It's 'Shrill' Day in the Rose City
Welcome to Portland. It's "Shrill" Day.
Portland's City Council read Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, a short proclamation, naming Oct. 28, 2020, as "Shrill Day" in the city.
"Shrill" is the Hulu series starring Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant as Portland writer Annie Easton who navigates a life of odd relationships and professional challenges. It's based on Seattle writer Lindy West's "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman," a collection of essays she wrote while working for the alternative newspaper The Stranger.
Actors Lolly Adefope, Luka Jones, John Cameron Mitchell, Ian Owens, Patti Harrison, Julia Sweeney and Daniel Stern also star in the series.
West, an executive producer of the show, appeared from her home at the online council meeting and said she was honored by the city's proclamation. "Honestly, it's very moving for me," West told city commissioners. "I've spent many, many wonderful months in Portland shooting 'Shrill' and it feels like a second home to me."
West told commissioners that because much of the production crew was from the region, "you can feel the love for Portland. We wanted to make Portland a character in the show."
Success of West's memoir that became the basis for the Hulu series was a surprise, she told commissioners. But when the series began, it was clear it had to be produced in the Pacific Northwest, West said. "I insisted I wanted to make it in the Northwest. I wanted to shoot it in my home."
Because she was a Pacific Northwest native, West said it was "personal to me to be able to provide jobs for people in this region, and to be able to make something that is very truly of this place."
Because the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the third season's production later in the year (it's usually filmed during the summer), West was happy viewers will get to see the Northwest's rainy winter weather. "I've got to say, I'm kind of excited about all the rain that's going to be in this season. It has not felt quite right to present a purely sunny Northwest for two seasons."
City a backdrop for shows
The series, filmed around Portland, began on Hulu in March 2019. The critics liked it and "Shrill" recently began filming its third season in the city. It's produced by Broadway Video, SNL creator Lorne Michaels' company that also produced "Portlandia" and handles "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "Documentary Now" (which also filmed episodes in Portland), "A.P. Bio," "30 Rock" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon."
The show follows a tradition of local television productions, like "Portlandia," NBC's "Grimm" (2011 to 2017) and Electric Entertainment's "The Librarians" (2014 to 2018). "Portlandia" star Carrie Brownstein directed one of "Shrill's" first season episodes.
"I've got to say, I'm kind of excited about all the rain that's going to be in this season. It has not felt quite right to present a purely sunny Northwest for two seasons."
Brian Lord of the Portland Film Office said during its first season, "Shrill" production spent $10.8 million in the region, providing about 247 jobs. The production spent about $17.2 million in the city. About 85% of the crews used by the production are local employees, Lord said. That drops to 74% when the cast and day players are figured in, he said.
By comparison, "Portlandia," which filmed for eight seasons in the region, from 2011 to 2017, spent about $6.5 million for local cast and crews in its final season, Lord said. The show created about 132 jobs during its final year.
Lord told the council that the show's local cast and crew gave the production a very personal touch as it moved around the region. "There's an inherent care about how Portland looks on screen and an obvious stewardship when they film in our neighborhoods," he said.
"Shrill" is also one of the first shows to return to production during the COVID-19 pandemic under the city's safe return to work plan. The show has helped create a template for other local productions dealing with the coronavirus, Lord told the council.
Bringing in the big bucks
According to the city's short proclamation, "Shrill" is considered "as culturally significant as it is economically significant to Portland, contributing to our renown as a deeply creative culture." The production also has promoted "the work of a diverse local cast and crew as well as the uniqueness of the city of Portland to an international audience."
For several years, the state has provided millions of dollars in incentives to film and video production companies. A 2011 study by the Northwest Economic Research Center at Portland State University found that the film industry provides about $1.4 billion to the state economy. A 2017 University of Oregon Community Service Center report on the impact of local film festivals found that film and video projects receiving state incentives had an economic impact of about $540 million.
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