Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
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Acting Graphics Services Chief Steve Devorkin directs his cast and crew.

The Making of the EEO Video
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 11/2011

District 7 goes Hollywood for training purposes.

Caltrans is again branching out into new ventures; this time: the movie business.

Okay, business might be a bit of a stretch, as might be the word movie. Actually. It’s a video made for and by District 7 employees to illustrate proper behavior in the field and specifically dealing with areas of sexual harassment.

The video is the brainchild of District 7 Director Mike Miles, Maintenance Division Deputy Dan Freeman and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Manager Gwiin Correa. With a cast and crew of more than 25 people, “it is one of the most ambitious projects ever to be done in-house,” said Acting Graphic Services Manager Steve Devorkin.

He ought to know, having served as the production’s director, producer, cinematographer and caterer (“drinks and healthy snacks”). “No one realizes that, when you’re shooting at a site all day, you have to feed your crew,” Devorkin said. “An army (and production crew) runs on its stomach.” Eventually, the lunch problem was solved by daily visits to a good food truck that Maintenance workers knew.

It was an intense, 5-day shoot, complete with rented equipment. “Everyone said it looked like a Hollywood shoot, and it did,” Devorkin said. As for the cast, everyone who auditioned got a part. “We have some people who are very good actors,” he added.

In addition to numerous Maintenance workers who provided invaluable skills and service, Devorkin also thanked Ed Griffith, who came down from Headquarters to assist with photography, District 7 photographer Peter Grigsby and Tim Baker from Graphic Services who served as head make-up artist, rigger, gaffer and best boy. “If there was a job to do and nobody could do it, Tim did it.”

But, as they say in the business, without a screenplay there could be no movie (or something to that effect). Devorkin had written one, but it took the combined efforts of him and former EEO Officer and script doctor Greg Townsend (who is now a Public Information Officer in District 4) to come up with the final version. “Fortunately, we were able to find the drama we were looking for right here under our roof,” Townsend said.

For material, they used EEO case studies. The message: “Sexual harassment is flat out wrong.” The video will be used during training events here at the district, particularly for those who deal with community service workers, he said, adding that “we had a lot of fun but I tried to make sure the message was always there.”

We are looking forward to the premier, which has not yet been scheduled.

 


 

District 7 Director Mike Miles drops by the shoot with his son. Cast and crew begin setting up for the day's shoot. Paula Durham from the Design Division holds the ''clapper'' in preparation for the director to shout ''action.'' Next to her (middle) is Peter Jones from Public Affairs and Right-of-Way's Francisco Paras. Make-up artist and man-about-shoot Tim Baker readies Project Management's Bahar Bakhtar for her close-up.