The article starts off, “Award-winning visual effects company Tippett Studio has laid off 50 employees in the latest blow to the embattled industry, and its chief Jules Roman wants California to step in and stop the bleeding”. Almost more interesting than the article by Lucas Shaw and Brent Lang, are the comments that others made. All the way from sympathetic support to “Why MUST the state bail you out? Poor business decisions, the economy and technological changes are part of being a freelance/business/independent. Suck it up, merge, close, do whatever it takes...”
What this article and interview with Ms. Roman tells me is that any industry entrepreneur needs to be careful about how much they are willing to invest in infrastructure here in California. High union costs, guild residuals and just the unfavorable labor laws here in California make it a challenge to do business in this state. I love Southern California and I love the motion picture industry, but the free market is against running a studio or effects house here.
Only the bloated budgets of the studios’ tent pole movies can really afford to do a complete production here in Southern California. I’m a member of a production company that is making a movie about the last days of Marilyn Monroe. We’re shooting principal photography in Albuquerque, standing in for Los Angeles in 1962. We would much prefer to shoot here in Southern California, but with a 25% rebate from New Mexico and a lower operating cost, we had to bite the bullet and go out of town. We can bank the tax credit and put that $600,000 back into our movie.
Movie and television production, as well as all the effects and elements included in production, are a global industry. As a filmmaker I would love to stay here and shoot my movies in Southern California. As a businessman, I have to go where I can make the best product for the lowest dollar. Tippett Studio turns out a great product, but they’re going to be waiting a long time before the State of California ‘steps in and stops the bleeding’.