Workshop trains locals for film work

Four production companies have applied for Ohio’s film tax credit with plans to shoot their movies in the Mahoning Valley in 2018.

One already has been awarded more than $200,000 from the state, while another has tentative approval for money from the city of Youngstown’s float loan program, according to Fred D’Amico, founder of the Youngstown Regional Film Commission. Those projects follow “Them That Follow,” a drama shot last fall in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

“The movies are coming,” D’Amico said. “Now our job is to get people ready for them.”

D’Amico said “Them That Follow” — which features Walton Goggins, Olivia Colman, Thomas Mann, Alice Englert and Jim Gaffigan and is produced by Gerard Butler — brought about $800,000 into the regional economy, but many of the crew jobs on the production went to people from Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Columbus because locals either did not have the training for the jobs or are not registered in the film commission’s database.

“The database is what we give to producers who are looking for crew, extras, locations, vendors,” D’Amico said. “They need to be in the database to supply those needs.”

Those interested in working on upcoming projects can register online at The database is for actors, extras and crews as well as those who have locations that could be used for movies and businesses that can provide goods and services for filmmakers, from building supplies to meals.

The film commission also is working to train locals to fill those crew roles. A two-day assistant directing workshop will be held this weekend at Michael Alberini’s in Boardman. The workshop will cover such topics as assistant director team roles and responsibilities; preproduction and production duties of the AD team; call sheets, script breakdowns and prep schedules; processing and choreography of background extras; and how to build a film friendly resume and interview tips.

The workshop will be led by Kenny Chaplin, a member of the Directors Guild of America and Directors Guild of Canada. He has worked with such actors as actors Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Abigail Breslin, Ray Liotta and Ethan Hawke as well as directors Terrence Malick, David Mamet and Ang Lee.

Additional workshops and seminars are in the works, D’Amico said.

The number of projects that have applied for tax credits indicates the commission’s efforts have been successful, and the potential is even greater if the legislature passes a current bill that would raise the available tax credits from $40 million to $100 million statewide.

“We’re going to become a big competitor with Pittsburgh and Cleveland,” D’Amico said.