By CityTownInfo.com Staff
March 4, 2009
A new program in Michigan will give sixty people a start on careers in film production.
The Lansing State Journal reports that those selected to the program will receive training through a partnership between Lansing Community College, Michigan State University and Capital Area Michigan Works. The initiative is funded by the No Worker Left Behind program, a part of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, which is providing $195,000 to pay for the training.
Participants will be introduced to the arts and entertainment field by learning to be production assistants. The 80 hours of training will include an overview of film set jobs and careers in the film industry, etiquette on a film set, and opportunities to specialize in construction and set design, electrical jobs and digital media or lighting.
The program was precipitated by the more than 70 movies filmed in Michigan last year, and the many expected to be produced in the state this year. Film producers are drawn to Michigan because of aggressive state tax credits available for filming expenses.
Last year, $124 million was spent in Michigan for film production projects, and the state's film office expects $430 in film projects for this year. Projects approved by the state can receive a 40 percent rebate on all in-state filming expenses if local labor is used, and an additional 2 percent if filming occurs in a "core community" like Lansing.
Ultimately, say many, the state benefits from the tax incentives. WLNS 6 News [from an article originally located at http://www.wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=9941367&nav=0RbQ] reports that according to the Michigan Film Office, movies put 2,800 people to work last year and brought in $125 million to local communities. State Sen. Jason Allen noted that local restaurants, hotels and hardware stores have all benefited from the increased supplies needed for movie sets.
But State Sen. Nancy Cassis, who is working on a bill to cap the amount of incentives, disagreed. "The governor already said cut higher education," she told WLNS, "so you give the money to Hollywood tycoons? Is this good public policy? Is this the best way we can maximize state dollars to grow jobs?"
Others point out that the training program will create new jobs. "People with a background in catering, construction, carpentry, security and IT are all needed on a film set," said Doug Stites, CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works, who was quoted in a Michigan State press release. "Particularly in demand are folks with previous theater, performing arts and broadcast experience, as well as those with electrical experience. This program will give them the foundation to transfer their existing skills into the film industry."
WLNS 6 News [from an article originally located at http://www.wlns.com/Global/story.asp?S=9936091&nav=0RbQ] reports that students are eager to take advantage of the opportunity. "The fact that they're training really builds your resume, builds your skills, gets you the job you want," said LCC film student Josh Cook.