Skip to main content

Boise's Burgeoning Film Community

photo courtesy of

Hollywood, for right around 100 years now, has been known as the epicenter of the film industry. Each year, thousands of people with dreams to be actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers and hangers-on flock to Los Angeles to hopefully achieve their dreams of stardom. (Or a career. Take your pick.)

Over the years, thanks to advances in technology and rising production costs in the City of Angels--not to mention tax breaks in others states, cities, and territories--the making of television shows and movies has increased tremendously outside the city of Los Angeles.

Take the state of Georgia, for example. Thanks to the success of The Walking Dead and generous tax credits, there has been a boom in the film industry in the state of Georgia. It's a dream that people in many states have in hopes that major productions stop by their beautiful state.

Boise, Idaho hasn't quite reached that level yet, but at the rate things are going, it's entirely possible Boise sees a boom of its own in the coming years.

Nearly 18 years ago, I first moved to this city with "being in the moving pictures" on the mind. It was only six months prior that I had decided to pursue writing as my career. I was going to write movies, just like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and one day be the talk of Tinseltown. And I was going to do it by joining the theater department at Boise State University.

I knew very little about film making at the time and I knew even less about theater. Talk about jumping in head first into something.

During my first semester, I auditioned for a student film. Luckily, I was cast as the pizza boy in a movie called White Out. It was nearly five seconds of fame that can still be seen on the VHS copy that I own if you play your cards right.

Aside from the shooting of a few skits for a sketch comedy show, it would be another five years before I appeared in front of a camera.

After graduation, with a degree in dramatic writing, I decided it was time to go try my hand in Los Angeles. The Boise film industry in 2002 was still small, with an occasional feature film being made and local commercials relegated to the same four actors. Every once in awhile a production would roll through town (or even a premiere for a major film, like A Midsummer Night's Dream)., but for the most part, film opportunities were few and far between.

Skipping past the formative L.A. years, we'll fast forward to my return to Boise in 2006, part of which was due to the desire to return to a city that was growing. Plus, it was thought the arts scene was about to blossom.

Even then, ten years ago, one could see that the film community was growing in Boise. Major studio productions weren't flocking to the state (thanks to little to no tax incentives), but the people who lived here and worked here were making more films, shooting more commercials, and in general were prone to desires to simply create.

And now? Well, the industry continues to grow. Each day I see feature length films being produced, written, directed and acted in with local talent. This is in addition to the numerous short films I see casting notices for weekly.

The burgeoning film community, thanks to the work of countless of people, is slowly centralizing itself and beginning to use the plethora of talent that is willing and wanting to work in this city. Is it self-sustaining, in which a person can quit a job to consistently get paid for acting? Not quite, but paid opportunities are growing with each passing day.

The ability to film on digital has certainly helped with this growth, providing more opportunity for people to go and shoot without worrying about the cost of film or converting film to a computer to edit. Not this always produces the best of results, but it's giving people the chance to at least go out and experiment and perfect their craft.

Film festivals like the Boise Film Festival, i48 film festival, and many others have become mainstays in Boise.

Filmmakers like Travis Swartz (of Hank Patterson fame) and Will Von Tagen (Almosting It) are making feature length films regularly. And these are just two names among many talented people constantly making short films, creating web series', or organizing table reads for films yearning to be made.

There are even others from the area, like Trevor Campbell (Spray Paint Atlas), who return to their roots here in Idaho to film their projects. And he is one among many in L.A., Chicago and New York that are representing the Boise area.

As Boise continues to grow, so does the film industry. The opening of the JUMP building will hopefully provide even more growth, with chances for people to continue to hone their craft with classes in acting, writing, directing, and editing, to name a few.

Within five years, one can hope that major studios will be finding their way into Boise. If not, though, the future is certainly in good hands. And who knows, perhaps one day we'll have our very own television show being filmed right here in Boise, with the cast and crew made up entirely of local talent. 

Hey, one can dream, right?


Popular posts from this blog

The Bromance of Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard

In the late 1990's and early 2000's, there was no greater bromance than that between Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Matthew Lillard. The two of them appeared in no less than five movies together in a five year time span. These two were meant to be. Two young stars destined to take the world by storm as a team. Hanging out, meeting women, and enjoying the good life. And then, just like that, stardom was ripped away from them. Though they continued to work, they would never appear together again in a film.
What was it that pulled them apart? Did they just choose to go different directions? Was it Sarah Michelle Gellar that drove a wedge between these two? While Lillard eventually went on to star in an Oscar nominated film (The Descendants), Prinze, Jr. went on to write for the WWE and occasionally show up as a guest star on television shows. While both have tried, neither has recaptured that joy that once displayed on screen. Tonight, I want to dutifully remind the world of t…

From Negan with Love

YouTube screenshot
*The following contains Spoilers from the season 7 premiere of "The Walking Dead"
"Pissing our pants yet? Boy, do I have a feeling we're getting close."- Negan, The Walking Dead

And people thought Ramsay Bolton was sadistic.

The much anticipated season seven premiere of The Walking Dead hit the airwaves last Sunday. Boy, was it a doozy.
I am not going to spend much time on what side of the liked/didn't like it/I'm never watching again spectrum I fall in. I will say that I was enraptured, on the edge of my seat for nearly the entire one hour, six minutes (including commercials) of the episode. This was an episode that filled me with a sense of existential dread for the characters inhabiting The Walking Dead world. It is a feeling that is still with me nearly two days later.
As a disclaimer, I am only through the first ten volumes of the graphic novels. I have yet to reach the Negan arc. I am also on the side of the court that didn't m…

NFL Referees Fail Cam Newton, Fans

If the NFL is serious about the safety of players and finding ways to limit concussions, the referees in last night's Denver Broncos/Carolina Panthers game had a funny way of showing it.
Instead of talking about what a great rematch of the Super Bowl these two teams put on, much of the focus was placed on the amount of hits Cam Newton took to the helmet last night.
And rightfully so.
There were at least three occasions during the course of the game in which Newton was on the receiving end of helmet-to-helmet hits. 
These hits were not of the "blink and you miss it" variety of hits. They were in the course of game action, delivered to Newton after a throw or in the midst of being tackled.
The Broncos were flagged for this infraction once.
For a league that is looking to protect its players, especially quarterbacks, these calls were not simply "mistakes" or "errors" by the referees. And to right it off as such is simply another loosening thread o…