Has no one here heard about the now-dormant FTAC (the Film/Television Action Committee), a coalition of film/TV workers, facility personnel and vendors, formed in the late '90s in response to Canada's various incentives/bribes, which were having a substantial and increasing impact on local jobs? I was part of FTAC from its inception.
I'm an L.A. County native, but the only person in my family in this industry; I didn’t get in through nepotism, blackmail or bribery. About five years after...
I'm an L.A. County native, but the only person in my family in this industry; I didn’t get in through nepotism, blackmail or bribery. About five years after getting my B.A. degree, after working at two other jobs, and after working for no pay on several productions, I finally managed to break into the industry in my late 20s. It has been up and down in the 25+ years since then. No matter how much someone might want to work in this industry/art, the simple, mathematical fact is this: there are a lot more talented, creative people out there than there are jobs for them. I find that as depressing as any of you, but I can't deny its validity.
I am vehemently against our individual states enacting (or re-enacting) subsidies/tax breaks for the movie/TV industry. For the better part of a decade, I -- along with many of my colleagues -- have been opposed to this version of corporate welfare. All this “wealthfare” does is pit country against country, and state against state, to compete for a limited supply of productions which take advantage of desperate and foolhardy political entities. No jobs are created, they're merely shuffled around. Infrastructures are built, only to be dismantled or abandoned (along with a misguidedly-trained workforce in each locale) when another, cheaper/more generous offer is found elsewhere. It's a race to the bottom of the corporate trough. Tell me why making mostly-crap entertainment deserves taxpayer dollars, which would be better spent on infrastructure, education, public safety, housing, healthcare, and locally-appropriate, long-term industries and jobs with more of a future than the fickle, ephemeral entertainment industry has to offer?
Many people moved to L.A. because the industry was already here, for many generations. They weren't chasing a moving target. Temporarily shuffling jobs and industry around the country and the world for constantly coming & going, raising & lowering, competing subsidies (BRIBES) is a relatively recent shell game and a ridiculous one at that. Based on the past decade-plus of this b.s., in order to follow-the-bouncing-bribes, one would have had to move one's official residence from L.A. to Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal to Calgary to New Orleans to New Mexico to New York to Connecticut to Michigan to Shreveport to Baton Rouge to Atlanta to (fill in this blank), sometimes going back and forth between these locales. It's insane. If you go pick up your roots and make yourself a (temporary?) resident of another state, solely to hope to get a few jobs, then you'll be playing into the corrupt and flawed system. And you'll be spending more of YOUR money to do make LESS of the financiers' money.
I have worked in many locations. I like traveling and exploring the world. I've worked in Louisiana twice in the past year-and-a-half, but not as a local hire. I love NOLA (at least in the winter) and the local crew people I've worked with. But that doesn't mean I support the industry's outsourcing model (a.k.a. bribery), known as Runaway Production.
FTAC attempted to counteract the Canadian "subsidies"* by attempting to initiate similar "incentives" (a.k.a. bribery) here, in order to reverse Runaway Production. At first, I thought this was a good idea. As time went by, I was educated and persuaded by some of my colleagues about the matter, and came to oppose tax breaks/incentives/subsidies*; instead, along with many of my colleagues, I came to support a challenge to Canada's program, via the WTO, as a violation of our trade agreement. Such violations had been judged in favor of the injured parties in other industries, and our trade lawyers thought we had a very good case.
After years of petitioning, rallying, signature-gathering, endorsements from various city councils, fund-raising, legal wrangling, etc., we finally brought our petition before the United States Trade Representative! As a bunch of workers taking on this trade dispute, we were a rare (unique?) potential case study; the usual practice is for a government or an industry to challenge another country for violating such agreements.
Nonetheless, we were turned away by said USTR before we could even get it to the WTO. This was during the Bush regime. Many of us (myself included), believe our rejection probably had a lot to do with the USTR being part of the Bush administration, hand-in-hand with the powerful misinformation campaign propagandized by the MPAA and its sycophants in some of the guilds and IATSE (which represents both Canada and the U.S., thus having an obvious conflict of interest in this matter).
Since then, we’ve had interstate “incentive” (a.k.a. bribery) wars, seeing who can take production companies highest on the giveaway side of the scale while bringing the rest of us closer to the bottom of the other side of the scale. Since this isn’t a WTO matter, it would take an interstate commerce intervention by the feds to deal with it, most likely, possibly via Article 1, Section 8 of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution:
http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html (see Clause 3).
Good luck with that, all things considered, but we can at least try.
And that’s the crux of the problem: some people have tried to fight this battle, have spent countless hours educating themselves on the issues involved and spreading the word, going out in the streets, writing, calling, rallying, getting various colleagues, lawyers, city councils, radio stations and publications involved. Other people, however – too many others – have taken a back seat (or hid in the trunk), and done little or nothing to help. That seems to be par for the course with too many of my cohort. They let a few others do the grunt work and hope for the best, crossing their fingers, -- if those fingers aren’t already over their ears, eyes and mouths… until it’s too late. Then you find them crying “foul” after the game is lost, in no small part because they sat it out.
(Beth: for years, FTAC had regular, usually well-attended and usually-civil meetings, events, and made a lot of appearances at various city council meetings, etc.)
What are people doing now though? Hearing this makes me wonder if we are all doing what we need to and it just isn't enough.
