Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Remember Bambi

Do you remember going to Disney movies as a kid? Tangled, the latest Disney offering based on the fairy story of Rapunzel did well at the box office last weekend. Oh, it's a little more hip than Bambi was, but it will still be remembered by kids when they are as old as I am.

Disney doesn't have another like Bambi, or Cinderella, or Tangled on the drawing board. Other animation studios will still be making movies, I know, but they will never have quite the same sweet romantic appeal as those made by Disney.

It saddens me.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Coming Home to Roost

Do chickens really come home to roost, or is that an old wives tale? Will the entertainment industry eventually come home to roost like the chickens? There is every evidence that TV production is doing pretty well in California; feature films not so much. The tremendous amount of push and pull among states offering competing incentives to attract production makes location cost/benefit analysis an art form and almost an industry of its own. Besides sheer dollar incentives, there are so many other more subjective factors that apply or should apply, that number crunching for any given project becomes as complex a task as creating a budget for a small country.

Here's an indication of how complex the issue is. Several states can't decide whether the return on their investment on tax incentives have actually paid off. The entertainment industry argues that they are not properly measuring the trickle down effect that production has on local economy; the opposition in various states claim they certainly are, and therein lies the rub. Right now, Michigan is re-thinking their program; New Jersey has suspended their incentives; Arizona has not extended their program; Wisconsin reduced the amount the state was willing to give out each year; and Iowa's program is on hold after a film company was found to have padded their expenses with $225 brooms and $900 shovels.There are issues involved with the selling of incentives, which is legal, but becomes questionable when they are sold to a bank rather than another production company. All of this falls into the good news/bad news category when we are trying to convince Sacramento to make our tax incentive bigger, better, and even permanent.

Certainly we have a chance to present our case well, since California grew up with this industry and understands better than anyone what having the entertainment industry based in California has done for this state. I don't want to disabuse other states of the notion that offering tax incentives for the industry is bad for them. Let them think that and let us take advantage of their ambiguous/erroneous findings.


Friday, November 19, 2010

It's in the Bag for Harry

It's another Harry Potter weekend, so every other movie will be in second place or beyond. The series is a miracle, and it came out of one person's imagination. Oh, she may not have imagined how they would trick her movies out with special effects, but I think she must be pleased at the end result. I wonder if she'll write more books, it would be a shame if she hung up her pen, but where would she go from here?

I give her a standing O for creating a robust tale that millions of people have been able to ride to another place where one doesn't worry about a job or putting food on the table. That's what movies are supposed to do, not just entertain, but to take us to another place for a little while.

Having said all that, most of the new releases are from outside the US this weekend. Besides Harry, Made in Dagenham and Heartless were filmed in England; White Material was filmed in Africa. The Next 3 Days with Russell Crowe was filmed in Pittsburgh, but received such low ratings, that you might not want to get sucked in by the trailers on TV.

Pray for a California blockbuster.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Statisticts Were Good This Week

The production days for TV were up 101% over this week last year; even feature films were up 33%. It's true that commercials were down, but the net result of all of those numbers, was a 54% improvement.

Is it a blip? or a trend?

We shall see.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To Strike or Not?

There's an interesting situation brewing right in my back yard. The situation has many layers, and I could go off in one direction or another.

NBC's Biggest Loser (BL)is an important TV show in terms of viewers

BL has been using union (IATSE) workers but does not have a contract with the union itself

BL hasn't been providing health care insurance for these union members they have been employing for years

The cost of health insurance is rising. (I think even Obama admits that the costs are here and now, and the benefits are coming later. Why did they do that, I wonder?)

BL is shot in Calabasis, California that is

Now here's our quandary, nothing is ever black or white is it? But before I go on, let me tell you that both my parents worked in the auto industry and were union members all their lives.The union took care of them, and me too I guess.

The title of this article is To Strike or Not? Maybe I should have called it To Work or Not? It wasn't all that hard for BL to find people to cross the picket line after the show was struck. (Refer to yesterday's article on the rising level of the homeless.) People are desperate. What if the rising cost of health care pushes this show out of Califonia?

Darn, is that a trick question?


Monday, November 15, 2010

How Many Homeless?

I was at 'Mitzvah Day' at Temple Judea in Woodland Hills last week. I was there to represent Susan G. Komen for the Cure to encourage members of the congregation to register for the Race for the Cure at Dodger Stadium next March. Why am I telling you this on a blog about stopping run away production?

Because, at Temple Judea I was situated next to a charity that collects clothing for the homeless, feeds them in a soup kitchen, and provides showers in a mobile shower, all of this in the San Fernando Valley. I know there are large numbers of the homeless in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, but did you know that there are another 10,000 in the Valley? And among them a growing number of women and children? These are not just your perennial homeless addicts, these are people that lost their job, lost their home, and may not even have a car left to sleep in. Think of it, would you want to take a shower in a mobile unit once a week? would your children? Homeless shelters could be scary places for an adult, what must a child think? This is not like camping out. No s'mores over an open fire.

This is the vicious cycle many people can expect. How many of these people are or will be living on the street because a tv show is not being produced here, or a blockbuster movie is not filming here. It is not that difficult to draw a correlation.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Idea - Go Brown

Governor-elect Jerry Brown is working on the budget for the State for next year. Now is the time to indoctrinate him before he becomes set in his ways. Yes, I know, he is already set in his ways. The one thing you could always count on with the Governor-elect is that he would stand behind his principles, and he has always been pretty clear on what those principles are (for a politician).

I think it is important to tell him over and over again how important the entertainment industry is to California. I heard Meg Whitman mention the importance of the industry once in the waining days of her campaign, but I don't remember Jerry bringing it up. He's all about cutting the budget, we need to remind him that income is equally relevant.

I want to craft a letter to Jerry Brown outlining our main selling points. How about this: Postcards for the Pictures. On one side the Hollywood sign and his address; on the other side a brief message and space for individuals to tack on a personal message. I'm going to do it. Watch for the link this week.


Friday, November 12, 2010

An Interesting Idea

Jim Horwitz and I met some very bright and knowledgeable gentlemen from Entertainment Partners, an accounting firm that provides payroll services for the film industry as well as consulting on budgets and probably a lot of other things. One of them, Joe Chianese has a reputation for being the industry expert on tax incentive programs all across the country. Without going into all the issues discussed, there was one idea that Joe had that resonated with me. And that was to organize a group of average people affected by the lost of film production in California and descend on Sacramento en masse.

I've been involved in that sort of grass roots lobbying effort as it has been effectively organized by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Legislative bodies all over the country as well as nationally in Washington DC have been inundated regularly by survivors and supporters of Komen's mission. When a legislator hears from his constituents directly, they will listen. They may not do anything about it, but that's another story. Whether you agree with them or not, the Tea Party has shown that regular people can shake up government.

So, what if we start a grass roots movement and each make an appointment to call on our own congressmen and women? I'll ask Amy Lemish to give us the economic talking points and we can recruit others and visit local offices. We don't even need to go to Sacramento, yet. Let's see what kind of interest we can drum up.

You know, the biggest breast cancer organization in the world was started by one woman.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Met an Amazing Woman

I had an opportunity to attend the COLA awards where location managers for projects that film in California were honored. It was interesting to see the wealth of different locations available to anyone filming In California. And it was also interesting to see how much these location managers like to work in California.

But most interesting to me was the opportunity to meet a fascinating woman, passionate about preserving filming in California, and in a position to do something about it. Amy Lemish is the head of the California Film Commission and has an in depth understanding of the positive effect of keeping filming here and what we have to do to grow that effect.

I'm going to ask her for a letter that we can personalize to send to our new Governor that will pitch the idea of making tax incentives for the entertainment industry permanent. Maybe he will listen and take action, unlike our past tense Governor who signed the current tax incentive legislation, but is criticized for not taking a stronger stance in forwarding the agenda to preserve the industry. In fact, I was at an event on Sunday for Komen and a set builder told me that Arnold is building a studio out of state with Danny Devito. Is that true?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Didn't Fall Off the Earth But It Feels Like It

I can't believe I haven't been back here for a whole month. Did I ever tell you that I am writing a book? For ten years I've been writing this book; but about a month ago my daughters convinced me that it was time to finish it. So the deal went something like this "Mom, you finish it and we'll get it published."
So I resumed with a burning desire to finally have something to show for ten years of half-assed effort. And something funny happened, almost overnight the book took on a life of its own and I swear it is writing itself.
I haven't given up the project behind this blog however. Things have been happening; meetings have been held. I'll get back on track and fill you in.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why Do I Have so Much Stuff?

My husband and I are very orderly people. We put things away; there's not a lot of clutter; I continually stuff bags full and donate the detritus of our lives to the Salvation Army. Yet our garage is a rat warren. In fact, a rat could be living in there and we would not know it. Even though I constantly try to get rid of things, why do I still have so much stuff?

I'd like to get rid of the stuff in the garage, but I don't feel right about throwing it away; maybe it has a greater value than I would donate to 'Sally's; maybe I think I might need it or want it or use it someday. I have a bunch of antiquey things that belonged to my mother. Talk about the guilt associated with giving that stuff away! George Carlin once said that houses were simply big boxes to hold all our stuff. I know everyone else is in the same boat. Just look at the garages full of stuff as you drive through your neighborhood.

