Thursday, January 31, 2013

Arizona steps up film credits to attract filming

The television and film industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, but many studios do not consider Arizona as a place to film because of its lack of film tax incentives.
"There are 30 plus states all across the country that have incentives to bring these type of productions to their states and invigorate the economy," said Chris LaMont, the founder of the Phoenix Film Festival and supporter of Senate Bill 1242.
"We don't have anything like that. We want a level playing field," he continued.
SB 1242, if passed, would give a 20 percent tax break to any multimedia production that satisfies certain requirements. Right now, many studios decide to shoot in neighboring New Mexico when they are looking for a Southwest setting, since that state offers tax incentives.
"It's a jobs bill for us," LaMont said.

The bill sets aside $70 million in tax credits for production companies to film in Arizona. However, pornographic or inappropriate films would not be permitted.

"We don't want obscene films to be shot here. Anything that is going to receive a tax credit is something we want to check," LaMont said.

In order to make sure the production meets Arizona guidelines, the legislation requires studios to submit a list of actors, the director and a script or synopsis of what will be shot. Additionally, the production must spend $250,000 in state to be eligible for the credit. The most a production could receive in tax breaks would be $15 million. That means they would have to spend $300 million in Arizona.

"We just want to see production come here because people want to film here in Arizona," LaMont said.
"People would rather film here in Arizona rather than go to New Mexico. But it's dollars and cents that really runs show business," he continued.
According to CBS 5 News research, New Mexico sets aside $50 million a year for tax breaks. It gives eligible productions a 25 percent tax break. California sets aside $100 million at 25 percent. New York rings in at the top of the list with $410 million in tax breaks at 30 percent.
Opponents point out the state is still struggling economically and tax breaks for any type of business might not be the best idea. Arizona last had a film tax break in 2007, which expired. LaMont said that without it, the state is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs.
"Once a couple of production companies have success here, it's a snowball effect," he said.
"Suddenly everyone knows it's great to film in Arizona and the incentive program works."
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican. He said he expects the bill to pass the House and Senate if it makes it to the floor.
Click here to see a copy of the full legislation, click here.

Audit puts brakes on new film projects seeking incentives

Tennessee's film incentive program is pausing to audit its procedures and processes to ensure film production applicants meet all the criteria and the program is well managed.

This shows why states need to compete beyond financial incentives to attract filming - there's a lot that goes into deciding if a location is the "winner" and all the components have to be working well.

Monday, January 28, 2013

FLIPSFilm on the airwaves again!

A great experience with Alpharetta Business Radio X in our interview last week. Chris made us all feel welcome and he did a good job of describing the story for film production, local governments and the industry in general.

 Here's the link to the interview. discussion starts at 40:30 and lasts through 52:00.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Film Permitting Policies Gone Bad

We encounter a wide range of well intended but sometimes "impractical" film approval and permitting policies issued by local government communities.

Some are simply not thought through completely. Some are, well, a bit autocratic.

They do make for entertaining reading, except when the film/TV/music video production has to navigate them. was built to be an online, affordable one stop shop for communities to make it easier to film there and avoid roadblocks that may have crept into the approval process.  We want to avoid the kind of things like those listed below.

Here's a start...  comment and add yours to the list. We'd love to hear the stories! (Keep the communities anonymous please!)

1) "We want the permit application notarized"

2) "We want the license plate numbers of all vehicles to be used in the filming"
(14 day advance notice)
(How would the filming company know the tag numbers of vehicles to be rented until they get community filming approval? Are they supposed to rent the vehicles for 14 days to capture the tag number while waiting for approval?  And if the community denies the permit, wouldn't different vehicles be rented in the alternative filming community?)

3) "We want the name and home address of all filming company executives"  (Mr. Speilberg, what is your home address and phone number? Our clerk needs to know that ")

4) "List any convictions for community, state, federal laws broken"  (Sure, I had a DUI in college. Now it's 15 years later and I want to spend $500,000 of new revenue in your cash starved community. Are you saying you want to deny my application because of a morals clause?  Do they require that of ALL business and event applicants, such as fairs, festivals, road races, etc.?)

5) Provide to each City Council member the written proof you have notified local residents of intended filming (before the application is approved).  (A.  Why all the City Council members? Wouldn't the one involved in the community affected be better?  Why have THEM notified at ALL?  B. If the application is denied (for that date/time/ or rescheduled), the written notification process to the community residents as part of the application would have been wasted!)

6) The Deputy Sheriff knocked on our door demanding to see the film permit, even though we were filming exclusively on private property INSIDE THE HOUSE with permission from the owner, who was there at the filming.  (Big sigh!)

Please post your experiences and stories in the comments section!

Why he does not film in Michigan - a lesson for all communities who want to attract filming!

Why he does not film in Michigan

In his article (link above), Jeff Steele (film financier and experienced in the film industry), describes the importance of a stable political climate in potential filming states.  The long runway to planning a film requires a stable environment for matters like film tax credits and more.

If a state is tweaking, enhancing their policies, he indicates that's ok. If they are wholesale considering removing incentives or other major impacts, it isn't worth the risk. There are simply too many other places to film!

There's lessons for us all here:
1) Make it easy for a film production company to use your state/county/city/country.
2) Look for ways to incrementally enhance your competitive message to attract filming ( easy online film permitting might be one example)
3) It you plan to make big changes to the filming policy, be sure to weigh the long term impacts. They may surprise you!

What do you think about community policies and incentives? Do they really work? We'd love to hear your opinion.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mark Wahlberg's rage costs him film permit

Even seasoned actors and professionals run afoul of permitting laws.  Mark Wahlberg's creative license did not extend to the terms of New York City's permitting standards, so they pulled his permit.  After his film tirade - with extra effort for realism - he apologized to police and other officials to regain his permit to finish filming BROKEN CITY.

Full details on the story here:  Mark Wahlberg rage costs film permit

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden Globes 2013 tonight!

Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globe awards are tonight!

As the first film industry awards ceremony of the new year, the Golden Globes are often an indicator of who is likely to win an Academy Award later this year.  88 voting members (vs thousands for the Academy Awards) choose the winners of the best productions last year.  It's no wonder there's a lot of attention focused on the voting members!

The Golden Globe Awards will be presented on January 13 2013, from 5 pm PST, at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton.

Although it's considered a bit less formal than the Oscars, it's still a big deal in the industry.  Filmmakers, media and industry bigshots all get a chance to mingle and shmooze.

We hope HFPA member Ray Arco (our buddy) has a great time at the award ceremony.

We will be watching from the Georgia Entertainment Gala tonight.

Hope you all enjoy the show.

Here's a bit more information about the Golden Globes in two recent articles...

History of the Golden Globes

The difference between Golden Globes and Oscars

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Get your tickets for Ga Entertainment Gala Jan 13

This promises to be one of Georgia's premier film and entertainment events!

Jan 13, 5-11 pm; Ga World Congress Center.

Thanks to Autumn Bailey for coordinating this exciting event.

Get your tickets TODAY - price increases slightly tomorrow!