SHOW BUSINESS, according to The United States Chamber of Commerce, is the Number 1 Industry in America. However, that’s because we have so many exports to other countries of this most important product. It costs us a great deal of money and requires significant artistic development! Our Country which created this industry, used to make around maybe thirty-five pictures a week. Now, we’re lucky if we get thirty-five pictures a year made in the United States! We continue to have what is known as Runaway Productions – approximately $2½ billion every decade leaves America going into other countries’ productions! That’s productions that are written, produced, and made by Americans but are shot in foreign countries because it’s less expensive. Even at a low tax rate of 20%, that’s
Now, good news! The Art and Culture Taskforce’s Leadership pursued the first FEDERAL FILM TAX INCENTIVE in forty years and it can inspire you to create your dreams, fulfill your projects! Hunter and Ladd went to Washington, D.C., seventeen times in pursuit of an answer. The late Missouri Congresswoman, Karen McCarthy, helped create and then brought on fourteen other congressional leaders to endorse Bill HR 4736. The language in this Bill was virtually verbatim in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, HR 4520, passed October 22 by Congress and signed into law by our President on December 2004. We now have a “Golden Carrot” to attract investors! The following year, Louisiana joined in with their own Tax Incentives and had twenty movies filmed there. Missouri joined in, then Georgia and Mississippi stepped up to the plate with their Tax Incentives to bring jobs and economic security to their great states! Other states followed suit but unfortunately, California didn’t step up with incentives attractive enough to keep productions in the state!
The Law requires a minimum of $2 million and a maximum of $15 million for the budget to be eligible for the depreciation incentive. However, the budget may be extended to $20 million if the production is filmed in a deprived area. Presently, most areas are deprived!
Many people think that Actors light cigars with hundred dollar bills! “T’aint true, McGee.” The Screen Actors Guild, before recently merging with AFTRA, had approximately 120,000 members. At the last poll taken, three thousand earned a hundred thousand dollars or better annually. About 85,000 earned only $10,000 or less a year. That’s less than the poverty wage! And yet another 30,000+ earned nothing in their profession! If the actor doesn’t work, neither does the Director, Writer, Producer, or Crew!Also, other ancillary entertainment jobs are tragically affected – agents, personal managers, business managers, publicity agents, lawyers, and the secondary businesses that support film production too numerous to list, but include Costumes, Transportation, Utilities, Phones, Food Venders, lodging accommodations, Newspaper Advertisements, and many more.
The artistic cost is even worse! When Diane Ladd began in this industry at the age of seventeen, she could get a tiny part and observe great actors like Bette Davis and Spencer Tracy utilizing their great talents and craft and as a young upstart, she was the recipient of their magic. Today, a Runaway Production hires only a couple of American Stars and all those other roles are filled by their country’s artists. Our next generation of is becoming sorely lacking in polished professionalism!
Sharon Jimenez, Public Relations Director for the Art and Culture Taskforce, is also President of the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation and was instrumental in recently getting BILL AB1839 passed by California’s Legislature and signed by the Governor. An accomplishment, but sadly only a small step toward making California competitive with states like Louisiana, New York, Georgia, and Massachusetts in attracting productions. Diane just spent 10 weeks in Massachusetts filming a new film for Twentieth Century Fox. Director David O. Russell’s film Joy will open Christmas Day 2015. Diane then spent 6 weeks in Charleston, South Carolina filming independent movie, Sophie and the Rising Sun. States like Georgia and Louisiana others that are “Open for Business” for Independent Film Production, are bringing jobs and needed funding for teachers, senior citizens, orphanages, hospitals, roads, and much more!
Let’s all be involved in promoting Creativity and Culture in show business which at present, seems broken! We need films like those of yesteryear that inspired the hearts of humanity to smile, bringing not only tears of relief but compassionate understanding in its enjoyment. Films such as Gone With the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Mrs. Doubtfire ring true forever and a day, inspiring a moral fulfillment.