I started providing some retail advice to a woman who owns a retail store selling green products, and have become more sensitive to the fact that we are such a wasteful society. But even if we all turned over a new leaf and tried to buy new stuff that can be used over and over again, what do we do with the old stuff?

Anybody want some cute little porcelain kitties?


Friday, September 17, 2010

We Have a Movie We Can Support!

I am so excited I can hardly stand it. A movie not only made in California, but one predicted to win the box office wars this weekend. Easy A, a take off on the Scarlet Letter was filmed in, wait for it, wait for it, Ojai, California. I think that is delicious. Emma Stone, the lead is supposed to be excellent.

Ojai is a family joke in my household. My husband has wanted to visit Ojai since we moved here from New York 10 years ago. And me, I keep promising we'll go, but I'm always working at one thing or another. I wonder if I get him to take me to the movies this week it counts as 'visiting' Ojai.

The other movies released this week are all filmed elsewhere: Devil in Toronto; The Town in Boston; Leaves of Grass in Louisiana; Never Let Me Go in London; and Jack Goes Boating in New York.


How Many Jobs Can You Create for $110 Million?

If you are in LA County you would have to say 55. What? Is that true? We received $110 million from the stimulus package and we created/saved just 55 jobs? Why didn't we just give 55 people $2 million each, and at 3% interest they would have a nice income of $60 thousand a year. Or, why don't we just throw money off the back of a train?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Movies Approved for a California Tax Incentive

We're going to bring home the bacon this Fall! Below are listed the 27 film projects that were approved for California's tax incentive program this year. The list may change a bit as projects may fall by the wayside, but look, just look at all of the jobs that will be created over the next months. A lot of Indie projects, some TV, some feature films. The date associated with each entry is the scheduled date for start of filming.

I'm going to do a little happy dance right now.


21 & Over
21 & Over Productions, LLC

A Girl and A Gun
All You Need Productions, LLC

Beautiful Girl
Screen Gems Productions, Inc.

Breaking the Girl
BTG Productions, LLC

Steinbeck LLC

Cradle and All
Screen Gems Productions, Inc.

Drive Film Productions, LLC

Fixing Pete
Moreal Productions, Inc.

Glory Daze
Horizon Scripted Television, Inc.

I'm With The Band
CBS Films Inc.

Josh Productions LLC

Just 45 Minutes from Broadway
Just 45 Minutes from Broadway, LLC

Woodridge Productions, Inc.

Knife Fight
Divisadero Pictures, LLC

L.A. Gothic
Principal Entertainment/Echo Lake

Lives of the Saints
Lives of the Saints, Inc.

Love Will Grow
Tavira Productions, Inc.

Men of a Certain Age
Turner North Center Productions, Inc.

Kidplay, Llc

Pretty Little Liars
Horizon Scripted Television, Inc.

Takin' it Back
Elixir Entertainment

Thanks Giving Engagement
The Gardeners (JPG), LLC

Three Little Words
CBS Films Inc.

Untitled A.B. 2010
Tiny Little Steps LLC

Walter the Farting Dog
New Regency Productions, Inc.

We Bought a Zoo
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

DW Studios Productions LLC

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is There Viagra for the Movies?

The industry needs something to enhance performance. The weekend box office was wimpy again. The only movie that had a wide release did what it was supposed to do, but it didn't really get it up. About $24 million in ticket sales. Some of the limited releases didn't even make it to a $ million.

Maybe I should switch to supporting the aerospace industry. They are turning out drones by the thousands near San Diego, and employing 10,000 people as a result. They even make teeny tiny surveillance drones the size of an insect that can fly in through your window and see and hear what you're doing and saying.

I'm going to start talking to the mosquitos.


Friday, September 10, 2010


I'm not even going to mention the movies being released this week. There is only one that has a wide release, the rest, very limited. I couldn't find any made in California. And without exception, all of them received reviews in the basement. I mean really horrible. Where is the quality? Or as that old lady used to say "Where's the beef." Read a book this weekend, or charge your Kindle.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Michael Klick is My Hero

Let's have a round of applause as we induct a new Hero to the Filmed in California Heroes Hall of Fame. Read Mr. Richardson's 24 reasons why it makes sense to shoot in LA, and you'll see why Michael Klick is our new inductee.

24 Reasons to Shoot in LA
by Steve Richardson

Michael Klick is the Unit Production Manager for "24," the wildly successful Fox series, just completing its 4th wildly successful season. As UPM, Michael oversees it all when it comes to production -- personnel, equipment, props, right on down to catering.

"My job is to spend the money and to spend it well. Once you do the math, LA's the place. LA's the place to get more bang for your buck."

A San Francisco Bay Area native with 35 years in the business, Michael gives us the 24 reasons to shoot in LA:

1) Talent pool - "Deeper than anywhere in the world. In Atlanta, there's maybe two A crews. Here, I've got a directory of 35 Key Grips who I know personally, can count on. If somebody's sick or booked, I can always find a top quality replacement."

2) Support structure - "There's 100 years of people, businesses, and experience here knowing how the film and TV business works. If I call a caterer in Kansas City, can I be sure they'll handle it if I want to push a meal back an hour and a half?"

3) Rental - "Camera, props, everything - I've got it all just 15 minutes away. If I want a specific, unique prop, I've got ten places that can turn on a dime to get it to me."

4) Repair - "If a camera breaks in Des Moines, I'm down for who knows how long? Here, I'm 15 minutes from Panavision."

5) Save a penny, lose a dime - "I might be able to save a little money on locations and permits by shooting in Montana. But I've got to bring two extra sets of equipment, of everything, in case something goes down."

6) Time is of the essence - "Especially in TV. I've got to turn a show around in 8 days. If my dolly tracks get damaged, I'm out a day or more trying to fly in replacements. I can't afford that. It's 12%-25% of my shooting time down the drain. For dolly tracks?"

7) General understanding among vendors - "All the stores here know the deal, know about 'clothes taken on approval.' They let you take the stuff, try it on the actors, bring back and only pay for what you keep. You think Marshall Fields in Chicago's going to let me do that?"

8) Vendors with savvy - "I sign to rent something, then the schedule changes and I don't need it. People in LA understand -- constant change is a part of the process. They want your business in the future. In Charlotte, I'm going to run into some guy who's just not flexible, doesn't understand the specific needs of TV."

9) Geography - "I can shoot in the high desert one day, mountains and streams. Then the next day I'm on a dock in Los Angeles Harbor. What other place in the world offers that?"

10) Diversity of a big city - "Different ethnicities for backgrounds, the World War II bunkers in Palos Verdes, the old Unocal offices downtown. There's just so much to choose from here -- people and places."

11) Specialized personnel - "I shot a pilot in Florida once. We had to fly people in from LA to do all our special effects, green screen. Here In Los Angeles, I've got 13top-notch vendors in my office after a few phone calls."

12) Monitoring - "We can look in on locations, check out production gear. See how the special effects are going. All within a few hours, all within the city limits."

13) Life on hold - "Your life's not on hold in LA. You go home every day. It's no fun being in an apartment in Nebraska for 9 months, by yourself. How many magazines can you read?"

14) Family - "People here can take an afternoon off to make their daughter's piano recital. They can sign up to coach their son in little league. You just can't do those kinds of things if you're far from home."

15) Dentist - "She's right here in town with all my info. Same with my doctor, lawyer, everything. It's all right here."

16) Landmarks, location - "We shot this amazing scene in the LA Coliseum, climax to the Season II. Beautiful. Wow. For Season III we just landed a helicopter in Pershing Square on a weekend Sunday morning. Last week we staged a shootout involving two helicopters, landed another copter on a 14 story helipad, on top of a parking structure, at night. Incredible view of downtown LA. Fantastic."

17) Motel food - "Did you ever really want a nice plate of sushi? In Western Pennsylvania?"

18) Weather - "Have you ever shot in Alaska, outside all day? Dealt with keeping equipment up and running in freezing weather? Ever shot in Guatemala with the humidity? Or shut down for a week because of the rain in London?"

19) Cooperation from the locals - "We just shot six nights straight in a 128 unit apartment building complex. The people there were really great, amazingly cooperative. Maybe it's because they understand how important the business is to the local economy? I don't know, you just generally get a lot of cooperation from the local people here in LA."

20) Golf, tennis - "People have their golfing buddies, their regular tennis dates. They can actually make reservations and be there every weekend. If you're out in the middle of nowhere in Missouri, you're a five hour flight from your regular Saturday tennis game. The nearest golf course might be 30 miles away."

21) Location scouting - "I know the area, my scouts know the area. They can find me what I want in no time. You don't have to re-discover, you know where to find a nice rocky hillside."

22) Actors - "The major actors, the character actors, so many of them live in the LA area. There is such a lot of talent to draw on, and you don 't have to fly them in and put them up in a motel. They drive themselves to the set."

23) The "back door" - "My job's not just 'can I get us up and going,' but 'what happens when there's a problem?' Is there a back door for me to get through, a solution. The depth of talent and equipment makes my life easier when things go wrong. And things always go wrong."

24) Surprises -- "I'm in this business a long time, and I'm still discovering places. My location manager and I stumbled on this enormous warehouse where they refurbish the space shuttle fuel tanks. Wow, what a place to shoot. There's so much going on in LA, so many different possible locations, so many different new things. I'm constantly happily surprised. I like that. A happy surprise."

