Blog: Scott Paul Dunham

Creative class charter member Scott Paul Dunham has brought a whole palette of arts programs to fruition, and he knows how to throw a good party. As the founding partner of The Creative Energy Alliance, Scott will be giving us the dish on next week's Detroit Windsor International Film Festival.

Scott Paul Dunham - Post 5: A Film Culture

So, after a week of blogging about film and festivals, do you feel like you're part of a new culture?  Do you see the potential of a creative-based economy?  Does the boom in film making give you hope for a future beyond manufacturing?  Hmmmm, maybe just putting on film festivals and workshops isn't enough.  Maybe we need something else.

Obviously, the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival objective is to provide a great time for all.  But our more sneaky agenda is to add a little to our creative culture and community.  By doing that, we help build our creative economy.  How's that?  I know it sounds like a leap.  Let me fill in the gap in that logic…

By holding cultural activities, we add to our experiences, and we inspire people to look at creative careers.  Further, by supporting training and networking, we build a strong network of resources.  So when filmmakers come here, they see a culture that is familiar to them.  They feel comfortable and confident when they see that we know the lingo, the process and the expectations that they've built up in the "Hollywood" factory for 100 years.  By encouraging our film culture, we make Michigan more like home for them.

And I'm not just talking about cameramen, grips and gaffers – but everybody.  For example, if you asked anyone in LA what "craft services" was, they'd know it's where you get your lunch on a set, and not a lesson in scrapbooking!  They see films being shot on every street corner and don't even blink an eye.  They take for granted what we're all getting goofy about, seeing a celebrity in Royal Oak or a grip truck setting up down the street.

A successful film culture means we're all more aware of what filmmakers need to make a successful film.  By learning to "breathe" the culture, we give visiting filmmakers the confidence that we can do everything the folks in LA can do with their eyes closed.

For now, we have to try harder.  Only with perfect practice will we learn to be perfect.  But now is the time to practice.  And that includes everyone in our business world.  People tend to think of the "film industry" as those traditional jobs on a set or in a studio.  I maintain that you and I are ALL in the movie business now!  

After all, haven't you felt like you've been in the automotive business most of your life?  Even if you own a restaurant or a laundromat, your income was derived from customers who earned their money building cars and trucks.

So if you'd like a little of the several hundred million dollars that are coming in with the film projects – if you want a taste, then you, my friend, are in show biz!

So start acting like it.  Learn how to market to the film crews.  Offer new services that you know are commonly needed by a production.  Promote your company at creative events and network with area producers and people who have connections with filmmakers.  

That's what a film culture can do.  It's much more than going to film festivals. It's about learning what is needed to shift our thinking – and our economy, to accommodate our guests and serve them well.   I think that is the something more that we need to consider, as we look for sustainability in the film and entertainment industry that is knocking on our door.

Well, writing this blog was an honor and a privilege.  Thanks to the folks at Issue Media Group and Metromode for allowing me into your office, home, or coffee shop!  I look forward to seeing all of you down at the DWIFF screenings, TechFair, Drive-ins and Gala events!