Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What are they saying at the NWLFA meeting?

The Northwest Louisiana Film Alliance is meeting right now. The organization is roughly a half-year old and has recently pulled together to boost its regional PR strategy. They've put together an expensive brochure which touts the region's infrastructure, resources and studios/soundstages.

When printed, the booklet costs $4 each. (They've printed 7,000 so far.) Click here to get a look at the PDF. It's a good PR piece.

Lampton Enochs (Louisiana Production Consultants, Mansfield Studios) and Sylvia Goodman addressed the group's interest in lobbying legislators during this legislative session.

"Some people still see Hollywood as glamour and freelance jobs," Enochs said. He said legislators need to understand the industry creates permanent jobs. "We need to reinforce that the tax incentives are working and that we really are an economic force."

Tim Larkin, co-chairman of the film alliance, cited recent evidence of economic impact. A production was shooting in Bossier City recently. To furnish a set, the production had to buy $23,000 in office furniture from a local Office Depot. Larkin said that transaction alone netted $1,600 in taxes for the city.

"This is something where they bring the money, they spend it, and you get the economic benefit," Larkin said.

Enochs also spoke about the need for the state to establish workforce training funds, which Connecticut will likely pass soon. Essentially, such funds would help subsidize a production company's labor costs for recently relocated, entry-level or first-time industry workers.

Developing a local workforce for the Louisiana film industry continues to be the biggest hurdle, Enochs said. He and Goodman encouraged people to write and call their legislators. "Please make that a part of your letter, to support workforce training funds for … all of the creative industries," Enochs said.

Arlena Acree, Shreveport's director of film, entertainment and media, spoke about the state's need to show a united front when working to attract Hollywood to Louisiana. She cited a recent locations trade show in Santa Monica, Calif., where organizations from Louisiana were scattered throughout the convention hall. The forces from Texas, Mexico and Canada, on the other hand, were all organized and located in single spots.

"We want to be all together as a state. Our state was fragmented," Acree said. "We’re working with Chris Stelly (from the state film office) and all the Louisiana partners for next year."

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