Get Your Start in the Film Industry


Film Industry Training (FIT) is a two-day workshop designed to provide practical training for an entry-level Production Assistant position in the film industry.  Participants will gain valuable knowledge and insight into the entertainment industry and will learn about on-set etiquette and protocol from seasoned filmmakers. The course will also include information on how to create a film friendly resume, search for local VA productions and interview effectively.  Learn how to work on set or in the production office and become “the unforgettable PA.”




  • Understanding the motion picture industry
  • Who’s who on a film set
  • Script breakdown
  • Scheduling procedures and techniques
  • Film set language, protocol and etiquette
  • Production paperwork overview
  • Health and safety practices
  • Production Assistant responsibilities
  • Creating a film friendly resume
  • Finding a job



WHEN:  October 4 and 5,  9:00 am – 5:00 p.m. (2-day workshop)

WHERE:  Workforce Development and Conference Center,
1651 Parham Road, Richmond, 23228 (on the Parham Road Campus of
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College)

COST:  $125.  Students, veterans and Virginia Production Alliance members:  $75


This course will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, founder of the Production Assistant Training Seminar (PATS) who is currently in production on the Amazon/ABC pilot Point of Honor, to be filmed entirely in Virginia.   He has worked extensively as an Assistant Director for film and television projects including Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses.  His film credits include Pirates of the Caribbean, Blades of Glory and the Virginia-based Lifetime movie Unanswered Prayers. FIT is a pilot project for a workforce development initiative sponsored by the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), the Production Assistant Training Seminar, the Virginia Film Office and the Virginia Production Alliance.







Director John Conway releases trailer for short film shot in Giles County

Director John Conway has released the trailer for the film,  “AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE.”  This move was filmed on location in Giles County. Per Conway, “Simply put, Southern Virginia is a picturesque treasure of Appalachian beauty that was begging to be captured on film.  So, after many, many months of meticulous planning, I decided to bring my film to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Giles County Virginia. Over a two-week period, the wonderful people of the county pulled out all the stops to help myself and my dedicated cast & crew…” “AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE” is a psychologically twisted crime drama set in Upstate New York at the turn of the 19th Century.  Starring Brett Rickaby (Dexter, The Crazies), Hans Howes (There Will Be Blood) and talented newcomers Dartanian Sloan and Anjolie Nieman, the film is based on the short story written by Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage), scored by Grammy nominee Tift Merritt (2004’s Tambourine) and written for the screen and directed by J.A. Conway.

For post-production details and the movies trailer visit the film‘s kickstarter campaign site: This is the location that Conway will use to post updates, behind the scenes videos on scoring the film, and the poster that will be created for donors.

(Note: The poster will also be included on the DVD/Blu-Ray.) Conway also plans to set up “AN ILLUSION IN RED & WHITE ” website before the month ends. 

Jim Baugh Outdoors Visits Giles County

Donna Bozza, co-producer of the show, ” JIM BAUGH OUTDOORS” shared some of the highlights of the recent filming experience in the New River Valley. Below is an excerpt from her site:

Part 1: Coastal Tripping: Going with the Flow: New River Valley. “Up to our waders in filming fun here in the New River Valley where its namesake river runs through it. Jim Baugh Outdoors TV is covering the wild and civilized adventures you can find in this scenic region in Southwest Virginia that includes Radford CityMontgomery County,Giles County, and Pulaski County. Part 2:  “Filming fun with fab eats and other treats including Mountain Lake Lodge, New River Retreat, The Draper Mercantile, Palisades Restaurant, Bull and Bones Brewhaus & Grill, Attimo Winery, the energies of Virginia Tech & Radford Universities and more! ” For more information, visit


Recent News Posted “Wish You Well” 

According to the film‘s facebook page, “WISH YOU WELL” played at the Sedona InternationalFilm Festival in Arizona on both Thursday, February 27th and Saturday, March 1. The film was awarded the Audience Award For Best Feature Drama. For those of you who want another peek at the film, check out the “WISH YOU WELL” teaser that was created for festival use.

