Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


Home · Articles · News · Features · A job in film?
. . . .

A job in film?

Kelsey Lauer - July 27th, 2009
A Job in Film?
As one industry dwindles,another one grows

By Kelsey Lauer 7/27/09

Michigan is no stranger to the art of filmmaking.
“Back in the heyday of the car industry in the ‘50s, Detroit actually
consumed more 35-millimeter film stock than Hollywood,” says Traverse City
film producer Richard Brauer. “But it was all corporate stuff. They
actually shot more film than Hollywood did. It’s an amazing statistic.”
Some of Brauer’s past productions include Mr. Art Critic, Escanaba in da
Moonlight, Barn Red and Frozen Stupid. He’s also been active through the
years filming commercials and promotional projects.
While Michigan may not replace Hollywood in the production of feature
films, Brauer thinks that the Michigan film industry has more than a
fighting chance. He credited it in part to the 2008 legislation that
provides a 40 percent refund to productions that spend at least $50,000
in-state.
“We all know it’s a beautiful place, but it’s a hard place to get to if
your home base is in Los Angeles,” Brauer says of Michigan. “But if you’re
going to get 40 percent back from the state for being here, all of a
sudden the logistical challenges fade away a little bit.”
Films made in Michigan may also offer job opportunities for individuals
displaced by the dwindling car industry, according to Brauer.
“There was a lot of production support relating to the car industry --
tons of it in Detroit -- and they’re all sitting around with their fingers
in their ears, so as features roll in, they’re more available now to work
on features,” he says. “A lot of it’s the same stuff. They’re not the
ones directing it or writing it; they’re the ones helping with electricity
or lighting and building sets and all that. And so they’ve been doing that
for the car industry forever.”

UP TO SNUFF
Brauer says that it will take time for Hollywood to realize the potential
of Michigan-based production support. Crew members have to demonstrate
that they are up to snuff, too.
“We have to prove ourselves. Let’s face it—Hollywood is really good at
making movies, and for them to be convinced to hire a local guy or gal, it
may not be worth it to them, risk-wise,” he says. “They’d much rather
bring their own people in, but once this thing gets rolling—it might take
five years before it really works—they might take a chance on somebody and
think, ‘That guy was perfect. He was really a thoughtful guy. Next time
we’re here, we’ll use him.’”
And one way to accomplish that is through training workshops or film
mentoring classes. So far, Brauer has taught at West Shore Community
College in conjunction with 10 West Studios in Manistee; and at a film
workshop In Lansing organized by Michigan State University, Lansing
Community College and Michigan Public Works.
“In the Lansing one, there were over 1,000 people that applied for this
class,” Brauer says. “But we had to limit it to 60, so Michigan Works
made up criteria, and you had to write essays and get into the program. By
the time I got down there, I was already at the top six percent of the
applicants. These are motivated people.”
Northwestern Michigan College also will hold its first film workshop
scheduled from Aug. 4-7, taught mostly by Brauer. “I’m going to bring in
three or four other people in the filming community to talk about their
specific area, including the film production assistant,” he says. “That’s
probably the best and easiest area for anybody to get into the film
business, to just become a production assistant. Then you can hang around
and sort of get the deal and then you gradually move up from there.”
Brauer plans to hire two students from each of the three classes to work
on his next film as paid interns.
“The job-industry connection is one we’re trying to make. I’ve always
tried to have mentoring opportunities with all our films. We’ve always
done this, it’s just that this is the first time I’ve actually grabbed
them out of a class. People just kind of bump into me or they make
themselves known. We sort of train them in the field.”

A Fitful film project

Brauer will begin shooting his next film, Fitful, this September in
Manistee and Milwaukee.
“This woman works for the National Historic Trust, and her office calls
her ands says, ‘Hey, on your way home, swing in and check out this ship.’
She does, her car gets wrecked and she has to spend the night because
she’s too far away for any help and her cell phone fell in the water,”
Brauer says. “There are no neighbors within 15 miles and it’s getting
dark, so she’s stuck on this boat. This thing is a very scary film but
it’s very funny, I think, so it’s got two real strong emotions going on
the whole time through. It’s kind of fun.”
Brauer plans to be done by Christmas and hopes that he will be able to
premiere the film at the Traverse City State Theatre.
“Money’s in the bank, we’re going. It’ll be done by Christmas,” he says.
“Hopefully, by Christmas, we’ll have a big old gala premiere, right
downtown there, and people can come and have some fun and get scared and
laugh, all at the same time.”












 
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