An open online discussion of the proposed new Michigan film incentives

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Another Town Hall Meeting about the Michigan film incentives is on the books. This one was held at the Lowing studios, Grand Rapids. As was the Detroit Town Hall, this one was well attended.

As I arrived late, thanks to bum directions given me by my GPS, I arrived just as they were wrapping up. With the questions asked, and the answers that I heard, I got an entirely different vibe.

 

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John W. BosleyGlad to see Grand Rapids is in the discussion. This needs to impact all parts of the state.

David W. King before GR, they had a Town Hall in Travese Cit

John W. Bosley sounds good all around! If every area feels included it will do better.

John W. Bosley With tonight’s, I don’t have a clue what’s next.
David Lowing Sorry,  you got there so late David.  Wish you could have seen more.  It was a very successful town hall meeting. Much networking and a very informative discussion about the current and the future progress of these bills/ We have work to do for sure but West Michigan is on board.
Oh and thank you for including some great studio pictures.
David W. King yes, sir.
Jamie Scarpuzza A huge thank you to you, your folks, and to everyone involved with doing this. It’s important, and we appreciate you working on the cause

Joel Paul Reisig  This bill is written by a very few below the line union workers, for their own benefit only. They did not consult a single Michigan producer. We all need to call our reps and made sure this disaster of a bill does not pass.

David W. King we have a consensus of opinion from “below the line workers,” and not one of them appreciates the way you are maligning them, Joel. As for the work experience a couple of these people have, they have been in the film industry longer than you have been alive. This is verifiable. Please be careful with what you say

Joel Paul Reisig I’m sure they’re not happy. This does not change the fact that not a single producer from our state was consulted.

Yes, there are many here who have been in the business longer than I have. Some for longer than I have been alive. This again does not change the facts. None of them have ever gone out and raised the capital it takes to make money, then spearheaded distribution as a fiduciary responsibility to get their investors an ROI.

They’re simply not the right people to meet with state reps and write a bill – and the result is a new bill that would not benefit Michigan as a whole.

David W. King There is a difference between facts and opinions, no matter how dear you hold your opinions. Included in this group are state reps.

Would you attend a round-table discussion, if invited? were you present for last night’s town hall? You were personally invited.
Brian Pastoria you are COMPLETELY wrong and way off base!! Zero respect for what you have written…and totally wrong! So many producers and Film constituents were consulted over time. You are completely wrong that this bill doesn’t benefit MI. Do better research
Tokkyo Faison Hi, I wasnt able to attend, Is this bill going to have funding for the indie film makers
Randy Dies that seems to be the question
Tokkyo Faison I am asking because the last1 did nothing for us/ And will they start to give us more leading roles and the bigger productions and not juz background
Randy Dies  I know I personally haven’t heard or read anything showing it helps us
Tokkyo Faison smh I hope that changes
David W. King, We have been assured it will as long as our productions meet certain criteria.
Tokkyo Faison ok, be qat about the bigger roles in these Hollywood productions
Joel Paul Reisig absolutely not. The bill will not help you as a producer. It will not help you employ people. It will not get you a chance at lead roles. It is a bill to bring high-end commercials to Michigan for the benefit of union workers, at the expense of taxpayers.
Joel Paul Reisig yes, there is a difference between facts and opinions. I have stated that no Michigan producers were consulted. I’m stating that as a fact. If you believe I am incorrect, please list the Michigan producers who helped shape this bill.

Joel Paul Reisig, Would I attend a round table discussion if invited? Yes.

That means I have a seat at the table, with equal speaking time.  I have not been invited to do that. No Michigan producer has.
Tokkyo Faison Smh ..that doesn’t sound good

David W. King  No, but as a sponsor of the bill, and someone who has been following this since its inception, I know what has gone into crafting this bill.

Have you been on their site? The site reads:

Do you have an event idea, an industry-related press release, or want to partner with MiFIA?

We encourage individuals, companies, and venues who want to support film and television work in Michigan to reach out to us.

We can make this happen.

Your excuse for not attending the Detroit Town Hall was that you were not invited. We made it a point to invite you, and yet you didn’t show up last night. If we arrange a round-table discussion, we will invite you. Will you attend?
Randy Dies  I’d be there…… js

Joel Paul Reisig if you would like to give me, and possibly other producers as well, equal speaking time in front of an audience. Then, yes.

