Jump to content
Phil Rhodes

What's happening to LA?

Recommended Posts

So I'm spending a few days in Los Angeles, for entirely random reasons. I keep calling people I know to see if they want to have coffee or lunch or whatever it is we do in southern california, but they're all in Atlanta or Vancouver.

 

It's happened so many times I'm considering putting together an article for publication called something like "where have all the movies gone." Now, I'm sure I've just been unlucky, but honestly: is it quiet here, or what?

 

And in other news, anyone who's not got anything to do this weekend, let me know, because I'm bored and lonely. Well, not entirely bored and lonely, but it's always good to put a face to the forum handle.

 

P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CA is, in general, hemorrhaging actual film production. While its still the home turf of the studios, more and more productions are choosing to shoot in other States, and Canada. If you look at pretty much any major film, you'll find that it was not shot in LA, or even California. Hell, most TV series (short of sitcoms) are not shot there either. LA is good if you're looking to hang out with studio executives.

 

Don't live in LA, but that is my take on it. Might be wrong.

 

PS) Come to Cincinnati, I'll have coffee with ya :)

Edited by Landon D. Parks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't live in LA, but that is my take on it. Might be wrong.

 

You haven't had it bad until you've been without sunlight for a few months straight like we do here in Seattle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CA is, in general, hemorrhaging actual film production. While its still the home turf of the studios, more and more productions are choosing to shoot in other States, and Canada. If you look at pretty much any major film, you'll find that it was not shot in LA, or even California. Hell, most TV series (short of sitcoms) are not shot there either. LA is good if you're looking to hang out with studio executives.

 

Don't live in LA, but that is my take on it. Might be wrong.

 

 

LA is busier than it's been in a long time, since the tax credits started to work.

 

But you don't live here, so you wouldn't know that.

 

:)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but aren't the tax credits still lottery-based and capped? They use to be anyway. In Ohio, any production spending $300k or more gets a 35% refundable credit, and I believe its roughly the same deal in Georgia (or similar). Unless CA has made a major overhaul of their system, which I think has been well overdue if they have. While LA might be getting more film production, it's still a fact that when you look at the numbers: very few major films actually shoot there.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but aren't the tax credits still lottery-based and capped? They use to be anyway. In Ohio, any production spending $300k or more gets a 35% refundable credit, and I believe its roughly the same deal in Georgia (or similar). Unless CA has made a major overhaul of their system, which I think has been well overdue if they have. While LA might be getting more film production, it's still a fact that when you look at the numbers: very few major films actually shoot there.

My point was that while you were correct that historically LA has been a victim of runaway production, the current situation is better than it has been in years. LA has been very busy this year, and many productions have struggled to find quality crew because of the sheer demand. It's easy to read internet commentary on the state of the industry, but unless you live and work here, you're not getting the full picture.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Visual effects virtually gone

 

Any sources for this? That is my industry, which I'm not working in because I had to leave L.A. for Seattle. All my fellow VFX people are working, though only a handful still in L.A...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Used to be my industry, too. LA was the center of this universe in the '90's, but the offshoring started in earnest with the new century. Last two giants to fall were Rhythm and Hues, which went bust, and Sony Imageworks, which went to Vancouver. Only a few scraps remain.

Edited by dan kessler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been in the camera department for 38 years and counting. I'm also a native Southern Californian. Since union, big budget feature films have been my bread and butter since the 1980s, I feel very qualified to comment on this. Everything I've worked on for the past 10+ years has been elsewhere other than Los Angeles. For the first time in years, I worked on a Johnny Depp picture earlier this year in LA and that has been the exception. Every other job of mine has been either abroad, New Orleans or Atlanta. Mainly the latter. My camera rental house even had to open an office in Atlanta in order for it to continue to do business with the Hollywood studios. Thus, since I've been living on the road for most of my adult life and am pretty tired of suitcases, I decided to buy a home in the Atlanta area. And I LOVE IT! I still own my Newport Beach, CA home but the work is here and the quality of life is here - or at least that's my opinion at this stage of my life.

 

As for the Georgia tax credits, the corporate attorney that helped me run the red tape gauntlet of opening my company here in Atlanta, was the co-author of the tax credit legislation here in Georgia. Now, I have a deeper understanding of how it works and what the expected longevity of it is. The tax credits are a bought and sold commonity similar to stocks and bonds. Buyers can buy "interest" in a film project for their own tax strategy and benefit. The entire state benefits economically and it's a bi-partisan win for Georgia. It is widely anticipated to last for at least the next 10 years or more and that's about all I have left in my career anyway.

 

Sorry I missed you Phil! Come on down South and I'll show you around!!!

 

G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

, and Sony Imageworks, which went to Vancouver. Only a few scraps remain.

 

ILM opened an office in Vancouver as well. This has happened largely because the US government has made it impossible for companies to bring in non US workers. While the Canadian government takes a free for all approach and anyone can come to Canada. VFX companies draw artists from all over the globe, and if you can only hire Americans it makes things very difficult for your VFX business.

 

R,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is widely anticipated to last for at least the next 10 years or more and that's about all I have left in my career anyway.

 

Great, in 10 years I will finally be able to hire you, as you'll be in my budget range at last. :)

 

R,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LA for commercials keeps a pretty steady pace and always have. Yes, most of my work is travel, but when it's US based it's often LA, sometimes NY. Love shooting in LA, the crews and the support is second to none.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LA for commercials keeps a pretty steady pace and always have. Yes, most of my work is travel, but when it's US based it's often LA, sometimes NY. Love shooting in LA, the crews and the support is second to none.

