Friday, June 12, 2009

Naperville Sun - "Officials Pleased With Downtown Documentary"


City officials are hoping a new video will help bring tourists to Naperville's downtown.

Just 10½ hours after finishing their promo DVDs, co-producers Ken Karlson and director Grant Weiss presented their 3½-minute promo of "See You Downtown" on Thursday to a private audience of various members of Naperville organizations including Mayor A. George Pradel, Councilman Kenn Miller and Christine Jeffries of the Naperville Development Partnership, "See You Downtown."

"I thought it was excellent," Pradel said. "What was nice is it didn't feature any one person, one restaurant or one business. It talked about Naperville as a whole."

Pradel said he was especially thrilled about the footage shot at Centennial Beach.

"People coming from another town and seeing this would say, 'Why am I going to Lake Michigan when I can go to Naperville to enjoy the beach there?'" Pradel said.

The promo DVD takes a look at a lot of what Naperville has to offer. Like Pradel said, the cast and crew didn't so much focus on any certain places, but citizens and visitors to Naperville would easily be able to identify the streets and buildings that are featured in the promo. One daytime segment was shot outside at Jimmy's Grill, one of the nightlife pieces was shot outside of Rizzo's, and one of the hosts, Evan Dollard, even does a front flip into Centennial Beach on a bright, sunny day.

"I thought it was great quality," said Miller. "It was very professional."

Miller said the city can even use the video to promote itself to people who might potentially move to Naperville, which would contribute to its "infamous" sales taxes and boost the local economy.

"I think a lot happened," Karlson said of the showing. "It was nice talking to people and no one was in a hurry to get out."

After the showing was over and the council chambers at City Hall were empty, Karlson and Weiss said they were happy with what they created and said they wouldn't change anything.

"I'm the kind of person that will want to do more," Weiss said.

Even after showing their promo and receiving letters of intent from three major TV networks, Weiss and Karlson didn't show an ounce of ego about their show.

"We're here because we love downtown of Naperville first and couldn't think of a better city to start with," Weiss said.

The next step is funding if they are to shoot pilots for television and a steady TV show.

"Everybody was interested," Karlson said. "Mayor Pradel came up to me and said, 'We have to find a way to get the money to do this.'"

The group decided not to delve into finances and funding for the show at the promo showing, but shared their plan to start local and work their way shooting downtowns across America.

"George doesn't waste money," Karlson said. "So we wouldn't just bring something in on a whim."

When the time comes to talk about investing, "they'll get what they paid for and more," Weiss said.

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