In Startup Weekend Profiles, we highlight teams and ideas that made it big during Startup Weekend. Big enough, in fact, to get noticed by folks willing to get those ideas off the ground and turn them into a full-blown venture.
Michigan is probably not a state that would be top-of-mind when it comes to startups. One film duo aims to change that. Attila Bokor and Jason James are based in Grand Rapids, MI and want to help film pros like themselves gain recognition by raising awareness on filming opportunities for their state. Their project, Michigan Film Reel, got high honors in the recent West Michigan Startup Weekend.
The state legislature of Michigan enacted last 2008 a refundable film tax incentive of up to 42 percent for those who bring their projects to the state. That’s great news all around and Michigan Film Reel wants everyone to know about this so they can take advantage of this incentive. It would help a lot of people out from small businesses who want to gain media exposure, to people looking for work that can serve as film crew in projects.
And how will they go about this great endeavor? Their site is essentially an ezine, created to showcase talents inside Michigan as well as current film projects in the area. They post information, conduct interviews and upload video to keep things fresh and vibrant. Through the site, you can get a behind the scenes look into many of the current film projects in this Great Lakes state.
Unlike other startups, Michigan Film Reel is less concerned about making money and more about spreading the word about their state. Needless to say, they still need sponsors to help get their site more exposure. At the moment, they are keeping their regular jobs (Attila is a technology director at World Mission and Jason manages a production outfit) and paying for expenses out of their own pockets. The Startup Weekend that happened in their area was a great help in pushing out a working model and posting their first interview. Right now, they are looking for interns to help their cause and are in discussions with another company to offer their video services to other businesses in need of materials for promotional purposes.
All their efforts are slowly paying off. Michigan Film Reel was invited to be part of the West Michigan Film Industry task force and has already rubbed shoulders with the director of the Michigan Film Office. They have also been part of the Traverse City Film Festival and tuned in to discussions put together by Michael Moore, arguably Michigan’s most well-known filmmaker.
What advice can we get from the crew of Michigan Film Reel? “Yes, even if it isn’t making a whole lot of money just do it. If you are confident that the idea is good keep doing it, eventually you will make it.”
Sterling advice and we hope to see Michigan Film Reel become a startup celebrity in its own right soon.