Mayor Bloomberg and Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver today joined Steiner Studios Chairman Douglas C. Steiner to open five new soundstages at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The new stages, totaling 45,000 square feet, will provide new and expanded opportunities for New Yorkers who work in the film, television and commercial production industry. The Mayor also launched initiatives designed to support and grow the industry, including new grants for training programs that prepare New Yorkers for careers in production and digital fields; a new entertainment component to the City’s mini-MBA partnership with NYU’s Stern School of Business; and a request for proposals for a “Made in NY” Media Center, which would provide media companies with affordable work space and other services.
Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Oliver were joined at Steiner Studios by Boardwalk Empire actress Gretchen Mol and the show’s writers; Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Seth Pinsky, President of the Economic Development Corporation; Robert W. Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services; Alan Fishman, Chairman of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation; and Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr.
“A little over a decade ago, New York City struggled to attract the lucrative production industry to film here,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Now the City is such a popular and prosperous home to hundreds of films and television shows, we have to work hard to keep up with the demand for stages and production facilities. These new soundstages at Steiner Studios will create jobs, and expanding our workforce development programs with new grants will help the next generation of production professionals start their careers on the right track.”
“More production in the City translates directly to more New Yorkers working at well-paid jobs behind the scenes and more money spent in the local economy,” said Commissioner Oliver. “Doug Steiner and his team understand that, and they’ve been committed to expanding Steiner Studios into what it is today – a hallmark of the City’s production industry. This expansion helps lead the way for new employment opportunities in this thriving sector, and having a diverse well-trained workforce is an important goal for New York City.”
“The opening of five new soundstages in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a tremendous statement of long-term confidence in New York’s film and television industry by Steiner Studios,” Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel said. “This investment will bring more jobs to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and to the thousands of related businesses around the City that support the film and television sector.”
“The business of film, television and commercials wants to be in New York City,” said Steiner. “We have the greatest crews in the world, and now we have the facilities to match. Old media is here, new media is coming. This is manufacturing for the 21st century, and it is a business that New York does exceedingly well. It’s our mission at Steiner Studios to continue building the infrastructure and creative environment necessary for content creation to grow exponentially in New York.”
“What better way to help those in the film and TV industry remain in one of the most iconic and diverse places in the world than to help train and give more opportunities to produce some of the best shows around,” said Speaker Quinn. “These new soundstages will attract the best of the best in entertainment which will help our city’s economy. I want to thank the administration and my colleagues for continuing to help New Yorkers in these tough economic times.”
“Steiner Studios has not only played a major role in revitalizing the Navy Yard since its opening in 2004, but has created jobs, hosted events such as the Gotham Awards and my State of the Borough Address, and has brought Brooklyn’s ‘big stage’ to big and small screens around the world—from Spiderman 3 and Sex and the City to the television series Damages and Boardwalk Empire,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “In addition to the extraordinary vision of David and Doug Steiner, the success of Steiner Studios—including the addition of these five new stages and a working studio graduate program for Brooklyn College film students—as well as record-setting film and television production citywide is due in no small part to the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Katherine Oliver. Forget La-La Land—Steiner Studios and Brooklyn are ‘Hollywood East.’”
“We are pleased to be working with the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment to expand our proven programs to the media and entertainment industry – helping businesses train their workforce, helping entrepreneurs grow, and also providing the free set of services available through NYC Business Solutions,” said Small Business Services Commissioner Walsh. “Supporting entrepreneurs and training employees in media and entertainment will help create jobs for New Yorkers, and keep this already growing industry strong in NYC.”
“The entertainment and media industries play a major role in the City’s economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributing to the ‘buzz’ that makes New York the global magnet that it is,” said Economic Development Corporation President Pinsky. “The ‘Made in NY’ Media Center is a key investment in the future of these sectors, encouraging innovation, supporting content creation, fostering collaboration, and promoting workforce development.”
“The Brooklyn Navy Yard is thrilled to continue to see its partnership with Steiner Studios bear fruit,” said Andrew Kimball, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “The rapid growth of Steiner Studios means the rapid growth of manufacturing and good-paying jobs in the Navy Yard.”
“I am very pleased to join Mayor Bloomberg and members of the Administration today to celebrate the opening of five new sound stages here at the Navy Yard,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Continued job development at the Navy Yard is a goal of my first term in office and I am proud to work with Steiner Studios and the Brooklyn Navy Yard leadership to see that goal become a reality.”
