Detroit the new Hollywood

Since I was 12 year old I wanted to be a filmmaker. Well guess what, now I am. With over 10 short films and one feature film under my belt I am officially a filmmaker.  Not a big Hollywood filmmaker, but an indie filmmaker all the same. As a day job I shoot corporate videos and TV commercials. I’ve worked with clients like Chrysler, General Motors, Altair, The Whitney and the list goes on. But still features films have always been my love.

When I was in my early twenties, like most aspiring filmmakers I ventured a thought to move to California and get a job working in some studio. But competition is tough and the film industry isn’t exactly a corporate ladder to climb. It’s all about talent and initiative. I was given some very wise advice to just make films. Not to spend $80,000 to go to film school or move to L.A. but instead to just shoot films where I was at. Detroit Michigan.

Interestingly enough, Hollywood has now come to me. A few years ago our governor passed a bill that gives a tax break to film productions coming into the state and spending over $50,000 on production. Michigan has been in the dumps for nearly a decade now with the auto industry falling apart. So this was meant to help diversify the types of industry in our state.

Well, we now have the best tax incentives in the entire country. Even better than Canada. It turns out Hollywood can make movies anywhere. It’s just a matter of who gives them the best bang for their buck.  As a result we’ve seen an influx of Hollywood productions coming to the state. It’s pretty surreal actually. Just a couple of weeks ago I was downtown and they had striped all the trees on a certain street of their leaves to make it look like winter.

Some of the films that have been shot here recently include:

Ye Olde Times – Jack Black
The Island
Four Brothers – Mark Walberg
Dreamgirls – Eddie Murphy
Semi Pro – Will Ferrell
Whip It – Drew Barrymore

Well you get the point. Lot of stuff going on.
There is even a couple of studios being built here. One building built in and old GM production plant.

I run the website (badly needs updating) but the goal was to connect filmmakers. I’m going to soon revamp this website powered by SocialMore once that’s up.

But altogether it’s really cool when an industry you’ve wanted to get into since you were a kid, suddenly moves to your town and sets up shop. Unfortunately some of our potential political candidates don’t like the tax break and want to get rid of it. Because they don’t see how it’s helping us. Here is my response to them:
“It’s only been a couple years motherfucker. The reason they’re still bringing in equipment and production crews from out of state is because we’re still building the studios and training people around here for a new industry. Pull the plug now and you’re going to fuck it all up and send us down the tubes again!”

Ok now that that’s out of the way, I’m pretty excited about everything going on. I’m hoping that within the next couple of years I can get a production budget exceeding $50K so I can also take advantage of the tax breaks and make a killer sci-fi feature film. I’m working on the script right now.

P.S. Did you know that in the middle of the last century Michigan used to be a pretty thriving movie mecca? We were called the Hollywood of the Midwest. A name that has come back to us again. Happy face. :)


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0 thoughts on “Detroit the new Hollywood

  1. I’m really excited about the film industry in Detroit.  It’s pretty awesome.  They were just in Northville shooting Scream 4 about a month ago.  One of my friends met David Arquette.  It was kinda cool :].

  2. Hugh Jackman was shooting in Detroit, and he apparently took a day off to go to Cedar Point recently.  When I was there this Monday, the attendant for the Iron Dragon asked us how we liked the ride at the end.  Everyone cheered, and the guy said, “That’s what Hugh Jackman thought of the ride, too!”

  3. I love dreams-coming-true stories.  That’s awesome. PS politicians, now trying to cut big deficits, don’t seem to “get” how counterproductive removing tax incentives would be at this time. 

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