I don’t know of a single Michigan producer who had anything to do with shaping the bill. If I’m wrong, as you so emotionally state, then please share with me the list of Michigan producers who helped write the bill.
Brian Pastoria there were many many producers including myself who were consulting with the political people behind making this happen! We have been giving information and ideas to bring this back in a bigger and better way. I know many people who have been consulting. I don’t know you & have never heard your name until this disrespectful post!
David W. King I will, Joel.

Joel Paul Reisig  I’ve stated facts, and I’ve done so nicely. Nothing I have said is disrespectful. You’ve been distrustful to me, but I don’t care. These things don’t affect me.

You state that many many producers were consulted. Yet you can’t name any? Let me help you. Did you talk to me? Lance Kawas? Harley Wallen? Sam Logan? Phil Wurtzel? Nancy Oeswein? Dennis Reed? Rich Brauer? DJ Perry? Melissa Kerley? Shane Hagedorn? Daniel Knudsen? …

You say “including me”. Brian, you’re not a producer. Let’s not worry about whether or not you have ever heard of me, IMDB has never heard of you. You appear, like yourself, in one documentary. I’m honestly not trying to be disrespectful, I’m simply stating a fact. Everything online says you’re a musician. Nothing points to you being a movie producer.

For anyone following along, here is Brian’s IMDB page showing zero producing credits:
And here is mine, listing me as a producer on 30 feature films:
Now you, and anyone else, can have any opinions that you like. I’m sticking to facts.
Brian Pastoria - IMDb
IMDB.COM
Brian Pastoria – IMDb

Brian Pastoria – IMDb

Brian Pastoria  I’m done with you and your BS. You are a very negative person in our industry! You have no idea the people I am working with within the film industry…and the projects we have happening. I will keep your list of people and never use or recommend anyone you’re with. You are clueless

Randy Dies why so hostile?

If you have been working on this shouldn’t you want opinions even ones you don’t agree with so you can show them facts of how they are wrong or mistaken? So far all I’ve seen is someone who is extremely experienced and influential in the Michigan industry Joel Paul Reisig speak openly about his concern and then be attacked viciously by you. If you really care about the Michigan industry then you should be respectful of others’ opinions especially if they don’t agree with you. At the end of the day this either hurts all of us or helps all of us.
Joel Paul Reisig that list of people in my reply is not “people I’m with”, they’re the actual leaders in the Michigan film industry. The fact that you don’t seem to know any of them should really show anyone reading along what the problem is.
John W. Bosley I agree! The last time we had a tax incentive it benefited out-of-state productions and not Michigan-based productions.

Joel Paul Reisig this one is 100% the same. It is designed to get high paying jobs, at everyone’s expense, for a few union workers. The bulk of Michigan will once again be looked at as PAs and extras.

I have a plan, that would not cost our state as much money, that would bring constant work here – for everyone.
Brian Pastoria  go back and look at that list of producers Joel listed. These producers have been persistently producing in Michigan after the incentives left. Many of them work with Hollywood actors and are moving up the ladder in the industry. You can…
John W. Bosley, I’m interested in hearing your plan
Joel Paul Reisig send me a private message and I’ll send you a two-page doc outlining it in laymen’s terms. Same for anyone who would like to read it, including Brian.
John W. Bosley After reading Joel’s paper, I can not support any other film tax rebate proposal that doesn’t align with what he’s proposing. His proposal is pro-Michigan, pro-Michigan production, pro-Michigan cast\crew, and pro-Michigan taxpayer.
Tokkyo Faison fact.! We juz want sum luv and make it fair for us smaller guys.

David R. Lowing  yes, so far it’s crafted mostly for lower budget films with limits on spending to keep it more local.  This is good for Michigan producers and actors

Joel Paul Reisig  I’m open to hearing about why you think this bill would be good for Michigan. Thus far, no Michigan producers have been consulted. Have you read my plan? I’m happy to send it to you.
David W. King  Is this the same as we posted to my site, Joel? How many producers were consulted on your version? And how much research went into the creation of your film incentives?

Nancy Oeswein  tbh, I don’t often agree with Joel about almost anything, and even in this the right words are not always chosen. But Not one of the many mi producers I know has been involved or invited to be involved in this. And David, the question you reiterated from the website doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the bill or meetings or input. In fact, when this was starting, I reached out twice to a state rep that posted about getting input on this, and I never heard back. In my email, I noted my unique perspective with history as a producer raising and risking both my and others’ money, as a crew member, a produced screenwriter, and as the parent of a professional union actor.

