Lights, camera, action, DETROIT

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I’d been hearing about the movie industry taking an interest in Michigan – and Detroit in particular – for awhile now, but I wasn’t believing it. I’ve been a Detroiter for too long to just up and believe that suddenly Hollywood has a hard-on for the Motor City. I figured either it was a lie or somebody heard it wrong. Motown as Tinsel Town? No way.

So then there I was about a month ago staring incredulously out my office window in downtown Detroit at the parking lot across the street in downtown Detroit . Normally only half to three-quarters full of, well, cars, this lot was all of a sudden jammed full of movie trailers and swarming with activity. Far as I could tell these were movie trailers made for movie stars. Right here in the Motor City. Later on that afternoon as I walked past that parking lot on my way to the Y to work out, I could see actual small yellow stars on the doors of several of those trailers (although I couldn’t get close enough to make out the names I could see scrawled on each of them) so I’m assuming that meant there were actual stars on the inside. Unless they were out somewhere else acting like stars.

Wow. Check us out.

It might not have been until the next day when I found out the movie being filmed featured Hilary Swank, who happens to be one of my favorite actors ever since her roles in “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby”, the flick directed by film legend Clint Eastwood (who also, as it happens, filmed a movie in the “D” not long ago entitled Gran Torino. Great, great flick).

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Word now has it that the amount of money spent by the film industry in Michigan has swollen from somewhere around $7 million a few years ago to over $100 million last year, and that figure is expected to grow to nearly half a billion dollars by the end of this year. That’s a lotta duckets, dawg.

The film industry ain’t gonna save Michigan, but it damned sure opens the door and points the way to new types of industry needed to get us back on our feet.  Because even if the Big Three do manage to pull off the Big Miracle and stage a comeback of epic proportions, we should have all learned our lesson by now that for us to depend on the auto industry – or any one industry –  as our lifeline to prosperity is nothing short of insanity. Those days are as dead as Jimmy Hoffa.

Shine some more light this way and keep it rollin’…

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog at The “D” Spot Redeux

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~ by Keith A. Owens on May 7, 2009.

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