On November 16, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce presented its first ever State of the Entertainment Industry Conference at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. The theme of the conference, “Restoring Hollywood as the Center of the Creative Universe,” focused the day’s events on what Los Angeles business leaders must do to make film and related industries work better in the state.
FilmL.A. president Paul Audley, a co-chair of the event, also moderated a panel for the conference entitled “The Rundown on Ran-Away Production.”
Panelists included California State Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, Lee Rosenthal from Paramount Pictures, Michael Rossi, Governor Brown’s Senior Advisor for Jobs and Business Development, Jerry Solomon from Epoch Films, and Howard Stern of Sunset/Gower and Sunset/Bronson Studios.
For those who missed out on the conference and the panel, here are some of the highlights from the discussion:
- Assemblymember Fuentes reminded the room of the economic importance of film production to the California state economy. Thus far, the California Film and Television Tax Credit has produced $3.9 billion in economic benefit to the state, with nearly $1.5 billion of that benefit realized in the form of wages paid to California workers.
- Lee Rosenthal revealed that there are currently no Paramount features in production on the Paramount lot — a big change from 10 years ago. Most major studio features are now filmed outside California; Rosenthal explained that incentives are required to hit the P&L numbers required for a film to get the greenlight.
- Michael Rossi echoed Fuentes’ praise for the current CA tax credit, adding that there shouldn’t be a debate in Sacramento when it comes to extending the program again. “We need to get multi-year extensions,” he argued, referring to one of the program’s limitations. “We also need to put more money in it.”
- Once productions opt to stay, however, L.A. needs to have space to house them. Howard Stern observed that flexibility is key to dealing with production companies leasing real estate in Los Angeles. Sunset Gower and Sunset Bronson offer multi-year lease agreements with early termination options to hedge against risk while providing television production companies maximum flexibility.
- Jerry Solomon noted that credits aside, L.A.’s deep bench of talent and local production infrastructure are still the most compelling reasons to shoot in L.A. “On a tight deadline, it’s easier to pull off miracles,” he noted, adding “In L.A., miracles are the standard.”
FilmL.A. congratulates the Hollywood Chamber on a successful event. For more information about the conference program, including the latest LAEDC study and other panels on film piracy and the rise of Silicon Beach, please visit the Chamber’s website.