WISH YOU WELL - Festival Teaser
WISH YOU WELL – Festival Teaser


Finding Bigfoot 

Although we do not have the air dates for the episode, “FINDING BIGFOOT” that was filmed in Giles County, it is anticipated that it will be included in the upcoming season.

The Giles Film Office is proud to share with you an update on the movie, Wish You Well, and some of our accomplishments since the office opened.

Wish You Well Update

It is Official! Wish You Well has been selected to be shown at the Heartland Film Festival Oct. 17-26th in Indianapolis! It is an honor that the movie was selected to play at this reputable and well respected film festival. Please share the information with friends and family! Screening times and ticket information are in the attached link.Tickets are available for all four screenings! We have no information at this time regarding a VA screening but we will keep you updated.


Looking for American Pickers!

The History Channel’s “American Pickers” is coming to Virginia! They are looking for interesting local characters with interesting items to be featured on the show. If you or someone you know is a good candidate to be “picked,” please notify the Giles Film Office. You may also contact the “American Pickers’ ” production team direct at The phone number is 646.493.2184.Note: If you chose to submit your nomination direct, please contact the Giles Film Office so that we can track your submission.


Wild Water America on the New River

Shawn Hash’s services will be utilized for filming an episode of Wild Water America on the New River in early October. More information will be available in the future.

The Learning Channel in Giles

It is rumored that The Learning Channel (TLC) was in the county filming a show about a Greek wedding. The Film Office is contacting TLC to confirm this filming activity.

Giles County responded with photos to a statewide search for a location for a short film called Asylum. The independent film production company was scouting communities for an old empty rehab center or nursing home. The selection of the location will be announced upon completion of the film’s KickStarter Campaign.

VA Film Office Request
The VA Film Office notified us that they were looking for an old school for a production companies show. Several options in Giles County were submitted. It has been communicated that the school project is on “hold” for the time being as the filmmakers are completing another project.

Visit to Giles
The VA Film Office will be visiting the Giles County Film Office on October 8 and 9th. We will keep you updated on this visit.

Some of our other Accomplishments:

Barbosal filmed a commercial at Mill Creek Falls and from the top of the hospital road looking down at route 460. This commercial can be viewed on the town of Narrows website.
Brogan Dinger received training on taking location photographs from Tom Trigo, a recognized location photographer. Trigo has been involved in taking location photographs for several known films such War of Worlds, What About Bob and Fried Green Tomatoes.Trigo and Brogan spent 3 hours together. A total of ten “potential” film locations were photographed. These included scenic roads, overlooks, several buildings, a restaurant, river view, and a farm.Trigo forwarded the photographs taken with Brogan. She uploaded these on the VA Film Office website.
Giles County Tourism committee members and other identified groups were contacted to develop a list of recommended locations for future location shots. The categories that photographs were needed included: accommodations, agriculture, airports, auditoriums/theaters, automobiles/vehicles, bars, bridges, businesses, cemeteries, restaurants, roads/highways, schools, sports, store/shops, studios/stages, trains/railroads, town/government buildings, hospitals, houses, house features, industrial, lakes/rivers/creeks, landscapes, military, museum/exhibits, office buildings, parks, religious etc. The VA Film Office identified the locations that are most commonly requested by the filmmakers as: scenic farms, vacant hospitals, scenic small towns, period cities and towns (1700’s-1950’s), vacant warehouses and factories, plantations and estates, unique natural locations such as waterfalls, cliffs, caves, covered bridges , etc. Locations recommended were reviewed and photographed. Fifty locations were accepted by the VA Film Office and were downloaded.
A production services directory was developed. This directory is updated annually. It lists local services available to film production companies.
The Giles Film Office’s first referral from the VA Film Office was from a production company from Canada. The production company filmed a documentary in Blacksburg for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Doc Zone called “Information Overload.” The documentary focused on the way people are using technology in their lives and the way this technology is changing the way we live. Although the filming occurred primarily at Virginia Tech, the Giles Film Office was asked to help wrangle some PA’s locally.
The Giles Film Office assisted Ditchdigger films locate potential film sites for the film Skin Walker. The film production company accepted a location on Sugar Run Road in Pearisburg and received permission from the landowners. This film never went into production.
During the filming of Wish You Well, the Giles County Film Office was fortunate to develop a strong personal and working relationship with Darnell Martin, screenwriter, film and television director. Martin’s first film was an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1994, Martin became the first African-American woman to direct and produce a movie produced by a major studio, Columbia Pictures called That. The film was well received by critics. In 2001 Martin directed the HBO pilot of Oz. She has directed episodes of TV shows like The Mentalist, Homicide, Gossip Girls, ER, Law and Order , Chicago Fire, Vampire Diaries, Ironside and Grey’s Anatomy and Firelight. Martin returned to the big screen when she wrote and directed a musical-drama film titled Cadillac Records. Over the last month, Martin visited the county to look at potential locations for another possible film. The final selection of the county for this film will be based upon the interest of investors and the development of film grant funds. (One of Martin’s films, The Lost Valentine, can be seen on the Hallmark Channel this month).
An Illusion of Red and White was filmed in Giles County by John Conway as his USC Thesis Film. We are waiting for information on this film.
The Giles Film Office assisted Black Horse Studios who shot a Volvo Trucks television commercial on route 460 in Narrows.

