So, you want to be an actor?

Photo by Luis Quintero

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission kicked off Career in Films Week this first week of May to highlight potential career paths in the film and media production industry.  This celebration of jobs and skills in the sector is our way of drawing attention to the variety of positions available and how your skills may translate into a career in film and TV production.  Most of the focus is on the talent behind the camera.  Many of you might be thinking – “But I want to be in front of the camera!”  Well, there is certainly nothing wrong with that, and as a working SAG-AFTRA actor myself, I offer you encouragement.  But in case you haven’t heard or found out on your own already, being an actor is perhaps the toughest path into the film and television industry.

Imagine a job where you are told no at least 95% of the time.  If you are indeed selected, you are then told what to do, when and how to do it over and over again on set. Unless you are the star or featured character of a production, you will be forced to play the game of “hurry up and wait” for hours without getting makeup on your wardrobe that you are expected to keep looking brand new in between takes that are broken up into brief scenes.  And to top it all off, you may not get to see yourself on screen from your minutes in front of the camera for months.  Change your mind yet?  I hope you haven’t because, despite all that, it is fascinating work which allows you to lose yourself and tap into your creative being in ways you never thought possible. 

While I am not a full-time actor, it is a passion I have followed for years because it is fun!   It has helped to make me the professional I am today, and yes, I have made a little money along the way.  I admit that getting in front of a camera or microphone is not a natural act for most of us.  It is well known that speaking in front of a group of people absolutely terrifies most people.  Imagine being the center of attention on a set with the pressure of learning your lines or dialogue, and literally being responsible for the success or failure of the finished product.  

Lowell Perry Jr., SAG-AFTRA actor and GCFC Chief Diversity Officer, VP Corporate & Community Engagement

On an industrial film, of which I have been a spokesperson for dozens, everyone else on set is trying to make sure you look and do your best in a timely fashion.  Time is money after all.  But folks, it is an absolute blast and a feeling of accomplishment when you nail a difficult, but important scene or part of a production!   Especially in one take.  Even then, they will still do the scene again.  For “safety.”  LOL. 

I have also been fortunate to over the years have had small day player roles with such luminary talent as Denzel Washington, Jack Nicholson, Matthew McConaughey, Connie Britton, and Kate Beckinsale, as well as appear in numerous commercials.  All productions shot in markets like Cleveland, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans.  That is my point.  You don’t have to go to New York or LA to act.  There is plenty of opportunity here in the Midwest, especially if you also dig the stage.  Did you know that Cleveland has a great stage scene?  

If you are serious about wanting to get into acting, the first thing you must do is not take yourself too seriously.  You should be willing to “act a fool” as the old folks used to say.  When you go on an audition, know your lines and be the character you are trying to play.  Take chances.  Most often, the writer and director have a certain look in mind, so while your read is important, don’t feel beat up if you don’t get the part; you just may not have looked it or fit the overall look of the other characters in the spot if it is a commercial.

Do your research by reaching out to local casting and talent agencies that offer workshops, and casting opportunities.  In any event, nothing beats a failure but a try.  So go for it, or rather, “break a leg” as the old stage saying goes.

Lowell Perry Jr.

Get your start in Film & TV Production!

Did You Know: 95% of the people who work in the film industry never walk down the red carpet.

A film crew is made up of hundreds, sometimes thousands, more jobs than just the director, actors, or camera operators. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, trained at a vocational school, graduated college, or are simply looking for a career change, almost any job skill you have will translate to a career in the film and TV industry!

Check out this list below, which is just a handful, of possible career paths you can take to get your start in Film and Television Production.

Click on the chart below to view it in fullscreen or to download.

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to create jobs and economic impact for Northeast Ohio through a vibrant film and media arts industry. We pursue our mission by advocating for the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit (OMPTC), attracting productions to our region, and training the local workforce.

Since 2009, the GCFC has attracted over 300 productions, most recently Netflix’s White Noise and the LeBron James biopic Shooting Stars. These projects have created 7,092 full-time equivalent jobs and brought $1.38 billion into Ohio’s economy.

YOU can benefit from our work.  The GCFC connects cast and crew talent directly to production opportunities by offering workshops, an affordable online FilmSkills training program, and a GCFC internship program!

Start learning today for your new Cleveland Film career tomorrow.

Schauer Group Century of Service Nonprofit Award program

Thank you to everyone who voted for the GCFC during the contest, we appreciate your support!
The Family Resource Center of Wickliffe was announced the winner of the Schauer Group Century of Service Nonprofit Award program for 2022.


Celebrate Black History Month with the GCFC and get your raffle tickets for a chance to win this prize pack!

All proceeds from this raffle will fund scholarships for the GCFC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) workshop program that sponsors people from underrepresented groups to attend our workforce events and online training.

