for our next Creative Circles Forum:

Behind the Camera
Career Avenues in the Arts


Creative Circles Forum LogoModerated By
Leon Silverman

Mark Helfrich
Debra Blanchard
Steve Gainer
Amanda Ragan
Peggy Flynn

November 18, 2015
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Hosted at
The Colony Theatre
555 N Third St, Burbank, CA 91502



Join us for this lively and thought-provoking Creative Circles Forum exploring career pathways of the entertainment industry trade technicians, craftspeople and designers, followed by a hosted wine and cheese reception and small silent auction including these items:

  • 4 tickets for the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Orlando Magic on Saturday, December 5th at 7:30pm.  The seats are at half court below the boxes and it includes parking.
  • A package from Poquito Mas
  • A poster from the upcoming Star Wars movie
  • and two other items that you will discover when you join us! 😉

Tickets are available at the door beginning at 6:30pm!

General Admission: $20

Current Community Members: $10
BUSD High School Students FREE with Student ID thanks to the generosity of a Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund grant
Current Circle of Champions Members receive complimentary tickets as a benefit of their membership. 

Contact Saundra Montijo to reserve your BUSD Student ticket or Circle of Champions tickets at


Learn more about our Moderator: 

Leon SilvermanLeon Silverman

General Manager, Digital Studio
Walt Disney Studios

Leon D. Silverman is General Manager, Digital Studio for the Walt Disney Studios where he oversees the Digital Studio Services team, which provides on-lot digital infrastructure, post production, digital platform distribution services, and workflow expertise as part of Studio Operations.

Prior to joining Disney, Silverman was President of LaserPacific Media Corporation, which was acquired by Eastman Kodak in 2003, where he additionally served as Director of Strategic Business Development, Entertainment Imaging Services and a Vice President of Entertainment Imaging for Kodak.

For over 35 years, Silverman has helped to introduce new post production technology, services and workflows to Hollywood’s creative and studio community.

Silverman is the President and a founder of the Hollywood Post Alliance, a broad-based industry trade association focused on the post production industry. He serves as Governor at Large and served two terms as Governor  – Hollywood Region of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, where he was named a Fellow of the Society in November of 2003. In addition, he is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers, and an Affiliate Member of the American Cinema Editors.

…And our esteemed panelists:

MH - CroppedMark Helfrich

Feature Film Director & Editor

Mark Helfrich is a director, film editor, and photographer. He is known for editing the “Rush Hour” movies, “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Red Dragon,” “Hercules,” “Scary Movie,” “Showgirls,” “Predator,” “Rambo: First Blood II,” and many other feature films. Directing credits include movie “Good Luck Chuck,” and episodes of “Bones” and “Prison Break.”  Mark is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and American Cinema Editors (ACE), where he is also an Associate Board Member.  His first job in the motion picture industry was as an assistant editor on the Roger Corman produced “Rock n’ Roll High School.”  Mark is a collector of contemporary artwork, passionate music lover and devoted family man.


DB - CroppedDebra Blanchard

Fringe Talent

Debra Blanchard started her career in animation at Warner Brothers TV where she worked on the Emmy award winning series, Tiny Toon Adventures. The series, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, gave her an opportunity to write several episodes as well as working on the production itself. After moving to Northern California, she was asked to join Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects arm of the George Lucas companies, where her contacts and experience was tapped to help them crew up for the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Her reputation as a solid and well-connected recruiting professional established, she went on to head up recruiting for DreamWorks Animation as they prepared to transition their studio from traditional to CG animation. When Starz opened its animation division, and began to prepare to produce their first movie, Debra was again asked to come on board and help them build a solid and experienced management team and production crew for their studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto. Upon leaving Starz, Debra opened up her own recruiting company, Fringe Talent, an entertainment recruitment firm where she offers her expertise in building studios and staffing artists for productions and studios all over the world.


SG - CroppedSteve Gainer, ASC 


Steve Gainer, ASC has always been a photographer. He received a Brownie camera as a child, and immediately began taking pictures of friends, relatives, pets, and landscapes. In High School, Gainer began playing in local rock bands. This led to years of shooting his and other bands promotional materials. His band MIDNIGHT brought Gainer to New York City and Los Angeles, where ultimately, he traded his dream of rock‐stardom for his all-consuming passion for cinematography.

