Cinema Leaders Seek Workforce Development in Oklahoma – FOX23 News


OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma. – Film leaders seek to develop the film workforce in Oklahoma.

If you’ve always wanted to work on a movie set, now there are new courses to teach you. Oklahoma’s film industry is booming, with “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Minari,” “Reagan,” and “Reservation Dogs” all made here in the state.

“On ‘Reservation Dogs’ I struggled to fill a team because Killers were taking place at the same time. So we had two studio projects here and we had to bring in people from California, Texas, Atlanta, and Colorado. Our goal here is to make the Oklahoma film community self-sufficient, ”said Steven Mathis, gaffer or chief lighting designer.

Prairie Surf Media, a production company located in the heart of downtown OKC in the former Cox Convention Center, has partnered with local schools to train people to work on film sets.

“If you don’t have people to work on productions, and not just writers, directors, cameramen, but people trained in building and designing props, then you can’t really run a business. industry. You can’t make a movie without people working on the movie, ”said Matt Payne, founder and CO-CEO of Prairie Surf Media.

A five-week course called “Grip & Electric” begins Jan. 3 at Oklahoma City Community College. During the course, students will learn about lighting and wiring, especially for cinema.

The course costs $ 2,500.

“Let me tell you, this is a great company and a class like this doesn’t show up very often. So if this is something you want to do, find a way to get some money back and take time off because it will pay you back for the next 40 years, ”Mathis said.

Mathis will co-teach the class and has worked on everything from “Back to the Future” to “Black Panther” to “Thor: Ragnarok”.

“We will teach them to be safe, to be thorough and to survive in the movie business in Oklahoma. By leaving this class, they will be qualified to apply for gripper or electrician jobs, ”said Mathis.

Film classes are also offered at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center which begins in February. A Boot Camp for Culinary Style, Production Accounting, and Film Art Department is offered for students to learn about set design, construction, and prop creation.

“Some of them are as affordable as $ 75 and can be completed in about a month. Some of the jobs they might be qualified for include the prop master, carpenter, or even painter, ”said Cody Mosley, director of workforce and business development at the Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

Payne thinks these classes are special.

“I think what makes these courses special is that each one of them is taught by an industry professional. So the courses are taught by people who are looking for people to hire, ”Payne said.

Travis Wright, a construction foreman who worked on the movie “Reagan” will be involved with Francis Tuttle.

“We want to build the infrastructure in the state, both with our teams and our suppliers, so that we can support and attract these larger movies and TV series and streaming content so that we can have what they want. are looking for, ”Wright said.

Everyone is welcome.

“While you might never have dreamed of a career in film, if you can build houses in a neighborhood, you can build sets on a soundstage,” said Rachel Cannon, Founder and Co- CEO of Prairie Surf Media.

Prairie Surf Media said that often, movie jobs pay more.

“You take someone making $ 10, $ 12 an hour on average and it’s going to go up to $ 34 or $ 35 an hour just because it’s a bigger project for a movie.” , Cannon said.

Their goal is to create an ecosystem for cinema right here in Oklahoma.

“It’s going to light a path for creatives to truly thrive and prosper in Oklahoma for years to come,” Payne said.

As a bonus, Prairie Surf Media says that upon completion of a film class at OCCC or Francis Tuttle, the Thunder will offer the student a free ticket.