Raffle tickets are:
1 for $10
5 for $45
12 for $94


The winner will be announced on Friday, April 1st, 2022.

For questions, please contact Development Coordinator Juli Johnson Piller at [email protected].


Photo and Letter: Venus & Serena Williams with Cast

Oscar® Winner
Best Actor – Will Smith

Directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, starring Will SmithAunjanue EllisJon Bernthal

A look at how tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams became who they are after the coaching from their father Richard Williams.

Now in theaters and streaming on HBO Max


Flask & Shot Glasses, Bandana, Trading Cards, Hardcover Script

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Award
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer – Jeymes Samuel


Directed by Jeymes Samuel, starring Jonathan MajorsZazie BeetzRJ Cyler

When an outlaw discovers his enemy is being released from prison, he reunites his gang to seek revenge.

Watch on Netflix


Making of…Hardcover Book, Hardcover Script

PASSING (2021)
Nominated for 4 BAFTA Awards
Outstanding British Film of the Year
Best Leading Actress
Best Supporting Actress
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer – Rebecca Hall

Directed by Rebecca Hall,  starring Tessa ThompsonRuth NeggaAndré Holland

“Passing” follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.

Watch on Netflix



RESPECT (2021)
Nominated for 1 Screen Actors Guild Award
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role – Jennifer Hudson

Directed by Liesl Tommy, starring Jennifer HudsonForest WhitakerMarlon Wayans

Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.

Rent on Amazon Prime


Softcover Script, Original Movie Soundtrack

HARRIET (2019)
Nominated for 2 Oscars®
Best Actress – Cynthia Erivo
Best Original Song – “Stand Up”

Directed by Kasi Lemmons, starring Cynthia ErivoJanelle MonáeLeslie Odom Jr.

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Rent on Amazon PrimeWatch on Peacock



Making of… Hardcover Book

Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy®
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics – “Letter to My Godfather”

Directed by Reginald Hudlin, starring Clarence AvantHank AaronGwen Adolph

This documentary follows the life of Clarence Avant, the ultimate, uncensored mentor and behind-the-scenes rainmaker in music, film, TV and politics.

Watch on Netflix


Cleveland Named to Moviemaker’s 2022 Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker

Cleveland is rising up the ranks to 12th in MovieMaker Magazine’s best places for filmmakers to work and live.

Cleveland is a chameleon, capable of transforming into whichever city the script needs it to be.  Cleveland easily wears so many hats because there is an abundance and diversity of architecture, ranging from the 19th century to ultra-modern.  The topography ranges from flat as Kansas to cliffs and mountains, all within a short company move within a 30-mile radius. Local and state governments gladly work with production companies to cut through red tape.  And another beautiful trait: Clevelanders aren’t jaded.

It is refreshing how easy it is to film movies in Cleveland.  But the cost of living alone is enough to make Cleveland the best place for a filmmaker to live.  That’s why Cleveland is a filmmaker’s Shangri-La.

Click here to read the full article.

Support Film In Cleveland with AmazonSmile

You can use AmazonSmile every day of the year and support Cleveland Film when you shop!

Sign up for AmazonSmile and select Greater Cleveland Film Commission as your preferred charity at or in the Amazon Shopping App on iOS and Android.


  1. Join AmazonSmile – If you are not already an AmazonSmile member, sign up on your web browser. Simply select the Greater Cleveland Film Commission to start generating donations, at no cost to you.
  2. Get the App – Download or update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.
  3. Turn on AmazonSmile – Open the app and find ‘Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.


MakeMeSmile is a Chrome extension that automatically helps ensure that your Amazon purchase can be correctly attributed to Amazon Smile, a charitable program.

Make your online purchases count with no extra effort on your part by downloading this free extension.


Limited Edition ‘Guardian of Film’ Merchandise Available Again for the Holidays!

 ‘Guardian of Film’ Fundraiser is now back and open for a LIMITED time!
The campaign will run from November 18th – December 1st, 2021 for a delivery date of December 17th, 2021.


The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is the only 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to driving economic development and job creation by cultivating a robust film and television industry in Northeast Ohio.

Since 2009, media projects in Ohio have generated over $1.1 billion in economic impact and created 6,192 full-time equivalent jobs. More than 70% of Ohio’s film tax incentive spending occurs in Greater Cleveland, thanks to our work.

GCFC’s work to bring jobs and economic impact to our community is more important than ever.

CLICK HERE to Purchase a ‘Guardian of Film’ T-Shirt

CLICK HERE to Purchase a ‘Guardian of Film’ Hoodie

CLICK HERE to Purchase a ‘Guardian of Film’ Hat

By purchasing a Guardian of Film Limited Edition t-shirt, hoodie, or hat, a portion of the proceeds benefited our Sustainability Fund to support Film Commission operations during the Coronavirus pandemic. Your support helped GCFC’s vital programs and services to continue through the pandemic and thrive into the future.

