A Little House-Keeping…

Please re-set your bookmarks and feeds for http://www.OregonFilmandTVDollars.com

Looking for this week’s Saturday Film Incentive News Wrap-Up?  Well, we’re afraid you won’t find it here!

We’ve moved http://www.OregonFilmandTVDollars.com to a new server to allow us better flexibility in editing stories and providing you content on the economic benefits Oregon’s film and TV industry brings to the state.

Along with this move comes additional options to share stories you see on http://www.oregonfilmandtvdollars.com - but there’s a little catch.  We can’t move all our subscribers from our wordpress.com site to the new server automatically.  We have to ask, therefore, that you click the link above and re-subscribe to the site from the box in the upper-right corner of the home page.

While you’re there, do us a favor and help spread the word about the site.  Set up an account on http://www.twitterfeed.com and set that service to automatically update your Twitter or Facebook account when a new post is added to the site.  Simply copy and paste this link:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/OregonFilmAndTvDollars

Into the “new feed” section, and connect Twitter Feed to your Twitter and Facebook account.  All your friends and followers will be notified whenever we add new content.

Thanks for sticking with us while we make this transition… we’re looking forward to “seeing you” on the new server!

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Legislative Update: The 2011 Legislative Session Begins

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Several readers have contacted us asking where the effort to renew Oregon’s film incentives stand at the beginning of the 2011 legislative session.  While we don’t have anything specific to report from Salem as the first week of the session draws to a close (remember, this early part of the session was just to get things going; the full Legislative session truly begins February 1) we can tell you that film workers throughout the state have been meeting with their state Representatives and Senators in “Home District” meetings, encouraging their members of the state legislature to support the programs’ renewal.

 Members of the Oregon Media Production Association  and other film and TV workers throughout the state are working to schedule meetings with the House and Senate leadership and Governor Kitzhaber’s staff.  It’s early in the process as yet, but it’s not too early for YOU to talk to your own legislators and encourage them to support renewal of these vital programs.

 We’ll keep you posted as things continue to take shape!

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A Consistent (and Persistent) Presence

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Those of you born after 1995 probably don’t remember Warner Brothers’ ad campaign for their 1989 screen version of Batman.  For those of us who were cognizant at the time, though, it was… revolutionary.

Sure, many of us had heard a Batman movie was in the works… those of us inclined to go to the effort of searching through fan magazines (remember, this was pre-internet) might have seen a photo or two from the set.  That’s all the attention we gave the film, though… just passing thoughts, if that.

Everything changed in the winter of 1989, though.  We started to see the symbol to the left… EVERYWHERE!  On billboards, on busses, in magazines… you couldn’t escape it!  It was, as the title of this post suggests, a consistent – and persistent – presence in our lives.  The message was clear – Batman wasn’t just coming – BATMAN WAS HERE.  Batman had always been here.  Batman’s presence was an accepted fact – whether you paid the ticket price for the movie or not.

As the 2011 Oregon Legislature begins its session today, that’s precisely what supporters of film and TV production need to provide – a consistent and persistent presence in the eyes of our legislators AND the public-at-large.  As we’ve stated several times in the past, it’s up to this legislature to renew Oregon’s film incentive programs - and this legislature has a crushing budget deficit to contend with.  We need all of you, and everyone you know, to remind our elected officials in Salem (and the ordinary Oregonians who put them there) that Oregon’s film and television industry isn’t coming. It’s here.  It’s always been here.  It’s an accepted fact of life… and if we want it to grow and continue to employ Oregonians, it needs to be supported .

That’s why we’ve put together the items in our Oregon Film and TV Dollars Store.  We need you, the supporters of Oregon’s industry, to be our billboards, magazines and busses.  When you talk to your legislators about renewing Oregon’s film incentives we certainly want you to wear a shirthat or button – but that’s just a small part of the equation.  We need you to display that bumper sticker, mugIPhone case, or what have you EVERYWHERE  - in your neighborhood, at the office, even in the grocery store.  Remind not just your legislators, but your friends and neighbors that Oregon has a vital industry that’s bringing millions of dollars into the economy each year.

It’s a simple fact – politicians pay attention to numbers.  If their constituents see our Oregon Film and TV Dollars logo on the road, in their offices, or at a business they patronize, they’re more likely to talk to their Senators and Representatives about supporting the renewal of the Oregon Production Investment Fund and Greenlight Oregon.  It will only happen, though, if you do your part and put that logo in front of them.  Now that the session has started, it’s vital that we get the word out to everyone – that Oregon’s film and TV indsustry,  like Batman, is a fact of life.

Note: this site has moved. Please visit our new site at  www.OregonFilmandTVDollars.com.

