Elect Emmy Winning Alex Michaels the New Cleveland Film Commissioner
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No doubt many of us have “Stars in our eyes” from seeing Bruce Willis and Matthew McConaughey in town. As Cleveland Cinema Czar, I definitely welcome them and any other stars and Hollywood productions here. Yet, let’s look at a more lasting relationship.
While it is nice to have a pair of movies shooting in Cleveland, make no mistake, this is not creating an industry here. Some of us who depend on their over a $100K a year salary from the city in terms of grants and taxpayer money will no doubt point to this as their crowning achievement.
Of course, Cleveland being a location for Hollywood movies, does bring attention here, but the jury is still out on the number of jobs it creates. Yet, if the Man in the Ivory tower at WKYC had ever produced a movie, he would know that you need to have more than tax incentives to “create an industry.”
Our tax incentive pales in comparison to these places which also support studio and independent producers. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/8-shooting-hotspots-get-best-incentives-us-canada-989906
Looking down on low budget producers is not going to win one any awards either. All producers at one point and time, even the Russo Brothers, were low budget producers. There is a lot to be learned from making a movie and that is where I feel I have more skill at knowing how to create an industry here. Even if my budgets have been no or low, there is still knowledge acquired from actually producing a movie instead of just providing locations for one.
I won’t ask the city for over a hundred thousand dollars a year, but I will ask for support in building a real industry here that benefits all the local filmmakers and also welcomes incoming Hollywood and indie productions from all over who can see the benefits of shooting here.
I am definitely dedicated to my hometown and I have done what I can to make things happen here. Of course, the city of Cleveland is more than welcome to continue paying six figures a year for Hollywood to come here, close down some streets and if we are lucky as a crew, get a few days of work or as an actor get to be an extra (which I have done a few times). Although everyone who acts knows, another name for extras is “BACKGROUND” and that is what Cleveland has been to the Movie Industry. We are just a Background location.
We want more. We can offer more. We will not get it the way we are going with some people in charge.
It is time, we step out into the light. I am here. The question is, Cleveland, are you willing to support one of your own?
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