Friday, May 20, 2016

If we build it, will they come?

Tax credits fund movies filmed in Mississippi, yet the movies rarely seem to make it to the big screen.  The film tax credits are often used for commercials as well.  The Sun-Herald questioned the film tax credit program in Mississippi earlier this week:

For the past six years, the state has been betting movies could give the state an economic development boost. And, it put together one of the country's most attractive packages of incentives to nurture the film industry.

The results have been mixed at best. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says the industry likely has just one more year to prove its worth.

"The PEER report said it returns 49 cents for every dollar invested by the state," said Reeves. He said the Legislature extended the repealer in the movie incentives bill for another year but "it's got to return more to the general fund than it takes out."

The Film Office, which gets its almost $400,000 of annual operating money from the budget of Visit Mississippi, the tourism wing of the Mississippi Development Authority, spends about a third of that money on marketing. The rest goes to salaries and fringe benefits.

"The MFO is focusing on developing its film infrastructure from the ground up in a manner similar to the integrated approach used in Canada (where filmmakers went to escape the high cost of Hollywood)," the Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review wrote in its report. "The Legislature has tailored the incentive program to attract lower budget and independent films. The MFOis hoping to expand the film industry workforce and infrastructure in the same manner as Canada by focusing on sustainable employment opportunities and creating a competitive edge by focusing on a specific market."

People trying to get the industry off the ground on the Coast say the state has neither the infrastructure nor workforce to attract a steady stream of films, independent or otherwise. And, independent movies don't have a big budget and salaries for the crew are generally low.

Studio didn't make it

The only film studio on the Coast folded without ever landing a movie deal.

"The timing just wasn't right," said Paula Lindsay, one of the owners of Mississippi Gulf Coast Studios, which took over the old skate park in Gulfport but went out of business after less than two years. "We partnered with a gentleman named Michael DeLorenzo out of Santa Clarita Studios. He owns one of the largest studios in California.

"He has all the equipment and everything and he couldn't get anyone to come to the (Gulfport) studio. I think it's mainly because of the infrastructure here.

"We came in hoping we could work with the state and getting funding for education and we met a few times with the colleges and they were very helpful and very excited but we never could get anything to stick."

She said the smaller productions that are coming here don't require a studio. She said a lot of other people seemed interested but backed out before ever seeing the studio. And she said one reason is the state lacks enough people trained in the highly technical aspects of filmmaking....  Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

There's only so many films that can be set in 1940/50/60's America.

Gays and Liberals control the money in Los Angeles-they don't want to come here to film.

OR the film unions (actors, writers, producers) don't want to film here due to the anti-union climate of the state.

They've read the Clarion-Ledger every day and don't want some thug to steal the equipment and pawn it on HWY80.

OR-it's just another example of Mississippi Corporate Welfare that's going to fail.

Anonymous said...

it's somewhat laughable.......our government can not even successfully deliver what it's core purpose is, and they continue to flirt with something that has more than proven does not work.

Anonymous said...

Becoming a film destination is a long-term project that involves very competitive incentives AND available talent (crews, etc...). If we want films, we have to have educated/experienced crews. To have that you have to get films consistently to seed experienced personnel AND you need to be cranking out graduates from a JUCO program. Once you do those things, you can count on a steady stream of films - until someone else with talent one-ups you with incentives.
There was an opportunity to slide into a film slot fove or so years ago, but that opportunity has passed. We should always work with those who want to film here (provided we don't give away the farm), but we need to move-on from making film recruitment a priority for MS. We're better off spending most of that $ on matching tourism grants.

Anonymous said...

Sort of a catch 22. We have our leaders deciding to give our tax money away trying to bring people to Ms. then passing laws that keep many people from wanting to visit Ms.
They need to decide which they want to do. Pick a side and get off the fence.

Ships With No Sails said...

Look! Over there! A unicorn! No! It's a goos that lays gold eggs!

That this crap would work is just another example of goofball dreams that originate under tin-foil hats worn by blind sailors on lost ships. Ships piloted by day-dreamers like Malcolm White and Ben Allen. Windmills mounted on ships sitting in the desert.

Anonymous said...

^^^ 11:10

Anonymous said...

We could bring back Andy Griffith Show. Barney is still around (serving as governor).

