The Cameras Are Rolling…Cover Story
by Stephanie Struyck Elgin
While Hollywood is the mecca of the film industry, Santa Clarita, otherwise known as Hollywood’s backlot, has certainly etched its way in filmmaking, as it has become one of the most popular places to film, and has also generated millions to local businesses in our community. And the genius involved in much of this success is Santa Clarita resident and President/Partner of Santa Clarita Studios, Mike DeLorenzo. His charm and wit, coupled with his experience in the industry, generosity and the great repertoire amongst his colleagues, well it’s no wonder why success follows him.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Mike as he gave me a tour of the facility. Santa Clarita Studios has been operating under the management and mastermind of Mike since 1999. Since then, it has increased in size, now with 10 sound stages ranging from 12,000 to 40,000 square feet over 22 acres, having doubled the amount of businesses coming in and tripled the revenue in the SCV. “People love to film in Santa Clarita,” states Mike. “I have worked in this industry for over 33 years, establishing relationships with every municipality in all major film states. From New York to Chicago, San Diego and Florida, the Santa Clarita Valley is the friendliest city, bar none. You just can’t compare how friendly this city is. Our city council, businesses and residents are so supportive and they welcome the film industry with open arms.”
Film and television posters line the office walls, along with signed photos from celebrities who have graced their presence during filming. Films such as True Lies, Planet of the Apes and Adaptation, to name a few, were filmed here. “We had the number one television show for five seasons—CSI Las Vegas,” states Mike, “and we were also home to Carnivale, and The Unit for four years.”
Current client base include the popular television drama series, Justified, Season 3. TNT’s Franklin & Bash Season 2 is also filming at the studios and the ever so popular ABC Family’s Switched at Birth, just got picked up for 24 additional episodes. These shows begin filming in October, with additional hopes of picking up a returning television series, ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It.
“Not only do our studios provide sound stages, but we also provide equipment and supplies for filming,” states Mike. “We try to keep everything in Santa Clarita.”
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Mike and his family, including 11 brothers and sisters, moved to California. He eventually made his home in the SCV in 1984, and has been an active part of our community ever since. He is a proud supporter of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation and the Child & Family Center, to name a few. “I think it’s important to give back. You just have to,” states Mike.
Less than one month ago, Mike experienced something that changed his life.
“There I was, sitting in my office on the telephone, and suddenly it felt as if an elephant had jumped on my chest,” states Mike. “They rushed me to Henry Mayo Hospital, stabilized me, and the emergency room physicians took care of me.” Mike suffered what is known as “The Widow Maker”, a popular term for severe stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery. “I was ‘that guy’ who never got sick, got a physical and stress test every year. This was unexpected, but ER Dr. Bud Lawrence and cardiologist, Dr. Kenneth Tam they saved my life.”
Just a few weeks after his heart attack, Mike feels 100 percent healthy, as if nothing had happened. “It changed me. When they put me in that ambulance, all I could think of is my wife, my kids and grandkids. Nothing else mattered,” states Mike. “Now, I’m not working crazy hours and I don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s important to watch your diet, and exercise--everything in moderation.”
Mike’s recovery has been remarkable, and again, it’s no surprise. His determination to succeed in work and in life, is simply extraordinary.
For detailed information about Santa Clarita Studios visit www.sc-studios.com.