Michael Klick has worked in documentaries, commercials, and television as a successful producer, director and UPM for over 35 years. Like many of us, he's still trying to figure out what he wants to do when he grows up.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We Met with the Film Department Today

Jim Horwitz and I met with the officers in charge of production at The Film Department. They were gracious with their time, and were, like many of the people we have met from the industry, very interested in getting their point across. They live here, their company is located here, they would rather film in California. But making movies is such a risky business that they must take advantage of every tax incentive that they can get their hands on. In their case, for several reasons, they are not able to apply to the incentive program offered by California.

There used to be 38 independent producers; now there are 11. The industry used to make 650 movies a year; now they make 400.

I could see the wheels turning around in Jim's head during and after the meeting. You can't imagine what an odd couple Jim and I make. Both of us weigh too much and we're older than the hills. But we have a third trait in common. We're both as stubborn as hell. We are not going to drop this campaign, even if we don't know what we're doing yet. We will figure it out.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The American Wins the Weekend

What movie received an average of a D grade in exit interviews and still won the long week end box office wars? Clooney has to be the reason that The American came out on top. Machete did respectable numbers, primarily due to Hispanic viewers, but Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore did rather poorly. Labor Day weekend is usually not a big movie going holiday, but ticket sales equaled last year, so the studios breathed a sigh of relief.

Interesting is the continued strength of Inception particularly in foreign markets. It will be released in China soon. Only about 20 films are allowed to show in China every year. What will the Chinese think of the dream within a dream? Maybe they will follow the story better than Westerners. They have that whole inscrutable oriental mind thing going for them. And just as a reminder, Inception was filmed partially in LA.

I read a post from a director who has missed 6 months of his child's first 2 and 1/2 years because he is always working away from home. So it isn't always about just having a job, it's the quality of one's life and what one ends up missing that can never be recovered. I sent him a message asking him to meet with Jim Horwitz and me. Hope he responds. He doesn't think anyone is addressing the issues he raises. Little does he know that Super Sharon and Jungle Jim are hot on the trail of a solution.


Monday, September 6, 2010

If You Don't Have a Job What Does Labor Day Mean?

Labor Day is supposed to be a day for labor to get a day off. I wonder why they didn't call it do not labor day, or day at the beach, or the day to sleep in? If you don't have a job, then what does it mean? The day we sit around wishing we could labor? I don't think we need Labor Day any longer. To many people it's a cruel reminder of the fact that too many people aren't laboring and wish they could.

Here is an interesting post on the web site, www.shootmoviesinla.com, about a man that is laboring far from home. 'Shootmoviesinla' received permission to publish this man's thoughts, I did not. But I suppose I can tell you to go to their web site to read it.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5 - September 11, 2010

So it begins, a new Fall schedule; some new and some renewed. How can something be new again? Renewed is a strange term. Let's say some are returning.

September 7

10:00 PM
Sons of Anarchy (FX)
Filming somewhere in California. Charming California has been spotted all over the San Joaquin Valley.

September 8

8:00 PM
America's Next Top Model (CW)<
Flip flops between NY and LA; currently flipped to LA

9:00 PM
Hellcats (CW)

10:00 PM
Terriers (FX)
San Diego

September 9

8:00 PM
The Vampire Diaries (CW)
Georgia? Really?

9:00 PM
Nikita (CW)
Toronto & LA

September 11

8:00 PM
Cops (Fox)
Films all over. 140 cites and counting. Do we really want them filming here? It's disgusting

9:00 PM
America's Most Wanted (Fox)
Washington DC

So, you can watch Sons of Anarchy, America's Next Top Model, Terriers and half of Nikita. Just kidding, you watch what you would like, just consider these as a strong option.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's So Hot

How could anyone shoot on location in So Cal today? How did people get along without air conditioning a hundred years ago? How do they get along without it today? The beaches are crammed today with people that don't have air conditioning, or can't afford to turn it on. What if you lived in the center of the State where it is even worse and there's no beach to visit?

People must be going to the movies today for that super cooled air accompanied by hopefully a movie filmed in California. If you don't buy the popcorn, it's affordable. Do they kick you out when the movie is over? Or can you stay in your seat and watch it again?

Revenues are up for the movies this year. Not because the studios have turned out a lot of good film, but because of the 3D glass rentals and slightly higher ticket prices. Attendance is actually down by about 3%. Is that a comment on the economy or the quality of what is being offered? During the Great Depression, people went to the movies to forget about their problems. Today's movie goer is a little more sophisticated, after all we have been marinated in movies, TV, DVD, You Tube, etc. We are more discerning, so why have movies become less so? The studios are afraid right along with us.

So what are you going to do today? Can you afford to let the air conditioner chug along all day?


Friday, September 3, 2010

Not in My Backyard

The three movies vying for the top slot at the box office are Machete, Going the Distance, and The American were all filmed elsewhere; Austin, New York and Italy respectively. Machete gets the strongest reviews of the three, but even it doesn't get all thumbs up anywhere that I could find.

You might as well stay home, unless you're like me and feel you have to go see Drew Barrymore simply because she's like every one's daughter and you have to go see her school play. But don't say I didn't warn you, it's not reviewing well, and though I like to make my own mind up about most things, it's currently ticking along around a 48% approval rate on Rotten Tomato.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Have a Meeting!

Jim Horwitz and I are meeting with the top echelon at the production company, "The Film Department", next Wednesday, to find out what we can do to convince them to consider LA for their next location choice. The gentlemen who came together to form this company are some of the most talented in the business and certainly some of the most experienced. Collectively, they have been involved in one way or the other in most of the films I have really enjoyed over the last ten plus years.

We have more letters out to producers that are household names, or at least their movies are. Let's see who else is willing to sit down with us.


At Least the Cows are Going Back to Work

Remember that whole imbroglio about shooting California milk commercials in New Zealand? The California State Senate and Assembly have passed a bill to prohibit commercials about California products, paid for with our tax dollars, to be shot outside of California. Now the Governator has to sign it, and I'm sure he will, or we'll be baaack!

Now we have truly happy cows because they have jobs and can put grass on the table.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Good News for Women

I'm going to copy verbatim an alert sent out by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. News like this is why I blog, to energize the fight to keep film production here so that people can find a job. When the choice is between buying groceries for the week for the family or having a mammogram, the answer is preordained. With a job, and maybe even some health insurance, maybe there will be an opportunity for mom to take better care of herself. In the meantime, women in California are between the rock and the hard reality of having a difficult time finding a place to receive a diagnosis if they have no insurance and no money. Over 4,000 will die in California this year. You may have passed one of them on the street. I hope you smiled, because that's about all that any of us have the ability to give these days: a smile and a hug. What are we going to do?

This year, more than 21,000 women in California will be diagnosed with breast cancer. And it is expected that we will lose 4,200 women to the disease this year.

The Every Woman Counts (EWC) program, which provides early detection breast and cervical cancer screening to disadvantaged women in our state, is facing drastic budget cuts. Everyone understands the budget is tight, but this program has suffered more than its fair share, putting at risk thousands of California residents.

On January 1, the California Department of Health arbitrarily shut the program's doors for the remainder of the fiscal year, and closed access to the program to new women over age 50 and for all women age 40 to 49. That last cut was particularly troubling because almost half of the women screened by the program are in their 40s. Then, when the new fiscal year dawned without a state budget on July 1, the Department of Health closed the program indefinitely.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

My Last Week as a Retailer

I'm sitting in my boutique in Woodland Hills, getting ready to write finis to a path I started down 23 years ago. Like many career paths, I stumbled on retail with no intention of it becoming a grand passion. And actually it never became that, even though I grew the business in New York to four stores and created a sweet little place here in the Valley. What I was passionate about were the people I came to know over the years and the symbiosis of a ladies clothing store and my true passion, women's health issues. Particularly breast cancer, because I am a survivor and I have daughters and granddaughters that I want to shield from my own experiences.

Next weekend my husband and I will pack up Boku and put it in storage, and end a chapter of my life that had it's good times and very bad times. As always, Bob has my back and is there no matter what. He and my children have been the wind beneath my wings for all this time.

One's identity becomes wrapped up in what one does for a living. People ask you what you do, not who you are. There are many people walking around these days not knowing how to describe themselves any longer because they lost their job or closed their business. I always tell them about the "door".

Imagine that there are a series of doors one must pass through in one's lifetime. The doors represent a spatial or relationship change,a shift in priorities, some thing new and different. If you fear the next door in your life rather than embracing the challenge it represents, you will never fully experience the joy that life can hold.

I have been facing a door for many months as I pondered what to do with my Boku, but I have had no fear of what lies beyond the door; I just knew it was going to be something wonderful. In fact, I conjured up a vision of a beautiful garden filled with all the people I love. Consequently, I have not suffered regret or anxiety; just a feeling of peace and anticipation.

I know that you and I will survive this moment and this day and that something wonderful is waiting. I promise you that is so.


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Week of Wee Little Films

The movie selection this week end is a bit of a mish mash, with nothing standing up and shouting 'watch me, watch me'. And all of them filmed outside California. How many times have I even had a movie to point you to lately? Nine out of ten of the releases this summer have been filmed elsewhere. The Switch - New York; Lottery Ticket - Atlanta; Nanny McPhee Returns - England; Vampires Suck - Louisiana; Paranha 3D - Arizona.

