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”

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”

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”

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”

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.

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 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”

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”

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”

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”

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.

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.

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”

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”

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”

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. 

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.

“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.

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.

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”

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”

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”

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”

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.