TNT, TV Series
LEVERAGE was far and away my favorite job I’ve ever had in this industry. The people were good humans with tremendous talent, the product we put out was absolutely first-rate, and shooting in the city of Portland was a true blessing. Some of the best friends I have to this day are from my time on LEVERAGE.
What made it so great
Most all productions - film or TV - are either good or bad experiences based on the person at the top. How they operate sets the tone for everything. On LEVERAGE, John Rogers was the man in charge, and he is to this day, the finest showrunner I’ve ever worked with. He’s also one of the finest humans I know, and that counts for even more.
John and his co-creator, Chris Downey, put together the best writing staff I’ve ever been part of. There was a tremendous chemistry in that room. It was one of those rare occasions where all the writers liked and respected each other, and came together to make the best show possible and have a lot of fun doing it.
There’s an old saying in the television biz - “The first year the stars work for you, the second year you work together, the third year you work for them.” Meaning, once the show is a success the actors tend to think it’s all about them, and not the story. They start making demands - personal and creative - and the show goes downhill. I’ve experienced this. On LEVERAGE, however, the opposite was true. The entire cast was fantastic - from both a talent and communal standpoint. They understood we were all in it together, and they respected everyone’s position in the machine.
I’ve worked on two series in Portland, and I would return there in a heartbeat. Absolutely fabulous crews, and a city that truly loves and supports the Hollywood industry. Unlike a lot of states’ politicians who pretend to care about the economy but are really just out to procure favors, Oregon’s governor and Portland’s mayor understood the millions of dollars a production can flood into the economy. Having that support makes everything better.
In my 20+ years in this industry I’ve worked with some truly great artists, and a couple of them I met in Portland. Randal Groves, the Production Designer on LEVERAGE and THE LIBRARIANS, is hands-down the best I’ve ever seen. He is the best kept secret in Hollywood, though I wish the secret would get out. If you want to know what makes him better than anyone else, ask me during a Zoom or coffee.
The local casting there is great, as is everything from craft service people to the caterers to the Teamsters. And the city is a blast. Great culture, amazing food, and possibly the best cycling city I’ve ever experienced.