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Major motion picture studio operating in Creston 

Hollywood Motion Picture Experience Todd Fisher

Todd Fisher shows off one of the film cameras he uses in his full-production studio, Hollywood Motion Picture Experience, in Creston. Photo by Heather Young

Hollywood Motion Picture Experience looking for local talent

Todd Fisher, the son of Debbie Reynolds and the late Eddie Fisher, has owned a ranch in Creston since 1989, where he operates a full production studio, Hollywood Motion Picture Experience. For many years, the ranch was the home of Reynolds’ $30-million museum collection. In recent years, however, the bulk of which has since been sold off, making room for Fisher to expand the family’s operation.

The production company is a family affair: Fisher heads Hollywood Motion Picture Experience as CEO, Reynolds is chairman/producer; Fisher’s sister, Carrie Fisher, is writer/producer; and his wife, Catherine Hickland Fisher, is a producer. Reynolds is known for her starring role in “Singin’ in the Rain” as Kathy Selden in 1952 and for her leading role in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Carrie is known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars” in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hickland Fisher played Lindsay Rappaport on “One Life to Live” and Stevie Mason on “Knight Rider,” and now operates a cosmetics company out of Creston. Fisher said that his wife’s mail-order business helped save the Creston Post Office because of the volume of packages she sends.

Hollywood Motion Picture Experience Todd Fisher

One of the stages at the Creston film studio. Photo by Heather Young

Fisher said that he’s only now opening up about the facility because he is expanding the operation into the community by producing feature-length films that will be shot primarily around the county. While he will bring in stars and other labor as needed, he wants his team to include local talent. He wants to hear from actors, electricians, digital editors, etc. from the local area who may want to work on the company’s projects.

“I’ve already been finding them,” Fisher said, adding that he has found someone who is a key grip in the area. “There are some really interesting people who are surfacing.”

Not only is he producing his own films, but he is also marketing his company and the area to filmmakers.

Hollywood Motion Picture Experience Todd Fisher

Jesse Pitela shows some objects that he has created digitally. Hollywood Motion Picture Experience CEO Todd Fisher said that creating objects and special effects on the computer allow for lower production costs. Photo by Heather Young

“There’s no finer equipment anywhere in the world,” Fisher said, adding that there are similar setups in places such as Los Angeles, but not better ones.

What he’s marketing to filmmakers is that it’s more cost-effective to make a film in San Luis Obispo County than in Los Angeles. “We’re using the same people, the same equipment [as the companies in L.A.]. … To have a full-blown sound stage in the county is a shocking thing,” Fisher said.

Fisher grew up in Hollywood with his mother, who was an actress for MGM, which is known for its backlot with31 sound stages. Hollywood Motion Picture Experiences’ sound stage is called “Stage 32,” which is 6,000 square feet and features a 4×4 lighting grid at 24 feet, extensive lighting and grip package, acoustic sound walls and ceiling, green screen and reflect media and more. The facility also includes extensive stage and production equipment; stage and production support, including audio and video post-production, makeup, hair, wardrobe and prop departments and metal and wood stage workshops; editing and audio; projection room; graphics and printing and engineering machine room.

Hollywood Motion Picture Experience Todd Fisher

The gray screen is made into a green screen with special lights placed around the lens. Hollywood Motion Picture Experience CEO Todd Fisher said that this technology is cheaper and faster than an actual green screen. Photo by Heather Young

Fisher has old and new equipment. He uses both as he feels necessary, putting his many decades of experience to work. A lot of the newer equipment, such as digital cameras, allows filmmakers to skip steps, such as having to convert film to digital. Footage can be edited right on the sound stage, something not possible with celluloid film stock.

The first film is one he optioned from Paula Kennedy, “Emerald Bay.” He is working with local horse professionals: Gina Miles, 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist in equestrian, of Templeton and Atascadero resident Donna Cheek, the first black member of the United States Equestrian Team in 1981, and writer Jon Nappa on background. Nappa is cleaning up the script and adapting it for the North County.

“Part of the movie is to bring awareness to [horse rescues],” Fisher said, adding that after the movie is released there will be charity events with the proceeds going to horse rescues.

For more information about the company or to contact Fisher, go to www.hollywoodmotionpictureexperience.com.

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