About Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor is approximately 50 miles due west of Detroit and serves as the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2020 census marked the population at almost 124,000 in nearly 50,000 households. Ann Arbor became the county seat of Washtenaw County in 1827 and was incorporated as a village in 1833.
From the original 640 acres, 40 acres were set aside for the donation to the state of Michigan for the site of its capital. However, the bid was lost to nearby Lansing. In 1837, the 40 acres became the site of the University of Michigan campus. Ann Arbor has become known as “Tree Town due to its dense forests and treed neighborhoods as well as the 157 parks within the city’s 30 square miles.
You will not be disappointed when searching for a film shoot location in Ann Arbor because there are so many to choose from. From cozy cabins to huge green spaces, whatever you are looking for, you can find it there.
Film Shoot Location Options in Ann Arbor
The venue options offered for film shoot locations in Ann Arbor vary greatly with a vast array of different sizes, designs, and styles. Once you find what you are looking for, you will need to start thinking about the vendors in town that can assist you in your planning.
- Location Rentals
The setting of the stage for the film shoot is specific to the project, but the setting of the item’s ancillary to the stage and the crew is a separate line item for the budget. These items are necessary for the back-of-house work and services to support the shoot. These rentals include tables, chairs, pole and frame tents, and trash and recycling dumpsters and containers, along with the delivery, set-up, and breakdown.
The company providing food service to film shoots must have the experience and the versatility to work with clients to develop the menu, the service style, and the times of the service. Should the film shoot be all day or multi-day, then the service needs to be tailored to the timing of the snack and beverage refills between the meal servings.
The city of Ann Arbor does not require a permit specific to filming. However, a permit will be required if any aspect of the film shoot requires the use or the blocking of a sidewalk or a right-of-way, or if the shoot location takes place on city-owned property.
Film Shoot Location Companies in Ann Arbor
Setting up your film shoot can be a lot of work and will take a lot of time as well. While you have to be the main one to set the rules, you can surely delegate some of the chores to some of the local companies in the film industry. Some of these may include catering, rentals, and transportation.
- Delux Tents and Events
Delux Tents and Events is a family-owned rental company serving Ann Arbor. The rentals within its inventory are the furnishings, equipment, and décor to service a film shoot. Life safety equipment, flooring, and ground stabilization are some of the ancillary items that may be needed and required for venues in open span or outdoor spaces. Delux Tents offers customized delivery and services for the setup and breakdown.
The staff at Katherine’s will give their all to deliver a well-organized service to meet the expectations of the production company and its schedule. Katherine’s has catered to some of the largest and public corporate functions in Ann Arbor. The function of an all-day service for meals, snacks, and beverages has been given many times over when catering to a multi-day trade show or an all-day corporate event.
- Fivenson Studios
The graphic design professionals at Fivenson Studios immerse strategy and critical thinking into the development of content for the website and the film’s identity package. Updates to any existing sites and the monitoring of content to keep current with trends are important services provided by Fivenson. The storyline of the film and its brand cannot be lost on the website.
Pros and Cons of Film Shoot Locations in Ann Arbor
The consideration of the advantages and disadvantages is more than separating the items into columns for an item-by-item comparison. An informed decision cannot be based upon one disadvantage or the out-numbering of several small advantages.
- Choices of venues
Given the choices of venues and the diverse outdoor scenes offered in Ann Arbor, there is an opportunity to set a stage for any theme or style. Should the storyline or a particular scene meld with the specialty commercial spaces and the décor, then most of the early stages of planning and budgeting will be nearly complete.
The downtown area of Ann Arbor has a walk score of 93 and a bike score of 87. Outside of the core and into the neighborhoods, the walk score falls to 77, but the bike score rises to 89.
- Michigan film industry
The Michigan legislature is working to reinstate the 25% tax credit on production-related expenses for feature films, television series, and streaming productions. There will be an additional 5% credit if the marketing and promotional materials include the “Filmed in Michigan” logo.
With hot summers and cold winters, you will need to prepare for extreme weather conditions. The city averages almost 60 inches of snow annually too, so pack your boots and long johns if your film shoot is in the winter.
- U of M Film Office guidelines
The University of Michigan Film Office has strict guidelines regarding any filming on campus. The day-to-day student and research activities are the focus, as well as the protection of the U of M brand.
- Scale of services
Because of the sunsetting of the film tax incentive program in 2015, Michigan has not been on the radar of the film industry. Therefore, the support services will not be local to Ann Arbor until the tax incentive program is in place for some time.
Famous Locations in Ann Arbor
- The Creature Conservancy
Even though the Creature Conservancy is known as a zoo, it is really a rescue center. The conservancy holds hundreds of animals in 80 species. Most of these are exotic pets that became unwanted or were in danger. The experience of seeing these awesome animals up close and personal gives you the chance to see them in their everyday habitat.
- Main Street and Kerrytown
These entertainment corridors of Ann Arbor are popular with residents, visitors, and students. These quaint areas are in historic neighborhoods with shopping and dining with an assortment of entertainment venues. It is because of these corridors throughout the city that deem Ann Arbor walkable.
- Michigan Stadium
Known as The Big House, attendance at a Wolverine’s football game is a must when visiting Ann Arbor. The stadium is the largest in the US and the 2nd largest in the world. The Michigan Stadium also hosts top entertainment events throughout the year. Even if your film shoot does not coincide with the football season, you can still get a tour.