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Brian Dzyak

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Everything posted by Brian Dzyak

  1. "Economic development programs are really a net loss, no matter how many jobs you attract," said Peacock of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "The jobs that these kinds of programs produce are dwarfed by the overall job growth in Texas. And no matter how many protections a state builds into its programs, experts argue that taxpayers and politicians never know what's happening inside corporate boardrooms. Companies can always threaten to leave to shake more money out of state governments — regardless of whether it really makes business sense to move, said Fisher, the tax incentive expert. "The company still holds all the cards," he said." http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-vs-texas-economy-20140824-story.html#page=1
  2. North Carolina Film-TV Incentives Sliced Amid Conservative Tide Dave McNary North Carolina legislators have ditched the state’s longtime film and TV incentives program amid a conservative push to cut back on such government support. “We knew that this would be an uphill battle and we were cautiously optimistic,” said Johnny Griffin, director of the Wilmington (N.C) Regional Film Commission. “The problem was that a lot of legislators were philosophically opposed to any incentives, period. So we were absolutely not surprised.” North Carolina has been home to 800 productions over the past three decades. TV series recently shot in North Carolina include CBS’ “Under the Dome,” ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” and Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow.” Recent movies include “Iron Man 3,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Tammy,” “The Longest Ride” and Relativity’s untitled heist drama about the 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery. The state’s legislature decided to end North Carolina’s current 25% incentive program — which is covering about $300 million in production expenditures this year — and replace it next year with a grant program for movie and TV productions with a total annual cap of $10 million in grants. That means the state will only be able to provide incentives to cover a total of $40 million in production expenditures in 2015. Griffin said North Carolina will probably see productions begin to depart at that point and the Motion Picture Assn. of America issued a statement predicting the new grant program will be ineffective. “Under the current production incentive program, film and TV production supports over 4,000 jobs in North Carolina and brings millions of dollars in direct spending all across the state,” the MPAA said. “It’s disappointing that the new grant program included in the budget agreement will prevent North Carolina from remaining competitive in attracting this prominent source of in-state economic activity.” The issue of using state funds to provide incentives for the film and TV business has drawn a concerted attack from conservatives since last year with the Americans for Prosperity group — backed by the Koch brothers — asserting that the incentives were not working. “The film tax incentives are not proven job creators or overall government revenue enhancers, despite what proponents say,” wrote Donald Bryson, deputy director of the group in North Carolina, earlier this year. “In state after state, from Connecticut to Louisiana to Ohio, film incentives have been found to be net revenue losers.” “And job creation?” Bryson added. “Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin have two things in common. All four have terminated their film incentive programs – and all four have lower unemployment rates than North Carolina, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.” Bryson contended that the state needed to widen the tax base by eliminating targeted tax credits and cutting overall tax rates “instead of subsidizing its favorite industries with tax credits.” North Carolina’s program — along with those in New York, Georgia, Louisiana and New Mexico — had been able to lure productions away from California, where an incentive program providing $100 million a year has been in effect only since 2009. Legislation to increase the size of California’s program to $400 million per year is currently in the state Senate. Backers of the bill staged a rally this week at the state capitol, drawing several hundred supporters that included actors Carl Weathers, Daniel Stern and Ron Perlman. http://variety.com/2014/film/news/north-carolina-film-tv-incentives-sliced-amid-conservative-tide-1201288572/
  3. I never claimed anything of the sort in that word-salad you PRODUCED above. What I've clearly stated (because this is the way movies ARE made by anyone who's bothered making real movies that people go watch) is that when necessary, a production goes out on location to capture scenes that require an actual location that cannot be reproduced on a stage, on a backlot, or with VFX. After that, the production returns back to home base to finish out any stage and/or backlot work. But that's not what happens anymore. Instead, productions seek out distant locations exclusively for the highest bribe being offered by States or nations. Sometimes, they even write scripts based on the locations handing out the bribes. And as we've seen in some cases, some productions even openly extort governments to get larger bribes than were offered before. (i.e. House of Cards) That's the difference which resembles nothing like what you wrote above. So check that attitude a bit.
