There are film technician classes at five New Mexico colleges that Hendry said provide an introduction to the business -- and a reality check for the starry-eyed.
The governor is a big promoter of the industry and says it has pumped $1.5 billion into the state's economy over the last five years, about $500 million in direct spending and twice that indirectly.
No detailed economic impact analysis has been done, however. And some lawmakers worry that the rebate program -- projected to pay out more than $50 million this year -- will prove to be a runaway cost. They proposed capping it at $30 million annually but shelved the idea after hundreds of film industry protesters showed up at a legislative hearing.
Hendry says the technicians he represents make $22 to $27 an hour, and with overtime can earn as much as $70,000 a year if they work steadily.
The low-end, nonunion jobs are much less lucrative.
"So much work for so little pay," sighed Teri Browning, a singer-songwriter who has worked twice as a lowly production assistant -- running errands, answering phones, driving, keeping track of paperwork -- for $9.50 an hour. "But my friends remind me it's sort of like going to school and getting paid for it. You're learning a lot of aspects of the industry, and you're networking."
Some residents worry they'll never have access to the film industry's really high-paying jobs.
"It used to be pretty much a given that the only jobs New Mexicans could get were non-speaking roles. It's been very slow to evolve, but it is evolving," said local lawyer and guitarist George Adelo, who had a speaking part in "No Country for Old Men."
With most states offering some kind of incentives for filmmakers, New Mexico may find itself struggling to stay out front. The Michigan Legislature, for example, has been working on a 40% rebate for production costs.
Witt says that while moviemakers may chase the best deal, New Mexico's total package -- including location inventory, scouting services, proximity, infrastructure and crew base -- should keep it in the forefront.
And he says there's one other lure Michigan can't match: "300 days a year of sunshine."