The five new stages at Steiner support heavy electrical loads, are soundproof and column-free and possess massive silent heating, ventilating and air conditioning units. The building also features various support spaces, offices, dressing rooms, hair and make-up rooms and wardrobe rooms. Coupled with the existing five stages, Steiner Studios now totals 355,000 square feet, including editing suites, mill shops and prop storage. Steiner Studios sits on 20 acres of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and includes on-site parking, a full commissary, a screening room and lighting & grip services. Steiner Studios first opened for business in November 2004. It has been home to films such as Sex and the City, Inside Man, Enchanted and The Adjustment Bureau as well as television series like In Treatment and Bored to Death. HBO’s Boardwalk Empire currently films at Steiner; DirecTV’s Damages recently wrapped its latest season there.
Also announced at Steiner Studios was the City’s latest effort to develop a diverse and well-trained workforce and strengthen entrepreneurs in the media and entertainment industry. In recent years, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has established workforce development and diversity programs that have helped hundreds of underprivileged New Yorkers gain access to and advance in their careers in the entertainment industry. Grant funding will be provided to support and expand these and other eligible training programs to further the goal of diversifying the local industry.
Working with the Department of Small Business Services through a new $500,000 training grant program for the media industry, businesses will compete for grants that cover up to 70 percent of training costs. The grants will help media businesses train employees in cutting-edge technologies and software, allowing them to boost their competitiveness and enter new markets. Businesses will have the opportunity to work with a training specialist to craft a proposal that meets their needs. Applications will be rated on the business’s capacity to carry out the project successfully, the impact on the business’s bottom line, and employees’ new skills and increased wages.
Strategic Steps for Growth, a program SBS runs in partnership with the Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, will also expand to include a class specifically for entrepreneurs in the media and entertainment industry. Using an award winning curriculum developed by Interise, this nine-month executive business management program allows small business owners to use their own business as a case study throughout and connects them to a support network of business advisors, other entrepreneurs, and public/private-sector resources to help them grow. The 41 graduates from the past two classes have collectively secured $1.6 million in new financing and created 100 new jobs.
In an effort to build on and expand the City’s thriving entertainment industry and bridge it to new opportunities in digital media, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, in connection with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, will issue a request for proposals for an operator and physical space to establish the “Made in NY” Media Center. The media center will provide media entrepreneurs with affordable workspace and serve as a central meeting place where traditional media companies and new media entrepreneurs can meet, interact and collaborate. It will host educational workshops and training sessions catered to segments across the media industry and intended to encourage the type of cross-sector learning and creative cooperation that will ensure that the media industry is well-positioned for the digital age. It will also support new businesses in the field of emerging media, like interactive entertainment, digital advertising and mobile apps, by providing high-quality, ready-to-use office space that will accommodate numerous companies and a variety of employees. The space will also include conference rooms, production office space and a screening room.
The “Made in NY” Marketing Credit, which provides free co-branded advertising to productions that shoot the majority of their project in the five boroughs, will also be enhanced to include additional bus shelters, subway advertising, and Taxi TV spots. Participating projects also donate a percentage of their production costs to local arts and cultural organizations. In order to expand the number of participants that can take advantage of this increase of exposure in the City’s media market, each production will receive a fixed benefit based its budget.
In 2011, 188 films shot on location in New York City, as well as 140 television series. This spring, the City expects at least 13 television pilots to be shot here as well. Productions support over 4,000 local businesses, ranging from hardware stores, dry cleaners, prop houses, camera rental facilities and more. In an effort to connect local vendors with productions, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment developed the “Made in NY” Discount Card Program. Participating businesses provide a discount off their goods and services to eligible production shooting in the City. Filmmakers can find these vendors, located throughout the five boroughs, with the “Made in NY” discount card app, available for smart phones.
Coinciding with the expansion at Steiner Studios and as part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s expansion, the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program – which is operated by nonprofit Brooklyn Workforce Innovations – will be co-locating its activities at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Building 92. The program, which was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and BWI, provides free training to unemployed or underemployed New Yorkers who lack opportunities in the production industry and teaches them the skills needed for entry level jobs on set and in production offices. Approximately 96 percent of the program graduates are people of color, and “Made in NY” PAs have worked on over 2,000 productions, cumulatively earning more than $7.5 million in wages. Many graduates are advancing in their careers, and some have gained union membership. At today’s announcement, recent graduates of the “Made in NY” PA Training cycle were on hand after having undergone five weeks of rigorous skills training and industry internships. These young men and women now join the more than 300 program alumni working in production.
“BWI is excited to be part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s continued transformation into one of the City’s most dynamic economic centers,” said Aaron Shiffman, BWI’s Executive Director. “Our trained graduates are ready to begin careers in production and participate in this industry, which Steiner Studios’ expansion represents.”