LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The film industry is tough to break into but with tenacity and hard work, it is possible.
That’s the message a panel of movie and television experts gave to an audience of about 100 Saturday at the first Movieville International Film Festival called “Breaking into the Business from the Ground Up.”
“People forget that the entertainment industry is small, even though you think there are tons and tons of people out there working, it’s just not the case,” said Kristen Lindberg. “It’s hard to break into. Every single day I have to remind myself that I am lucky.”
Lindberg had worked as a set decorator for "Workers Comp," starring Morgan Fairchild.
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She joined Sandra Cole, a script supervisor who has worked on “High Crimes” and “Baby Geniuses;” Elayne Schneiderman-Schmidt, a line producer who has worked on “CSI: Miami” and “I am Number 4;” Peter Bentley, a sound mixerwho has worked on “Mad Men” and “Big Love;” and Alan d’Antoni, a stunt man who has worked on “Zombieland” and “The Walking Dead.”
The three-day event kicked off Friday at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas and ends today.
For two hours the group spoke to a crowd of filmmakers and wannabees about their careers and answered questions from the audience. They gave advice -- tips like always going the extra mile and being persistent.
AJ Nickell, 14, had his mom bring him to the festival from Orlando. He walked away from the discussion having learned some lessons, like it’s a good idea to learn different jobs on the set and have a good work ethic.
The panel covered topics such as how they got their first jobs to the highs and lows of their days.
Schneiderman-Schmidt was working on “Up in the Air” in Miami and had production halted because a dead body was found in the Biscayne Bay.
“We are ready to go and nobody is moving,” she said. That’s when they realized law enforcement was investigating. The discovery delayed production for three hours.
To work out the problem they gave an extra a speaking role and shot a scene that wasn’t supposed to be shot until the next day.
“Things are always changing, you work so fast in the film business,” Schneiderman-Schmidt said.
“So it isn’t a question of not having problems, it’s a question of putting a really qualified group of people together who can solve problems quickly.”
“One thing I learned is you’re only as good as your last project,” said Adam Gomes, 20, a University of Tampa student with box office dreams.
He gave Schneiderman-Schmidt a DVD with an 11-minute segment of his work at the end of the panel and hopes to get his start in the industry by working his way up from the bottom.
The panel left the audience with some words of encouragement about never giving up on their Hollywood dreams.
“You have to believe in what you want to do,” Bentley said.
There will be a live special effects make-up show at 2 p.m. today starring J. La Rose from “Saw 3.” There is a $5 admission fee for this event. Tickets to the showings are available for $7 at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas box office or online at www.filmsociety.org or www.movievillefilmfestival.com.
TODAY’S MOVIEVILLE EVENTS
10 a.m.: Showing “Familiar Faces,” “The Farm,” “Heart of the Moment,” “Photograph,” “Time” and “Days Old”
Noon: Showing “A Mixed Blessing,” “Beautiful Stranger,” “The Stream,” “Scoops,” “Aftershock,” and “A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem”
2 p.m.: Special event: Live SFX Make-Up Show starring J. La Rose from SAW 3; admission $5
2 p.m.: Showing “Best Boy,” “War of Our Children” and “imPASSE”
4 p.m.: Showing “Pop Shock,” “Deadly Closure,” “Sarasota vs. Citabria,” “No Man Believes” and “Ghosts”
6 p.m.: Special event: awards dinner and Hollywood lounge party at the Polo Grill and Bar; admission $50 a person
Tickets are available at the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas Box Office or online at www.filmsociety.org or at www.movievillefestival.com. Showing tickets are $7.