Sunday, March 08, 2009

Two stories on the industry today

We published two stories today: one on the current slowdown in the local film industry, and another that looks at the competitiveness of Louisiana's film incentives. Within the next six to eight weeks, there will continue to be a lot of behind the scenes talk about incentives, and whether or not they should be solidified or strengthened. The Legislature convenes April 27.


Ted Ferguson said...

-Great Work Alex....

Why are our Lawmakers always to last to know anything. "Burrell says "if it is making money for us...the we need to take a look at it."

Excuse me Rumple Stiltskin...Where have you been for the last several years...when 215 movies and projects were being shot in La. They didn't shoot them for free.... The majority of that money went into our community...Stop playing politics and get on with the business at Hand...The slowdown speaks for itself...Shreveport is doing one film right now...and Atlanta took those we were getting...because they bacame more competitive than we...C'mon Man...Arm twister my eye...It is a no brainer...(if you get my drift)

Anonymous said...

Very good article, Alexandyr. An interesting set of theories from folks around here.... I am still, though, not sure which set of people to believe.

Alexandyr Kent said...

Burrell is well aware of what the tax incentives do. But from a lawmaker's perspective, you have to look at everything on the table. The state is facing a massive deficit, and beefing up an incentives package right now is not easy. More than ever, the State of Louisiana needs tax revenue and incentives take away from that. They have to consider: can we afford it? Does Louisiana want to participate in a race to the bottom when it comes to tax incentives? Do the incentives translate into enough jobs, in-state investment to continue them? It's a lot to consider during a fiscal session when cutbacks will be a major reality.

As far as which theory to believe? I think there's truth in just about every explanation. Taken together, it should present a very tough picture for filmmaking right now.

Anonymous said...

You are right in saying that all the theories have some part of the truth. But that represents the slowdown overall instead of the Shreveport-specific downturn.

As has been repeated in several places on this blog, Shreveport seems to be experiencing something much more than a slowdown. Baton Rouge and New Orleans seem to have seen a slight drop in production, but neither city has had the bottom fall out.

I just find it interesting that everyone want to call Shreveport's ONE actual shoot this year is a downturn. One, that's it. But let's call it a downturn so we don't have to live with reality that something bigger than economic woes are at fault.

Sure, there will be a dip in production, but why is no one asking why Louisianas film downturn has resulted in Sheveport's virtual disappearance from the film market?

Chris Lyon said...

The thing is, there are plenty of productions to be had in Louisiana. There needs to be a little understanding amongst film-hungry Shreveport citizens.

First, (without mention of said economic struggles) any films coming to Louisiana is good for the state- not just those in NWLA.

Second is that rather than beefing up the tax incentives, let's stand by our 25% and think more about infrastructure credits. NWLA still lacks a post production house, a proper dailies screening facility (though the RFC is doing a pretty good job keeping up with the demand). And we don't have an extremely large crew base. We have some crew, but they aren't centralized. People go to south LA because of one of three reasons:

1) They have large numbers of seasoned crew members from a wide range of guilds.

2) It's New Orleans and only New Orleans can stand in for New Orleans.

3) Complete production infrastructure- from camera rentals to expendables to lighting and grip trucks and.... several post facilities to handle dailies and production edits.

You could write, produce, shoot, edit and distribute a film out of New Orleans- a feat not matched in NWLA.

In addition, all of the Grip and Lighting trucks in Shreveport actually come from Texas- like Film Fleet out of Austin. So the money isn't actually staying here, it's going to Texas in some cases. Then it costs the productions money to drive these pieces of equipment from Texas to Shreveport.

Things start to add up and the little conveniences that aren't centralized become more of a hassle because there isn't a one stop shop (or two). Speed and convenience is nearly everything to a large production. The less stress the better.

So if Shreveport were to have some of the same options that are readily available in places like NOLA and Austin, it would be more likely that films might begin to arrive despite the lower percentage tax break, because it could all be done in one place rather than shipping senior crew across the country or using Shreveport's currently lower-than-average production conveniences like dailies screenings, etc.

Disclaimer: Written on the quick before lunch :)