Let's keep it in California: L.A. mayor tries to reign in film production in Hollywood
It's no longer a given that Hollywood is sole location for film, TV production
While the name Hollywood is synonymous throughout the world as the capital of film and TV production, this is no longer so. The growth of independent filmmakers who use their own backyards to shoot their features - both in the United States and abroad - has meant less local dollars. The prevailing idea is that Hollywood and Los Angeles, burdened as it is with legal fees and union rules makes it out of reach for many independent producers. Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti is out to change that.
Hollywood's homegrown industry, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says, is going to other states and countries whose favorable tax credits are luring away movie and television production at an alarming rate.
Before he was elected mayor, Garcetti staged a media event at Sunset Gower Studios to address "runaway production." The event drew little interest as that term refers to a long unresolved problem in the film industry, alongside piracy and studio accounting.
Hollywood's homegrown industry, Garcetti says, is going to other states and countries whose favorable tax credits are luring away movie and television production at an alarming rate. Garcetti warned that the state's market share and longtime stronghold on production jobs and spending are fast evaporating.
At the conference, Chris Baugh, location manager for Oscar winner "Argo," which was actually shot in L.A., said "I am starting to see people who have never made a feature film in Los Angeles. In fact, they are afraid to. They are concerned that it is too expensive and too difficult."
Adding to this problem is the fact that studio chiefs insist that filmmakers they work with take advantage of out-of-state incentives to lower production costs, which on a single major motion picture can amount to savings of tens of millions.
These incentives are crucial when big-budget movies cost $200 million, at a time that the DVD market has largely collapsed and cinema attendance has been generally flat over the past decade. Most independent projects would not even be produced without incentives.
Essentially, it's no longer a given that Hollywood is the place where movies and TV shows are produced.
California continues to lose out big on network TV dramas and feature films. Many local businesses that support production have closed or been forced to lay off workers and the trade unions report high levels of unemployment among their California members, according to the study.
Garcetti has since put the flight of production atop his agenda. But the challenge is not only to convince those outside the biz that the city and region, to use his word, has an "emergency" on its hands, but that the state must do more about tax breaks.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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