Bringing The Runaways Home

Bringing The Runaways Home

More than just a sign?

Since our new mayor seems to be taking up the cause of stemming the tide of runaway productions, I thought I would write a little note to not only praise and support him but hopefully to help push this sucker over the top.

People who are not in our industry need to read this and understand a few very important issues with regard to runaway productions in CA and their impact on our state and local economies respectively. They are absolutely devastating! Los Angeles is a film and television industry town. Show business put it on the map and made it flourish. Unfortunately, state legislators are all the way up in Sacramento and there is a very real and detrimental disconnect between those good folks and the realities on the ground here in LA.

It’s vey difficult for them to wrap their heads around the idea of granting huge tax incentives to an industry, when they are constantly reading headlines about this actor’s 50 million dollar payday or that producer’s 10 million dollar profit participation check on said film.

The message they are not getting is that the vast majority of people in our industry are middle class professionals. Actors, writers, electricians, painters, construction workers, etc. etc.

Literally many hundreds of thousands of people who go to work on set and make a solid living wage, which in turn is spent in the local economy.

New Orleans has seen it’s share of hard times over the last decade and intelligently, the local government there has bent over backwards to bring as much production to the state as possible. It’s working and they are reaping the benefits. This is true in my home state of Massachusetts as well as Atlanta and a number of other major cities and states in the union.

I have to say, I’m happy to see many of the runaway productions in recent years at least staying inside the country. Through the nineties, I barely worked in the United States. The Commish was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia and at that time a tremendous amount of work was being sent to not only Canada but South Africa, Australia, Prague as well, to name just a few.

All of this has amounted to the slow and steady dismantling of Los Angeles as “Mecca” for film and television.

Since having my children, I have made it a priority in my life to try to work at home. Thus far I have been very fortunate. Shawn Ryan and I both pushed for The Shield to be shot in LA and happily we were able to keep production costs low enough to keep the show here for it’s entire seven year run.

A TV show in particular is like a micro economy and it’s fingers reach in so many different directions. Lights to lumber, publicity to parking, a production means work and money and life for the local economy.

Now, I have talked about this since returning from shooting the Commish in the mid nineties, but I’m going to put it out there once again in the hopes that someone acts upon it. I don’t care who takes credit for it, so long as they do it!

Part of the problem is, CA keeps going to the federal government and asking them for the tax breaks for the film industry. The Fed looks at a 25 to 30% rebate and scoffs, laughing them out of the room. Then the whole thing lands on the state legislature and the same scenario plays itself out. The burden must be shared three ways; Federal, state and local. If all 3 provide for let’s say an 8 1/2% tax break for any production shooting in Cali, there’s your 25% and now we’re actually competing for productions to stay local. Call it, THE PATRIOTIC TAX REBATE! That ought to sell it in D.C. and Sacramento.

PS this doesn’t need to be limited to the film industry but that’s the subject of another note.

For now, I think everyone in the state of California would be thrilled to see the film and television industry come back home where it belongs…HOLLYWOOD!

That alone would turn the state’s economy around and help to balance it’s perennially underfunded budget. So please Mr. Mayor, don’t let this go. Explain and keep explaining this to people until they get it and make it happen.

Yours truly,

Michael Chiklis

Film Works LA      Like Film This! on Facebook