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Saturday Film Incentive News Wrap-Up

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It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for our weekly look at some of the news about film incentive programs around the country.  Now, you know the focus of this site is Oregon’s film and TV industry, and its effect on the state’s economy.  It’s important to keep an eye on trends nationwide, though.  The film and TV industry is an interdependent organism; what happens around the country affects Oregon’s industry, and what happens in Oregon affects the rest of the country as well. 

While each state’s incentive program is different, it’s important to see the “big picture” by keeping an eye on the choices other states have made – to learn from their successes and their mistakes.

So, with that…

Before we get the ball rolling after our prolonged break, we thought we’d share this PDF document comparing film incentive plans across the country.  This, and a series of other documents, have been posted on the Oregon Media Production Association’s website to help further support their efforts to renew Oregon’s film incentive programs before they “sunset” on Jan 1 2012.

The big incentive news this week comes from Arizona, where the Grand Canyon State’s legislature has allowed that state’s film incentive program to “sunset” with very little fanfare… so little, in fact, that we can’t find a news article to link to!  According to The Incentives Office, publisher’s of a private quarterly film incentive guidebook, a new bill is before the state legislature to re-instate Arizona’s incentive program.  No action has been taken on that bill as yet, though.

Film and TV workers in Ohio have something to cheer about with the announcement that a new George Clooney film, Ides of March, will be shooting in the state – but they have more to cry about with the news that their entire state film office has resigned as part of the Buckeye State’s executive transition.  No word, as yet, has been released about new staff for Ohio’s film office – or whether the state film office will continue at all.

As New Mexico’s 2011 legislative session opens, the film industry will be watching closely.  The Land of Enchantment has often been noted as a model for sustainable film incentive programs, cries to rein in film tax credits have gotten louder and louder in recent months.

Alaska has been celebrating the results of its recently enacted film incentive program, as a recent article in the Anchorage Daily News points out by detailing the successes of the state’s film industry in the past year.  Members of The Last Frontier’s state legislature seem to agree – and are showing their support for Alaska’s burgeoning industry with a bill aimed at extending the tax incentive program for another ten years.

We reported back in early December on Massachusetts reorganization of their film office, moving that office from that state’s Sports and Entertainment Commission to the office of Travel and Tourism.  In the wake of this reorganization (and the departure of Film Office head Nicholas Paleologos, Massachusetts counties are scrambling to find ways to draw film and television production to their regions.

Meanwhile, film and TV workers in Tennessee are working hard to figure out how to compete with their incentive-friendly neighbors such as Georgia and North Carolina.

Michigan’s film incentives are in the cross-hairs as that state’s new Economic Development Chief begins a “very thorough review” of every program offered by the Wolverine State.

Wisconsin’s film and TV industry is waiting to see what newly elected governor Scott Walker plans to do with that state’s film incentive program.  Walker campaigned on restoration of the film incentive program, and many in the Badger State are calling for him to restore funding within the first 100 days of his new administration.

We’ve reported several times in the past about the success of Florida’s newly enacted film incentive program… Miami-Dade County residents have been singing the program’s praises with the release of a new report detailing record profits from the county’s film and TV industry in 2010.

And finally, outside US borders, Thailand is reporting that it has brought in approximately $60 million from foreign film and television production - and the country is expecting that figure to grow even more in 2011 now that the government has approved a new film incentive program.

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Happy New Year – Our Hopes For 2011

Thanks to Donklephant for The Image!

Note: this site has moved. Please visit our new site at  www.OregonFilmandTVDollars.com.

Yes, we know – January 7 seems a little late to be adding a “hopes for the coming year” post. 

Like many of you, though, we in Oregon’s film and TV industry have been busy this first-week-of-the-year… we’ve been learning how to write 2011 instead of 2010 on our checks and legal documents, we’ve been closing out the books on last year’s business, and we’ve been laying the groundwork for what we at www.oregonfilmandtvdollars.com expect to be an exciting new year!

While we’ve been away over the past couple weeks, various people from Oregon’s industry have shared their views on the state of Oregon’s film and TV industry.  We’re not going to re-hash any of the recurring themes that have showed up in these opinion pieces; rather, as the first week of 2011 draws to a close, we’re going to share some of our expectations for the coming year – and explain why we see 2011 as be a banner year for film and TV production here in Oregon.

