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.