Concern about filmmaking here reverse of California’s situation
by Don McKee
May 14, 2014 12:45 AM | 2128 views | 4 4 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Business owners around the Square are concerned about looming street closings for filming “Selma,” the biopic (biographical picture) of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 voting rights campaign based in Selma, Ala.

Street closings here will cost Square shops and eateries some business, no doubt. But that loss is nothing compared to what the state of California is losing as a result of filmmakers moving to Georgia and other states.

It’s an issue in the California governor’s race and the Republican frontrunner, state legislator Tim Donnelly, has pulled a little publicity stunt by having a billboard erected at Interstate 285 West and South Cobb Drive a week ago. It says: “Movies should be made in Hollywood. I’m working hard to bring you back home.” An empty director’s chair emphasizes the point. Incidentally, the billboard company, Clear Channel, has its Atlanta market office in Smyrna — and Donnelly’s buy indirectly adds to film-related revenues in Georgia.

Donnelly, who won his legislative seat with tea party backing, recently introduced a bill in the California Assembly to provide a 30 percent transferable tax credit for films shot and produced in that state — which opponents labeled un-conservative. He said his bill was modeled after Georgia’s legislation that in the past decade has lured “thousands of jobs and millions of dollars” from California, once the undisputed capital of movie making. His bill died in committee in the face of opposition from other conservatives and the Legislative Analyst office’s report that the state gets back 65 cents in revenue for each dollar in film tax credit.

California’s plight: In the past two years, only two of the 41 big budget films released were made exclusively in that state, and in the past decade, its share of one-hour TV shows plummeted almost 36 percent, costing nearly 10,000 jobs.

Georgia, meanwhile, has vaulted to fourth place in filmmakin behind California, New York State and British Columbia, Canada — thanks to generous tax “incentives.” The website of the state Department of Economic Development says: “Georgia production incentives provide up to 30% of your Georgia production expenditures in transferable tax credits.” That’s not peanuts.

Since 1972, more than 700 feature films, TV movies and series, single episodes and pilots have been produced in Georgia, generating $7 billion in economic impact, says the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. During that time, 11 soundstage facilities have located in Georgia, with more than 70 film-related companies locating or expanding here, says Chris Carr, economic development commissioner. The industry spent $933.9 million in Georgia in fiscal 2013, up from $880 the previous year.

Incidentally, Covington is also in on the “Selma” production with filming there May 20-22, no doubt to use its old courthouse.

A comment by a California cameraman during debate over legislation to increase tax credits illustrates what’s happening. He said he’s moving to Georgia in a few weeks, adding: “I don’t want to move, but there’s tons of work in Atlanta.”

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May 15, 2014
Conservatives keep claiming that the tax credits brought the movie industry here when Atlanta was producing and making movies and TV shows for years before the credits. Also, other states have tax incentive programs similar to Georgia and are nowhere near $933 million.

The tax credits help, but they would be ineffective without the entertainment infrastructure and culture that has been in Atlanta for years, going on decades, including but not limited to the Turner Networks and the urban music explosion in the 1990s (that has now mostly petered out). It also helped that Atlanta was a place where a lot of artistic types wanted to live and socialize. Plus the area educational institutions like Georgia State, Georgia Tech, the Art Institute of Atlanta, Atlanta College of Art and SCAD. Giant Studios, the motion capture studio that did all that work for The Lord Of The Rings, was created by Georgia Tech grads and similar area college products.

Tax credits are only part of the puzzle, and for that matter the least important part. The rest requires heavy spending on areas that conservatives tend to resist. Being in a state that is willing to spend almost a combined $600 million for new stadiums for the Falcons and Braves yet consolidates SPSU into KSU to save less than $20 million, I would not expect you to be willing to acknowledge that.
May 16, 2014
Moliere, if the "infrastructure" available in Georgia is the real reason why film making has come to Georgia, why in the world did they ever leave California...where the infrastructure is far greater.

And, how many professionals who comprise a part of that infrastructure in Georgia have fled here from California? (HINT: A BUNCH).

The bottom line for Film making IS the bottom-line.

Get a clue Moliere. Money is what it is all about. Period.
May 14, 2014
California Tea Party opponents labeled as un-conservative a bill that would provide a 30 percent transferable tax credit for films produced and shot in that state. How true, these conservative morons would cut off their noses to avoid spending a buck even if it returns many times their investment.
May 16, 2014
Anonymous, we would love to hear about all of those "returns many times the investment" that you speak about.

Unfortunately, clone liberals like yourself are easily led into believing the nonsensical claims of benefits "many times the investment" that the democrats and crony rinos dole out anytime they are handing your and my (tax) money out to their crony buddies (in filmmaking/sports/agriculture etc.).

Wise up. You will be happy once you do. Thinking will bring a whole new dimension to your life.
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