The Assistant Producer for Middle Tennessee State University’s Film Guild contacted the Giles Film Office regarding a film project. They were looking for a cabin that represented a wealthy family’s vacation home during the 1930s. They were also looking for a shack or barn-like structure that looks old, but is structurally sound. Three locations were submitted for consideration.
Stormcatcher Films, LLC was seeking a church built before around or before the 1900s. Locations were submitted for consideration.
Robin Farmer contacted the Giles Film Office in regard to an article for the Blue Ridge Business Journal about the effort we have made to market our region to the motion picture industry. In light of Governor McDonnell’s legislative support for attracting film and video productions, her story focus was to examine ways to generate more of this business in Southwest Virginia.

“Giles County was selected as a location for a national television Barbasol shaving cream commercial,” reported Dianne Dinger, on behalf of the Giles County Film Office. Watch it here!


Location scout, Laura Bryant, visited the county the week of April 15 and was shown various sites that met the commercial’s criteria. “The locations that Sue Kidd, Chris McKlarney and I identified included the wishing well and old golf course at Mountain Lake Lodge, Mill Creek Falls, the Giles County owned covered bridge, the Ripplemead Bridge, the view from the top of the road on Hartley Way and other scenic vistas,” relayed Dinger. On Thursday, April 18, the county learned that  the county had been selected as the commercial’s location. “The Barbasol truck arrived the night of April 24 and parked in the lot at the bottom of route 700. The commercial was shot on April 25. Approximately twenty production crew members arrived and stayed at the Blueberry Ridge Cottages in Pembroke. They dined at the new Harvest Restaurant at Mountain Lake Lodge. Due to time constraints only two of the locations identified were selected for the filming. They were Mill Creek Falls and Hartley Road overlooking route 460. The commercial will be aired on national television some time in May,” relayed Dinger. This is the second film since October that Giles County will appear in film. The movie, Wish You Well, was shot in the county in the fall.

If you’ve ever thought about a career in the film, video or television industry – consider this intensive two-day workshop that will teach you Production Assistant and Assistant Director skills.

Visit or call 800. 579.1570.

If you’re interested – don’t wait to get information. The seminar is February 2 and 3, at the VCU arts Cinema Studio in Richmond — only two weeks away!  Discounts are available for students, Virginia Production Alliance members and the general public by January 28. 

