New Troutdale soundstage is ready for its close-up
To some people, Troutdale may seem an unlikely spot for filming a big television show or movie, but don't say that to Dan Eason, who is opening a massive, cutting-edge sound stage there.
"We are thrilled to show off our space," Eason said and urged production companies to "bring your vision to life here."
Vision Stages is a 36,000 square foot soundstage designed for film, television and commercial productions. It's located in the former Thriftway store in the shopping center at 27100 S.E. Stark St. in Troutdale.
The gigantic room has 22 foot high ceilings, two loading docks and a huge garage door with a curb cut that will allow buses and trucks to rumble into the building to be part of a movie, tv show or commercial.
"What we offer here is flexibility," Eason said.
Eason envisions Vision Stages to be especially attractive to television production. But, in addition to films and commercials, it could also be used as a studio to do photo shoots or even live performances.
The huge empty space can hold multiple sets. A television show might require a police precinct, a detective's living room and a favorite cafe, for example. The space "will easily hold two to three massive sets or 12 or more smaller sets," he said.
Eason said Vision Stages is a bit different than some other sound stages in that it does not rent equipment, which can save production companies money. They can rent elsewhere or bring along what they needs to make their show.
Eason has experience in the industry.
He grew up in Ohio and went to film school at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He worked in film and television production in New York and then moved to Los Angeles. He's worked on shows as varied as "The Closer" and "To All the Boys: Always and Forever."
Most recently, he's worked as a location manager, finding and making arrangements for locations for films. He's been location manager or assistant location manager for locally-shot shows including "Shrill" and "Grimm."
Eason came to film through his passion for skateboarding. He began making films of the sport and it blossomed into a career.
A married father of one pre-schooler, he said when the sound stage isn't being used, his tiny son is learning to skateboard there.
The Portland area has drawn multiple television and film productions in recent years, including television series "Stumptown," "Life Unexpected" and "Leverage," and movies "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," "Leave No Trace" and "I, Tonya."
And Troutdale is a great spot for such productions, Eason explained. Many film, TV and commercial productions are drawn to the area to film in the scenic Columbia Gorge or in the forests or snow of Mount Hood. Other good local possible filming locations are Mt. Hood Community College and the Yoshida Haven Estate, he said.
The Vision Stages parking lot is 64,000 square feet, which could accommodate a sizable base camp and crew parking for large productions.
Some of the old grocery store features are still in place that could be used for film crews including the deli kitchen with stoves and refrigerators and a walk in freezer.
Vision Stages ceiling is insulated for sound and Eason worked to make the space as environmentally-friendly as possible, installing energy efficient lighting and other features. He's also incorporated more than the standard safety equipment.
Eason said filming is a boon to the local economy because productions buy meals and food, gas up vehicles and make trips to the hardware store and local shops for equipment, costumes and set dressing. They employ local people as actors and technical staff but also cleaning crews, security guards and others.
"It's really good to have filming in your city, county and state," he said.
Eason said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the opening of Vision Stages as many productions were put on hold. But, now, Vision Stages is ready just as things are picking up in the business.
"We're excited that the film industry is opening up, that vaccinations are happening quickly. We're excited to start welcoming productions," Eason said.
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