Metro Detroit: Newsmakers June 13, 2009




Detroit News:

As the last of the nation's television stations turned off their analog signals Friday, households unprepared to capture the digital signal found themselves scrambling for converter boxes, antennas and how-to's. Befuddled viewers around Metro Detroit flooded local and national call centers. Many simply needed to be told how to hook up their digital converter boxes, which allow older TVs to tune in the new signals, or how to reset the boxes to capture nearby digital broadcasts. "People are feeling a little technically challenged," said Dave Baumann, creative services director at WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), the ABC affiliate in Southfield. The station fielded more than 350 calls from confused viewers after it made the switch at 6 a.m... Digital TV switch puzzles viewers (Sat, 6/13)



Port Huron Times-Herald:

Ruthann Davis has a standing appointment with Bo, Hope and the rest of the "Days of Our Lives" characters. But when 1 p.m. Friday rolled around, she tuned into her NBC affiliate -- WEYI in Saginaw -- and found no drama unfolding in the fictional city of Salem. Instead, all she heard was someone talking about the nationwide transition from analog to digital broadcasting, first in English, then in Spanish. While someone at the FCC later assured Davis, 68, of Sanilac Township her favorite station was in the midst of switching things up Friday afternoon and her service would be restored, not everyone was so lucky... TV switch leaves some in dark (Sat, 6/13)



Specs Howard School inaugurates motion picture film workshops

As film making in Metro Detroit continues at a feverish pace, bringing to the area such luminaries as Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino), Michael Bay (Transformers) and Robert De Niro (Stone), incredible opportunities exist to work both in front of and behind the lens. The key to sustained success for the industry in this region? A trained workforce. Specs Howard is preparing to play a major role in accomplishing exactly that; in turn, educating the next generation of film professionals.

Specs Howard School, Michigan's leading broadcast arts educational school, has announced it is opening a new training facility "Specs Howard On Location" at the Studio Center motion picture production complex in Farmington Hills. Specs Howard's initial workshops, a new 8-week "On Location Film Workshop" and 7-week "On Location Advanced Editing," beginning on July 13th and 21st, are designed to provide participants with a fundamental yet comprehensive introduction to the film industry via Michigan-based creative arts professionals and instructors skilled in a range of disciplines.

Among the instructors is Specs Howard's own Steve Julin, Director of Curriculum Development, who created the entire "On Location" film and editing workshops curriculum. Julin has worked on several independent films, including Between Brothers, Mutant Swingers from Mars, Hatred of a Minute and Walk This Way. He has worked with such well-known television companies as The Discovery Channel, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and the General Television Network. He is an Avid Certified Instructor, Certified Boris FX Instructor and Apple Certified Trainer, as well as a recipient of the Golden Eagle Award for documentary editing and an Emmy Award nominee.

The "On Location Film Workshop" will take students behind the scenes to examine and experience pre-production planning and scheduling; breaking down a script; fundamentals of filming a basic scene and principles of editing. Participants also will enjoy hands-on equipment usage including working with dollies, lighting equipment, microphones, editing software and cameras--from learning how to load the industry's most popular film magazines to shooting footage with such high-tech, digital cameras as the Panasonic P2 HD camera.

"Our workshops will offer intensive, practical film industry training unlike anywhere else in Michigan," said Lisa Zahodne, President/COO of Specs Howard School. "Over the course of several weeks, our students will learn the language and craft of film. Our instructors and facilities are here--now--and second to none."

Studio Center: Making movies here, now

Specs Howard joins the campus of professionals at Studio Center, where filmmaking in Michigan has become focused since legislative support was enacted early in 2008. Operating for nearly 30 years, Studio Center is the only active studio production lot in Michigan and has quickly become the hub of new feature film production in the State. It provides a complete range of production services and resources, including three soundstages, post-production facilities, film processing, camera rental, lighting and production offices, all set on nearly seven acres centrally located near major Michigan filming locations.

Grace & Wild is the anchor Studio Center tenant, and along with the other resident businesses, Studio Center has become one of the largest and most productive production facilities outside of Los Angeles. Recent productions serviced include features:

  • Stone, with Robert De Niro and Ed Norton
  • The Irishman, starring Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken
  • The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, produced by Kenn Viselman, mastermind behind the Teletubbies
  • High School, starring Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis
  • Miss January, starring Kim Cattrall and Brian Dennehy
  • Prayers for Bobby, starring Sigourney Weaver

"This is an ideal collaboration between two long-time Michigan entities, each of us with a history of dedication to the creative industry," said Steven Wild, President of Grace & Wild, Inc. "We are ecstatic that Specs Howard is joining us at Studio Center, the only movie production facility that is open and operating--right now--in the state. Specs Howard will serve as an ideal training ground and talent incubator for future movie industry professionals living and working in our area."

Added Zahodne: "With our 40th anniversary just around the corner, we look forward to continuing the school's evolution into all areas of the creative arts, something we inaugurated last year with our graphics arts program. Our film workshops will also expand over time in terms of scope and content and degree of sophisticated training."

The Specs Howard School "On Location Film Workshop" will meet 3 ½ hours per day, 3 days per week, with day and evening sessions available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. "On Location Advanced Editing" will be available during the day and evening on Mondays and Tuesdays in either day or evening sessions. Students will receive an official certificate of completion at the conclusion of the workshop. Funding from the Michigan Works! program is available to those who qualify.

The "On Location Film Workshop" and "On Location Advanced Editing" workshop are licensed by the State of Michigan as the state's only film training workshops affiliated with a proprietary school.

Open House "Sneak Peek" Set

Specs Howard School will hold an open house on Wednesday, June 24 at 5 pm and again at 6 pm at the new Studio Center office to introduce the workshops. During the open house, attendees will be able to participate in a drawing allowing two people to take the workshop free of charge. Anyone who would like to attend should RSVP at or by calling 866-61-SPECS.

For more information on the Specs Howard School "On Location Film Workshop" and "On Location Advanced Editing," visit: or call 866-61-SPECS.







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on June 13, 2009 12:44 AM.

Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers June 13, 2009 was the previous entry in this blog.

Sales / Transactions / FCC Actions: June 12, 2009 is the next entry in this blog.

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