Anonymous said...

All the economic incentives in the world will not overcome our stupidity in the legislature and governors office. they are all a bunch of dimwits.

Anonymous said...

A cost-benefit analysis was done in Louisiana last year. For all the hype, the tax incentives provided were far higher than any revenue produced by the movies filmed or TV shows produced.

Anonymous said...

11:45, calling you an idiot doesn't even begin to cover it. These two men, especially Malcolm, are visionaries that work for progress. Just stay your dumb and happy little self in your dark and lonely basement. Thank the Lord you're not in charge of anything.

Anonymous said...

Spending on lobyists pays off at 50 or 100 to one. So why these corporations and politicians are interested in the movie scam?

Anonymous said...

The movie Same Kind of Different As Me will tell the tale as to whether we should legitimately continue down this road. Relatively sizable budget with some big name actors/actresses. It comes out in February 2017 and I believe Paramount is the Producer.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of bringing back the Andy Griffith show. My suggestions for casting should save money as they are already in the state:

Barney - Feel Bryant
Goober - Feelip Gunn
Floyd - Tater
Gomer - Sen. Harkin
Otis - Sen. Burton (that was too hard to pass up)

Anonymous said...

So two-thirds of the film office budget goes to salaries and benefits and only a third to actually marketing the state as location for filming. Either the film office is overstaffed or the people there are overpaid.

And to the poster who called Malcolm White a visionary...child please. He's a glorified bartender who started a parade that attracts a bunch of drunks. How he ever landed the tourism job is a mystery. Then he quits and gets the job back when he realized how much he missed getting paid those state dollars and retirement benefits for doing nothing but giving pie-in-the-sky speeches.

Anonymous said...

The creative expression award goes to 11:45.

Anonymous said...

Having done a fair amount of film work in MS -- on the talent & production side -- I can tell you that the incentive package was well-intended, but has been a net loser as it has been in most states, Louisiana and Georgia being the exceptions.

There is a very small pool of crew; you see the same folks on every set, whether it's a short or a commercial or a low budget/high budget feature. The film office has worked hard with local community colleges to try & build the workforce. There's some interest, but not enough. And it's kind of a chicken and egg thing: Not enough consistent work to support a big enough crew work force. Not enough local workforce to consistently support bigger-budget projects. I promise, I went to monthly production luncheons for 2 years. I think the bottom line is population.

Gays and Liberals control the money in Los Angeles-they don't want to come here to film.

Tate Taylor doesn't seem to have a problem with it. See, e.g., The Help and Get on Up.

Plenty of gays and liberals in the film scene here, too.

Look! Over there. A Unicorn... said...

@ 12:34 - The results are in the puddin'. That your two examples of leadership support this insane concept speaks volumes for their value to this community. So, I'm an idiot for stating the obvious, pointing out frivolity and identifying two of its major cheerleaders? Get back to your begonias and leftover Subway sammich.

Anonymous said...

A 'visionary'? Here; Hold my Pepsi. I'm 'bout to fall out.

And I never even thought about the man eventually drawing state retirement for this meaningless gig. Goot Lawd a'Mercy!

Anonymous said...

FYI the man who backed the film ,Same Kind of Different, is from Jackson and is still trying to get his s tax credit money that was promised by MDA! Also I'm still trying to get paid by the film crews who ordered equipment and paid all but last invoice then packed up and left the state! Now we can't get them on phone and they are gone and other film crews always want to use us but want to pay pennies for us to bring equipment to remote sites , we negotiate then when they get bill they want it to be renegotiated! It's not great for business because MDA cheapened our state with incentives and breaks now they run all over us and don't pay! It's a bad business model created by MDA ! Also as far as Malcolm and Ben , I don't drink their kool aid! Both are snake oil salesmen!

Anonymous said...

Does this PEER study include money made directly by the state or do they calculate the total generated by the movie on motels, food, etc,? What about on going tourism to the set locations? I've met multiple people who came to MS to see where "Oh Brother..." was filmed. I provided them with a Google map to the locations and it gets a lot of hits from people looking up the locations. I also worked on "Get On Up" and "Same Kind of Different As Me" and got my share of the movie star pie... I wonder if they calculated my share in their total ROI?

Anonymous said...

Nip it!

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