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Location scouts sound off on Michigan

Pros say state is trouble-free, compared to L.A.

Russ Fega

A location scout for the past 20 years, Russ Fega recently helped scout Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It,” shot in Michigan.

Fega was impressed by the welcome from the local community. “It was a very easygoing experience, especially working with the government bureaus,” he says. “One thing that makes it easier for us to work (in Michigan than in Los Angeles) is that the people were excited we were there. They weren’t jaded and haven’t been inconvenienced like a lot of people in L.A. (It) made the shoot go by very smoothly.”

Jeff Shepherd

A native of Michigan and graduate of Michigan State University, Jeff Shepherd got his start after interning as a scout for a small documentary, “Who Killed Vincent Chin.” He understands the advantages of filming in the Wolverine State.

you can just go anywhere,” he says. “When I scouted there, I could park anywhere. It sounds trivial but in L.A. it’s like squeezing out every ounce of energy just to get something like parking taken care of, and even then it’s not enough. So I think the small things really play to Michigan’s advantage.”

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