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Local Film Businesses Strive for Breakout Role

SCV companies share their experiences tapping into the film market

Posted: August 27, 2013 12:15 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2013 12:15 p.m.

Though the Santa Clarita Valley film industry is a tight-knit one, it shakes hands with businesses in every industry, trade and retail market.

As a local business, opportunities to break into the tapping market are plentiful, although they may require the right connections.

Depending on the script and set, productions require a broad range of services, materials and venues to get their film rolling.

“For on-location filming venues, productions require a wide variety of businesses: restaurants, bars, country clubs, gyms, office buildings – whatever is in the script,” said Monica Harrison, owner of the location scouting service, L.A. Film Locations. “Once a production sets up in Santa Clarita, it could require services from a broad range of businesses, from the small mom-and-pops to the corporate chains.”

Harrison helps to connect businesses to the studios, initiating newcomers into the highly networked industry.

Providing client referrals to the studios, Harrison uses a handful of go-to local businesses for set up, clean up and materials. She has connected productions with restaurants, dry cleaners, marble yards, potable air system vendors, country clubs and more, based on filming activities and demands.

“If productions have requests, I fill them, whether it’s stocking bathrooms with supplies or recommending a local lunch spot,” she said. “We put businesses in touch with the studios, otherwise it’s cold-calling. And productions don’t have the time to be driving around knocking on doors for services.”

But when cold-calling is the only option, a local business found that it takes more than one strategy at play to break into the film market – and stay around.

Born out of a passion for the industry, View Factor Studios creates custom, trending equipment for cameras used in the film industry.

“I started out in the film industry doing special effects and branched out into creating products,” said Joshua von Badinski, co-owner of View Factor Studios. “We came up with ideas for what equipment we would need to make movies better.”

Experience working in the industry before marketing to it helps a company find direction and purpose, he said. Their first big hit was a stop/start remote for a specific brand of camera that was popular at the time.

“Nobody else was making it for them, and a remote is essential to any camera if you’re shooting a movie,” von Badinksi said. “There is such a range of products and services; you have to make something unique and novel. Find that one product that someone would gravitate toward.”

Once a product is conceptualized, manufactured and ready for market, von Badinski turns to social media to spread the word in a tight-knit, trend-driven industry.

“A lot of our success in branding has come from word of mouth, so a big part of our company is focused on social media,” he said. “You get a feel for what people want and need.”

Von Badinski also uses social media to tap into the next market trend and anticipate studio needs before competitors.

“Get the personal feedback. Go to trade shows. Use online forums,” von Badinski said. “Watch trends because it changes overnight.”

But View Factor Studios’ success definitely didn’t happen overnight, he said of the business established in 2008.

“It’s a worldwide industry, but it’s crazy how small it still feels — just like this valley. Everybody still knows everybody,” von Badinski said. “Even though the industry is global, it feels like Valencia.”



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