*GCFC ‘Guardian of Film’ Fundraiser orders are fulfilled by CustomInk, LLC., and CustomInk, LLC will deliver ordered items by December 17th. Due to increased demand, shipping delays may occur, and the delivery date is not guaranteed. For questions, please contact CustomInk, LLC Help Center.

Greater Cleveland Film Commission Announces Leadership Transition

Motion Picture Location manager Bill Garvey named as New President|Photo by Jeff Downie

CLEVELAND, OH (July 12, 2021) – The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is pleased to announce that longtime Television and Motion Picture Location Manager Bill Garvey has been named the organization’s new President, effective September 27.

During his 26 years in the industry, Garvey has forged relationships with Marvel, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros., Netflix, HBO and NBC. Since moving to Ohio in 2008, he has spearheaded the filming of “Fast & Furious: Fate of the Furious,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and “The Avengers,” among others.

Garvey’s credits prior to working in Ohio include “Shutter Island,” “National Treasure,” “Spiderman 2” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” For television, he also spent four seasons working on “Law & Order” and “The Sopranos.”

“Greater Cleveland has the architecture and infrastructure to become a major power player in the motion picture industry,” Garvey said. “Coming out of the COVID shutdown, there’s an explosion of content poised to enter production this year — a growth in production unlike any other time. But none of these movies will film in Ohio if not for the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit. The Greater Cleveland Film Commission has laid the groundwork for the last decade to build the industry here. There’s an urgent need to strengthen the Motion Picture Tax even further if we are to seize this substantial opportunity. The work of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission is essential to the continued growth of a robust, diverse industry workforce. These new economy jobs can keep our talented youth in Ohio while at the same time attract talent from out of state to move here. The GCFC’s partnership with the Tri-C Film Academy and Cleveland State University’s School of Film & Media Arts goes hand-in-hand with the rise of Northeast Ohio as a motion-picture hub.”

In his new role, Garvey will build upon the success the GCFC has already achieved in nurturing motion-picture investment here, and leverage his partnerships in television and motion-picture production to showcase Northeast Ohio to the world.

“We are pleased that Bill has accepted this essential role that will ensure that Cleveland will continue to grow as a motion-picture destination,” says Greater Cleveland Film Commission board chairman Tim Birch. “Under his leadership, the organization will be instrumental in attracting and generating the economic impact that will help the region thrive. His first-hand knowledge will help train and grow future industry professionals in Northeast Ohio.”

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission (GCFC) is a 501c3 nonprofit, whose mission is to create jobs and economic impact for Northeast Ohio through a vibrant film and media arts industry. GCFC was the driving force behind the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit (OMPTC) in 2009. Since then GCFC has attracted over 300 productions, most recently “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Cherry” and Liam Neeson’s “The Marksman.” These projects have created 6,192 full-time equivalent jobs and brought over $1.1 billion into Ohio’s economy. GCFC connects cast and crew talent directly to production opportunities and invests in a strong local workforce by presenting workshops, seminars, FilmSkills training and internships, designed to give local talent the education, experience and professional connections to succeed in the film industry. GCFC works tirelessly to expand the film industry in Northeast Ohio, train and support a local workforce in order to generate real, sustainable opportunities that attract and retain talent.

Promote the increase of media production in Northeast Ohio using effective strategies for attraction and workforce development, including building an artistic infrastructure through film.

Achieve increased economic development in Northeast Ohio by using the artistic and culturally enriching activities of film and other media production to strengthen the workforce, support the media production industry and attract media production to the region.

Lost in Sports Episode One: Master of the Gridiron

SOURCE: Lost in Sports | Ben Baskin
May 27, 2021

The Cleveland Browns are the most tortured franchise in sports. They have never won a Super Bowl. But in 1986, in the middle of the season, the players on the team filmed a time travel sorcery movie that prophesied they would do just that— it featured the novelty-singer Tiny Tim, had ninjas and sword fighting, a castle, a shotgun, and even a black bear. Ben searches for answers about why this obscure movie was made and why no one outside Cleveland has ever seen it.

Host and journalist Ben Baskin was recently joined by former Cleveland Browns center Mike Baab and his wife Lolis Garcia-Baab, Cleveland-native directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, Cleveland comedian Mike Polk Jr., WKYC Channel 3 sports commentator Jim Donovan, and #ClevelandFilm Stuntman Rick Fike, as they all discuss this forgotten, barbarian-themed classic.


Join host and journalist Ben Baskin on an adventure through time as he takes on some of the biggest questions in sports history— and some you never thought to ask. Every episode of Lost In Sports explores the mysteries of the lost, the forgotten and the disappeared, and goes on a quest for answers.

Want to watch the film? You can thank The Mike Polk Jr. Show for uploading it to YouTube!