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Unfiltered: Gionni Crawford on Being in the Pictures

Check that name at the top. Remember it. I have a feeling Gionni is going to make this state very proud.

I met Mr. Crawford a few months ago when I visited Youth Neighborhood News. He was crazy smart, clearly more poised than a kid his age (16!) should be and cute to boot. That helps a lot when you want to be in front of the camera. (Hey, there's a reason many of us write for a living.)

I asked the kids if they wanted to write a blog post...and Gionni did. Here's his take on the Michigan film industry -- and why it matters to him and so many others.

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By Gionni Crawford

The Michigan Film Office opened in 1979 and when the 42 percent film tax incentive passed it lured many more production companies to start making film and television shows here. I signed with Charlie's Talent Agency in December of 2009 and from then on I received a lot more insight on the depth and process of the film making industry here in Michigan.

My first production was in a Wayne State University Student Film written and directed by Kimberly Rice, where I played a supporting role. Now I am working on a TV series pilot. Since then multiple productions were based in Detroit and websites launched like Michigan Acting.com and FilmEmerge.com

One excellent thing about the film industry here is that they need all kinds of people and it's not a significantly large market. Roles are practically given to us compared to all of the starving artists in Los Angeles.

I hope the next governor will not adverse the film tax incentive because a lot of work has gone into training people and building film studios. Many people who not only be crestfallen, outraged and belligerent but most importantly thousands of jobs would be lost

The very first major motion picture that was created in Michigan is “This Time for Keeps” in 1946. More than 120 films and TV shows have been based here. Some films that are filming now are Ben Stiller's 30 Minutes or Less, Scream 4, Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman, and the Machine Gun Preacher.

My future college is here at the University of Michigan. They have an excellent theater program – it is one of the Top 10 in the nation.

One thing I can say to all of the people here who want to become actors is to network like crazy. The film industry won't stop for you so go and be an extra and go to networking events like film festivals and do non-paying student film work. It's tangible only if you do something about it.

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