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Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

April 8, 2016

Jobs and Georgia on my mind

No doubt many of you heard about the recent toil and trouble in Georgia. The Georgia Governor vetoed a controversial "Religious Liberty Bill" because major film studios, sports leagues and business leaders threatened to pull jobs from Georgia if the law went into effect.

Putting aside any and all merits or demerits of the law, the news from Georgia brings to mind a concern I hear occasionally from some neighbors who worry that the effort to bring fair filming practices to Altadena might chase away film jobs. Clearly chasing off jobs is a serious concern. But is it true?

I heard the call and started surfing for data. I didn't have to look far. Both the California Film Commission (CFC) and FilmLA have produced a pile of annual reports which prove, beyond any doubt, they are bonafide bureaucracies dedicated to the extraction of ever more government funds.

They've been quite successful! This past year Governor Brown signed AB 1839 which creates the Film and Television Tax Credit Program 2.0. The program provides a tidy $1.55B in California tax credits to film companies that keep film jobs here in California. That's about $8.50 per year in extra tax for every person living in the Golden State.

2013 film industry estimates
If you were Governor, you might have signed AB 1839 too. Those reports from the CFC and FilmLA tell a troubling story. California's share of the film production business is shrinking faster that the Athabasca Glacier. Here's a few alarming facts:
  • Around the time we were worrying about Y2K, California’s share of the top 25 movie projects was 68%. In 2013 that share was 24%. (FilmLA)

  • Back when William and Camilla were cutting the cake, California could claim 65% slice of TV projects, in 2014 the California slice of the business was slimmed down to trim 32%. (CFC)

  • In 2013 there were almost twice a many films project in Deep South as there were in California. It took Louisana a short 10 years to outpace California in "production volume." (FilmLA)

  • Between 2010 and 2015, film projects that "ranaway" from California spent an estimated $3.5B outside Calif. (CFC)
The FilmLA report offers this pithy summary: "....Industry experts widely agree that film tax incentives are the primary cause of runaway production...the proliferation of out‐of‐state film incentive programs has eroded California’s one‐time dominance of the feature film production industry." In other words fork over tax credits to compete or lose jobs.

That message certainly got through to the State Legislature. Back in '09, the California Legislature passed the Film and Television Tax Credit Program 1.0 — a $500M, 5 year program to keep the productions from "running away" to greener pastures.

According to the CFC reports, Program 1.0 was a rip roaring success. The program is reported to have saved jobs for 42,000 Crew Members, 23,000 Cast Members, 543,000 Background Actors. That's enough jobs to populate a city bigger than Sacramento. However, since those numbers represent project assignments, the number of equivalent full-time jobs would be much smaller.

Despite the success of Program 1.0, the job drain has continued. Under that stodgy, old 1.0 program, many production types were excluded from from the state's largess. In fact the qualifying criteria kept the likes of big budget movies (>$75M), TV pilots and 1-hour TV series out of the game. The results: 85% of these 'loser' projects headed off to the lands of plentiful tax credit (CFC).

That daunting 85% loss convinced our representatives in Sacramento to pass a 2.0 program that's 250% larger than 1.0. Time will tell if the new program will stem the flow.

In case your thinking. "I should get in on the action," be prepared to sharpen your guestimation and paperwork skills. The gatekeepers at the CFC want see budgets, shooting schedules (including days and locations), screenplay with scene numbers, the breakdown of "qualified" jobs, proof of financing and a half-dozen other goodies before production starts. That's only the start. There's more bureaucratic joy when it comes time to use the credits. A better name for program 2.0 might be the Film/Television Tax Credit and Accountant Full-Employment Program.

A short digression...
Is the film industry getting an unusually sweet deal? Does the State government provide financial incentives for other industries?

Why yes! There's a proliferation of California business development programs. There are incentives for businesses that want to move here, for R&D, for hiring in economic development areas, for efficient energy and environmental companies, for industrial development and advance transportation. Is it any wonder that, according to the Governor's very own Office of Business and Economic Development that California is the "largest, richest and most diverse economy in the United States... and a national leader in job creation"?

As Altadeneans we can rest assured that there's a considerable effort to keep film production jobs in California, and that we are doing our share — at least to the tune of ~$8.50 per person/year. It's also reassuring that none of the CFC or FilmLA reports mentioned the slightest concern about jobs loss due to enforcement of permit conditions or neighborhood overuse. Let us rest assured that fair filming in Altadena poses no risk to film industry jobs.

However, while film industry jobs may not be at risk, film shoots in Altadena maybe. As I was poking around I stumbled on some interesting tidbits. But that's a topic for another day.

February 17, 2016

Film shoot success story: Film company funds neighborhood improvement

Last September, Modern People Productions did a film shoot on Homewood. Thanks to the thoughtful insistence by neighbors who hosted the shoot, the production company agreed to fund a neighborhood improvement that the entire neighborhood could enjoy. 

The neighbors agreed to spend the funds to landscape the circle in the cul de sac on Homewood Drive. It is now a pleasant spot to rest on a rock and take in the view. 

If you live in an area where there are film shoots, consider approaching the neighbors who are hosting the shoot and ask if they would request that the production would fund an improvement on your block.

January 13, 2016

FilmLA takes remedial steps to correct permitting missteps

You may have seen the previous posting about a Homewood filming permit issued by FilmLA that violated Homewood Special Conditions. 

We wrote FilmLA expressing our concerns about percieved indifference to LACO-approved conditions. 
We have received a constructive response. FilmLA is now taking steps to ensure they have a procedures in place to do better. It pays to give them feedback! 

If you are interested in their response, here's a link: 

Lesson learned: 
If you live in a neighborhood with Special Filming Conditions, you might consider becoming familiar with the filming restrictions that apply to your neighborhood. If the conditions are violated, FilmLA, with prompting, can take steps to ensure your local conditions are met. 

Here's the Altadena neighborhoos with special conditions: 
* 2150 Mendicino Lane 
* 2185 Layton Street & 2186 Crary Street 
* Altadena Town & Country Club 
* Alzada Street 
* Homewood Drive 
* Rubio Street 
* The Meadows 

If you're interested in a summary of all the Altadena Special Conditions, here's a link:

November 30, 2015

On-location overuse in Encino and Hancock Park

There's an article in the 11/29 Star-News that describes film-shoot overuse in Encino and Hancock Park. 

Couple of interest items in the article: 
* Hancock Park has a homeowner's association that asks production companies to make donations for 'neighborhood upkeep.' 
* The state provides $330 million in tax subsidies to the Film Industry. 

Hopefully we have a good balance in our community: support for on-location filming without neighborhood overuse. Perhaps you have some thoughts on the matter?