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Film

Film Focus: Keeping Things Light

By Staff Reports, posted Jun 3, 2022
(Photo by Jenny Callison)

SUNSET LIGHTING AND GRIP
2725 Old Wrightsboro Rd, Wilmington

YEAR FOUNDED: 2002
 
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 4
 
TOP OFFICIALS: Terry and Pam O’Deen
 
WHAT DOES THE COMPANY DO WITH REGARD TO FILM? Terry O’Deen: “We rent lighting and grip equipment to film and video production companies and handle equipment logistics, crew and lighting design. We also offer production support rentals including director’s chairs, walkie talkies and tents.”
 
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS BUSINESS? Terry O’Deen: “My interest in the film business started when I lived in Chicago and the movie The Blues Brothers was filming a scene in my neighborhood in Park Ridge, Illinois. For the first time I got to see, in person, all the cameras and lights in action. I met some of the crew people and saw how exciting it is to make a movie. After that I was hooked. I was 14 years old.
 
“I started taking TV and film classes in high school and then at Columbia College in Chicago. After graduation I interned at a large studio and kept notes of the TV commercial crews who worked on the stage the most. I asked some crew people if I could start working freelance with them, and in no time started working full time for them. My family owned an auto repair shop where I started when I was at 11 years old doing oil changes and then becoming a mechanic through high school and college. All the lighting companies liked having me around, as not only could I fix the trucks and the gear if needed, but also could drive anything.”
 
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW? Terry O’Deen: “We usually have about seven or eight projects floating at once, but now we are working on a job with the PGA, a car dealership commercial in Raleigh, a project with ESPN and a promo video for the Wilmington Convention Center. We are also collaborating on the latest YouTube project with MrBeast, who currently has one of the top five YouTube channels in the world.”
 
ANY MEMORABLE CUSTOMERS OR PROJECTS? Terry O’Deen: “The most memorable commercial I worked on was back in Chicago with Michael Jordan. Recently when we shot a job for Gatorade at Laney High School and he came in for the day, he recognized me from my Chicago days working on the lighting crew. One time, while shooting a Nike commercial, we had a lunch break and played a game of basketball with Jordan and I ended up on his team. I’m terrible at basketball, so I asked his advice and he said, ‘Pass the ball to me.’ After that I learned to never be shy to ask for help from someone who is at the top of their game.”
 
DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR FUTURE GROWTH? Terry O’Deen: “We have already grown significantly in the last couple years, but we are now bringing in the latest in LED and wireless tech as well as training new and existing freelancers, who are all very talented. … We have refined our business from being a small rental shop to being a massively scalable operation that is able to take on any size project, but still serve the small indy projects.”
Editor’s note: Film Focus is a monthly series looking at the people and businesses that are local vendors to the film industry. To be considered for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Film Focus feature, contact [email protected].
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