Monday, April 4, 2011

To Motown or not to Motown - arc 8-4-10

---So this is one of a series of posts I started in another blog that sets up this move to the Big D---

That is the question. Detroit appears to be the new arts and film capitol in waiting. The idea of leaving California and especially the bay area seems, well weird at best. The Idea of moving to Detroit seems ludicrous. Except when you actually look at what is going on. The bay Area film "industry" is now almost completely mini-Indies and documentaries with a few industrials tossed in.

Now as you know I'm mostly in post and as far as I can tell post is still not very big in Motown. But sound post on smaller projects and ads can happen just about anywhere and spend many years working on stuff other than sound, even when I was working in sound. So there is plenty of possibilities in the rust belt, as long as the tax incentives keep up.

Historically the only reason the film business centered around Hollywood was that is was so hard to get to that Edison's muscle men had a hard time enforcing his patents on all things film. And because with out electricity you had to shoot in sunlight. LA didn't have the most sunlight but it had enough and it was as far away from Edison as you could get and stay on US soil.

But none of that really applies today. Films are either shot on location or on stages for the most part. Motor City has a ton of stages, all with LOTS of power. They used to be called auto assembly plants.

The economy sucks and doesn't look like it's going to get a lot better soon. So something has to give. Manhattan and the SF Bay Area are two of the most expensive places to live in the US. Both are great but if you can buy a house for what it costs to park your car for a year... Well it gives one pause.

Artists tend to be the bargain hunters since they are generally more mobile (lack of a "real" job will do that to you. They also traditionally lack much money. So wherever the cheapest place to get a roof is tends to attract artists. Having more time and skills than money they also tend to fix up those rat-trap cheap abodes. After awhile it's the "stylish" neighborhood. Then it gets expensive to live there and the artists are all forced out.

The catch to this is the cheap location also has to have some proximity to "culture" and transportation. There aren't to many thriving artist communities off in the middle of nowhere. All this points positively to Detroit. It is VERY cheap right now, there aren't a lot of jobs, though there is over employment in the film biz. It has decent cultural roots, once you get over the the "rust belt" designation. It is after all Motown. It's nice and close to Canada, in case they bring the draft back. That's for you youngsters ;~), I'm old enough to be a Hawk now (I guess that would be chicken hawk...).

By all reports there is a virtual migration from locations like Manhattan and SF and other pricey stylish locals to rusty old Motor City.

So we're going to go and check it out.

It's going to be interesting to see if a California boy can wrap his head around living in the only major American city that looks SOUTH at Canada


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