  4. This one made me a little angry this week. Basically, NY screenwriters want NY taxpayers to subsidize their jobs so they can stay at home while making everyone else from LA commute to NY. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-onlocation-new-york-tv-writers-20140813-story.html
  5. Just saw this on Facebook: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/dues-paying-union-members?source=s.fwd&r_by=1512542 Dues Paying Union Members Should NOT be removed from the Roster Petition by cari Lutz To be delivered to Contract Services-Los Angeles Don t let Contract Services remove you from the Roster based on an outdated and discriminatory rule Any I.A.T.S.E. union member who is up to date on their dues, should be eligible for union work There are currently 700 signatures. NEW goal - We need 750 signatures! PETITION BACKGROUND Please show support with your signature! The Bottom LINE is that it is unjustified for Contract Services to remove dues-paying Local members from the Roster and force them to re-accrue hours as they did when they first joined. Currently, Contract Services seeks to remove any union member who hasn't had five union days during a 3 year period because, supposedly, they appear "no longer to be in the industry" and all Rosters from the Los Angeles combined I.A.T.S.E. Locals are creating "an unwieldy paperwork problem" for their offices. With this rationale, Contract Services is not taking into account individual circumstances (e.g. family issues, maternity leave, and health issues that are not considered disability) and is not serving the best interests of our members. They are also not taking into account that more and more jobs have moved out of California over the past five years. This kind of Roster set-up is archaic, outdated and discriminatory! We need the voices of the current union members to be heard, and job opportunities to be available to them, as well as the continued support and protection of our Locals. Contract Services should not be in charge of deciding the fate of our members. Please sign this petition.
  6. We've been over this before. There's a distinct difference between shooting a movie in a story-specific location and choosing a location to manufacture your product based purely on who coughs up the largest bribe. That you can't acknowledge this difference either illustrates some level of ignorance on your part or an intentional unwillingness to publicly acknowledge the criminality of the system you are defending. For instance, a movie that is set in New Orleans has justification to actually shoot in New Orleans. But a movie that is set in Los Angeles yet shoots in New Orleans only because of the tax bribe falls into the category I'm discussing.
  7. In other words, the taxpayers are unwittingly financing your movie and are not seeing any of the backend profits that you enjoy ON TOP OF the tax money you already extracted during production. It's a brilliant system to funnel money to the top while making it seem as though labor is benefiting. They get jobs for a while then get taxed on that income...while you don't get taxed, get taxpayer paid subsidies, and don't have to share profits with your co-producing partners, the taxpayers. So taxpayers get the shaft on both ends, labor picks up the tab for the costs of running society, and you get to skate off with money upfront and all the profits later. Nice work if you can get it. Fascism is truly taking hold with flags a'wavin' and trumpets blowing.
  8. ‘Happy Happy Welfare!’ Duck Dynasty Cast Makes $70,000 Courtesy of Louisiana Taxpayers Per Episode!
  9. What are your potential clients asking for? What good is it to lock yourself into any specific equipment if you don't have clients who will ultimately help you pay it off? I believe that the better strategy, particularly for a newcomer, is to sell YOURSELF and your skills first and foremost. You don't need to tell anyone if you have a camera or don't have a camera. That is entirely immaterial. What you do is sell yourself as a cameraman for whatever project you're after and when YOU determine what format and equipment is most applicable for THAT production, go rent it yourself from a rental house or pirate owner then rent it back to the production as if you owned it…with a slight increase in price. You put that profit away in a special account that will accumulate until the point when you want to buy something of your own. This isn't like the days of film cameras where the technology was pretty stable and all that really changed was film stocks. Today's electronic cameras are almost constantly being one-upped by something new within months. Investing in one specific camera today risks obsolescence before you have the chance to pay it off. And having a specific camera also limits what work you're willing and able to do. You're more likely to only want to take jobs that use THAT camera so that you can pay it off and ignore paying jobs that won't use it. Turning down work because of equipment could severely limit your potential career advancement. And if someone asks "What camera do you have?" simply shrug them off and just ask them what the project needs and tell them you have it. You getting work or not should have nothing whatsoever to do with the box you own at home.