I’ve never heard about a town hall before the fact, except for one 4 hours away from me. The many posts now all seem to be about ginning up support for a package written by a handful of people. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen someone with different ideas shouted down instead of being listened to. I think there are better, albeit more complex ideas, for truly building a sustainable industry and not just throwing a pot of money at a program that benefits a fraction of the creatives in Michigan and gets eaten up by a handful of big-budget studios who will ride the next incentive out of town. Sorry, but this is my initial takeaway from what I’ve read.

When you get around to having town halls in southeast mi where most of the mi industry is, please do more than one, and provide more than a day or week’s notice, recognizing that taking a specific night off isn’t possible in this business once you’re committed to a gig.
I just want to see us get this right. If we fail again because the bill did not do what it needed to to create a sustainable industry, we likely won’t get another shot.

Joel Paul Reisig  Nancy and I rarely agree, but I like her. As a person who has adopted two children, she did more to help the world than ten average people combined. I respect her.

John W. Bosley I just read Joel Paul Reisig ‘s version. It’s not fully fleshed out, but I like the direction he’s going. I think we need something that’s also pro-Michigan grip house and other film services. I think Joel should sit down with as many Michigan producers as possible, even just by Zoom, and discuss with them what he’s proposing and then have some write it up in the legal\business format that is required. Maybe even his version can be merged with the other.

David W. King  Nancy Oeswein Thank you for your perspective, Nancy. It’s always good to hear from you. I know you are normally too busy to spend much time on FB.

Regarding the questions I asked Joel, I didn’t ask them to shout him down. These are questions that have to be answered if Joel’s ideas are to be considered. As much as you agree with Joel, have you read Joel’s ideas? I am not asking this to negate any ideas he has. I offered him an opportunity to present his ideas, as I believe his and others are voices that must be heard in this discussion.

In fact, to Joel’s shortlist of producers in this state, we should add, not to take anything away from those Joel mentioned, but to give these their due, Dennis Reed II, Darren Brown, Lorenzo Pierson, Lezar Favors, Jason Allen, Dylan Sides, Treagen Kiers, Jamal Hines, and others. No one should be left out of this mix. This is the reason why I think that having a round-table discussion would be a good idea. Everyone’s voice should be heard in this discussion.

But, without wishing to put too fine a point on this, a state’s film industry is more than (and I am not saying this derogatorily) a state’s narrative storytellers. There is also the commercial, advertising, and television. Often when engaged in something, we can easily forget about other parts of things, other aspects of something employing people. The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., film production companies, film studios, cinematography, animation, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post-production, film festivals, distribution, and actors. Michigan’s film industry encompasses a whole lot more. It also includes supporting businesses like David Lowing’s Light and Grip and his studio.

As for these Town Hall meetings taking place without much advanced, they have all been promoted far enough in advance for me to plan on attending them. I will not normally promote something if I am just hearing about it first the day of, or the day before an event.
David W. King  John W. Bosley Have you attended any of the Town Halls
Tokkyo Faison  Hi, I would like to be added to that list of filmmakers and would like to know when the next town hall will be.?

Nancy Oeswein  David W. King I have read them. And while I don’t agree with all, it seems a more sustainable plan, reaching more people, and I have my own thoughts as well, but you are right, I can’t seem to catch a day off for some time. When are town halls coming that aren’t 3+ hours away?

Randy Dies  David W. King I’d be interested as well as my team in being in on this

John W. Bosley  Next time there’s a town hall meeting, could someone set up a couple of cameras and run a Facebook live or YouTube live stream of the event. You could make it an invite-only video. Many of us are hours away when a meeting is held and we’d love to at least attend it virtually.
David W. King  John W. Bosley I filmed the Detroit Town Hall meeting in its entirety and had it uploaded onto my FB feed the night of the meeting just for this purpose. I couldn’t do that with this one, as I arrived just as they were wrapping up.
John W. Bosley  David W. King keep me updated on the next one and I will try to attend.

Joel Paul Reisig  The thing is, and if I’m wrong someone please correct me, these are not round table meetings with people exchanging ideas with equal time. They are lectures. A few union workers tell you about the bill they want, while you sit in the audience.

Attending that, legitimizing it, does not interest me.

