commented on Guest Editorial: Why We Must Save Washington State's Film Incentive
I'm worker at the bottom of the totem pole in Vancouver, Canada's film industry. I owe my life these days to this kind of subsidy, so colour my comments with that info.
In British Columbia, mostly Vancouver, the film industry (mostly American productions) contributes 2 billion dollars to the local economy. The Province spends about $250 million on filming incentives (subsidies, erroneously named "tax 'credits'").
Film is a great industry to attract. It's highly unionized. Pay is high. Productions spend all kinds of money everywhere - renting properties, filling hotels in February, renting tents, feeding everyone, pouring money into municipal coffers for permits and policing.
Film can also be a bit of a fickle mistress. another jurisdiction paying slightly higher incentives? productions rush there for a bit. Incentives aren't the only thing that are the deciding factor. You need to have the infrastructure and the labour-pool. A few years ago, Quebec and Ontario started handing out much higher incentives than BC and productions moved there for a bit until those provinces realized their incentives were unsustainable and they stopped them.
Incentives make the whole thing a bit of a break-even proposition for the province. They spend a lot of money, they get a little back in tax revenue (income and sales). The benefit is in creating an entire economic ecosystem - rental companies, back-office support, money for people who rent their properties, location equipment, cleaning companies, catering, lodging in remoter locations for entire crews in the low tourist season.
That's the benefit and it's a bit of a break-even proposition to the province. Also, it has to be a long term strategy. In Vancouver, we have film schools pumping out film worker professionals. You can't just throw money at productions for them to fill without having local crews. You can't have strong local crews unless you have constant work.
Film incentives can be great for the economy, but some things are overblown. "multiplier effects" are kind of BS. the idea is that I spend my salary and the places I spend it at also spend it and etc etc. However, if film were to disappear, I wouldn't. I'd have to get another job and then I'd spend money from that job on the things I spend today. It's not like if the film tax incentive went away, I'd disappear from the universe.
How this applies to Seattle.
Honestly guys... if you're deciding on whether to spend a few 10s of millions on a film incentive or not, I would say "don't bother". It's not really worth the money unless you really invest in the concept. If you throw 10 million, you're just gonna get a few productions that bring in all their own people and don't really have a big economic impact. Spend a few 100 million, invest in schools, set up film commissioners in every county, commit to a decades-long project or don't bother.
Also, you're next to Vancouver BC, that's also in the same time-zone as LA, offers 28% labour cash-back and, currently, has a 25% currency exchange advantage. It would be difficult to compete with Vancouver with it's similar scenery and well-entrenched infrastructure.
Jan 20, 2016
commented on Yesterday I Read the NYT Cover To Cover
Canada's had both a female head of state and prime minister (albeit unelected and only for a few months in the latter case).
Croatia's female president is a crypto-fascist. I wouldn't be so excited just because she's a woman.
Nov 15, 2015
commented on Hello, I Am Fat
Looks like Lindy has packed on the pounds in the last few years.