Sunday, September 01, 2013

Defending Film Incentives

For those who think the film industry and the film incentive doesn't help the states who have them. Let set aside the PR and tourism that film and television brings in to look at the hard numbers.

Film and Television are good paying jobs with benefits. Crews vary in size according to the budget and the individual projects. The bigger the budget the larger the cast and crew.

Never Can Say Good-bye is a low budge film. We still have:
9 person supervisory staff
77 member crew
5 character primary cast
8 character supporting cast
12 day players
200 paid extras

The average crew wage is $20.00 an hour plus fringe, which is the what we pay to the union for medical insurance and their retirement plan. Anything over 40 hours is paid at time and half. Most productions work at least a 50 hour work.

So many people think only those in the industry benefit. That is far from true. We will be paying for

food service for the cast and crew during the work hours as well as a dinner stipend.
hotel rooms for the cast and crew for the five weeks we will be shooting.
renting houses for cast, crew and supervisory staff that will be involved from pre-production to post.
transportation including car rental and gas for the production equipment and to transport personnel
location fees
office space/office equipment/utilities/
equipment rental

Films also hire:

food service
office staff
location scouts
web masters
Promotional and marketing staff, including a publicist
promotional materials-photocopying, organizing, and shipping
travel agent
payroll company
Child welfare
Extras are non union positions that are paid for being part of the set. However, extras with scripted lines are paid union wages and can be eligible to join the unions.

For those think unions are bad; they are the ones who make sure their workers are paid a living wage and have set up the benefit programs for medical insurance and retirement funds that travel with the person from job to job. They also keep the working conditions safe. Union workers find themselves working not only in their home states, but across the country and around the world. Both unions opened their doors to new members in Michigan. They saw it was a way to help their members and expand their ranks. Once a person gets their foot in the door at the entry level, they are more likely to be hired for other projects.

As a low budget film we will not only be pay the salaries and benefits for our cast and crew, but we will also be paying for services and products from local companies, who in tern will being paying salaries and benefits for the people they need to hire. Our cast and crew will no doubt be doing some shopping on their off time, including meals and transportation to explore the state. Again, spreading the film money around to more people and businesses.

None of this includes the people needed for the No Where Else Like it campaign which will have a crew of approximately 31 plus the actors plus the production equipment, vehicles and the resources to travel around the state

Each person, who directly or indirectly receives a paycheck, will be paying taxes and supporting other businesses, who will continue the cycle.

All these salaries have been paid, services and products bought, and taxes paid before the film is released. Shortly before the release, the marketing and promotional campaigns will go into full effect. The advertising budget will be spend with newspapers, radio stations, television stations and Internet marketing companies. All of whom have hired staffs, paid taxes, and all the rest.

Theatres also hire staffs, buy products, and pay taxes. When the film is released on DVD or download, there are also people hired to do the work both at the manufacture level and for retail sales. Pay-per-view and networks also pay wages and taxes.
Big budget or tent pole pictures have larger casts and crews, which require more resources for longer periods of time. They have a wider reach and bigger impact on any area they film in.

As a Michigan company not only will have spread the new money around and started the prosperity cycle, but ass it comes back around, we will be paying taxes on profits from the national and international ticket sales, DVD/download and network leasing.

Film and television are highly mobile. They can quickly move into an area, because they don't have to wait to build huge buildings or wait for bulky equipment to be delivered and set up. But they can also move out just as quickly.

When Snyder came into office and declared he was going to terminate the film incentive, Michigan lost four big budget films in a week. Louisiana really loved him, because most of those jobs, the new money, and the great PR went to them. Sure he kept the incentive. But the damage was done. The lower rate and the cap hurt the talented people and the businesses who set up shop. Many have already left to find work as have many others. The last census proved that the population dropped by 25%.

What few jobs that Snyder and his comrades have created are minimum wage without benefits. Those are so much better than $20.00 an hour plus benefits. For those, who defend the minimum wage jobs as being reliable need to remember that the origin incentive was bringing so many films to the state that there was very little down time between them. Want to tell me again how hurtful the incentive is to the state?

" Instant Karma is going to get you."
                                       John Lennon

Have you ever met someone and suddenly  felt love or hate? Yet for the life of you couldn't remember  them.  Would you want to  remember? Would you want to know if it could save  your life?

Never Can Say Good-bye is a paranormal thriller  feature film with the  logline love and hate survives death

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Courage isn't the lack of fear, but the ability to set it aside and  focus on what is truly important

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