Gainer started his new career like many, as a production assistant. Working extremely hard, his efforts caught the attention of a producer who offered him the additional job of cleaning his house. During the cleaning, Gainer was fascinated with the editing process going on at the producer’s home. After making it known that he would love to learn editing, the editor showed Gainer how to handle the cuts only, A/B roll ¾” machines. Within a month, the editor left, and having no one else to immediately fill the position, the producer offered Gainer a shot at the job. Soon, he was both shooting and editing in the illustrious world of infomercials.

With nowhere to go but up, Gainer began searching for a way to enter the world of motion pictures. He found this doorway at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Upon introducing himself to a guard at a side gate as a new employee at the camera department, Gainer found that he could gain entrance to the studio whenever the guard was there. Volunteering as much as possible, he was soon indispensable at the camera department. Within months. Gainer was named manager of the film lab and suddenly had access to Paramount’s biggest productions and the most famous cinematographers in the world.

After four years at Paramount, Gainer branched out on his own to work with the world famous Roger Corman at his Concorde New Horizon Studios in Venice Beach, CA. There, he worked as 2nd unit cinematographer on dozens of films, and first unit on five of his own.

Gainer has shot hundreds of music videos. During one of these, he worked with a line producer that was prepping an upcoming feature film. The two became friends, and Gainer ultimately got the job as cinematographer on Larry Clark’s BULLY.  After this picture, jobs came much more frequently, and he has been blessed to travel the world shooting films and living his dream. Offered membership in the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers in 2004, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences in 2007, Gainer now spends his time bouncing between features, tv series, and commercials. He won a Daytime Emmy in 2013 for his TV show AWKWARD, and has since directed two episodes.  Feature credits include BULLY, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, PUNISHER WAR ZONE, SUPER, and EVERLY.


AR - CroppedAmanda Ragan

BUSD Alumna
Project Manager, Seven Design Works

Amanda Ragan is currently the Project Manager for renowned concert touring production & lighting design firm, Seven Design Works, founded by the iconic LeRoy Bennett. She graduated from Burbank High in 2006, and went on to complete her Bachelors in International Relations & Italian at Cal State Long Beach. While attending school, Amanda began working at the wonderful Colony Theatre in Burbank as a show technician and member of the stage crew. She then went on to intern at PRG Lighting in Los Angeles, a division of the world’s large production rental company. The yearlong internship quickly developed into a full time position as an Operations Assistant and Production Coordinator for the Concert Touring division of the company. After 3 years at PRG, Amanda made the decision to join the newly founded Seven Design Works and assist in developing the operations and organization of the three-member design firm. Amanda currently supports and assists LeRoy Bennett, Cory FitzGerald, and Tobias Rylander juggle up to 15 projects at any given time with a client roster that includes Beyonce, The Weeknd, The 1975, Jennifer Lopez, Skrillex, Deadmau5, & FKA Twigs, to name a few. Amanda still currently lives and works in Burbank and loves to hike in the Verdugo Mountains with her newly adopted pup, Buddy!


PF - CroppedPeggy Flynn

Arts Coordinator
Burbank Unified School District

Peggy Flynn has worked in education for more than 20 years and currently serves as the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator for the Burbank Unified School District. She holds a degree in Fine Arts and worked in the design publication and entertainment industries before finding her passion for teaching in 1992. Peggy is a Board Advisor to the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and served on the Burbank Cultural Arts Committee in 2009 and joined the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission in 2010.



Burbank Arts for All Foundation hosts these forums to bring together our community in support of the arts, arts education and creative innovation in Burbank.

Become a Circle of Champions member of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and receive complimentary tickets to future Creative Circles Forum membership events!

Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s mission is to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum.



Burbank’s Role in the Future of the Creative Industries
March 18, 2015
Nickelodeon Experts Discuss the Creative Process in Animation Production
October 23, 2014
Art + Technology: Experts and Educators Explore Innovation
February 24, 2014
Burbank ABC’s: Arts Education, Business and Creativity
October 15, 2012
Media Experts Talk Media Arts
March 14, 2013