 

 

I agree Adam about the LA crews! The funny thing is to note that most of my colleagues who work in the top 1% of LA based crews don't live in LA! That's the wonderful thing about this business is that you are not required to live where you work. In reality, my entire career is based in LA but I've never lived in LA. Not one day of my life with the exception of college. Newport Beach is way south and I commuted in for over 30 years. I'm still based out of LA but now I get to sleep in my own home while I work and when I must travel I know I've cut that amount of time way down.

 

The real straw that broke the back was in 2016, I spent a whopping two weeks at home in Newport Beach, CA. I have a gorgeous Spanish/Mediterranean home there with full ocean and city views that I rarely enjoy. My camera preps in Los Angeles required hotel stays and the work took me to Cuba, Atlanta, Hawaii, Atlanta. I just couldn't take it anymore. Now I own a new custom, beautiful home on an acre of land and waterfront on a lake. It's peaceful. Coming home from the work chaos is like returning to my little piece of Shangrala!!! I will still work in LA but home is finally not in a hotel.

 

G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

ILM opened an office in Vancouver as well. This has happened largely because the US government has made it impossible for companies to bring in non US workers. While the Canadian government takes a free for all approach and anyone can come to Canada. VFX companies draw artists from all over the globe, and if you can only hire Americans it makes things very difficult for your VFX business.

 

R,

The story most often told is that producers employing vfx went chasing the tax subsidies offered elsewhere.

There was always a multinational workforce everywhere I worked in LA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story most often told is that producers employing vfx went chasing the tax subsidies offered elsewhere.

There was always a multinational workforce everywhere I worked in LA.

 

Have you tried to hire foreign workers lately? Give it a try.

 

WETA in New Zealand relies on a majority of non New Zealand VFX artists in order to maintain a viable business, as NZ only has 4.5M people. I realize the US has 330 million, but the VFX industry needs access to the best talent, regardless of citizenship.

 

R,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the main issue is that the businesses are trying to escape excessive taxation. Taxation in CA is fairly overwhelming. Even Toyota was forced to relocate to Texas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shooting in LA is expensive. Permits are required for everything, and they are expensive and not always easy to get. Location fees are astronomical, because everyone everyone thinks that movies have a ton of money to spend. One well known movie ranch in Santa Clarita once tried to charge a production I was on $1500 for 'damaging' some weeds that were overgrowing the set we were on. They also quoted us $7500 to shoot on a small bridge over a creek that was only 20 feet from the location we were paying for, claiming it was a different location. Compare that with the Film Commission in Buffalo, NY, who allowed us free range of the enormous art deco City Hall building, for a minimal fee, and with no permits required. I asked our producer what he thought it would have cost in LA. He just laughed.

 

Even with the tax incentives, the money doesn't go far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Stuart all of what you said, and, you will have all the unions down your throat in a big hurry. For a producer, not worth it.

 

I shot my last two films in South Africa, it's a paradise for film producers. First off, no unions of any kind. And an incredible exchange rate into the Rand, and a very generous tax credit. Plus, beautiful shooting weather like you have in LA. The crews are talented and excellent, easily as good or better than any staff you'll find in LA or Toronto.

 

You can make a much bigger movie there for a fraction of the cost in LA or Toronto.

 

R,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is why I love Ohio - $100 a year permit fee gets me unlimited access to about 5 metro-parks in the area, all with varying levels that fit our needs (wooded areas, rivers, even a Pioneer village). State parks are a flat $25 permit fee. Most cities and towns around here don't even have permits for a film - just if you need to close the streets or something like that. Studio space is a little hard to come by, since we don't really have any dedicated backlots - but not impossible to find an old abandoned factory to rent for a month or two, that is much less than the average $5,000 per day the backlots in LA want just for rental alone. We also have a wide variety of experienced crew members to pick from, and since the cost of living is cheaper, their fees are usually cheaper too. We have a fully stocked rental company where you can rent anything from apple boxes to a grip truck to a technocrane...

 

Mind you, Ohio is not Georgia yet, but we do have a somewhat expanding movie scene - especially the southern-Ohio area. I actually had a little chat at a local coffee shop in Hamilton Ohio with James Franco one day this past year. He was here shooting one of the two films he shot in Hamilton-area - and he commented about how much more open and friendly people were to film production. I'm sure this would apply to a lot of locations outside of LA.

 

LA seems like it would be brutal to try and make a movie in, at least a smaller budget movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Permits are dirt cheap here in Seattle but you'd have to be crazy or sadistic or masochistic or all of the above to want to film here. In fact you have to be all that just to live here. Or a vampire.

If you hate sunlight, come to Seattle. You'll never film under natural lighting again.

 

In the time I've been here I've gained 60 pounds. I can never go outside in this rain.

 

I'd give anything to go back to Studio City.

Edited by Samuel Berger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Glidecam



    CineLab



    Rig Wheels Passport



    G-Force Grips



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Serious Gear



    FJS International



    Metropolis Post



    Tai Audio



    Visual Products



    Abel Cine



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Paralinx LLC



    Wooden Camera



    Just Cinema Gear



    Ritter Battery



    Broadcast Solutions Inc


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...