Film industry workers adjust to life without feature films

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CLEVELAND – Filming for the Ohio film industry has been quiet since the pandemic shut down statewide production last year.


What would you like to know

  • Those who work in the film industry find ways to get by until the cameras start rolling again
  • The Greater Cleveland Film Commission said some films were being filmed in Cleveland when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country
  • Camera operator and father of two Ryan Forte was one of those unemployed when the camera and the lights went off

Rolling in his camera gear, Ryan Forte is ready for a shoot inside Creative House Studios and Cleveland Camera Rental.

“We’re in a cyc white studio right now, and you’d shoot a lot of commercials or music videos or if they did scenes from a movie, it would be like little cut scenes or studio stuff.” said Forte.

The 28-year-old cameraman said filming has been his career path since graduating from Cleveland State.

“I would say I always liked movies growing up, which is the most typical response you’ll ever hear. But when I was in high school, I had an obsession with stand-up comedy and Judd Apatow movies. I don’t know if it’s weird or not, but something I’ve always enjoyed, ”Forte said.

Forte had great success in her young career, including working on the Russo Brothers film Cherry, starring Tom Holland. He was in production for a Netflix movie when every set had to say “cut”.

“I got a call from the producer and he said, ‘Hey, just to let you know, the whole movie is being shut down. The film is no longer there; we’re shutting down the entire production office, and from now on, everyone is fired and (everyone) is (no longer) employed on this film. ‘ And I was like, ‘Oh’, and I was just out to eat with my wife and kids, and I was kind of sitting there like, ‘Wow, so I was officially fired from a movie. , ‘”Forte recalled.” It was the start of the pandemic for me. “

The loss of work and income has been severe for the married father of two.

“I had some confidence it was going to work, but overall I was sort of preparing for at least three to four months with no income. And it was scary, ”Forte said.

Many players in the film industry were unemployed when the pandemic led to closures in March. But Forte said commercial production started to pick up over the summer. This was good news not only for him, but also for assistant camera operator Travis Cleary, who can’t wait to get busy again.

“(In) March it went from 100 to zero in two days. And then there was absolutely nothing until about June, and then it kind of slowly picked up. July then picked up some more, we kind of had a loaded drop and then the second wave hit, and that put things back into a bit of a slump a bit. Not like before, but it definitely slowed down again. Now this spring it’s really starting to pick up, so I can’t wait to get back to work, ”Cleary said.

And as restrictions are lifted and new projects are in the works, Forte hopes to see feature films in Cleveland with him on set following his passion.

“What I love about this industry are the unique opportunities you have to work with people – people you work with on set in terms of actors and people like Travis and the directors who are in town. “said Forte. “Everything from the little ads to the giant Russo Brothers features that come in here, I would say you always have a unique opportunity and no job is exactly like another.”

An industry in slow motion but not ready to give up the lights, the camera and the action.


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