  • Obviously, we’re looking forward to the renewal of the Oregon Production Investment Fund and Greenlight Oregon – Oregon’s film and TV incentive programs.  If you’ve been visiting this site over the past year, you know how much money the film and TV industry brings to Oregon’s economy.  Renewal is far from a “done deal,” however. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know the 2011 Legislature’s top job will be dealing Oregon’s $3.5 billion deficit - any decisions the House and Senate make will be a matter of dollars and cents.  As the session gets underway Monday, it’s more important than ever that we talk to our legislators and remind them that film and television production in Oregon has brought thousands of jobs and nearly $710 million to Oregon’s economy - and with their continued support this industry will continue to grow, and provide jobs and revenue to the economy!
  • We’re looking forward to seeing some of those jobs the industry has provided in the coming year.  IFC’s new (and much talked-about) show Portlandia begins to air on January 21 (the world-premiere, however, will take place right here in Portland on January 14!) Leverage will begin filming again in Portland this spring, with new episodes hitting TNT during the summer months. No air date has been set (yet) for the pilot episode of Electric Entertainment’s new show Brain Trust, which recently wrapped production in Portland - but we’re expecting to see it on TBS in early 2011.
  • We’re not just watching the out-of-state producers, though.  We’re also looking forward to seeing new Oregon-produced projects begin – and gain distribution outside the state.  Polluted Pictures, a joint venture between Portland-based filmmakers Todd and Jason Freeman, wrapped production on three feature films in 2010 and are expecting to distribute them in the coming year.  Oregon-based distributor CheezyFlix has moved into film production with its two recent features I Am Virgin and Stripperland - and we hear that their production company has big things on the horizon.  All across Oregon production companies are gearing up to shoot – and sell – new projects that will take advantage of the state’s talent, natural beauty, and creative energy.

And these are just a few of the reasons why here at OregonFilmandTVDollars.com, we’re very excited for the coming year.  Keep checking back with us as 2011 begins to pick up steam… we’re in for a wild ride!

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Posted in Brain Trust, Cell Count, Film Incentives, Government, Leverage, Opinion, Portlandia, State Of The Industry, The Weather Outside, Wake Before I Die | Leave a comment

Happy New Year From All Of Us At OregonFilmandTVDollars.com

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Happy New Year to all our readers here at OregonFilmandTVDollars.com!

As you know, 2011 promises to be an exciting year for film and television in Oregon, and a challenging year for the renewal of our state’s incentive plans.

We can talk about that in the next few weeks, though.  For now, enjoy the first day of the new year; think back on the joys and sorrows of 2010 as you put it to bed, and look forward (as we are) to great things in the coming year.

We’ll be back to business soon enough.  Happy new year, everyone!

Note: this site has moved. Please visit our new site at  www.OregonFilmandTVDollars.com.

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The State of Oregon’s Film & TV Industry 2010: Shelley Midthun

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Earlier this month, we asked you – the readers – to give us your “State of the Industry Address” as 2010 wound to a close.  Several of you responded to our call, and over the next few days we’ll be sharing some of these statements with you.

Portland Film and Video Office Liason Shelley Midthun:

Portland Mayor's Office of Film & Video Liason Shelley Midthun

Portland Mayor's Office of Film & Video Liason Shelley Midthun

Members of Portland’s film and television community are serious about growing this industry in Portland, and they are as fiercely dedicated to this effort as they are to their craft.  There is real passion and a sense of purpose behind every production filmed here.  There is also respect, professionalism and camaraderie, which is a wonderful thing to see in such a competitive industry.

 Looking ahead to 2011, we must continue to attract quality productions that employ our talented local film crews and that patronize local businesses, from hotels and restaurants to local printing companies, lumber suppliers and florists.  Collected data from past years proves that film productions positively impact many areas of our local economy, so my wish for 2011 is to keep as many cameras rolling as possible so we can continue to employ Oregonians in the creative arts as well as in other local industries.

Shelley Midthun is the new Film and Video Liason for the Portland Mayor’s Office of Film and Video.

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The State of Oregon’s Film & TV Industry 2010: Sam Downey

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Earlier this month, we asked you – the readers – to give us your “State of the Industry Address” as 2010 wound to a close.  Several of you responded to our call, and over the next few days we’ll be sharing some of these statements with you.

Talent Manger Sam Downey:

Talent Manager Sam Downey

The future of our industry in Oregon depends on Oregonians understanding that support of our tax incentives benefits their fellow Oregonians, not big-time Hollywood producers. Hollywood producers will get their good tax deals from one state or another but for Oregon to remain a player we must have tax incentives. Without them we will not survive as an industry no matter how much local work is generated.

We have everything in place for our film & video industry to become one of the major industries in our state. This is possible for us because we are close to LA…I’ve actually flown to Portland from Burbank quicker than I have driven to Culver City from Hollywood in drive time traffic.

Our infrastructure requires the following to compete effectively:

*A good leader. We have this with Vince Porter at the Film Office.

*Great crews and actors. Done.

*Great success stories from major producers. Got them.

*Unparalleled locations. Choose from beaches to deserts to the prehistoric-looking Columbia Gorge and more.

It’s not everyday we get the opportunity to create and support an industry without having to take money from our overstretched budget. Ten years down the road we can have a thriving industry much like that in Vancouver B.C. — green and non-polluting. And the bonus is that we won’t lose our sons and daughters to Los Angeles if they want to have a career in the business.