Expendables will probably win the weekend box office wars, and as I told you last week it was filmed in Brazil.

Is it any wonder our gnarly unemployment rate is stuck in neutral?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Can Commercials Light Our Fire?

Commercial production was up very nicely last week compared to last year. I'm wondering what kind of messages they are crafting to get the American public to buy again. The message has to change because we are changing, and we may never be the same again. People that went through the Great Depression came out different, with an emphasis on different values and a new awareness of how difficult it is to accumulate wealth and how easy it is to lose it.

Companies aren't hiring because we aren't buying. And we're not buying because we're scared. The buyers and the sellers are both paralyzed because of uncertainty. So how will they appeal to us, what will be the pitch, the punch line that will open up our wallets? Have you noticed the car commercials (filmed in California) that emphasize the concept of passing your car down to your children? Wait and see, the commercials are going to appeal to a more sensible side of our nature, simply because we have had to grown up in a hurry.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Cupboard is Bare

For one day the California Film Commission felt like Santa. They were able to satisfy 30 requests for tax incentives with the $100 million they were given to play with by the State of California. Unfortunately that wasn't even half the number of requests. Nearly 50 more were left on the table.

Applicants for the incentives were selected by lottery and included 19 feature films; 8 television series; and 3 made for TV movies. Most of them will start filming in LA this fall. What would you guess that translates into, 6,000 jobs? And the 50 projects that went unfunded? 10,000 jobs that will probably go out of state, especially to NY where their Santa has $2.1 billion to hand out over the next 5 years.

Now the cupboard is bare for another year. And Mrs. Hubbard doesn't even have a bone for her poor dog.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Great Reset #2

I've been reading The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post Crash Prosperity. I mentioned the book in my 8/7 post, and since then I have learned a lot about why we are in this current economic predicament and what is likely to happen next. According to the author anyway. The thing about economists is that they frequently don't agree on why something happened and what we should do about it.

By 'great reset' he is referring to the dramatic change in how and where we live, what we do for a living, and what our attitudes are about priorities that will occur during the recovery from this economic bust we are living through. The author likens this period to the recovery period after the Long Depression of the late 19th century when we shifted from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy; now, the shift is from an industrial to an idea-driven creative economy.It will be a monumental change; we have only begun to feel the effect of technological advancements.

The entertainment industry is poised on the edge of a cliff looking down on the new world order and wondering how they are going to climb down from their current perch successfully without breaking their neck. The music industry has been clobbered by technology, and film and TV are also going through their own dramas. With Google TV writing a whole new script on how film will be distributed, is it any wonder there have been so many strikes as the various elements try to jockey for a piece of the future pie in the sky?


Monday, August 16, 2010

I Drafted a Letter to Producers Today

I think Sly Stallone is a smart guy. He created a film that appealed over such a broad spectrum that The Expendables swept the box office sweepstakes this past weekend. Not only did it appeal to the boomer generation because they remember Rocky fondly; but he captured the next generation who identified with Rambo. But where I think Sly was really smart was that the action was real and not computer generated. Old guys and young could say, I can do that. It also received good exit reviews.

Not so much for Julia Roberts film Eat, Pray Love. And forget about Scott Pilgrim. That was a non-starter all together.

I drafted a letter for Jim Horwitz to send to producers with projects in development today, with the hope that we can find ways to create a more competitive environment so they will film here. Weekend after weekend, the majority of films hitting the theatre screens are filmed anywhere but California.

I would like to give this blog and the issues it discusses more visibility. Does anyone know how to 'burn a feed'?


Sunday, August 15, 2010

There Isn't Any

There really isn't any TV worth watching right now. I did see something quite extraordinary on KOCE however; Katherine Jenkins, a mezzo soprano with a range and a compelling delivery that comes maybe once in a life time. If it's on again, try to catch her show. She's an amazing entertainer from Wales who is absolutely beautiful. It would even be great to watch her with the sound off, that's how beautiful she is.

I spent the afternoon researching the new Fall offerings, but I'm not quite ready to publish my findings. The Fall season starts September 7th, and I'm compiling a schedule of new shows and renewed shows and where they were filmed. I will asterisk those that sound interesting to me, but you will have to make your own decisions. There is a lot to choose from this year; lets hope there is some quality programming in the mix.

And hopefully, the studios will give the good ones a chance to settle in and find their audience. With all the work that goes into the creation of TV programming, sometimes I think the studios are too quite with the hook. How many people need to watch something for it to stay on the air? Currently, not a single show on TV during the last few weeks has pulled a double digit audience.

Anyway, watch for the September TV viewing schedule next Sunday.


September TV Schedule

This is the September TV Schedule I have been compiling. I have not identified all the filming locations yet, but I will try to fill in the blanks as we go along. There are a lot of new shows, and if you watched the Emmys, you saw some of this years newbies win some awards as well as some of the old standbys. So here we go, another season, cross your fingers for some great programming.


September 7
10:00 PM
Sons of Anarchy (FX)

September 8
8:00 PM
America's Next Top Model (CW)

9:00 PM
Hellcats (CW) New Vancouver

10:00 PM
Terriers (FX) New San Diego

September 9
8:00 PM
The Vampire Diaries (CW)

9:00 PM
Nikita (CW) New Toronto

September 11
8:00 PM
Cops (Fox)

9:00 PM
America's Most Wanted (Fox)

September 13
8:00 PM
90210 (CW)Los Angeles
9:00 PM
Gossip Girl (CW)Los Angeles
September 14
8:00 PM
One Tree Hill (CW)

9:00 PM
Life Unexpected (CW)

10:00 PM
Parenthood (NBC)

September 15
8:00 PM
Survivor: Nicaragua (CBS)Nicaragua

10:00 PM
Outlaw (NBC) New

September 16
10:00 PM
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX)Los Angeles & Philadelphia
The Apprentice (NBC)

10:30 PM
The League (FX)

September 19
8:00 PM
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) New

September 20
8:00 PM
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)

House (Fox)

Chuck (NBC)

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)

8:30 PM
Rules of Engagement (CBS)

9:00 PM
Lone Star (Fox) New Dallas

The Event (NBC) New

Two and a Half Men (CBS)Los Angeles
9:30 PM
Mike & Molly (CBS) New

10:00 PM
Castle (ABC)

Chase (NBC) New

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)Hawaii

September 21
8:00 PM
Glee (Fox)

The Biggest Loser (NBC)


9:00 PM
Raising Hope (Fox) New

NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS)Los Angeles

9:30 PM
Running Wilde (Fox) New

10:00 PM
Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC) New

September 22
8:00 PM
Hell's Kitchen (Fox)

The Middle (ABC)

Undercovers (NBC) New

8:30 PM
Better With You (ABC) New

9:00 PM
Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

Criminal Minds (CBS)

Modern Family (ABC)Los Angeles
9:30 PM
Cougar Town (ABC)

10:00 PM
The Whole Truth (ABC) New Los Angeles

The Defenders (CBS) New

September 23
8:00 PM
My Generation (ABC) New

Bones (Fox)

Community (NBC)

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)

8:30 PM
30 Rock (NBC)

S#*! My Dad Says (CBS) New Los Angles

9:00 PM
Fringe (Fox)

Grey's Anatomy (ABC)

The Office (NBC)


9:30 PM
Outsourced (NBC) New

10:00 PM
Private Practice (ABC)

The Mentalist (CBS)Los Angeles
September 24
8:00 PM
Smallville (CW)

School Pride (NBC) New

Medium (CBS)

9:00 PM
The Good Guys (Fox)

Supernatural (CW)

Dateline (NBC)


10:00 PM
20/20 (ABC)

Blue Bloods (CBS) New New York

September 25
10:00 PM
48 Hours Mystery (CBS)

September 26
7:00 PM
America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC)

7:30 PM
60 Minutes (CBS)

8:00 PM
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)

The Simpsons (Fox)

8:30 PM
The Cleveland Show (Fox)

The Amazing Race (CBS)

9:00 PM
Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Family Guy (Fox)

Dexter (Showtime)

10:00 PM
Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

Undercover Boss (CBS)

Bored to Death (HBO)

10:30 PM
Eastbound & Down (HBO)

September 28
8:00 PM
No Ordinary Family (ABC) New

The Good Wife (CBS)New York

September 29
10:00 PM
Law & Order: Los Angeles (NBC) New Los Angeles

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I Had a Dog for a Week

I had a dog for a week, and she made me realize why I love animals so much. My husband Bob and I took care of my daughter's dog while she luxuriated at a spa in Newport Beach. She is starting a new position the end of this month and it will be some time before she can relax so thoroughly again. This daughter of mine has soared very high in the corporate world. I watched her progress over the years and recognized the drive she had was a gift or a curse she inherited from me.

I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid, and some place along the way I forgot that was my goal. I ended up in Wall Street, a far place from a vet's office. I see most people taking those radical turn-arounds because life gets in the way of dreams. So we settle, and we are lucky if we feel blessed even if we aren't living out our dream.

So this little dog I borrowed for a week was a pleasant reminder of what I might have done with my life. She slept on our bed at night and I felt a sense of well being having her there. No regrets, because I have been truly blessed. I hope my daughter feels the same way.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Something for Everyone

This weekend at the movies has something for just about everyoe so it probably will be good for the multiplexes. Unfortunately, none of the top three contenders were filmed here. That's becoming old news isn't it?