  10. http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/casualties-of-the-subsidy-trade-war-prime-focus-london/ Casualties Of The Subsidy Trade War: Prime Focus London Tuesday morning I woke up early to do an interview with the BBC about the VFX industry. I argued that while the UK is benefiting from recent increases in subsidies for the film industry, I warned that Canada was offering much larger subsidies that pay 60% of labor wages. A few hours later I get contacted by some people in the UK with indications that Prime Focus would shut down their London office after the email above was sent to employees. One would suspect the reason why an Indian VFX firm like Prime Focus would shut down operations in London was to ship more work to India but that was not the case. The email clearly confirms what I told the BBC earlier that morning: The subsidies in Canada are larger and US studios that receive them have demanded more VFX work be sent there. For films that pass an EU mandated cultural test, productions can take advantage of a government subsidy that pays 25% on the first £20M and 20% on the rest of expenses in the UK that are capped at 80% of the total qualified expenses. What makes the UK subsidy very special is that it covers above the line talent salaries such as actors. So it’s quite probable that 20% of Sandra Bullocks $70M payday for Gravity may have been paid by UK taxpayers. What’s not so nice for VFX is that the above the line talent and physical production costs can quickly hit that 80% expense cap which the Prime Focus email alludes to. While Canada doesn’t offer to pay above the line costs, they offer to pay the wages of VFX labor that have established residency. No caps, no cultural test, no other requirement that could be a big hurdle. So you can see why it makes sense to do your shoots in Louisiana, Georgia, and the UK where above the line talent is subsidized and go to Canada for VFX. The Freight Train Mentality In another part of my interview with the BBC I explained that many artists in the industry suffer from what I call the “Freight Train Mentality”. I’ve found that when it comes to subsidies many people ignore my predictions because it initially benefits them but when they finally get run over by the reality that some other location is willing to offer more or their subsidy program falls apart, they change their tune on subsidies. That realization became very apparent for a few people at Prime Focus London who were very much against my efforts. Just last week an artist called me out on twitter which I’ve posted a few snippets. I think it’s an important teachable moment: It turned out the artist above was a PFL employee and admitted he had no idea how quickly things could have turned and retracted his statement. I told him no hard feelings. There were also staunch opponents who may have changed their tune also. If you remember some people were so motivated in derailing my efforts that they tried to find out who I was when I was blogging anonymously. The hope was that a threat of blacklisting would somehow intimidate me. Well even some of those people have come around after yesterday. Some of them were people who not only acknowledged the subsidy race but endorsed it a while ago: I am in London, and benefitting directly from these subsidies. I plan on going to Australia, New Zealand, and possibly Canada for work. I chose this industry precisely because it allows for international mobility. If the susbsidies are stopped what reason do California located film studios have for outsourcing work to far off lands like London or Sydney, with massive time zone differences and no appreciable gain in quality? None. So don´t count on my support for this anytime soon. The person who made the statement above was also a PFL employee. My guess is things quickly change when you fall in love and marry. Sorry that this happened to any of you but I hope you understand why I feel passionately about this issue and why it’s practically impossible to continue working in this industry with an expensive and permanent cycle of displacement. A Facebook friend said it best: You can tap dance around sympathy until empathy punches you in the face. Soldier On.
  11. Where industry infrastructure exists with proper sound stages and indigenous crew. Duh.
  12. Extortion paid for with another bribe. http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/house-of-cards-maryland-filming-1201164393/
  13. http://progressivepopulist.org/2014/04/05/busted-tennessee-governor-offered-volkswagon-300-million-incentives-reject-uaw-union-video/
  14. Clinton and Obama aren't Liberals. They are Center Right Conservatives. Democrats aren't necessarily liberal either. Party affiliation has little to do with economic ideology.
