Fading Film Industry in California

Like almost every other industry around the country, the film industry in California has suffered financially.  Sure, box office revenues may be high, but the cost of producing films in the Golden State has become increasingly prohibitive, even for the big studios.  And in Northern California, where not that long ago five to ten feature films and several television series were filmed annually, producers have found other locations to make their movies.  Out of the 54 big-budget feature films of 2012 & 2013, only one was shot exclusively in California.
Those impressive shots of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge being decimated in the recently released remake of Godzilla were created on sound stages in Texas.  Even as film budgets become even more astronomical, dollars that might have been spent by those who worked on that film didn’t get to spend their money in California.
When a major motion picture is filmed, there are a lot of industries that benefit.  Among those businesses that see some of that movie money are: restaurants, caterers, transportation companies, taxicabs and limousines, hardware stores and lumber yards, makeup artists, hair stylists, lighting technicians, electricians, set designers and builders, and of course, local acting talent.  And when each of those people working on a film get paid, they usually spend a good deal of their money locally.  Move that film production to someplace else, and all that money goes to that other location.
It’s not just the cost of production that keeps going up.  Local governments have made things increasingly difficult for film makers to procure the proper licenses, permits and insurance that are required by each municipality involved with a shoot.  And in areas like California where the cost of daily living is pretty high to begin with, these rising costs eat into production budgets pretty quickly.  It costs a lot of money to block off streets, pay for extra security, and pay the higher salaries of all the laborers and production crews.
Other states have decided to compete for California’s film business by offering tax breaks and other incentives that make taking productions elsewhere an attractive proposition.  But the California production community is putting up a fight to keep all those jobs and dollars at home.  And because my columns are about work and job search, and the film industry and its allies comprise a large chunk of the state’s economy, I think it’s important to promote the following:
If you know anyone involved in film making or any of its ancillary industries, or are a film fan and want to see more productions shot in California, please attend the Northern California Rally for Film Incentives, Sat., June 14th, from 10 am to noon at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.  In attendance will be a number of well-known actors and advocates, along with members of the various unions involved with film making, and legislators who want to help support the industry and keep these jobs in California.
There is a California State Assembly Bill –  AB 1839, The Expanded Film and Television Job Creation Act –  working its way through our state legislature, but it is by no means a done deal.  You can support the passage of this bill by attending the event at the Fairmont on Saturday, and if you live in California, you can contact your local State Representatives and encourage them to support the passage of this bill.  There’s more information of the event at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1417420091861570,
And for more background on the bill and the proposed legislation, check out these sites:
http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=2735, and
Let’s keep film making and these jobs in California.
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