Filmmakers search for Iowans to help with future productions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Filmmakers search for Iowans to help with future productions

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - As more Iowans go to the movies, more Iowans may be able to work in the movies. State tax incentives are bringing more filmmakers here, and they're looking for help.

Assistant film director Kenny Chaplin was in Iowa City on Sunday, doing just that. Chaplin hopes people here will take notice of PA Training Seminars like the one he taught Sunday, which he called a sort of "filmmaking 101." He says the film industry is beginning to take notice of Iowa, which is a relatively cheap location to work in, with a versatile geography. 

"You can film pretty much any location in the in Iowa," said Chaplin. With the exception of mountains, he added, but there's always computer-generated magic to help with that.

Chaplin has worked on many Hollywood productions, such as last year's "Body of Lies," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and 2003's "Runaway Jury." He's now scouring the state for production assistants, or "PA's," which he says are the building blocks of any movie.

"They get all the little jobs done that need to be done, so that when the keys walk onto the set, everything is there, and everything is accounted for," Chaplin told us. "They are certainly the grease in the wheels of the machine."

Leland Sims hopes he can be a part of that. "It's definitely a very good place to start," he said, getting ready for the afternoon portion of the seminar.

Chaplin has been working on "Ticket Out," starring Ray Liotta, which was shot in Iowa. 20 more films are scheduled to begin in the state this year.

While many of those films are smaller in scope than the blockbusters showing at local multiplexes, Chaplin says Hollywood is beginning to recognize Iowa's potential for bigger projects. For Iowans, that means jobs.

He says a typical core group of production assistants is around 4, but says he "may hire up to 30 production assistants on a show, just to lock up the location."

That's exciting news for Sims, who's learned that being a PA is not only a foot in the door to the film industry, but dozens of different jobs within it.

"There's so many different aspects," he told us. "If you're into fashion, you can be a PA with the fashion department of a movie. If you're into business, there's obviously the business and financial end of films."

Two more PA workshops are scheduled to be held in Iowa. For more details, you can visit this website,, or call their hotline at 1-800-579-1570.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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