Why I Love Birns & Sawyer

Posted by Ramzi Abed - in Uncategorized - Comments Off

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Many of you don’t know me at all, or if you know me, you only know that I work for Birns & Sawyer, handling the company’s marketing and sales departments… Well, first and foremost, I am a filmmaker, and part of the reason I work at Birns & Sawyer IS BECAUSE I am a filmmaker! Since my teen years, I had been very well acquainted with the brand name of the company, and its legacy and incredible effect on so many of my favorite directors and cinematographers over the years. With my two BA degrees from Pitzer College, where I studies Film/Video Production and Creative Writing/English, I went on to work for numerous television shows and production companies as a Production Coordinator, Post-Production Supervisor, and even as an Assistant Editor, however it was when I directed my first Super 16mm color short film, “Nobody”, back in 1998 that I became truly addicted to the filmmaking bug… And subsequently, it was only when I started to work at Birns & Sawyer in late February of 2011 that I realized how much filmmaking was really at the core of my very being.

 

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Like many of my peers in Los Angeles, I have worked many jobs both on and off set in almost every department related to motion picture and television production and post-production, but for me it was always because I loved every single aspect of the process. My trajectory was always to write, direct, and produce my own films, and I went on to do so with numerous short films culminating in my 2001 Super 16mm short film, “The Tunnel”, which starred Lloyd Kaufman of Troma Entertainment fame and Mark Borchardt of “American Movie” legend. This film wound up screening at over 40 film festivals worldwide, and garnered attention from magazines and websites like MovieMaker, Ain’t In Cool News, and Film Threat. I went on to make several feature films after that including “The Devil’s Muse” (which starred Kristen Kerr, Cinque Lee, Julie Strain, and Dame Darcy, and featured an original soundtrack by David J of Bauhaus and Love And Rockets) and “In A Spiral State”, which were both released by Halo 8 Entertainment. These filmmaking adventures were inspired by the legacy of filmmaking mavericks that had come far before me and my small movie projects.

 

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In 2011, I answered a job placement ad for Birns & Sawyer, whom I was already very familiar with. When I actually landed the gig, and found myself at the main Birns & Sawyer facility in North Hollywood, I was thrilled to be working under the umbrella of a company that had been such an important force in the world of independent film for well over 50 years at the time. I also had already looked up the President of the company, William Meurer, on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), and found out that he was the Gaffer on Rob Reiner’s classic genre-making mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap!”, which excited me to the core. I told Bill that I was so honored to be here, that whether I ended up working for the company for a day or a week or a month or a year or ten years, I was excited to do so. Then as I the first week progressed, I also realized that several of the other employees at the company had worked on lots of amazing films and tv shows that I’d grown up with, from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” to George Romero’s “Creepshow“!

 

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I worked hard for the company to bring their small sales department up as much as I could, and found myself getting more and more involved in the company’s day to day operations. Even as I was putting the finishing touches on a couple of my most recent feature film projects, I was finding that Birns & Sawyer was becoming a more and more important part of my life. I finished my dramatic film, “Telephone World”, and began the final mixing on the film. During this period, I was inspired to make a commercial about the company I was now working for, and I wanted it to reflect the historic and also quirky aspects of it, as well as highlight its new location in North Hollywood. I was lucky enough to cast some of my friends to create a micro menagerie of filmmakers playing themselves, from actor James Duval (Independence Day, Donnie Darko, Sushi Girl) to producer Robert Dudelson (Creepshow III, Masterminds) to no-budget movie director Dennis Woodruff and his Hollywood art car. I wrote, directed, and produced the commercial, and utilized our awesome staff to form my crew. We shot it on the Arri Alexa and the Sony F3, and it was a fun and successful shoot. The video then went viral on Vimeo and YouTube, and we began to use it as our first in-house commercial.

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Now, some time has passed, and a new year is coming to a close, but we’ve made great strides at the company, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of that. We’ve been more and more present at local film events and festivals, and have been reaching out to more and more independent filmmakers and show creators with specially discounted packages, free assistance, in-kind support, and the right gear at the right time. We’ve also built up our relationships with other vendors and equipment rental houses, and are doing everything we can to support the entire California film community… As as well filmmakers all over the world. So, please stay tuned as we make more changes, get ready to launch our new website and subsequent smart phone app. I’ll also have more events coming up to share with you, and more adventures in filmmaking to come. Heck, I’ll invite you all to my next movie premiere (“Noirland”) in LA… It might be soon!

 

Ramzi Abed

Director of Marketing & Sales

BIRNS AND SAWYER

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