If you're a young man, or old guy who remembers Rocky and Rambo fondly, The Expendables is for you; if you're a woman of any age, you will probably enjoy Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love; and if you're young, you'll probably like Scott Pilgrim. Filmed from Brazil to Bali to Toronto, these flics put on a lot of frequent flyer miles.

Maybe next week there will be a filmed in California movie we can go to several times to make up for the dearth of possibilities this week.


At Least the Dutch Like to Film in California

Although the statistics for the last year are not available, if the trend continues less than half of the commercials shot in this country will be shot in California. There are no tax incentives available for the producers of commercials, but listen to how a dutch commercial maker feels about California.

First, the fact that the dollar is on the weak side works in our favor, making shooting here relatively cheaper. The other factors working for us are the diversity of locations, the wealth of experienced crews and the abundance of sunny days.

"LA has the very best professionals and the best crews in the world. You can always go someplace cheaper, but I don't think it's always better - when you shoot in LA, everything goes really smooth."

That's a potent statement. I think it's valid. How do we get that message across to a broader spectrum of commercial producers everywhere? This dutch producer who is quoted above is coming back again this year for another client. I need to get someone from the City Council to meet and greet him.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Drip Drip Drip

The sink in my guest bathroom leaks, slowly. At least I thought it was leaking slowly. I kept telling my husband Bob that even a slow leak adds up to a big loss over time. To prove my point, I closed the drain one morning to see how long it would take the sink to fill up. It didn't take long. When I came home in the afternoon, the sink was full. That's what's happening with film production. It is drip drip dripping away. And though we may pat ourselves on the back when a show like NCIS Los Angeles is shooting out on the streets of Los Angeles, it doesn't move the needle enough to slow down the loss. Once again production days last week were less than a year ago. Not by a lot, just ten total film days less. But after long enough, the sink will be full of those lost production days, and you're not going to get them back my friends, without some drastic measures. We need a plumber.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There Are 42 Film Schools in California

There are probably some that I missed, but based on a quick review, there seems to be a lot of film schools and a lot of students in California with their eye on a career in films. My granddaughter is one of those students, but she is having second thoughts about her career path. If you can't get a job, you don't have a career, right? She has one year to go at Cal State University in Long Beach, and she is starting to wonder if she made a mistake focusing on the film industry. She wants to be a film editor; she is wonderfully competent, hard working, very creative, and would be good at many different things. But she picked film. Now what?

I've always believed that 'it's easier to ride a horse in the direction he is going'. Most of us don't have the strength and determination to get that huge animal to turn around and go where we want it to go. Does she? Does she have the passion to succeed in the face of a dismal forecast? She says not, I hope otherwise. Are all 42 schools training students for an industry that will fail them unless they move out of state? What a shame if that is our reality.


Monday, August 9, 2010

What Did I Tell You?

Remember I was just talking about how we're seduced into going to a movie because of clever marketing. This weekend was a good example. The Other Guys took first place at the box office, but exit interviews gave the movie a B-Now keep in mind, the people that went to this movie are most likely Will Farrell fans. I do think Farrell is a funny guy, but wouldn't you be disappointed after spending all that money for a movie and mortgaged your house to buy a bathtub of pop corn, to walk out and say, hey that was great, I give it a B-. The trailers on TV looked funny: do they just take the funny parts and put them in the trailer and leave the unfunny bits for the rest of the movie? Oh well, what can you expect, it was filmed in NY, right?

Inception came in second: the dance flick came in third; and, Flipped had a disappointing limited release in the LA area.

Making movies must be like cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. So much work, such high hopes, and then it's over.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Do Brain Exercises

It's not a coincidence that I'm telling you I do brain exercises on the day I'm supposed to blog about television production. I'm not suggesting I need to do brain exercises because I watch TV, although much of what I watch doesn't add anything to my IQ or store of knowledge. The only thing that TV adds is pounds to my ass. But still I choose to watch some pretty mind numbing/brain draining shows.

My daughters gave me a nifty package of brain exercises that is supposed to improve my brain's functionality by 300%. I've been doing these exercises almost daily for two months, and I have to tell you that I think I am getting sharper. Hooray for that. Does that mean that I've gotten too smart to accept the standard fare on TV? Probably not. But why aren't any of us more selective? When I pick a book to read, I am careful to read reviews, follow authors I have enjoyed in the past, ask my friends what they are reading that's good. But TV? I'm not so selective. If I had to pay for every show I watched, would I be more careful? Maybe. But I'm spending my time, isn't that more valuable than money?

I'm trying to convince you to watch TV shows that are filmed here, or at least check them out to see if you might like them, but I don't get into their worthiness as good fertilizer for the mind. Frankly, most of what's on TV isn't going to stimulate anything to grow.

And what's this about summer programming. Why do I feel it's a desert out there from June to September. Has anyone seen anything worthwhile on TV this summer? Is it all reruns and talent shows? At least I'm reading a good book, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett who usually writes spy novels. It's about the building of a cathedral in England in the middle of the twelfth century. A TV series has been made of the book, and even though it was filmed in Austria and Hungary, Ridley Scott had a hand in it, and it is showing right now on Starz. I may wait for it to go to DVD so I can finish the book and watch the series in one sitting. The book is absolutely excellent. So now I'm suggesting what you should read too. Such arrogance.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Are We Going to Like Our New World Better?

I am 38% through the book The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity. according to my Kindle. And I did say I would share, but I wonder how willing any of us are to accept what may be our new reality. According to this book, we are in a "shift from an economy based on making things to one that revolves around knowledge and creativity." We seem to want to do both, create and make.

We are having so much trouble competing in the manufacture of things but we continue to try and that makes me wonder if we have accepted our prospective new role in the world order. I don't think so, or why would we have risked so much of our nation's wealth to prop up the auto industry, which may never be competitive? Unless we can use our knowledge and creativity to figure out how to make a car that is so unique and compelling that people will be willing to pay extra to own it, we are not facing the reality that we can not be competitive doing the same as everyone else. Isn't it better and certainly more interesting to be the brains of the world rather than the labor force? Let emerging economies raise their standards of living through their own industrial revolution. Let us think up wonderful, cool new things, cure disease and poverty, lead a green revolution, you get the idea.

In the long run, we would have been better off if we had sent all the automotive workers to school to learn new skills rather than spend billions propping up a manufacturing wet dream. These thoughts are my own, fertilized by the ideas of economists much smarter than I am. I have only my own sense of what is the right direction, but it frequently seems at odds with the direction we are taking. It makes me a little uneasy. Does anyone else see that the emperor is not wearing anything?

So much for this Saturday's potluck, I'll look for a happier subject for next week.


Don't Flip Over Dinner

In other words, Flipped was filmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Dinner for Schmucks was filmed in LA. And The Other Guys was filmed in New York. Those are some of our choices this weekend if we are planning a movie going outing. And of course you can go see Inception, again, and again and again.

Timing of release is so important that there must be hordes of analysts at every distributing company, holding their finger to the wind, their ear to the ground and their fingers on your pulse. Wide release or limited? Where is it likely to play well and not so well based on subject and star. So many factors come in to play and so much money is spent to market these films leading up to their release. It's a bit like political campaigns; we are bombarded with political commercials and movie previews. They are packaged similarly, so you end up voting for a candidate or going to see a movie based on a snippet that may not have anything to do with the whole picture in either case.

Are we lazy, or just busy. Why do we let others woo and seduce us with bright and shiny objects that don't serve us or entertain us? Look a little further and make up your own mind.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Met a Producer Today

Producers don't usually walk through the door of my little shop, but he was there to see my clairvoyant about becoming his agent. See, I knew I'd get your attention. You have to stop by Boku on a Thursday night, I have the most interesting guests.

Anyway, the producer made a movie called Charlie Valentine. It's going directly to DVD, but if you Google it, you can see the trailer. It's an action flick that looks interesting, and yes, it was filmed right here.

I asked the producer why he filmed in LA, his response, "this is where all the talent is; it's so much easier, and you can go home at night. If you film somewhere else, you end up spending so much money flying people in and putting them up in a hotel, it turns out not to be worth any incentives offered." I would have kissed him, but his wife was with him.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Know Jerry Bruckheimer's Skating Teacher

That's as close as I have ever gotten to Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful people in Hollywood. We both grew up in Michigan, and what else are you going to do there in the winter. You learn to skate.

The number of production days were up last week, over 8%. We can give Mr. Bruckheimer some of the credit for stemming the flow of lost production. As one of his execs said, "we work hard to keep shows in Los Angeles in order to help the local economy and to keep industry jobs in town". All right! Question of the day: do you want to be as successful as Bruckheimer? Shoot in California, numb nuts!

Bruckheimer's latest foray is called The Whole Truth. It's about court cases, based in NY, but filmed in LA baby. How do they make California look like New York? I lived there for 20 years, and I don't know how you make California blue sky a dirty NY gray everyday, and what do you do about garbage; just back up a garbage truck and dump it all over the street before starting to film? God bless them. You have to watch this show when it launches.

