Valley men nominated for regional Emmy awards
May 16, 2009
By Laura Geggel
Every fall, Americans gather around their television screens to watch the Primetime Emmy Awards. Snoqualmie residents Rion Groves and Kevin Allar do too, but their hopes aren’t resting on whether Entourage or Laura Linney will take home a gold statue.
Instead, both men are thinking of the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The academy has divided the U.S. into 19 regions for local competing newscasters, multimedia producers and more. The Northwest Chapter includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon and parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and California.
In 2008, Groves and Allar took home two regional Emmy awards and, this year, judges have nominated five of their works from Farmers Life Insurance for an Emmy. Although they share the awards, the Snoqualmie residents took different paths to their careers in multimedia production.
Groves moved from Colorado to Snoqualmie in 2007 with his wife and two sons. In Colorado, Groves worked as a state executive for Farmers, but transitioned to be the executive producer of Life Marketing when he moved to Washington.
“This year, we were very pleased with five nominations,” Groves said. “It really exceeded our expectations.”
Allar jumped into the video business while attending California State University at Northridge in the late 1970s. Unsure of which major to choose, Allar remembers thumbing through the course book. He passed over accounting and biology, but stopped when he reached the page describing radio, television and film production. Allar, whose parents had met at RKO studios in the 1950s, was familiar with the industry and decided to study it further.
Soon, he was enrolled in classes with guest lecturers such as Lucille Ball and James Burrows, the co-creator, co-executive producer and director of “Cheers”.
Allar enjoyed his work and was eager to get hands-on experience. He got behind the camera during an internship at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, shooting footage of c-sections and videotaping physical therapy patients over the course of their treatment.
Then, one day a video producer from the hair care company Redken 5th Avenue NYC visited Allar and his classmates.
“He talked to the group and said television isn’t the only employer out there. You also have many coming-up corporations out there,” Allar remembered.
The film and TV industry are hard professions to crack. Even when employed, workers have to scour the listings for jobs to fuel their passion and fund their bills. Allar said his younger brother, a lighting director, has bouts of unemployment.
“His career is working for a couple of months, and then he’s off for a month,” Allar said. “It’s feast or famine.”
In addition to a steady paycheck, another benefit of working for a corporation attracted Allar. He got to do more of the behind-the-scenes work. The unionized workers of TV and film must stick with one job, such as directing or shooting video. In the corporate world, workers have the freedom to do as much as they want.
“I thought, I want to do it all,” Allar said. “I want to be able to hire talent. I want to write, cast, produce, direct, edit, and follow through with the entire project.”
After freelancing for local news stations, Allar joined Farmers Insurance in 1981 and moved to Seattle with his family in 1984. In 2000, the father of four moved to Snoqualmie. Just as he did 28 years ago, Allar makes short multimedia videos for Farmers as a producer and director, such as best practice tips for agents, or the life stories of policyholders.
“I can’t wait to go to work on Monday, because I have so many cool projects,” Allar said.
The 46th annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards will be held at Snoqualmie Casino at 5 p.m. May 30. To learn more or buy tickets, visit www.natasnw.org.
Reach reporter Laura Geggel at 392-6434 .221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.