Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Come to Youngstown, Ohio and blow stuff up


May 26, 2004 - LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Economic decay could be the salvation of Youngstown, Ohio.

The industrial city, which once had a population of 250,000, has been impacted by the elimination of manufacturing jobs, and its population now stands at 80,000.

But according to Richard Ouzounian, who runs the Youngstown Warren Film Commission, the town is a virtual film set waiting to happen. It has an airport, complete with a new terminal and 9,000-foot runway, which handles only four flights a week. It has a 2,016-bed prison that houses only 21 inmates. There's also an empty hospital as well as empty schools and libraries.

"You have industrial sites," Ouzounian says. "Unlike most cities where they don't want you blowing things up, around here they'd be thrilled to death if somebody came here and blew up some of this stuff up!"

Ouzounian also is working with one of the trustees of the film commission to take one of the many deserted warehouses and turn it into a soundstage. He points out that, while there may be no film infrastructure in the town, good crews can be found in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, both within an hour's drive.

"You have, essentially, an industrial city backlot that's waiting to be used," he says.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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URL: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5068724/

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My name is Tera Lobaugh, a sixteen year old resident of Youngstown, Ohio. I appreciated this article after I read it because few people take the time to consider what Youngstown can be if given the opportunity. Not only that, but it is difficult to find people willing to give that opportunity. At my school alone, there is a national merit scholar. There is a talented track team who sent five women to State competition and came back with silver and bronze medals but more importantly, gold medals. There are kids in my school who are going to colleges where they'll be preparing to perform on Broadway. Speaking of which, there is a theatre in Youngstown where several students perform in plays and musicals. This city has unappreciated and worse, unnoticed talent. If people took the time to look around my city, they'd see the future looks extremely bright. And my school is not the only one with such promising individuals. I'm asking you to take the initiative to use the power you obviously have when you write and use it to help Youngstown. There are some efforts being taken but I have no doubt that they will fail just like other efforts have recently. You may think that Youngstown is full of one crime after another however, it isn’t. That’s on the surface. Underneath a negative exterior is a very positive area where today’s kids will grow to be so much more than anyone could have possibly imagined. My e-mail is teenblondesrule@yahoo.com (It’s stupid, I know. I’ve had it since I was twelve.) All I ask right now is that you send me a message regarding what I have written. Thank you.