There's another reason to support this show. Maura Tierney has joined the cast. You may not recognize her name, but you will know her face and be pleased to watch her perform. Maura is a new breast cancer survivor. Proof positive that breast cancer can strike anyone, even the beautiful and the young. Through Susan G. Komen's efforts, the government has lowered the recommended age for a mammogram to age 40. When you see beautiful Maura, you'll under stand why.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Milkin Has a Handle on the Numbers

I remember Mike Milkin from his Drexel Burnham days. He was one of those shooting stars on Wall Street that shot straight up and came crashing down in prison. Known as the Junk Bond King, he liberated a lot of capital, but he neglected to follow some of the rules and ended up serving 2 years. After beating prostate cancer by fiddling with his testosterone levels, he rehabilitated him self in a large way. (That doesn't sound quite right, does it?)

One of the things Milken created was a think tank right here in Santa Monica that studies many things; the objective, to make this world a better place.

Last month the Milken Institute issued a report entitled Film Flight about the disastrous fall out from California's loss of film production to other states and countries. According to Milkin, since 1997, the high point for California film production, up to 2008, we have lost 36,000 film jobs and $2.4 billion in wages. His report doesn't have job numbers for this industry from 2009 - 2010. So heaven knows what it is now since the recession/depression hit and more production has left.

The report may be accessed at: www.milkininstitute.org/pdf/filmflight_execsum.pdf. It offers suggestions to the people running this state of what could be done to make California more competitive. The basic piece of advice is to extend the tax incentives permanently and to broaden their application. We don't have to offer the moon to these producers, a small star will keep them here. maybe a pastrami sandwich. Ask them! What will it take?


Monday, August 2, 2010

Sort of Lackluster at the Box Office

Respectable but slightly wimpy ticket sales this last weekend. For the third week in a row, Inception, partially filmed in LA led sales. People are going back a second and third time. Did they not get it the first time? Let's give our sweetie pie Steve Carell some love this week. I don't know what Dinner for Schmucks is about, I'm afraid to read up on it, but the previews look like vintage Carell and it was all filmed in LA.

I have to give Steve-O some of the credit for the fact that most of his work is filmed in LA. I'm sure he is big enough to call the location shots. In the case of Schmucks, however, tax credits were received from the state to the tune of about $6 million in savings, and that must have cemented the deal.

The 3-D sequel Cats and Dogs as well as Charlie St. Cloud were filmed in Vancouver. They showed very anemic sales. Nah nah na nah na. (Is that how you spell a razberry?)


Sunday, August 1, 2010


Home Box Office (HBO) is another cable channel to which I don't subscribe. So I never caught the Sex and the City or the Soprano's bug. I related to both from a distance because I lived in Manhattan, and even knew a few mafioso types when I lived in Brooklyn. But after spending some time researching where HBO films their series and miniseries, I realized I have missed a lot of quality TV viewing. Plus there are no commercials, which means uninterrupted viewing and more creative freedom because of the lack of sponsors to please.

HBO started out as a cable company in Manhattan in the 60's. Now look at them. They never leave an Emmy Show empty handed. I was expecting to see most of their production back east or overseas, but was pleasantly surprised to find that not to be the case. The California tax incentives are not available to TV producers, even when they are making full length features; hopefully that will be corrected in the future.

In the meantime, True Blood, perhaps HBO's most popular show, and another vampire saga, is filmed primarily in California, even though, as everyone knows, Louisiana is the usual home for those pointy toothed creatures. In fact, the story is based in Louisiana, and some of the opening shots are from a plantation located there. But guess what, HBO built a replica of the plantation in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Bon Temps graveyard and Sookies house are there too.

Big Love is another big HBO hit, and I was sure they must be filming in Utah, because it's about a polygamous family. Nope. Right here in Santa Clarita and at a bunch of other California locations. I haven't seen this show either, but I have seen the little boy who plays one of the characters. Actually he is twins and he shares the role with his brother. They were in my store the other day with their mother. They were quite the handful, but cute.

There is a new series that HBO is working on called Luck. It is filmed at the Santa Anita Racetrack and stars Dustin Hoffman. There's another called Tilda starring Ellen Page which is filming here too.

If anyone has a favorite HBO show they would like me to research, I'd be glad to give it the made in California test. So far, HBO is on my good list.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Someone told me once that we have all the time there is.

That's a powerful statement,somehow indicating we have some control over our time. Of course we don't know when our time is up. As my mother's doctor told me when she was to undergo surgery at the age of 95, "we never know what the terminal event will be...". Is someone in charge of our last event? Is there a big MSN Calendar that has my name and date and time of departure? Maybe not; I rather think our lives aren't micromanaged to that extent. But before that terminal event we do have control of how we spend our time and it is based on the choices we have made throughout our life. If you think that everybody but you has control of your time, it's time for you to take some of that control back. Make conscious choices every day based on what is important to you.

I made a conscious choice to post everyday, because I felt the subject matter of this blog had merit. I think I lasted eight days before I lost the thread of my commitment. No one's fault but my own. I did disappoint myself, but I didn't beat myself up. I've learned to be kind to myself and to forgive my shortcomings. When we say we don't have time for something, what we are really saying is that we don't want to do that thing. So why did I not want to do something I felt was important. Sorry, I don't have an answer. Am I lazy? Maybe. Do I procrastinate? Always. Do I over-schedule my time? Frequently. Am I going to do better? I sincerely hope so.

So here I am again, making a commitment to post everyday. Let's see how that goes.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pickings Are Slim

I'm on location this weekend; Camping with my family in Morro Bay. Haven't camped in forever, and tonight I'll be sleeping in a super deluxe tent set up for Bob and I with a window that looks out on the surf.

I looked and looked for a new release that was filmed in California, and the pickings aren't just slim, they are non-existent. The two front runners are Salt, filmed in Washington DC and New York, and Ramona and Beezus filmed in Vancouver.

This is a short one today, I'm outside and it's hard to see the screen. I'll let you know how camping works out. It's way out of my comfort zone, but I'm a good sport, I think.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Have a Big Mac

I have a soft spot in my hear for McDonald's. Not because I indulge in a Big Mac very often, it just isn't on my diet plan. I do see them making an effort to provide healthier food, and at least give the consumer a fair warning about what they're consuming. I applaud them for that. But, the soft spot comes from the fact that they provide a lot of free food for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Los Angeles every year.

Now the frosting on the burger, McDonald's films their commercials here too.

Commercial filming is looking for tax incentives like everyone else. It's not a little business. According to Matt Miller the President of the Commercial Producers Association, commercial production employs an estimated 10,000 people in the LA area and supports about 220 companies; California is losing out to states that offer tax incentives and rebates that reduce the costs to producers.

Everybody wants a tax incentive, maybe we should simply lower taxes across the board. All of you in favor say aye.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The number of film production days for all types of filming was down last week. I know about not watching the pot boil. Does water really take longer to boil if you watch it? Monitoring these numbers so closely may not help any, it's the trend. As they say in the stock market, the trend is your friend. Meaning that the past gives an indication of the future, so your actions will be guided accordingly. In the stock market you have all sorts of moving averages, and if one moving average crosses another, it means something either really great or really terrible.

I think I'm going to create a 50 day and a 200 day moving average for production days by category. Then we can identify the trend. My husband is a self-trained technical stock analyist. I think I'm going to put him to work. I'll let you know how that works out.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

California Film Commission

California has a film commission CFC that by it's own web site claims to be "your one-stop office for film and TV incentives, permitting, location assistance, and filming resources throughout California". It is my understanding that the CFC oversees the applications for the tax incentive fund established by California two years ago. Those tax incentives have been credited for slowing down the outward migration of film production. So apparently they are spreading the money around where it has done some good.

The CFC Board Meetings are open to the public, and when Jim Horwitz asked me if I wanted to attend, to see what the commission is doing and to learn more about the challenges we face in keeping production at home, I was on it. Who's going to mind the shop while I'm gone is something I'll figure out later. This sounded like something of value, particularly when I heard that an agenda item was the "public education campaign" and that a report would be given on "marketing/outreach activity". This sounds like something we might be able to help with. You think?

The meeting is in the AFTRA Conference Room on July 30th. I'll report back on what I learn.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception Wins by a Landslide

I guess it's no surprise that Inception won the movie audience lottery this week. I thought the race was between Sorcerer and Inception, but it didn't turn out that way: Despicable Me came in second.So much depends on how a movie is marketed, and how it is reviewed. All of the critics don't get to weigh in at that same time; some are able to see the movie earlier than others. So you tend to get sort of choppy results that tend to confuse prospective audiences. Maybe, if you rely on how the critics view a movie before you put down your hard earned dollar, it is better if you find a critic on your wave length and simply rely on that single voice.

So our partially filmed in California candidate beat out the rest. That's good.

I have a Kindle that I really appreciate. It's a bit of technology that I've grown to depend on and when it froze up last week, I was stressed. Amazon, who markets the Kindle, had a new reader in my hands the next day. I was impressed. That meant I was able to download a new book by a University of Toronto Professor, Richard Florida, titled "The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post Crash Prosperity". According to Professor Florida's research, California has the highest Creativity Index in America, which uniquely positions it to recover from this last economic downturn. The factors that result in California scoring so well on the Creativity Index which will help us power through the mess we are in: technology, talent and tolerance. He believes that our technology and entertainment industries and green lifestyles will be driving forces in our recovery.

I'll share the contents of his book over the next few weeks. What I know to be true is that we must not be afraid. The times they are a changing. How exciting is that?


