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Innovation & Startups

Hollywood East heats up. Two blockbuster movies coming, On Beat Productions ditches LA

Two major movies will pull into Pittsburgh this spring, a major motion picture production studio is opening and a movie and TV production boutique has forsaken LA and reopened in the region. 

"Promised Land," a Gus Van Sant movie starring Matt Damon, John Krasinkski and Frances McDormand is getting underway in April and "Out of the Furnace," directed by Scott Cooper and starring Christian Bale and Robert Duvall is filming in Braddock and elsewhere this spring.

The Pittsburgh production scene is heating up as well. Last week four prominent movie-making enterprises joined forces to create a powerhouse production  studio in the Strip.  31st Street Studios, a 300,000 square-foot facility equipped for new motion-capture technology, is collaborating with Paramount on Location, Knight Vision Studios and CMU's Entertainment Technology Center to establish a major studio for Hollywood-style projects.

And after 12 years in LA, On Beat Productions has relocated to Ellwood City, bringing the Hollywood touch to Pittsburgh.
For owner Nick Danko, who grew up in Plum and attended University of Pittsburgh before transferring to USC, the move is bringing him home at an opportune time.  Danko has opened one studio and plans to locate a second office downtown as he begins attracting local work.  
"I'm aware this is completely backwards," says Danko. "This city has always been home for me. I wanted to bring a sense of Hollywood and the production values and quality to the region. It's a crowded space in LA. Pittsburgh offers more opportunities."
"I've been closely following the region's explosion in entertainment," says Danko. "It seemed like a perfect time to become a part of that and bring our Hollywood experience to the area."
On Beat Productions produces movie trailers, theatrical marketing and advertising spots, promotional and DVD special features. Danko's first project was The Blair Witch Project for Artisan Entertainment in 1999. 
Since then, OBP has created spots for "The Saw" movies and behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray features for titles including "Pirates of the Caribbean." Entertainment clients include Lions Gate Films, Warner Bros., Disney, Sony Pictures, EA, Magnolia Pictures and Starz Media. 
Oakmont-based Cycling Fusion was among the firm's first local clients.
OBP has two high-end editing suites for post production work and employs four in addition to independent contractors. 
"We can handle high-end production video needs and not charge a ton," says Danko. "I think this is a niche we can fill. I love the (Pittsburgh) location and Hollywood does too; every third film they shoot is here."
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Nick Danko, On Beat Productions
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