Bluefield Daily Telegraph (
EGGLESTON, Va. — There?s something special about Giles County, Va., and author David Baldacci is fixing to unleash that secret on the world. The bulk of the on-location filming of the movie version of his best-selling book, “Wish You Well,” is due to wrap on Monday, but the images of Southwest Virginia will likely linger on in cinematic history.
“The movie is going to showcase Giles County in a positive way,” Chris McKlarney, Giles County administrator said. “From the beauty of the New River, to the Cascade Falls (near Pembroke, Va.) to Mountain Lake and the Giles County Courthouse, they have shot every location we would have liked for them to have shot.
“We?re pressing hard to develop our tourism industry here,” McKlarney said. “Along with showcasing the region, the cast and crew stayed at Mountain Lake, the Macarthur Hotel in Narrows, Va., and the Plaza Motel in Pearisburg, Va. Some of the cast and crew went out on the river with outfitters and did some fishing.” McKlarney said that the filmmakers arrived early in October, got to experience late summer, the colorful fall transformation and mountain snows.
David Baldacci looked absolutely impervious to the riverside chill as he provided real-time scrutiny to each frame of a scene featuring Mackenzie Foy and other young actors sitting in the back of a 1930s vintage pickup truck. Foy, who will celebrate her 13th birthday next week, turned heads with her portrayal of Renesmee, the child of Bella and Edward in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2.” At a tender age, she has the task of playing Louisa “Lou” Cardinal,” the young protagonist of, “Wish You Well.”
It hadn?t snowed a lot last week in Giles County, but the air was cold for the actors as they worked the scene over and over again for director Darnell Martin. Baldacci remained intensely focused on the images as they rolled past. He stood motionless, with his hood drawstring tight on his wind breaker. When Martin called for a cut in the action, it appeared as though Baldacci could start breathing again.
“It is fulfilling,” Baldacci said, after walking a few steps away from the viewer. “It?s fulfilling to see these cast members all come together.” Baldacci, 52, grew up in Richmond, Va., earned his undergraduate degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree at the University of Virginia. He practiced law for a while, wrote screenplays and short stories, but in 1996, published “Absolute Power,” a best-selling novel that was made into a movie staring Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman.
“We are close to the end, so everyone is bringing their A-game,” Baldacci said. “It?s complex, watching all of the pieces come together.” The break ended as Martin called for quiet on the set. Baldacci removed the hood from his head, smiled for a photograph then stepped back to his viewing area to watch every frame pass by.
“He carries a laptop with him wherever he goes and works on his new book when he has time,” McKlarney said. “Even though he?s busy, I never saw him turn down a request for an autograph, and he?s signed a lot of them since he?s been here.” Baldacci has published more than 20 novels — 15 of which have been number one bestsellers. His books have been translated into 45 different languages and more than 110 million copies of his works are in print.
“He says that he is thankful for his fans, and that he doesn?t mind signing an autograph to show that thanks,” McKlarney said of Baldacci. At about that moment, a young lady driving an SUV stopped near McKlarney, and a woman in the passenger seat opened her window to ask directions to the location where that scene was being filmed. The lady was holding a tiny dog that was sporting a little fleece-lined vest.
“You know who that was?” McKlarney said after the vehicle drove from the crew parking area to the filming location. “It?s Ellen Burstyn,” he said, although his identification was not necessary. Burstyn has contributed powerful portrayals of characters through her distinguished career including her role as Sara Goldfarb in Darren Aronofsky?s dark tale of drug addiction, “Requiem for a Dream,” (2000). Burstyn started in that movie with Jennifer Connelly, who also starred with Josh Lucas in both “A Beautiful Mind,” (2001) and “The Hulk,” (2002).
“Here?s a funny story about Josh Lucas,” McKlarney said. “When he was driving here, he hit the metal steps of his Airstream trailer on something and knocked them off. He asked if Giles High School had a vocational education class that might be able to weld it back on for him. I called the instructor over there, and he?s taking the trailer over there (Thursday) afternoon. He?s not in the scenes they?re filming today.”
Lucas parked his Airstream in the Giles Courthouse parking lot through the duration of the filming, where it didn?t appear to draw any particular scrutiny. “When the hurricane went through here, earlier this week, I went down to his trailer at about 8:30 p.m., and asked if he wanted to go some place else until the storm passed. He thanked me, and answered that he was fine where he was.
“One thing that has surprised me is how hard they really work,” McKlarney said. “When you see a movie or watch a television show, you don?t see that the actors have been working from 7 a.m. in the morning to sometimes as late as 10 or 11 p.m. that night just to get a scene right. Our guys (with Giles County) have worked right along with them.”
As he watched past film crew members, each asked McKlarney to thank county workers for assisting by clearing snow from county roads to placing no parking cones in the vicinity of a location. In addition to the county employees, scores of volunteers worked as transport drivers, assistants and facilitators.
“It?s been fun,” Winston Faust, retired facility manager of the Celanese plant in Giles County said. “I?ve never been involved in anything like this, so it has been a learning experience.” Faust said that since filming began, his days start at 4:45 a.m. when he drives to Mountain Lake to pick up crew members to transport them to the location at 5:45 a.m. “Usually, I get home by 8:30-9 p.m. ..,” he said. Faust retired in 2000.
Chinah Jewell, assistant to Producer Sara Eilzabeth Timmins of Life Out Loud Films appeared to have a perpetual smile on her face as she dealt with one logistical challenge after another. For as efficient as she is in handling one task after another, it?s easy to forget how beautiful she is, even as she stood beside the New River, wrapped in layers of clothing on a sub-freezing, windy morning.
“From what I?ve seen and from the quality of the actors who are working on this movie, this is going to be good,” Jewell, a 2009 graduate of James Madison University said. Jewell was fifth runner-up in the 2009 Miss Virginia Pageant, but was awarded the crown when Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron went on to become Miss America. The first, second, third and fourth runners up declined the title, but Jewell was honored to represent her state. At that time, she was already working with Ms. Timmins.
“The actors seem to really like the area,” Jewell said. “Each of them have come up to me and have told me how nice the people here have been to them.” She said that most of the on-location filming will finish on Monday, but some crew members will remain in the area for a few more days. She said that when the film is finished, it will be shown at film festivals, and added that “hopefully, it will be released late in 2013 or early 2014,” she said.

