1. A 42% refundable tax credit on direct production expenses in a core community and 40% in other locations.
2. Ditto for resident crews. And 30% for a nonresident crew.
3. Low production minimum of $50,000 to be eligible for the incentives.
4. A growing crew base, thanks to a job-training program included in the package.
5. Detroit — which looks like, well, Detroit. You want 8 Mile urban, you’ve got it.
6. A coastline longer than the entire Eastern seaboard. Says Rep. Bill Huizenga: “We have people who see Lake Michigan and say, ‘Where’s the other side?’ You can’t comprehend 90 miles across if you haven’t seen it.”
7. Abundant scenery. Lakes, forests, vineyards, sand dunes, farms, the car-free Mackinac Island, the people-free Isle Royale …
8. Lots of empty manufacturing facilities to do with what you will.
9. Friendly people. “They’re very open to having you here,” Huizenga says. “They want productions to come into their town, and they are going to do backflips to try to make it work. We hear that all the time from producers. Everyone seems happy to have crews here — even though we are shutting down their roads and shooting at 2 a.m.”
10. The ability to shoot in all kinds of weather. “If Vancouver can do it,” Huizenga says, “so can we.”