Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Marq Lewis works locally as a Health Safety Supervisor, Manager and On-Set Medic for film and television productions working on-location in the Sooner State. Previous production credits include “13 Minutes”, “Wild Indian”, “Ida Red”, “Ghoster” and “For the Love of Money”. In addition to his work in health and safety, Lewis is also a narrative and documentary filmmaker.
How did you get started in the film industry?
I wrote and directed my first full feature, “Sharon Love & Hate” in 2012. We filmed it all on a very low budget with Tulsa, Oklahoma, actors. We used friends and small businesses for our locations – such a movie experience! My lead was in the first original movie for “Porky’s”. She was one of the Porky’s girls. (Guess I’m showing my age now.)
Did you have any formal education or training related to the film industry before starting?
My education was in Photography; however, the depth of my learning came from YouTube University and friends. At 15, I created a documentary about homelessness in Durham, North Carolina. I was awarded a $1,000 grant to continue making documentaries.
Did you have any formal education or training related to your specific department on-set?
Yes, for Set Medic, I was an EMT & first responder. Since the global pandemic, the CDC has blessed us with online learning tools to help advance our education with Covid-19
What are some of your most recent successes (credits or accolades) related to your career in the industry?
On film, our primary goal is health, safety and educating cast & crew on this virus.
What has your career in the state’s film industry taught you?
I get a chance to meet some really incredible residents in all parts of Oklahoma. They would share stories about their lives and even open-up their homes to us.
What is the highlight of your career thus far?
So many different highlights, but I would truly say that Oklahoma has many beautiful landscape places that are just simply beautiful. When people come to work from other states, they get a chance to see the beauty in person. Many are left in amazement.
What is your favorite aspect of working in Oklahoma’s film and television industry?
The chance to create art for people to enjoy. It’s also a golden gift to be able to showcase new talent to the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for someone starting their career in Oklahoma’s film industry?
Do it NOW! Oklahoma’s film industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and you want to get in to learn and grow as much as you can. We have so many people traveling to Oklahoma to make their films; therefore, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to work with incredible talent.
How does someone in your field/department best promote/market themselves to those hiring in your industry?
I tell everyone to make sure you use the State Film office. I’ve received many calls from producers looking for Set Medics/COVID Officers just by searching the website.
Are there any local film organizations, resources or events that have been beneficial to you in your career?
I run a small Facebook group for actors, and I’m also members of many Facebook groups locally and nationally in the film industry
What’s the one item you can’t live without on-set, and why?
Whew, great question. There are so many items in my medical kit. But, that one item would be Ibuprofen. It’s a big, big request on long shoots.
Would your career be impacted without the state’s film incentive program? If so, how?
Absolutely, the incentive program has allowed me to work NONSTOP even when most states have shutdown. It brings many people from LA, Atlanta, NY, DC to Oklahoma. If we didn’t have that incentive, we (local Oklahoma crew) wouldn’t be able to work in this industry.
Where do you see yourself – AND – Oklahoma’s film industry in the next five years?
I see myself producing more documentaries and full features. For the film industry in Oklahoma, I see more resources being created like sound stages and more locations to rent equipment.
What are you working on now or next?
We just wrapped on the production of “For the Love of Money” this week. Right now, I do have some offers, but I am also working of some documentaries and doing some editing on other projects I’ve filmed in the past.