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In my last blog post, I talked about the new state production incentives offered by Michigan to try and aggressively bring more film and television productions to Michigan. I’m sure many of you are wondering, what about Hollywood? What are the advantages and production incentives offered for those who shoot in California?
I’m being sarcastic with the title of this post as I’m sad to report that the only state production incentives offered by the state of California is a five percent sales tax exemption on the purchase or lease of post-production equipment for qualified persons. Five percent. Yes, that’s measly. And it only applies to the purchase or lease of post-production equipment.
And while there is no state hotel occupancy tax, productions can apply for a tax exemption of local city or county hotel occupancy taxes on stays over 30 days. Are you getting excited yet about filming in California?
In California’s defense, there is a bill in the Assembly to provide another meager tax incentive to qualifying new productions, but that bill has yet to be passed by the state legislature and signed by the Govenator.
The California state government obviously does not see any reason to keep film productions and their money in this state. No wonder there are so many runaway productions to Hollywood North (Canada), Louisiana and other states.
But what about the free permits, you ask? California does offer free permits and no location fees for California State properties. Good luck finding one that you want to use unless it’s in the desert. And these free permits and location fees are offset by the fact that every other location in California charges an arm and a leg for location fees.
You can get almost all of your locations for free much of the time in other states as people are happy to see a movie being filmed on their street or even in their homes. Not so in Hollywood. People here see so many productions going on that they’ll turn their stereos on real loud and claim that they always listen to their music that loud and that a nice cash gift from production is the only way to get them to turn it down.
So why do people still shoot in California? For one, California boasts the largest and most talented crew base in the world that is big enough to accommodate over 100 simultaneous productions. Secondly, California has the infrastructure necessary to support any type of filmmaking whether it’s a micro budgeted indie film or a mega blockbuster summer movie with a budget over $150 million. And finally, there’s the weather. California is almost always sunny. Productions rarely have to worry about rain and other inclement weather so that makes scheduling and producing a film or television show a little easier and more predictable.
Do these benefits outweigh the numerous production incentives offered by Canada and other states like Michigan or Louisiana? Just look at the number of runaway productions each year and you’ll find that the answer is no. Film and television production is a multi-billion dollar industry. California better get with the program and stop the hemorrhaging of production money to other states and countries.
If you’re still interested in filming in California, you can contact:
California Film Commission
7080 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 900
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: (323) 860-2960 xt.102
Fax: (323) 860-2972