Sam Downey is a talent manager based in Portland and Los Angeles.

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Posted in Film Incentives, Opinion, State Of The Industry | 1 Comment

The State of Oregon’s Film & TV Industry 2010: Edward Taub

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Earlier this month, we asked you – the readers – to give us your “State of the Industry Address” as 2010 wound to a close.  Several of you responded to our call, and over the next few days we’ll be sharing some of these statements with you.

AFTRA National Representative Edward Taub:

I have been the AFTRA national representative assigned to the Portland AFTRA local (and therefore the Portland Local Exec) for only 3 months.  So, please take what follows as my take on the Oregon Film and Video Industry, take 1.  For the record: I come to AFTRA from a long and varied career as a union representative, having represented a range of working men and women including state and local government workers, classified school employees, retail clerks, health care professionals and college professors.  That’s my background;  regarding film and video credentials, I go to a lot of movies and watch too much tv.

 The first thing that strikes me about our Oregon film and video industry is that folks are operating on a very high level:  there is creativity and  talent in all aspects of the industry.  I have met with agents, producers, actors, folks from the Governor’s Office and OMPA and up and down the line I’ve met committed individuals with scary good skills and abilities.  It’s a great environment in which to work.  I am especially thankful for the AFTRA leaders and members with whom I ‘ve been able to work over this short period.  Their commitment to their craft and to their union is profound and their desire to solidify professional standards in this market will be an important aspect of the growth of family wage jobs in our industry.

 The other big thing that I’ve learned is how important the incentive program is to the health of the industry. It is great on the one hand that we have the program, and that it is administered by a highly competent and committed Office of Film and Video.  However, I think we have to think beyond the incentive program if we’re going to continue to grow our industry.  I have no doubt that the incentive program will be renewed by the legislature- when you look at what the program brings in versus what it costs, it’s a great deal for Oregonians.  However, we’re in this really terrible situation with our state budget, and the likelihood of increases in the incentive program are not great.  In the long run, as our local economy recovers, I think we’ll be able to get an increased incentive program.  However, I think we should figure out some ways to attract projects even if the funds from the program are exhausted for a particular year.  I have no idea what that those ideas would be,  but we can talk about it, and maybe we can come up with some viable ideas while we work to continue and expand the incentive program.

 I look forward to working with all of you;  and for you actors out there, I want to echo the message our Portland AFTRA members have for “pre-union” members : You’re a professional, isn’t it time you were treated like one?

Ed Taub recently joined Portland’s office of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists as the branche’s new National Representative.

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Posted in Film Incentives, Opinion, State Of The Industry | 1 Comment

The State of Oregon’s Film & TV Industry 2010: Damon Jones

Earlier this month, we asked you – the readers – to give us your “State of the Industry Address” as 2010 wound to a close.  Several of you responded to our call, and over the next few days we’ll be sharing some of these statements with you.

Talent Agent Damon Jones:

Actors in Action LogoAs the owner and agent of Actors in Action, LLC for the past 12 ½ years I have witnessed the rise and fall and fall and rise again of our industry. When I entered the scene back then TV shows “Nowhere Man” and ”Under Suspicion” were just wrapping. The multi-million dollar film “The Hunted” came to Oregon shortly after. And then….nada, nothing, zip, and zero as far as studio films or broadcast TV shows. I saw a community that had several union franchised agents suddenly finding itself with one. I witnessed talent agencies going out of business or being sold multiple times. And that lasted for many years. 

Fortunately, commercial, industrial, and print work began to flourish during that period. Local, regional, and national companies were migrating to the NW for cost savings, beautiful locations, one stop permitting, no sales tax, and other perks of shooting in the NW.

Over the past few years our industry has seen vast growth in notable film and TV productions such as “Leverage” and “Under Suspicion” which have helped garner local talent and talent agencies experience and sustainability. As an agent I am seeing a steady migration of talent to our area. It seems that we in Oregon are gaining some notoriety throughout the USA as a blossoming industry and a decent place to live.

From a talent agent’s perspective I believe the state of our industry is very good right now. We have several union franchised agencies, 2-3 TV shows and several independent films currently shooting or just on the horizon. However, to maintain our momentum at this time I feel that more involvement, especially from those that benefit the most, is needed. I feel that we as a community need to support those whose efforts have helped to bring change and success to our industry. Folks like the Oregon Film Office, SOFAT, MOPAN, Oregon Film Alliance, SAG, AFTRA, and the OMPA. The time is now to volunteer and make a difference. Call any of the above organizations to help. The prosperity of our industry relies on those who help to make it happen.

Damon Jones is the owner and operator of Portland-based talent agency Actors in Action.

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