Last week California began accepting applications for the first round of the new film and TV tax credit, which policy makers in Sacramento had beefed up to try and lure film production back to the state. The legislature passed a five-year, $1.65 billion film tax incentive program last year, and with the revamped tax credit program up and running, many entertainment workers throughout California are feeling something not felt in a long time: Hope. For the first time in 15 years, the program feels better equipped to keep our suffering entertainment industry from flatlining and to revive the iconic “Hollywood brand” to its former greatness.
However, not everyone has cause to celebrate. Thousands of California’s post-production workers, including recording musicians, are still shortchanged by the tax credit program,
California Tax Breaks — What’s Wrong With This Picture?
Amid continued squabbling over whether to boost the California film and television production tax incentive program, the state legislature just handed aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. a whopping $420-million tax break.
Yes, you read that right: A bill creating a 15-year sweetheart deal — for a single private company — sails through the Assembly and Senate without a hitch, yet the fate of Assembly Bill 1839, which would enhance California’s existing entertainment tax credit program and generate millions in additional revenue, continues to face opposition in Sacramento.
What’s wrong with this picture?
It should be a no-brainer that, in order to remain competitive in the global market for film and television production and post-production work, California needs to boost its incentive program. Once the epicenter for entertainment production, California no longer assumes this leadership position.
After more than a month of unsuccessful attempts to reach Lionsgate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer through letters and phone calls, it was time to pay him a visit. Rank-and-file musicians wanted to discuss Lionsgate’s practice of offshoring its musical scoring to distant countries – something that limits local musicians’ ability to earn a living and deprives our communities of tax revenue.
On Tuesday union members and supporters of the American Federation of Musicians’ Listen Up! campaign — including professional musicians, labor allies, faith and community leaders — gathered in Santa Monica’s Stewart Street Park for a rally. The spirited event included AFM Local 47’s executive board and a supportive crowd of musicians representing members from across our union. We were joined in song by our fellow AFM members and Grammy nominees Lisa Haley and the Zydakats. We heard moving speeches from Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown and other friends,
Skopje, Macedonia might seem a long way from Los Angeles, but for the 2,000 professional musicians who earn their living recording the film scores for Hollywood’s big movie studios, the Balkan capital — and the bleak future for L.A. movie musicians that it might represent — seems to be getting closer every day.
In at least one way, that future has already arrived in the form of Lionsgate’s Draft Day and the Ivan Reitman film’s nonunion score. Starring Kevin Costner, the movie tells an all-American story of a fictionalized general manager of the lowly Cleveland Browns and his efforts to save Cleveland football on NFL draft day by trading for the number one player pick.
Less all-American is the story behind the recording of Draft Day’s music, which was reportedly piped via the Internet to a Hollywood studio and the film’s composer, John Debney,