There is still a need for volunteers to assist with the Wish You Well movie.  The filming is now in progress in the county Monday thru Saturday, 7 AM to 7 PM.


If you can volunteer a few days, a few half days, or all six days– please contact Bill Timmons at 540-484-3415 (preferred contact method) or at   Below, I’ll try to explain a bit more about what they need volunteers for.


There are four sites involved:

Mountain Lake Hotel

Base Camp (where wardrobe, hair, and make-up trailers are located)

Set  (where filming is being done)

Crew Parking area


The following are specific volunteer needs:


Mornings from 6 AM to 9:30 AM (and until 1 PM or so if possible)

Volunteers are needed for this time transport talent and production crew from Mountain Lake Hotel to base camp.  There are staggered times for pick up at Mountain Lake.  The trip takes approximately 25 minutes.

These volunteers would  also be used to transport from the catering tent (after breakfast) to the set – this is done on “loops” throughout the day

If you can’t do the Mountain Lake run, they may be able to use you at the base camp/catering/set to run “loops”

If you can stay around until 12:30 or 1 PM (through lunch), you can do transport from the catering tent back to the set.

These are volunteer jobs, but they may be able to reimburse some of your cost for gas based on mileage.


Evenings from about 5 PM to 8 PM

After shooting wraps up for the day, volunteers are needed to transport people from the set to the catering tent and/or crew parking area.


To Roanoke Airport

Volunteers are needed to do airport pick up of talent and production crew.  (there is a small payment to volunteers for the airport run to help cover gas)


To Berglund Auto in Roanoke

Berglund has loaned cars to the film production team.  Volunteers are needed to take these in for service or to pick up another vehicle.  This usually involves two people.


This is a great opportunity to see a movie being filmed right here in Giles County.  If you have a few hours and would like to be involved in Wish You Well, please contact Bill Timmons directly and he will work with you.  Thanks!