1962 to 1964. More than 200,000 fans had participated last year’s Draft, which generated an economic impact of $81.6 million.

RUMOR HATH IT … that both Leo Burnett and Havas Worldwide Chicago have trimmed an unspecified number of staffers over the past month or so, although the percentage of total staff laid off is unknown.

Ten Burnett employees, however, reportedly departed in early March. This was followed by creative department changes, when CD Britt Nolan was upped to CCO to fill the vacancy left by Susan Credle, who’d left last June, and “Like a Girl” lead creative A.J.Hassan moved to R/GA.

WHO WILL BE 2016 AD WOMAN OF THE YEAR? Deadline is April 22 to nominate your candidate from the ever-expanding advertising industry to receive that honor. Nominations may be made here.

Past honorees have included Trish Chuipek, president, Midwest Region OMD; Laura Desmond, CEO, Starcom; Susan Credle, CEO Leo Burnett, Lisa Cochrane, VP/marketing, Allstate; Fay Fergusson, co-CEO, Burrell; Marlena Peleo-Lazar, CEO/VP McDonald’s; Dana Anderson, president/CEO, FCB, Carol H. Williams, Carol H. Williams Advertising and Ruth L Ratny, then publisher of the original Screen Magazine — one of only two film industry women ever recognized by WACC.

Date, time and place of the 2016 luncheon to be determined.

REEL MICHIGAN. June 15 is the start date for production of director Michael Bay’s “Transformers 5” – working title “E75” – in Detroit and then move on to London. The blockbuster from Paramount will initially shoot at Michigan Motion Picture Studio and production will wrap Oct. 15.

Auditions have begun for cast and crew in LA, Detroit and London. Experienced film crew members, production staff, and vendors can submit resumes to

Some 450 Michiganders will be hired for 228 full-time positions and around 700 extras also hired.

Steven Spielberg is EP with Bay; script by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman. Release date is scheduled for June 12, 2017. As you know, the state legislators ended Michigan’s film incentives in 2015.

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