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday is Potluck Day

Potluck means you don't know what you're going to get, therefore, Potluck Saturday's blog could be about anything. In fact, I am willing to entertain subject suggestions or even host a guest blogger.

You may have figured out I have a clothing boutique in Woodland Hills; I'm a fanatical advocate on women's health issues, especially breast cancer, and a big supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; I'm interested in politics and the economy; and I have a huge curiosity about quantum physics. So don't be surprised if those subjects are tossed into the pot on Saturday sooner or later.

What you'll hear about often is info about breast cancer, early detection and Susan G. Komen. I'm a twenty-three year survivor of breast and cervical cancer. I billed myself as "The Happiest Woman in the World" in a video I made on You Tube. Because that's just what and who I am; I have had an opportunity to live a long life because my cancers were detected early. And the gift of that important knowledge is what I have spend my life since trying to share.

Today, on Potluck Saturday, a dear, long time customer, came into my shop and told me her 42 year old sister has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer that has already metasticized. A lump was first noticed while she was pregnant just a few months ago; but the doctor brushed the symptom off with a cavalier, 'it's just a swelling in your milk duct'. Not true. Now she is caring for a two month old infant while undergoing chemotherapy for an agressive form of breast cancer.

I had a hand casted silver figure of a woman on a leather cord in the store that had been made a few years ago by an artist in Topanga. I gave it to my customer to give to her sister to wear as a reminder of all the women still living and thriving today. Even with metastatic cancers. Is that how anyone would choose to live their remaining years? If I had a tiny baby, I would.

This story has saddened me today, so I'm going to put the lid on the pot, because the taste is bitter.


Sunday is TV Fundamentals

I don't subscribe to Showtime, but I'm going to try it for the month of August. It costs $15.99 a month, but I think it may be worth it. Not only does Showtime have some critically acclaimed programing that frequently ends up receiving Emmys and Golden Globes, they are filming much of it in California. Weeds and Californication are both filmed here; Dexter is filmed here and in Miami; and the new reality show The Real L Word is also filmed here. As we get further into the season I will research more of Showtime's schedule, but this is a pretty good start.

One thing that Showtime seems to specialize in is dark comedy that skirts an outrageously fine line. All the way from a suburban mom who sells drugs, to a serial murderer who is trying to lead a normal life, to a writer who appears to have a sex addiction, to a reality show following six lesbians. Cable TV can't boast the audiences that the networks have, but by the blogosphere conversations, they engender some fanatical fans.

The only one of these shows I have seen is Dexter and I found the serial killer very appealing. I know that sounds strange, but if you watch it you'll see what I mean. Dexter is a serial killer with rules and principles; that doesn't make the killings right, but since he focuses on bad guys, somehow it becomes more acceptable.

I'm going to try to contact someone from Showtime. I want to understand the reasoning behind their decisions to shoot so much of their schedule here. If they can do it, why can't others? I'll get back to you on this one, but in the meantime, check out Showtime if you're tired of the more homogenized fare the networks provide.


Friday is Movie Review Day

There are two movies duking it out at the box office this weekend; only one of which was filmed here in California. At least Inception was partially filmed here. The other film vying for an audience is The Sorcerer's Apprentice filmed in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

I always think you should see a film before you review it, but I don't have that luxury, so I rely on a little help from my friends. Besides, I'm not critiquing these films per say, my main role is to alert you to which films are shot in California; however,I don't mind passing on the reviews of others as well as give you some other tidbits I've mined in my research.

Inception by far has received the strongest praise from the critics. It is very creative in it's plot; the idea of being able to enter someones dream life is actually quite scary. Since kids have problems with dreams anyway, it's probably not a good idea for them to see it. They would tend to take the concept literally if they understood it at all. The Sorcerer's Apprentice is more of a family film, and I understand that, whereas it's not great, it is entertaining. I have always enjoyed Nicholas Cage, and I like the idea that he is trying to make entertainment for the family. It was filmed in NY however, and even though I lived in Brooklyn for 20 years and would like to see my old neighborhood, it doesn't past the test for made in California movies.

Inception was filmed in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Calgary,Tokyo, and some other exotic location I don't recall. I know this Dark Knight Director is supposed to be a hot shot, but what is that all about. Is the movie so much better because he shot all over the globe? It's half special effects anyway isn't it? At least some of the production was shot in California, so add that fact to the good critic reviews, and go see Inception , but leave the kids at home.


Thursday is for Commercials

My husband, Bob, swears that the ratio of commercials to TV programming has finally reached the point where we are watching more ads than programs. I use the commercial breaks to do the dishes, cook dinner, do the laundry, paint the front porch; it's amazing how much work you can get done on a commercial break. So, I don't mind the number /length of commercials. In fact, since so many are filmed in California, I'm actually happy to see them proliferate.

During the last quarter, on-location commercial filming grew a whopping 35% over the same time frame in 2009. I don't know how much of that is due to Meg Whitman's political ad avalanche, but now that I think about it, I remember reading that she hired all sorts of pr/advertising support from outside California. Do you think that's true? What's that about Ms Meg?

I've mentioned some of the companies that film commercials here in past blogs. You can add to that list, Chevron, Ford, AT&T, Nike, Adidas, and Miller Lite. But, it goes beyond whether or not a commercial was filmed in California. We really need to support that whole made in the USA campaign. You probably know that our trade deficit is growing again. But do you know that we pay less for Chinese imports than the Chinese people pay at home? Are they trying to create such a dependency on their products that we give up all of our production facilities here and then they'll jack the price up for us too? China is an old, old country; they have a long planning horizon. Are they setting us up? Probably.

Back to the commercials filmed in California. Have you seen the new Ford Mustang?


Wednesday is Numbers Day

Last week overall production days for TV, film and commercial shoots was down over 14% from last year. However, love that word however, because it spells hope. However means, forget about what I just told you because there's something more going on that sounds better.

This sounds better. FilmLA released a report on Tuesday that shows "across the board gains for on-location filming of movies, commercials and TV shows in the three months that ended June 30." Remember, a production day is one crew's permission to film at a single location over a 24 hour period. In the second quarter of 2009, production days numbered 9,597; compare that to 1,134 production days in the same quarter for 2010. That's a good, fat, juicy however.

One driving factor in the increase has been the tax credit program enacted by the State of California last year. So far 16 productions have taken advantage of the tax credit. Would they have filmed here anyway? Who knows. What we have to keep in mind is that California must continue to come up with innovative ways to make this State competitive. If you are in a position to ask Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown or any of your elected officials what their position is on tax incentives for the film industry, we can help position this issue up front where it needs to be. Ms Whitman put out a comprehensive marketing piece that focuses on her position on jobs and tax incentives for everybody else, but no mention of the film industry. And as for Jerry, he hasn't even begun to campaign, so who knows where he stands.

Let's be pesky.


Tuesday is for Looking at Production

People ask me, how can you write on a subject of which you know absolutely nothing? Geez guys, that hurts. Another question I get is, how can you possibly make a difference, when all the leaders in the entertainment industry are pretty certain that it's too late to reverse the trend and bring film production back to California. Now you're really making me mad.

The answer to the first question is, there's very little that one can't find out through research. And eavesdropping. I don't claim to be an expert on anything really, but I am good at listening and asking questions.

One of my resources is a data base I subscribe to called Below the Line; it's a wealth of information about all of the productions and where they are being filmed. Jim Horwitz from City Councilman Rosendahl's office suggested that it could be a good source of identifying projects that hadn't made a location decision yet. And perhaps we could identify actions the City might take to make it more attractive to film here. This data base is what I refer to when I recommend that you at least consider a film or TV show that has been filmed in California. So, now you know I'm not just guessing.

As for the question about making a difference or swimming up stream, or banging my head against the wall. Maybe that can best be answered by telling you that I am a Taurus, stubborn as heck and I never ever give up what I believe in. People have a right to work if they want to, and the precious natural resource that is the California film industry is a treasure trove of jobs. I think we have to secure that natural resource and I'm looking for ways to help make that a reality.

An old Chinese saying suggests that you should never tell someone who is doing a job, that it cannot be done.


Monday is for Counting the House

Every Monday I will give you an update on the movie or movies that cleaned up over the weekend and where they were produced/filmed.This last weekend it was all about a clever, 3D animated film titled Despicable Me. I watched the previews on TV and it tickled my fancy a bit. I am a huge Steve Carroll fan; he plays the #2 biggest villain in the world who has plans to steal the moon until three little orphan girls get under his skin and lodge firmly in his heart. According to some of the critics, it played a little weak to adults, but was loved by the audiences to the tune of over $60 million at the box office, knocking the Twilight sequel back into the deep woods.

I'm glad that Universal Pictures has an animation hit on their hands through the new animation label Illumination Entertainment; I'm sorry that they felt they had to contract the animation work out to a French company (money again). At least they hired a 67 piece ensemble from the Hollywood Hills Symphony.


Picking up the Pace

Now that I have gotten more comfortable with the concept of blogging, I realize that it's time to step up my game. I'm going to develop a regular schedule for regurgitating into cyberspace, like everyday. Do I have that much to say? I have no idea, but, if I don't take myself too seriously, maybe it will be fun.

