Re "Tax cuts! Rebates! Action!" editorial, Aug. 1
I think The Times is missing the point. Movie and TV production companies simply shop around for the best price on their locations. Other states have figured out that film, TV and commercial production is a cash cow, and they have reaped huge rewards by opening their doors to our homegrown industry. It is the working Californians who are hurt. Not just the directors, actors, truck drivers, dancers, stunt people and other crew, but restaurants, hotels, retail stores and pretty much any establishment that caters to the companies and people the industry attracts. And in answer to the question, "Why don't we do the same for the car manufacturers?" -- too late, they are already gone.
Apparently, The Times has forgotten that motion picture production is a signature industry for our state. You stated that the incentives will "flow to those who don't need the help." Perhaps with a bit more homework, you'd have learned that the legislation has been crafted to specifically direct the incentives to portions of the industry that have left. I'm one of them.
As a producer, chairman of the California Film Commission and a native Angeleno, I was stunned by the lack of sensitivity to the hundreds of thousands of film workers in Los Angeles and the struggles they have encountered as our film and TV projects are aggressively picked off by other states and countries. The long-form TV business is all but gone. Movies for television, which employ hundreds of workers per film, were a significant target of the bills. You fail to mention that these are jobs taken away from California.
You ask why "financial handouts" are the best way to welcome filmmakers to the entertainment capital of the world? Because today California cannot be competitive if we don't.
Stanley M. Brooks
California Film Commission
The writer is also president of Once Upon a Time Films.
I take issue with your claim that the advantage of tax cuts is obvious in a state like New Mexico, whose film industry is "starting virtually from scratch," but not so obvious for California with its existing production base.
However, a fairer comparison would be with New York, which for decades has had an existing production base. But since the introduction of film incentives a few years ago, New York production has increased exponentially, in dramatic contrast to production in California. What's good for a long-standing industry in New York will be good for California as well.