Bronxite begins movie biz seminar

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Bronxites looking to break into the film and music industries will get the chance to learn the ins and outs of the trade from the best in the business at the first entertainment symposium that has been held here in years.

The event, which is being calling an “empowerment seminar”, will be held on Saturday, November 20, at The Point on 940 Garrison Avenue. It will feature some top names, such as the writer and creator of Boardwalk Empire.

“I’m trying to empower the people who don’t have access to this, and to show them how you can get involved in the industry,” said event organizer Marc Makowski. “When you find out that you’re not going to be the next Brad Pitt, or Usher, there are other jobs out there and this will show people how they can get there.”

The symposium will begin at about noon and will run for about three hours. Topics will include TV, journalism, music and film.

Speakers will include Gary Axelbank, a veteran of radio and television, who is the host of BronxTalk on BronxNet; Stephen Smith, an audio engineer with A&R Manager Verity Music Group, and Terence Winter, the Emmy award winning writer of the Sopranos, Get Rich, Or Die Tryin’ and the recent hit Boardwalk Empire.

Makowski said he decided to organize the seminar after he realizing the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting has failed to include the Bronx in any of its workshops that educate people about breaking into the industry. As a result most Bronxites are not aware that after taking only a few classes at local arts centers they can become production assistants or other entry-level employees that are well paid and often work their way up to top positions in the film industry, he said.

“The closest the city has ever had one of these seminars is the Apollo Theatre,” he said. “They’ve never done anything in the Bronx, so I’ve decided to change that.”

At the event Makowski will be giving out information about the programs that are available to city residents, and the guest speakers will talk about their trials and tribulations breaking into their fields.

“They will hear a lot of first-hand experiences,” said Makowski, who has been producing films and creating new special affects with his company South Bronx EFX Works.

Although it is a long way off, Makowski hopes that with the right information and guidance, that the Bronx can become a regular filming destination for TV and movies, which will help employ a lot of Bronxites and pump some money into the local economy.

He cited the film City Island, which was filmed in the Bronx neighborhood that bears its name, as a good example of what the industry could do for the borough.

“That pumped about $250,000 into City Island economy, and the Bronx economy,” he said. “The workers in the Bronx are phenomenal, but we need a production studio.”

For now, he is focused on breaking the industry into the Bronx.

“We’ll see if the symposium is successful,” he said “If it is we would like to get funding to the point where can run this every three or four months. I have a lot of other high profile friends that said they would come and speak.”

For more information call The Point at (718) 542-4139.

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