Last week, feature film production was down 27% over last year. That's pathetic and sad, and scary and disheartening. I had to layoff the last of my sales staff in my store. My customers are not working and they look a little green around the gills. And that's not even this year's fashion color.

I don't want another politician to tell me things are getting better. I'll let them know when things are getting better. And it ain't happening yet.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


It occurred to me that you might not know what FilmLA does for the community. You can go to their website www.filmla.com and learn a lot about what they do as well as why LA county is a great place to film. But here are a few facts I lifted from their mission statement page which gives you a good idea of FilmLA's value.

"FilmLA, Inc. is a non-profit, public benefit corporation that acts as a crucial link serving production companies and the communities in which they film."

Not only do they provide a one-stop location for a producer to obtain all the permits needed, they help to resolve issues that the producer may have and act as a liaison between producer, the community and local governments.

Their mission is to help create a collaborative environment between all of the principal players so that the Los Angeles area retains its worldwide leadership position in film, TV and commercial production. Some may say the horse is long gone, and the barn door is hanging from one hinge. FilmLA is one member of the posse that doesn't think so.


Atlas Shrugged

Who is John Gault? Remember that? With the economy in the tank and people leery of the growing governmental beauracracy, it is no wonder someone thought of remaking Atlas Shrugged. Atlas was a paean to individualism. It should be interesting to see how it plays against the background of today's problems. But I'm not writing about it because of it's message, although I think it will resonate with many. I mention it because it's being filmed in Los Angeles.

In fact, quite a few things were filmed in LA the latter part of June. That's the good news. FilmLA keeps track of overall production days in three categories: feature films, TV and commercials. Usually the number of production days in the feature film category are flat or down from the same period last year. The week ending June 27th 2010 was up 9% over the same period in 2009. Don't ask me to tell you how it compares with 5 - 10 years ago. It will make me cry. And I refuse to cry on the 4th of July. It's a day to celebrate the wonderful country that we are blessed to live in.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Welcome Home Happy Cows

Remember when I told you back on April 24th that all those California cows had lost their jobs because the 'happy cow' commercials were going to be filmed in New Zealand? Well, bless State Assemblyman Ted W. Lieu from Torrance who introduced a bill that basically says that if a commercial is promoting a California product and California tax dollars are being used to make the commercial, it had better darn well be shot in California. Amen. Step right into the Hero's Hall of Filmed in California Fame, Mr Lieu.
Maybe the funniest part of this story is that the Milk Advisory Board, who made the decision to shoot in New Zealand, claim that they were still going to use California cows in the commercials. Right. Tell me another cow story.

Now drink your milk and go to bed.


Some Issues Discussed with IFTA

I mentioned before I fell off a cliff that I had a really great meeting with the President and CEO of the Independent Film and Television Alliance. It's taken me this long to write up the notes, and as I promised, I am sharing them with you.
Fact Finding Mission

Identifying What can be Done to Keep Film Production in California

June 15, 2010

Meeting Participants:

Jean M. Prewitt - President and Chief Executive Officer - IFTA
Jim Horwitz - Advisor to LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl
Sharon Spencer Schlesinger - Council District 11 Volunteer


Identify specific actions that the LA City Council could take to encourage individual film productions to remain in California.


There are many groups, organizations, and individuals that have come to the obvious conclusion that California has lost it’s premier position as film capital of the world, or at a minimum had the foundation of that industry severely undermined. Horwitz who has the support of Bill Rosendahl, LA City Council from the 11th District is meeting with various industry leaders to identify what the City can do to make it easier/more feasible to film in California. Schlesinger is a small business owner who has seen the devastating economical impact of unemployment and agreed to volunteer for this fact finding mission.

Preliminary Findings from the Meeting with IFTA:

Jean Prewitt, as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) provided insight into the issues faced by the independent film producers and what real world solutions might make a difference.

According to Prewitt, “California is coming late to the party…” They’re drinking our milkshake to paraphrase a recent movie line. The ‘they’ meaning, many other states in the US as well as countries around the globe.

We are not marketing ourselves to the international producing community. Other states and countries are actively pitching their locations in the different international film markets. In November 2010, the American Film Market (AFM) will be held at the Loew’s in Santa Monica. Prewitt has never seen anyone marketing California. Will anyone be there? Do we have comprehensive marketing materials that show why anyone would want to film here? All of the progress that the LA City Council, Film LA, the State, the CA Film Commission and others have made needs to be quantified in collateral materials that explain why producers should film here from all around the world.

California’s true advantage is in it’s wealth of choices: many locations have one production facility, California has a myriad of facilities. That is just for starters. But if we don’t market ourselves, we will continue to lose market share.

Seventy percent of films are made by independent film makers, yet they cannot make their own deals with the unions. They are required to follow the same contracts that have been negotiated by the studios. In 2000 there was a failed attempt to negotiate a separate contract between the unions and the independent film makers. Independent film producers have been able to make use of California’s Tax Incentive Programs because the majority of their films have budgets of less than $75 million which is the cut off for application to that program.

Ms Prewitt stated that CA is “not that bad a place to film”. In fact, she suggested that we focus on the number of amazing films that have been made in California. Tourists and producers alike might find a tour of film sights exciting and thought provoking. What better marketing tool do we have than the catalogue of diverse work that has been filmed here.

It was suggested that we look at the comparisons of the different jurisdictions that each producer considers when making a decision as to location for filming. (Usually the comparison is between three different jurisdictions) It would give us some idea of the factors used to made that decision, although at the end of the day the question is, “can you make your numbers?”

Two markets we might focus on are the TV movies of the week made by Lifetime, Sci-Fi, Bravo, Oxygen. Most are made in Canada and the goal is to deliver a movie that looks like it had a budget of $1.5 million for just $750 thousand.

Some additional leaders in the industry that might help us understand the issues are:

NuImage Trevor Short, Avi Lerner, and Danny Dimbort
Cinetel Paul Hertzberg
Morgan Creek

Two other issues of concern discussed were piracy and media consolidation.


Ms Prewitt was generous with her time and very open. She is on the Board of FilmLA and is a supporter of the effort to make California more competitive to the entertainment industry.

Respectfully submitted
Sharon Spencer Schlesinger

Monday, June 28, 2010

Out of the Loop

Now I know I can't fly. Silly me, tried it anyway. I wanted to spend some quality time with Bob, my husband, on Father's Day. So, we picked up a picnic lunch at Bristol Farms and took our grandma & grandpa chairs to a beach in Malibu. The only problem that we ran into is that I fell picking my way over the rocks on my way down to the beach. And I really can't fly, not even close. I took such a tumble that I must be graced with a fast thinking guardian angel who guided me to the only tiny patch of sand in the middle of a huge rocky patch or I would have been in deep doodoo.
People came running, wanting to help or maybe see if there was any blood splatter. Bob was standing on the top of the hill, not knowing how to get down the hill as quickly as I had, and frustrated because of it.
We have two of a lot of body parts for reasons we take for granted. I've been without the use of my left arm for a week. It's only sprained, but it is a useless appendage. All I can really do is waggle my fingers a little. I haven't been able to write because I haven't figured out how to hold down the shift key with my nose. So if there are no caps in this piece, you know why.
I am grateful that I wasn't hurt seriously, but really disappointed to find I really can't fly. Maybe if I lose some weight?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Learned a Lot Yesterday

Yesterday, Jim Horwitz from LA City Council Bill Rosendahl's office, and I met with Jean M. Prewitt, President and CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. Ms Prewitt was gracious and forthcoming about the problems of the film industry, and about the campaign Jim and I have started to keep production in California. I want to remind my readers that Jim and I are both passionate about the subject, but such outsiders in the industry that when someone of Ms Prewitt's background and position so generously gives of her time and experience it is more a statement about her kindness than about anything Jim or I bring to the table. I feel as if I just took a master's class.

I can't wait to share everything we learned and what we plan to do. But, for the moment, I need to collect my thoughts a bit. I just wanted to share my excitement.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are Things Really Getting Better?

I've always been an optimist. And I'm not going to change. I know things will get better eventually (economically speaking), but this is painful! I wonder that we sit passively by and wait for better days. We just went to the polls and expressed disenchantment with some incumbent office holders; is that it?

I saw a bit on a news show about a small community in Florida that banded together to build a barricade of barges to keep the oil spill from damaging their beaches. It worked. Government and Coast Guard alike were reluctant to let the town go ahead with their barge plan. The head of the group told the powers that "we're going to do it anyway." And they did.

I started this blog because I perceived a way to encourage producers to film here, creating local employment, by trying to build an audience of Californians grateful to watch their products if they were filmed here. Will it make a difference? All I know for certain is that I will not stop trying.

What else can we do as individuals? Do you have ideas? It really is up to us you know.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Did You Notice?

The Fall TV schedule is shaping up nicely to include less reality and more fiction. Scripted shows tend to be more expensive to produce. I mean how expensive can Big Brother be, they never go anywhere. Amazing Race may be more pricey, especially now that airlines charge for every little thing, but Survivor? No budget for stylist or caterers there. But in general, reality shows cost less to produce, and consequently employ fewer people. So it is good news to see that we have some interesting new fictional fare to sample this Fall. The advertisers must like it too. Scripted shows, especially the family type of drama or comedy are more predictable and the sleaze factor can be controlled better.

I'll let you know where the new slate of shows will be filming. All I ask is that you check out those that are filmed in California.