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The Hoot Smalley Report #7: Hoot Responds to Lisa Strout’s Letter to the Alibi

Fat and Happy having finished visiting family down south, I come back home and find to my astonishment that the gauntlet has been smacked about my face five ways from Sunday. Below is a letter to the Alibi editor from an irate Lisa Strout, the Director of the New Mexico Film Office.

I’m not sure who is writing the “Hoots [sic] Smalley” blog, but the recent entries regarding the New Mexico Film Industry have been inaccurate and very misleading. Contrary to the assertions made in the blog, the state’s film industry remains strong and among the most successful and respected in the world. ...

This is where I pick up the gauntlet:

I have to say that I agree with most of what is asserted here with the exception of the last line that states that I am slamming the industry. From the very first posting I have declared that I am pro-film Industry! I love what the film industry does for this state, but like any realist one must recognize deficiencies when and where they arise.

Thus far my intention is to encourage proactivity through discussion and thereby help the industry to grow in a more efficient manner. And to be clear about one thing—I have never asserted that we need to change the incentive program. Rather, I've said that private industry within the state needs to be stimulated to better capitalize on the film incentive program while it is maintained.

As for Strout’s assertion that New Mexico is third outside of New York and L.A.: This is clearly just a difference of opinion (as Louisiana has consistently bested New Mexico in the number of productions made on a yearly average). For a quick fact check on this little tidbit please feel free to examine Louisiana’s industry page and count the numbers of productions that are currently going on and the numbers about to start. Last I checked there are 17 that Louisiana currently boasts as being in production compared to our 7 that currently claims. For a more extensive fact check I would challenge Strout to do as I have done in the past and check out and do a head count on productions completed by state and year. She will find, as I have found, that Louisiana typically outperforms New Mexico by a ratio of 3 to 1. That is to say for every one film or production made in New Mexico three are made in Louisiana.

This assertion as made by Strout stems from “An upcoming edition of a major trade publication…” I have to say that when this article is actually published, I will be happy to include it in my future analyses.

I make it a point to read as many articles about the film industry as I can. For instance, “Movie Shuts Down I-40” in the Albuquerque Journal. Not a very flattering article but it’s about the film industry so I read it, and while I feel terrible for the motorists who were stuck in traffic for three hours and perhaps more, I still stand by the film industry.

As to Strout's point about Michigan reconsidering the structure of its film incentives—yeah, it’s true! I believe I provided the blue print for that restructuring in my fourth report (and that plan was made by the state of Michigan, not me.) It appears Michigan’s intention is to beat out all other states and that includes New Mexico.

As for “fact checking?” Gotta say, I present the facts as I find them and then give my opinion, not the other way around. Believe it or not, I want to see that the industry grows. I am merely pointing out the concerns that may become future issues and challenges for the New Mexico film industry. That’s all.

Now back to my coffee, three eggs over-medium and bacon.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.


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