As we begin the New Year, it is our natural inclination to look ahead. But before we do, I would like to take an opportunity to look back. Back to the days when our post production industry was run by a handful of entrepreneurs who helped to create modern, electronic (and then digital) post production because they were excited about creativity, the tools and the promise of the future. These were the types who built companies that felt like teams and families. These were the places where the post production industry as we know it today was born.
While we were celebrating the holidays this past week, our post production industry lost one of those giants who truly made our post production industry a noble, exciting and a collegiate place to work. On December 21, Sam Holtz passed away. For those of you who did not know Sam, he was a partner in a company called Action Video. It was the premier commercial and music video post house back in the early 80’s where he and his partner Joe Benadon helped to create much of what we all take for granted today. But what truly made Sam a giant, though I am not sure he even stood 5’4”, was the fact that throughout his career and his life, he shared so much of his knowledge, secrets and ideas with not only his team and his customers, but with his competitors as well.
Sam was active in industry trade groups such as the Videotape Facility Association, which later evolved into the ITS, which later evolved into the Hollywood Post Alliance. He was active in a way that you might even call hyperactive. If there was something that was hard and needed to be done, if there was something that was controversial and called for a stand, if there was something that was challenging and needed a champion, if money was needed to fund an effort that would help everyone, Sam did not need to be asked, because he had already spoken up, spoken out, given from his own pocket and volunteered. He helped to spearhead efforts such as helping the city assessor better understand the value of post production equipment and lower the assessed city taxes associated with it. He helped to eliminate sales tax on most post production services. He helped to lead efforts at the state level that resulted in the elimination of state sales tax on the purchase of post production equipment. He worked hard to help others benefit, even when he was no longer directly involved in the post production business.
Sam spent the last number of years in poor health and in trying circumstances. His passing reminds us of the fact that our post production industry itself is in the midst of tremendous challenge and change. As we look forward into this new year, it is important to continue to look back to understand how and who helped to get us here. Sam Holtz never received the recognition that he deserved in his life. In his passing, let us celebrate the life of a giant and remember to keep his name and the example of his life of service and sharing. Thank you Sam. May you rest in peace.
Hollywood Post Alliance
Personal remembrances of Sam
Thank you for your, kind and sensitive remembrance of Sam.
His selfless service and untiring contributions in support of our collective dreams during the adolescence of our post industry will never be forgotten. Sam was a man of action, steadfast in his resolution and relentless in pursuit of success for all of us. Sam would never quit until we had won the battles and achieved our victory. We have lost a true friend with a giving heart who helped us become what we are today as an industry.
Ron (Ron Burdett, LaserPacific)