Friday, April 10, 2009

Industry shares anxiety at mayor's forum

Did you attend the film incentive forum hosted by Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover on Thursday? Judging by this picture of a packed Skybox at Independence Stadium, you did. It was interesting hear a variety of perspectives on how to make the local industry more competitive. In the room, the consensus was that the production incentive needs to be pushed from 25 percent to 30 percent (to match Georgia's). The idea suggests it would level the playing field and return some business back to The Shreve. You buy it? Let me know.

Perhaps the most symbolic moment came when David Akin, who runs Louisiana EPK, stood up and asked how many of the attendees -- presumably many were crew and talent -- were from Louisiana. More than half in their rooms raised their hands. He then asked how many would be forced to move away if movie productions don't start returning to The Shreve. About a quarter in the room raised their hands.

"A lot of taxpayers," Akin observed.

In today's paper, I also wrote a piece about the Film Industry Training courses, most of which end today. Picture below.


JB Jones said...

The mayor said it best - indigenous talent. It's great that Hollywood wants to hang out with us, but we need to support and promote from within. Austin isn't Austin just because Hollywood makes movies there. It's a big film spot because a long time ago, the town started supporting it's artists and talents. One day, Shreveport could have its own Richard Linklater.

Anonymous said...

Split the diff and go to 28%.

Chris Lyon said...

...or resurge the infrastructure. If you build it they will come. tax credit at 25% or 30% won't make too much difference if they have to ship everything (and everyone) from California. 25% should be ample if they are saving costs on local skilled crew (producers, UPMs, gaffers, special effects, editors, etc). In addition, you get a return on all Louisiana residents hired.

I believe LPC and others are doing the right thing by hosting these intensive training courses. I have a friend that attended the most recent one and he is more than entry level ready for the industry- which is great. There are a lot of talented people here already who can provide the ultra-skilled talents like on set audio recordists who then can use the locally grown lower-skilled talent being trained at these classes for boom operators, mixers, etc just as an example. Then those lower-skilled workers become skilled, and so on and so forth.

I'm all for tax credits. I just hope that a 5% increase makes enough business and tax revenue to prevent the reduction or collapse of the program a few years from now. At the end of the day, I think without the infrastructure we ARE no different from GA or some of these other states offering 28%-30% even if we get the 5% raise. It's my opinion that experienced, local crew and top-notch facilities like the existing studios and the new Millennium studio will rocket us to the top of the list again.

I wish I could have gone to this meeting. I will write my thoughts to Arlena.