Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Consider this as infrastructure grows

There are many studio projects in the works for Shreveport, which I reported about today.

Keep the following in mind as you ponder Shreveport's potential for growth.

* Yesterday the city council greenlit Millennium Films' studio project for Shreveport's Ledbetter Heights. (Click the graphic to enlarge.)

* The state is considered applications to precertify 28 infrastructure projects from around the state, valued at a total of $3.8 billion. Pre-certified projects would be able to take advantage of tax credits valued at 40 percent of the approved costs.

* So far in 2007, the state has hosted 48 film and TV projects worth $456 million. $337 million of that has been spent in state, according to Chris Stelly, film and TV director for Louisiana Economic Development.

* Northwest Louisiana accounts for 10 projects in 2007. At the very least, three more ("Pulse" sequels and "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde") are in the works. I expect to see more during the fall.

* Two lingering challenges should be considered. Locally, I still hear grumblings about an ongoing shortage of locally based crew members. Numbers aren't growing fast enough to keep up with demand. And producers still aren't pleased with the lack of a direct flight between Shreveport and Los Angeles.

* Other states have seriously increased their success in attracting the film industry. New Mexico, at present, seems to be Louisiana's main U.S. competitor in luring productions and studios away from Hollywood.

* And one telling comment from Emmy-winning actor Pruitt Taylor Vince reinforcements my gut feeling that the Louisianas and New Mexicos of the world can expect more growth if they keep pace in the tax incentive game. Vince and I were chatting about his experience in working on the TV series "Murder One" ten years ago. The 20-year Hollywood veteran was thrilled at the opportunity to work on a real studio lot for the first time in his career: "The 20th Century Fox lot, with the soundstages and riding golf carts … I never got to do that. Movies are all on location now."

Of course, he was exaggerating. But you get the point.

Graphic: David Wright/The Times.

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