Film, television, commercial, and media jobs are real jobs held by real Michiganders. Hear their stories.
“I was fortunate to work with MiFIA on the movie “No Sudden Move” recently filmed here in Michigan. I own a small neon sign business and was contacted to make a neon sign for the movie. This was the biggest project that I have worked on in quite a while and it not only benefited my business but was also a huge benefit to the companies I buy my supplies from, both of which are small family-owned businesses here in Michigan. Bringing the film industry back to Michigan is the right thing to do, especially for the small businesses here in Michigan whose employees will benefit the most from the return of the film industry to the State of Michigan."
Dan Collins, T&D Neon, Inc.
“Working with MiFIA was a pleasure and brought tremendous excitement to my team. We were always excited when we received new orders from the various production crews that were filming in Michigan. The economic benefit to having the crews here in Michigan buying our products was significant to my business and hard to replace once they left. We fully support bringing the film industry back to Michigan ASAP.”
Jason Toffolo, President, Performance Line Tool Center
“When the film industry was in high gear in Michigan, our business benefitted from it.… We had consistent, steady purchases from fabricators using our products for film sets in the Detroit area and possibly outside of our area. In addition, we all enjoyed being a part of it; it was brought to our attention that some of our products were in Gran Torino, and we were happy to see that.”
Kurt Ludwinski, President, All America Plywood
“I have been involved in the film community for the last 10 years. We were working steadily for a while, until the incentives unfortunately left us. Many talented local film workers struggling to stay afloat moved to the states where the incentives were active and profiting the state. “Things have been very slow for us. However, I have never given up hope that the incentives will come back and Michigan will once again be a force to recon with in the film industry. “We are not going anywhere. I want my good job back, and I want all my community to start working again, and to see our state once again prosper from the many jobs and money spent here.”
Liz Jackson, Queen of Cups Catering and Craft Service
“… with the ‘death’ of the Michigan film incentive, I’ve had to work in California and, most recently, spending the summer of 2019 working in Atlanta, Georgia, that was well behind us in on-location productions when our incentive were in place. As a matter of fact, Georgia has become the number 3 overall production center in the country with a record $3 billion being spent in the state on film production and infrastructure in the 2019 fiscal year — and WE,, here in Michigan had it FIRST! Bring Back The Michigan Film Incentive! I prefer to work at home with my friends and colleagues!"
Marvin Towns, My Michigan Film Incentives Adventures!
“When we had the film credits, there were all kinds of stuff going on with the film business in St. Clair County … even in the little town of Capac.“It was a great benefit to me and my business. I was able to pay off all my bills in six months working with the movie industry. It was incredible. Hired extra help and established a really good relationship with Paramount Studios.“There were a lot of benefits to my area. Our story wasn’t told at all last time. This time, we must tell our story so people know the great benefits.”
“Miller & Associates Consulting Inc. (DBA Cine-tik Creative) was one of a handful of certified post-production facilities in southeast Michigan during the last film incentive. During that period of time, Cine-Tik was able to expand its workforce through direct hires and contract labor to meet the growing needs of the Michigan film community. At the peak of our involvement, we hosted a production creating 26 episodes for PBS (Bug Bites). This production had over 50 shoot days as well as one year of continuous post-production activities employing over 25 persons on a fulltime basis.”
Kirk Miller, Cine-Tik Creative
“In 2008, I was able to attract investors and grow my company, American City Media, into a full-service video and audio studio in Troy, Michigan. My first client, Hour Magazine, hired us to create three-minute video segments for some of their top advertising clients, telling the story behind the business. I called them 'digital profiles,' and our new video production studio, located in Troy, was up and running, the phone was ringing, and we were buzzing with new projects. Everyone felt optimistic, new alliances were being built, as the whole creative community came together. I also was able to talk to production friends around the country, during my travels, about bringing their productions to Michigan. All was going well until the incentives were pulled, which was not only embarrassing but financially ruinous for my company, and we eventually had to close our doors.“I have pulled way back from doing business in Michigan, choosing to work as a recording artist, composer, and music producer in Montreal, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Chicago, under my company Digital Opts & Sound Design.“I am hoping that one day Michigan will know the benefits of having a healthy production community, as seen in Georgia, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, among others, who have successfully proven that film incentives can and do improve a bottom line of a state's economy.”
Liz Larin, Audio and video producer, Digital marketing specialist
“I brought one honeywagon to Michigan in 2008 and expanded my fleet to 8 trailers and 4 trucks before leaving after 2010. I would look forward to working in Michigan again.”
Robert Combest, Best Studio Rentals
“We plan to produce many film projects this coming year and beyond. Danny has already produced a few Christmas movies here at home, and we just wrapped on a thriller for MarVista and starting another one (all without incentives). We want nothing more than to keep the industry growing in Michigan and to help bring the incentives back in order to keep these projects here.”
Amy Weber and Danny Roth, Radish Creative Group
“I was asked … to share my experience of being a provider of fine arts and props to the film industry during the period when Michigan was giving tax breaks to the industry for films made on location here. “In total, I made a fair profit on the leased items and most exciting was to see them in the movie and know I had somehow contributed to the experience. I must also add from a merchant's point of view the items used in the films had extra provenance value (due to their use in the films) I could share with clients and helped them sell at a later date. “I hope my sharing will help you in your quest to bring film making back to Michigan.”
Ron Povlich, Owner, Golden Fig Gallery of Fine Arts & Antiques
“At the time of the last Michigan film incentive package, I was a Union D.P. /camera operator. The recession had trashed the local economy, including the media production business. I was one of few Michigan cameramen (at the time) with some feature film experience. It saved me and several others in related trades.“The incentives brought a bunch of work and helped Michigan stay in the industry. And it created work for new people. Without them, I'd have been forced like many others into another line of work. As well, I saw many young professionals in the field (some still beginners) quickly hone their skills to a veteran level.“Movie-making is the pinnacle of production work in abilities demanded and, ultimately, in pay. And if media is to be a business to provide careers that will keep talented young people in Michigan, then movies are the way to do it. Incentives, properly designed, that can be phased out after the industry has taken solid root can make this happen.”
Daniel Noga, Former Union Director of Photography/camera operator
“I was working on the 2010 version of Red Dawn as a video assist technician in Detroit. We had a big set in the center of what was then a not so busy area – a lot of empty buildings served us well. On this particular gray Michigan morning, we were setting up for a big scene with many extras. One of the assistant directors came to me escorting a young black man. The A.D. knew of my background helping people and told me that this fellow was really motivated to get on this film as a production assistant. I had just published my first book, “Production Algebra, A Handbook for Production Assistants,” and I had thoughts on the matter.”
“Between us, the A.D. and I helped this guy who as it turns out was a single father looking for a good job. We introduced him to extras casting, got him a meal voucher (he was hungry), and he ended up spending several days on set as an extra. In that time, his work ethic and street smarts brought him to the attention of the other A.D.s who, in turn, hired him as a production assistant. Now, this unemployed urban resident, a struggling father, had found a position in our film. But that was just the beginning.”
“After Red Dawn he ‘day played’ as a P.A. on many other films and commercials. When Batman vs Superman came to work in Michigan, he was an established set production assistant earning a good living in our industry. Not only can the film industry inject dollars into a city’s economy, but it can make a difference for workers trying to transition and those who are out of work. In my experience, there are many such stories. The film and television industry can be a viable and powerful revenue stream if it is allowed to be.”
Mark Adler, Michigan Production Alliance, key video assist technician