mercurydime asked: Tell it to me straight, what HAPPENED to Hollywood East? Everyone I've asked just glazes over it. (I'm a huge fan of yours, by the way.)
For background: In 2008 and 2009, I worked on a PR production team for Plymouth Rock Studios, a very fancy and highly-anticipated movie studio planned in Plymouth, MA. It was to capitalize on MA’s tax breaks for film and television production, but also had high aspirations of becoming a sort of creative institution.
It was all mostly in place regarding the zoning and permits and building plans. But funding hit a couple major hitches, the biggest of which was being basically scammed to the tune of millions of dollars (all I know about this is some Floridian guy perpetrated the fraudulent investment deal. He was to provide the $550 million PRS needed to actually build the studio, but he of course could not, and PRS lost $3.5 million in the transaction. The dude was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison.)
Anyway, there were already financial hiccups leading up to this one, which got me and several others laid off. After that $550 million bubble burst, however, the project was reduced to a small core group of planners, which over the last couple of years seems to have dwindled even further down to one or two guys. I don’t have much of an inside track anymore, but I don’t think the remaining investors were very happy after the big fraud, and going by the few recent press statements, the remaining project leaders seem to be mildly and quietly pursuing some unknown prospects which may or may not exist. I don’t know.
It was awesome to be a small part of their PR team. The agenda was to create a lot of local hopes and dreams, and media buzz, and to document it every step of the way (the five-times-weekly series “The Series” seems to be gone now, but I hope those are archived somewhere. I think it’d be kind of fascinating/heartbreaking/comical to watch now.) That agenda backfired once the fraud fiasco struck, and most of their good will transmuted into something sour. So, since then the remaining team has avoided (and probably couldn’t afford) the flashy PR. That, combined with what I’m sure are very disappointed feelings for those most deeply involved and invested, probably means we’re unlikely to hear any definitive news, unless the project magically succeeds all of a sudden.
And even if it does, I can’t see it being the big hurrah it was promised to be. The studio premises would provide a stable resource for TV and film productions to use, which would be cool and probably good for the economy and stuff. But the cultural, technological Mecca of innovation that we portrayed (and were earnestly aiming for, I believe) is something I doubt would be built at this point. No, nothing to get stars in your eyes over.