Grekel Sought-After Firm for Film, Video Projects
May, Bill, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Journal Record Staff Reporter
What started as a part-time venture in Oklahoma City more than a decade ago is rapidly becoming one of the most modern and sought-after production companies in the United States.
With one feature-length motion picture nearly ready for distribution in the video market, a 30-minute children's video pilot program making the rounds for a syndication market and another youth program in the planning stages, Grekel Productions Inc. is suddenly "hot," as they say in Hollywood.
"We're getting a lot of interest nowadays, especially with the way we completed `G. Whilliker!'," said Greg Leslie, founder and president of the company which does business as Grekel Film-Video-Animation, 7405 N. Kelley Ave. "We projected a budget and an 18-day shooting schedule for that film, and we brought it in on time and under budget. They thought we couldn't do it.
"But one of the things we did is that we kept our editor in our production suite, left him alone so he could do his job as the others were out shooting on location.
"What we've done is not only brought out the film under budget and on time, but we've created a new way to do this type of work."
The film was shot entirely in Oklahoma City and Guthrie as a joint venture with Land Run Productions.
Land Run provided the script and funding while the two companies worked together for the rest of the package.
The pilot program for "R.U. Kidding," developed with executive producer Charles Jones, has been completed and is awaiting syndication to television stations throughout the nation. Like the movie, the children's program is family fare designed to give station programmers the option of educational material which appeals to younger children, Leslie said.
Another program, which also will be aimed at young audiences, has not been developed, but is expected to start soon.
As glamorous as these Hollywood-type productions are, Leslie said, they will not steer the company from its core business, that is, producing commercials and making training tapes and sales presentations for companies.
But Grekel Productions doesn't just provide routine work on commercials or the longer tapes. The company has installed a digitized editing suite which will provide a higher quality finished product than was possible in the past, Leslie said.
"In the past when someone wanted multiple layers of graphics, spinning, tumbling logos and letters and expanding and contracting figures, we had to make a new copy each time," he said. "With each generation of copy, we lost a little detail. But with each layer we added, we had to make a copy of the original. About five generations is about as far as we could go and still hold the quality we wanted.
"Our new system allows us to layer all these graphics directly onto the original without any loss in quality. Each layer is added directly to the original, so we end up with the pristine final print of the original."
It was this capability which attracted both Jones and Land Run Productions, he said.
But as high-tech as that sounds, it's not "the toy of the week; there is always another house on either the West Coast or the East Coast which has something newer and better," Leslie said.
"We have gotten inquiries because of the digitized editing suite, but I think most of the interest we're generating is because of what we've done over the years and the reputation that we've built up for quality work," he said.
Growing from the four founders who incorporated in 1982 to 24 employees, the company is projecting 1993 sales to be near $2 million. This is up from $500,000 in 1987, the year after Grekel merged with Studio A and became a full-time operation. There were no sales figures available for 1992.
The company made a major step in 1986 with the merger, but an even more important step was taken in 1990 when Grekel purchased Channel 9 Productions and moved into the production studio formerly occupied by KWTV-9, according to Kerry Robertson, marketing manager. …