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Location, Location: A Seminar for Film Students

By Pete Barell
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Last week, the New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and TV Development sent representatives to conduct a seminar for LIU Post students. The free event, hosted by the Film department, was held during common hour in Kahn, room 119. Locations Department Manager Dwight Craver and Deputy Director Jerry Stoeffhaas discussed the process of acquiring a location for filming, and how their office may aid in that effort.

Pizza and drinks were provided, as around 40 Film students
and professors turned out for information about the basics of scouting locations, the application of the office’s website (, and free services for finding locations within the state that are both cost- effective and legal. Craver and Stoeffhaas detailed Governor Cuomo’s extension and enhancement of the New York State’s Film and Television tax credit incentives, which help alleviate costs for feature film and television pilot productions

Kathy Mendall and Theresa Duggan, director and associate directors of conference services, were contacted by Craver several weeks ago to set up the seminar as a part of a new effort to generate awareness for his offices. “This is the first school they’ve [visited] to talk about locations with film student[s],” said Mandall. “They are very invested in having the film students stay here in New York, and really growing the industry in the state.

While most Film students at LIU are working on short films, and are not yet applying for tax credit incentives that require a larger budget and crew, the information proved valuable as an insight to future endeavors. Film students expressed their gratitude about the free services that may help them in finding hard-to-create locations for films they are currently working on.

“I think it’s the hardest thing, people trying to visualize themselves in the future,” said Susan Zeig, a Film program director. Zeig assisted with gathering the student body for the event, and spoke about the importance of resources and networking within the substantial film industry.

“To be able to say ‘could you help us with a hospital room, a jail, or a road?’ and have them say ‘yes’ is very important,” continued Zeig. “For people to see that it is an art and a business, part of our culture, [and that] there are so many ways to get yourself involved in it if you follow your nose, it’s very satisfying. That’s the most important part for me.”

Sophomore Film major Nicholas D’Agosta said, “I will definitely use this information to help me with my film projects for the future. It’s always good to know that there are services willing to help filmmakers do their thing.”

“I was unaware of many of the particulars of locating and securing locations,” said senior Film major Mike Mirabella, who is currently working on his thesis film, a story set in the 1920s. “They helped clarify a lot of these potential issues and requirements, in addition to being very supportive in offering whatever help they can in ensuring we as filmmakers are happy, and successfully find locations that have the right look for our film.”

Katie Mulz, a junior Film major, was one of several students who agreed that similar events would be beneficial to Post’s Film community. “I would like to have maybe a special effects or an animation event,” said Mulz.

Errol Nicholson, another junior Film major, said that he would like to see seminars about internships and acquiring job opportunities of more tangible benefits for the student body. “The Film department tends to get people to talk about what they do in the industry, and that’s great, but at the end of the day it would be nice if those people offered us an internship or job opportunities because that is more likely to help us in the long run,” said Nicholson.

The university has served as a location for several film productions in the last few years. Most recently, the campus was home to shoots for the television shows “Madame Secretary” and “Hostages,” as well as films like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Rewrite.”

LIU Post has hosted film lectures, screenings, and Q-and-As in the past with filmmakers such as Jim Jarmanuk, Nick Singer, Tom Gilroy, David Posamentier, Geoff Moore, and Norman Steinberg, a professor at LIU Brooklyn’s TV Writer Studio.

“The school is looking to have more filming on campus,” said Mendall. “[President] Cline is looking to work with more [film productions] on campus, and [continue] these relationships with the NY State Governors’ film office, the Nassau County Film office, and their Head, Debra Markowitz. Having that connection, being able to network with people in the industry, is great.”

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