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The Hoot Smalley Report #2: Where have all the film jobs gone?

By Hoot Smalley [ Fri Oct 9 2009 4:42 PM ]

Coffee, three eggs over-medium and bacon; hangover recovery process is in full swing. Question: Where have all the film jobs gone? Answer: Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa; and then, if we’re lucky, New Mexico.

Has it always been this way? Actually, no. Used to be outside of New York and L.A. the jobs were in Louisiana, Connecticut and New Mexico, and in that order too. No lie, I kid you not.

Is there light at this abysmally dark tunnel? Actually, yes. Iowa recently made the news when their Governor, Chet Culver, recently nixed the film incentive program there. Bringing New Mexico up to fourth outside of New York and L.A., A bitter sweet victory for us considering we used to be third and it took a whole lot of bungling and corruption by the Iowa Film Office (which is currently under investigation) to pull us out of fifth place.

How do I know this? Well, I called Chet Culver’s office and spoke with a very nice lady who sadly confirmed that their film office is under investigation and that the Iowa Film incentive program is temporarily suspended. Unfortunately she could not define how long temporarily meant. Bad news for them, good news for us; sadly, I feel for them. The Hollywood Machine is a daunting business for anyone to comprehend let alone deal with effectively.

Any other good news out there? Again the answer is yes. Michigan is looking at reducing their incentive program from a 42 percent refund to an undisclosed amount. A big deal considering in 2008 they had 28 films shot there, one of those films being Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Hella good movie by the way.

But who is the dark that is not making the news and why? Georgia is going strong and offering a combined 30 percent state income tax credit and also offering a pass on sales tax that saves the productions that go there up to 8 percent in addition.

Is Georgia truly that competitive with New Mexico? Sadly, yes. One of the biggest movies that is coming here is spreading its locations around and looks to only be here for a couple of weeks before packing up and heading off to Georgia for the remainder and the majority of its shooting schedule.

Is this good or bad? Answer, hard to say. If the production decides to keep the majority of its crew that it hires here and take them all to Georgia this could be great. If not, our boys and girls who so hard to do what they do will have to fend for themselves until they get another job. Thankfully, more than one movie is expected to head our way because of the fallout from Iowa.

So what is our overall prognosis as a state? Not so great but we’re getting better.

Reporting from the Sunshine Café, this is Hoot Smalley. See you all at the Marble Brewery; they open at 3 pm on the weekdays.