David W. King  Joel Paul Reisig what does a round-table discussion mean to you, Joel? When it happens, it will be just that. No lectures. Following Robert’s Rules of Order, each attending party will be given equal time to present their concerns. If someone does not attend these meetings because they do not want to legitimize the proceedings, should they be given a voice? Should their concerns be recognized? When iys stated that they did not attend because they were not personally invited, and they receive a personal invitation. what should be thought then?

Joel Paul Reisig  David W. King if such a thing happens, let me know when and where
David W. King  This round table meeting I envision has not happened yet. I proposed it yesterday, and it is to be presented to the board at its next meeting. When it happens, you will be notified in enough time to plan for it. If you do not attend it, or if others don’t, there is no one else to blame.
Joel Paul Reisig  David W. King I’ve never “blamed” anyone. But of course, I will inform all state reps that the actual leaders in the Michigan film industry do not support the bill.

David W. King  Joel Paul Reisig Now, in case you missed it, Joel, I mentioned some of the many aspects that the film industry encompasses. As challenging as it has been to craft what the film incentives look like now, imagine how much more would have to be added to encompass all of that giving every aspect of the film industry giving each a proportionate weight.

Perhaps, someone can answer this. How large in terms of dollars is Michigan’s movie industry? How much money did it generate last year?
Joel Paul Reisig  David W. King I’m all for crafting a bill, with input from actual industry leaders. But it has to be done right. It’s a page one rewrite.

David W. King  Joel Paul Reisig Can you answer how much money Michigan’s movie industry generated last year?

Joel Paul Reisig   David W. King no I cannot. I don’t think anyone can. Even back in 2008 there were two large accounting firms that tried to do just that, and they came up with drastically different numbers.

Joel Paul Reisig David W. King nothing wrong with asking, but I’m going to decline to answer. My guess is just about everyone will.

I understand. The reason why I ask is that as I understand it, these incentives are set up as loans from the state, not grants. Normally, in business, this is one of the questions asked. When you apply for these loans, the state will ask you for this information, the dollars and cents. When you submit all of the required paperwork, you will have to wait for the state processes the loan, and as has been answered at the last couple of these Town Halls,this may take up to a year for reimbursement. Unless you can answer this, and how much your productions have made, you may be declined that loan.

Remember, according to the IRS, you may churn and burn and create one production after another, you have up to the first three years to show a profit. If you cannot show a profit within three years, this is considered a hobby. So, the ability to answer this is paramount to receiving the loan.
Rick Shaw  Let me know when the next meeting is. The last incentive had Michigan film attorney s onboard, some of them were involved in making decisions about how the incentive was drafted by the state. We had lots of fraud by those who made money from just the incentive alone, it ruined it for those productions wanting to film here. When large productions film here, we as Michigan residents benefit from those large productions. The state didn’t figure in the corruption part of the incentive, that in the long run, hurt us all, including the state.
Rick Shaw So, when you have an incentive, I could open a brick and mortar building and rent camera and lenses, take part in the incentive, yet never open the doors, this is what screwed us on the last incentive s. It’s a business, no business, no film. Look at the stock market and investment banking, in today’s world of finance, the market is terrible. Asking people that are not in film production, that their tax dollars will go toward films, is not a conversation you would want to have with them. I have been working in other states, and countries. Look at the successful film incentives in other states, before coming up with a plan. Might be a good idea to base the incentive on the bottom line only, above line is where the problems occur. If the incentive is set up as a loan, the production could ask for 200, 000 based on the company supplying the other $800,000, the paperwork is in order, the above line is not heavy, it looks attractive to the state, video release sales only pulls in $25,000, who is responsible for the $175,000, the state will lose. Understanding larger productions with their own distribution is the favorite of most states with incentives.

David W. King  Rick Shaw This has been done. Apparently, this group has looked into the most successful states and their incentives, and from what they have found, they have modeled the new incentives.

David W. King  Rick Shaw This has been done. Apparently, this group has looked into the most successful states and their incentives, and from what they have found, they have modeled the new incentives.

Joel Paul Reisig  David W. King if such a thing happens, let me know when and where.

David W. King  This round table meeting I envision has not happened yet. I proposed it yesterday, and it is to be presented to the board at its next meeting. When it happens, you will be notified in enough time to plan for it. If you do not attend it, or if others don’t, there is no one else to blame.

 

 

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