  15. http://www.buzzfeed.com/hunterschwarz/how-a-case-about-invisible-dental-braces-could-change-the-wa
  16. Well, for starters, I don't have a "campaign." I'm merely providing information. For why more film workers aren't speaking up, I can't speak for them. Most just go with the flow and/or have bought into the concept that tax "incentives" are a net positive without really having studied the realities. So there is some willful ignorance that is prevalent, but that is nothing new. And this Conservative drive for the past thirty years is WAY beyond "government and business working together." It's Corporate power infiltrating what is meant to be a government of, by, and for the People. In other words, it's Fascism. The Monied Interests are raping and eviscerating this nation under the guise of "freedom" and "the free market." Business has zero loyalty nor responsibility to the nation, the overall economy, to humanity, to freedom, or to democracy itself. Because of this truth, GOVERNMENT is not supposed to be "working with" business. Government is meant to regulate business and human behavior in order to promote the general welfare for the greatest common collective good. The scales have moved to the extreme where business interests are all that matter and the needs of society are held up for disdain. And that is the ultimate truth of this "tax incentive" scam which funnels more money to the Monied Class who is hoarding an estimated $32 TRILLION in offshore tax havens (i.e., not "creating jobs!") while cities, States, and entire nations are gutted from the inside out due to the lack of adequate tax revenue from those who hold most of the capital. We used to have a thing called the Corporate Death Penalty which would be used to "kill" any business which had proven to be a net negative to the needs of the People. It's time to bring that back AND to prosecute the actual people who are in charge and make these destructive greedy decisions. The way for "film workers" to combat this cancer can't be through joining the "tax incentive" game by whining to their own local government to fork over bribe money just for a few jobs. It's a much bigger problem than that as evidenced by the Boeing example. This demands a very large effort to go after Corporations on the charge of extortion and prosecuting complicit elected officials on charges of bribery. Clearly a very large and complicated legal battle that would rock the very core of "Reaganomics/Milton Friedmanism" and call Conservatives on every lie they've delivered since at least 1980.
  17. Um, yeah, when did I ever claim that it wasn't? What are you feeling so smug about? You're the one defending worldwide extortion rackets and legalized bribery. But at least you seem to finally be admitting that tax "incentives" are just extortion and bribery. So yeah, we are making progress. :D
  18. Finally someone else is waking up. A story primarily about BOEING, but recognition that Corporate Extortion crosses industries: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20140105,0,1097806.column#axzz2pcytc7aN
  19. Basically what's going on here is that taxpayers are footing upwards of 1/3 of a film's budget. So why aren't those taxpayers being treated like co-financiers/producers and receiving points upfront and points on the backend grosses? Because all that's really going on right now with this tax "incentive" scam is that Corporations (in and out of the industry) are getting away with paying little to no taxes which leaves workers in all sectors to foot the bills to pay for schools, roads, and other public expenses while those at the top get to hoard more wealth that they don't really need. If the general public (particularly in Georgia and Louisiana) had any idea just how badly they were being fleeced by Corporate extortion that plays States (or nations) against others in search of the largest bribes disguised as "tax incentives," there would likely be a revolt. Unless the lure of "bright shiny objects" in the form of movie starts blinds out reality, that is. Hollywood's new financiers make deals with state tax credits http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-hollywood-financiers-20131226,0,5151886.story#ixzz2ob5n1rNL
  20. Interesting pair of articles about Mauritius. Article one highlighting the tax breaks offered to attract Hindi film. Article two discussing how Mauritius is used as a tax haven for Corporations to escape taxation at the expense of everyone else. Big shock. <rolleyes> Just need to replace the word "Scheme" with "SCAM." http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/mauritius-offers-30-rebate-to-attract-bollywood/article5300723.ece http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/02/deloitte-promotes-mauritius-as-tax-haven-to-avoid-big-payouts-to-poor-african-nations/
  21. Louisiana movie tax credit reviewed by committee http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/11/louisiana_movie_tax_credit_rev.html
  22. I'd love to! :) The avenue may be to attack the problem under extortion statutes. Production companies/studios are ostensibly using extortion techniques to pit governments against one another in order to extract the largest bribes from tax payers.
  23. You're entitled to post all the propaganda you'd like, but real audits illustrate that claims of net gains are lies. Of course film commissions are going to claim benefits. It's their job to spew out whatever keeps them employed. http://realfilmcareer.com/louisiana-lawmakers-stunned-about-cost-of-film-subsidy-program-and-industry-admits-loss/
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