Reposted from a Facebook thread on the subject of runaway production:
financially it doesn't make sense to shoot in LA, and I've seen the whole crazy game
of tax incentives bouncing from one state to another, one country to
another. And I'm sure it won't stop
until we're shooting in some place too remote or dangerous for
Hollywood to consider (I've heard too many stories about Bulgaria). And
Hollywood should definitely step up and find some way to compete with
all of this. I think talent would definitely prefer to shoot in their
own backyard than leaving their friends and family for months to live in
some crappy apartment in a third world country where the entire crew
gets dysentery on day 3.
But I don't blame the government for runaway production as much as I blame the hypocrisy of the folks who live in LA.
in LA is up in arms about runaway production, but those are the same
people who don't want film production blocking their driveways, tearing
up their lawns, or making them late for work. Not only do you have to
shell out serious money for a permit to shoot in LA, you also have to go
house to house with a wad of cash to make sure everyone is happy. I've
heard stories where a neighbor stood in the middle of his yard with a
leaf blower running and his hand outstretched waiting for a payoff.
when you first came to LA and how excited you were to see a film crew?
How long did that last? You can shoot anywhere in the country and
still get that kind of excitement. "Oh you're making a movie? Cool!"
Meanwhile in LA, I was shut down in my own apartment building with a
little home video camera filming my buddy doing a monologue.
this last shoot, we had only a few shots where we couldn't afford
permits and we had to skulk around like criminals. And it wasn't just
us, I saw big budget productions doing the same - hiding a camera and DP
in the back of a pickup truck inside a box, or stashing a camera in a
baby stroller for a shot on Venice beach.
dealing with SAG was a nightmare! They figured we were some sleazy big
budget production company trying to get away with something. When they
called our cast to tell them to not work on our production, our friends
blasted them back saying they would go "fi-core" if necessary to shoot
this film. SAG freaked.
say that our budget was done on a shoestring was being kind. Our
entire budget for the film was 20K, which is ridiculous for an action
film with close to 20 locations and a cast of 50. Thankfully, I had the
support of friends who knew us and what we were trying to do, and they
contributed everything from locations, to equipment, to their time and
something that was really hopeful, folks were willing to help us who
didn't know who we were. Folks who knew about runaway production and
were willing to do something about it. We had an entire cafe donated to
us for free. This wasn't government, these were people willing to make
a change. And that's how it starts.
just because a studio wants to save a few bucks by shooting in
Bangladesh, doesn't mean that the director doesn't have a say. I
could've shot my little no-budget film back in Florida and saved half my
budget, but I wanted to stay here. Same goes for major film directors
who insist on shooting in LA, and guys like Robert Rodriguez or Jon
Favreau who push government to make a change: http://www.deadline.com/2008/07/iron-man-director-lobbies-guvernator-to-try-again-for-hollywood-tax-breaks/
you're probably right, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
But SoCal still remains one of the most versatile places in the country
for film production with some of the best talent around. And that isn't
going anywhere anytime soon.