Film crew in Westminster ends shooting of IRS video

September 24, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Only in the film industry do four days equal 15 minutes.

Filming on a 15-minute Internal Revenue Service video, designed to help small-business owners understand their tax obligations, wound up in downtown Westminster yesterday.

Cast and crew from Action Productions Inc. of New York, Cooper Productions of Columbia and Steve Yeager Films of Baltimore began work on the project Monday.

"It's sort of like watching grass grow," the sound technician commented as the cast and crew taped a three-minute scene for the fourth time at the law offices of Lennon and Miller on Main Street.

For most of the week, the crews worked at White's Bicycles and White's Emporium filming the majority of the 15-minute film.

The video, which should be released by the end of October, covers discussions between two friends about opening a business, said executive director Jerry Brownstein of Action Productions.

In the store, Sharon Hardy, played by Liz Van Dyke, has just lost her job and is considering opening a small gift shop. She goes to see Lynn Posten (Joanne Ritchie), who is celebrating her bicycle shop's one-year anniversary.

Lynn explains the tax processes she encountered -- such things as withholding tax payments and estimated income taxes -- when she opened her business.

"The IRS has found a lot of lack of knowledge about the [tax] responsibilities of small-business owners, which is a reason for their noncompliance," Mr. Brownstein said. "Anyone can request the video] for free."

Other characters in the video are Lynn's employees, Roger and Li Chin (Leonard Joseph and Jenni Lee Sari), and Joe Estavez (Hector Osario), an accountant who helps Lynn organize her records and fill out her tax forms.

All the principal actors were hired in New York, Mr. Brownstein said. About 20 extras for the anniversary party scene were hired locally, he said.

Federal officials expect to distribute the tape through business seminars, churches and libraries.

"Westminster is such a great place to shoot," Mr. Brownstein said.

Action Productions, in cooperation with Vince Clews and Associates, filmed part of two IRS videos, about the history of taxation, in Westminster last April. The videos, aimed at high school students, were updates of the IRS' "Understanding Taxes" series.

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