Beth: I think a lot of burn-out occurred after pounding our heads against a thick wall of resistance and obfuscation. Many of us spent countless hours doing plenty, so my conscience is clear. Unfortunately, too many colleagues didn't bother. They just complained or gave up or thanked me for doing WHAT THEY SHOULD ALSO BE DOING! The same thing with the Occupy movement, and most activism: a bunch of sympathetic people saying "I appreciate what you're doing. Keep it up." Then they go back to...
Beth: I think a lot of burn-out occurred after pounding our heads against a thick wall of resistance and obfuscation. Many of us spent countless hours doing plenty, so my conscience is clear. Unfortunately, too many colleagues didn't bother. They just complained or gave up or thanked me for doing WHAT THEY SHOULD ALSO BE DOING! The same thing with the Occupy movement, and most activism: a bunch of sympathetic people saying "I appreciate what you're doing. Keep it up." Then they go back to watching a football game full of brain-damaging impact, playing a violent video game, underpaying an exploited laborer to mow their water-sucking lawn, or shopping for crap made in China.
We've talked to every stakeholder in the past three years. Billions are being made outsourcing these jobs and those that are getting what work there is are understandably reluctant to be active in a grassroots leadership that is pro youth and pro California and pro LA if they believe they will be punished for their leadership. I am good friends with Tim McHugh who has participated in a panel with Bring Hollywood Home at the LA Latino International Film Festival in 2011 at the Egyptian...
We've talked to every stakeholder in the past three years. Billions are being made outsourcing these jobs and those that are getting what work there is are understandably reluctant to be active in a grassroots leadership that is pro youth and pro California and pro LA if they believe they will be punished for their leadership. I am good friends with Tim McHugh who has participated in a panel with Bring Hollywood Home at the LA Latino International Film Festival in 2011 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. Tim and FTAC worked very hard to stop runaway production with legal challenges while according to Tim there was no support from the California Film Commission for the work they were doing. So if there has been massive failure for 2 and a half decades does everyone give up? Of course not. What if leaders had given up on the civil rights movement? We would not have the leadership we have today in America. We aren't giving up. Our concerts have raised awareness of runaway production and now we are endorsing candidates and having an impact on the LA City Elections on March 5th, 2013. So get involved. sharonhardeejimenez@gmail put your skepticism to work it's healthy to be skeptical of any leadership in Hollywood. Thanks for taking the time to check us out.
This is a great piece by someone who benefits from incentives, but dislikes them, nonetheless:
As a motion picture caterer, my husband and I survived runaway production over the years, bringing it home is something I wish we had working for us! yes! bring it home! keeps our spouse working local! and keep our families together!
amen to that....tired of all the out of town jobs my husband has to do
Hey, we need jobs in other states, too. However, we should end economic incentives to "job creators" that pit one state or community against another. These incentives usually result in no economic gain for the community. (Then) Congressman Bernie Sanders' "Distorting Subsidies Limitation Act of 1999" addressed this problem.
Last night a pre Oscar fundraiser for LA's next MAYOR Kevin James hosted by Marc Cherry creator of Desperate Housewives. LA is Desperate for new leadership to save jobs in Hollywood and Kevin James has the right stuff to Bring Hollywood Home
Now that Kevin James is out of the Los Angeles Mayoral race, who does Bring Hollywood Home endorse?
Odd, Marc Cherry's new series "Devious Maids" is being shot in Atlanta. We shot the pilot here.
Sad story. California is woefully non competitive with other states and countries while the leadership of The California Film Commission just can't figure out how to stop the outsourcing.
Perhaps we need a more effective, aggressive film commissioner. And we need to get ancillary industries involved.
Yes we need ancillary businesses involved and new independent leadership to take over where the failed leadership left off. We have a new Mayor Elect in Eric Garcetti and now the atmosphere is hopeful to www.bringhollywoodhome.org
Iconic actor director producer Bill Duke joined LA Mayoral candidate and Mike Bonin LA City Council candidate at our January 12th benefit concert for Bring Hollywood. We are endorsing these two candidates in the March 5 th municipal election. Please vote Kevin James for Mayor of LA 2013 and Mike Bonin 11th city council district
Bring Hollywood Home salutes Kevin James our endorsed candidate for Mayor as former LA Mayor Richard Riordan endorses Kevin James as the only candidate running "Tough Enough to Turn LA Around" www.bringhollywoodhome.org.
Endorsing James is enough for me to avoid your group.
We need to stop all outsourcing jobs in America, period.
no we need to stop letting states Steal our jobs first... second we can work on the international picture. Detroit can make cars, Hollywood was built for movies.
Run away production effects everybody, from the restaurants to The Home Depots, and act..as Hollywood productions money into our economy, and is the infulstructure of Los Angeles. It's keeps our city going.
IN SPANISH: QUEREMOS APOYAR DALE UN CLICK AL BOTON PARA QUE SIGAN FILMANDO EN CALIFORNIA Y NO AFUERA. GENTE EN CALIFORNIA NECESITAN TRABAJO APOYA Y DALE UN CLICK PARA QUE SIGAN FILMANDO EN CALIFORNIA. CORRE LA VOZ DICELO A TUS AMISTADES QUE LE DEN UN CLICK Y APOYEN!