SOF Production Story
Concerned about the declining health of Eastern Oregon’s Ponderosa pine forests, and the impact it is having on rural communities, the Grant County Court decided they had to let more people know about the severity of the problem.
Irene Jerome of Jerome Natural Resource Consultants, a firm active in forest management and ecological restoration, suggested a video. The county generously agreed to fund the project, using Title III (PL 106-393) dollars received from the US Forest Service.
Irene contacted Eric Sines and Patti Hudson of Wild Dog Studios, who were anxious to get involved. They too were concerned about the forest health and had undertaken restoration work on their own forest property. The photograph above was taken outside their studio.
Wild Dog Studios, with the help of Jerome Natural Resources, developed the script and then started filming. For video post-production and editing they turned to Toney Merritt, an independent filmmaker and film professor in northern California. Toney knew that a high quality voice-over track was needed, so he asked Toni Orans, a professional narrator, to join the crew.
It is this collaboration of forestry and film professionals that created Saving Our Forest. We hope you will not only learn from it, but also will respond to its call to action.
Grant County Court
Grant County Court funded the entire project. The members who made this possible were County Judge Mark R. Webb and Commissioners Scott W. Myers and Boyd Britton.
Grant County is one of nine Oregon counties with a County Court system of government. County Court is comprised of a County Judge and two County Commissioners who are responsible for all executive and legislative matters, with some limited judicial responsibilities falling to the County Judge. County Court acts as the Contract Review Board for Grant County and is the sole contracting authority within county government.
County government delivers a variety of public services to its citizens throughout the county. It is the County Court's responsibility to oversee the delivery of services to the citizens through each of its departments ranging from administrative and human services to legal and public services.
Irene has been a forester for industry and agencies, and is now an independent forestry consultant working throughout eastern Oregon and southwest Idaho.
Her firm specializes in forest/ timber management; land management planning; insect & disease assistance; widlife management: stewardship planning; logging consulting; and even direct assistance offering hands-on services like thinning and timber marking.
She is passionate about saving our forests and invites everyone to get involved. “Participation – it’s what makes it go.”
Born and raised in New York City, Eric got bit by the photo bug in his early teens and began shooting art images, along with the occasional wedding or portrait to help pay for his new obsession. He went on to study photography and filmmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute and California College of the Arts. From there he worked in television as an editor for KTVU in Oakland. After moving to Oregon in the late 1970s, he continued to work in film and video as a cinematographer, editor and technical advisor on both commercial and independent productions.
But it was photography and its ability to capture the decisive moment that most excited him and eventually brought him back to where he had started. Since turning his full attention to still photography in the early 1980s, his editorial work has appeared in hundreds of national and regional publications. His commercial, assignment and stock images have been used in national advertising campaigns, sales brochures, corporate catalogs, travel guides, calendars, books and websites. He remains as passionate about photography as the day he bought his first camera on Times Square.
Today Eric is a partner with Patti Hudson at Wild Dogs Studios.
Patti grew up in suburban San Antonio, riding horses on the weekends and longing to be a real cowgirl. She left Texas to attend college in California, where she studied drafting and design. After college she worked in architecture and engineering, before moving to Oregon to open her own design firm. Her lifelong passion for horses eventually caused a course correction and led to writing for equine publications, then to other magazine work, including a stint as regional editor for Oregon Business Magazine.
Beyond her editorial credits, Patti has been a ghost writer for corporate CEOs and produced newsletter content for major corporations such as ATT, the Ford Family Foundation and Carlton Sheets Investments. She has provided outreach and grant writing services for nonprofits, like the NFJD Watershed Council. She now rides her own horses and works as a day rider for local ranchers, fulfilling her cowgirl dream. When she isn't working with Eric Sines at Wild Dog Studios, in her spare time, Patti writes fiction and is at work on a novel.
Toney W. Merritt
MFA Film - San Francisco Art Institute, 1979
BA Russian Studies, Syracuse University, 1971
Tony has been an Independent Filmmaker for 43 years, having completed well over 30 personal films and videos; experimental, narrative and documentary. His films have screened at various venues such as the Paris Cinematheque, The London Coop, Pacific Film Archives, San Francisco Cinematheque, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives New York, The Oakland and DeYoung Museums to name a few.
He teaches Beginning Film Production and Introduction to Digital Editing at City College San Francisco, and The Fundamentals of Screenwriting for the San Francisco State University’s Digital Video Intensive Program.
Toney has served two terms on the Board of Directors of Film Arts Foundation, serving one year as its Chairman. He has been a panelist for various festivals such as the S.F. International and the Mendocino Film Festivals; and for Grant organizations, such as the Independent Television Service, (ITVS) and the Rockefeller and Jerome Foundations.
He served as a screenwriting mentor at The 2008 Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference.
He edited Kathleen Hanna’s documentary, “Wood Smith: The Life and Times of Arthur Espanet Carpenter” and shares a co-directing credit. In addition to working on a ten-part personal “film poem” on the Brazilian Amazon, he is adapting “A Dreadful Day” for the screen, a short story by award winning writer, Dan Warthman.
Toni first started her drama training as a young girl in NY (HB Studios w/ William Hickey and others) and then continued in London, where she explored the classics as well as contemporary theatre thru a professional three year program at E-15 Acting School. She then went on to live in London and Amsterdam for another several years where she taught drama and did as much traveling as she could fit into her busy schedule.
Upon returning to the States, she then re-located to San Francisco, where she performed in theaters around the Bay Area and other parts of Northern CA. Her love of voice work started while volunteering for Broadcast Services for the Blind, recording numerous books over the course of a year. This eventually led to hosting her own hour long radio show for seven years on which she read adult and children's classics (including... "A Little Princess"; "Charlotte's Web"; the first 3 books of "Harry Potter", etc.) with all the character voices for seven years. Realizing how truly gratifying it was to create so many different characters behind the mic, she decided that it was time to offer her skill with her vocal chords to others.
She engaged her partner to build her a studio and now works full-time doing voice work for documentary narration, commercials, animation, museum audio tours, interactive web-sites, etc. Her first audio book, "Chicken Dreaming Corn", by Roy Hoffman, was just released on Amazon.com and audible.com She loves what she does so much that she's now also teaching others about voice over thru workshops and individual coaching sessions.
To read the article in the February 2013 issue of "The Forestry Source"
all about Saving Our Forests, click here
To read the August 15, 2012 article
"Forest video picked for Gorge festival"
in the Blue Mt Eagle, click here