Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Coverage on High Desert Hollywood

Maybe I'm prone to the syndrome where voices from outside New Mexico have more relevance... I don't know, but I do think an outside perspective can be refreshing... And if you'll take a look, this blog has a number of insights important to those of us interested in the media convergence and the evolution of media business...

From The Intangible Economy

Creating a film industry - outside of Hollywood

Creating a new industry or capturing an old one is the Holy Grail of local economic development. In today's economy, that usually means going after the next hot thing -- "ABC"-tech. But there is a high-profile existing industry that local leaders swoon over: the film industry. Everyone gets excited when the movies come to town to make a picture. My own recent example was spending half a day waiting to see a car blown up at DC's Eastern Market, which was made over to look like a market in Amsterdam.

The real trick, however, isn't luring the one-off movie-shoot. It is creating a sustaining film industry. One of few who have been able to do it recently is New Mexico. As a recent story in Spirit Magazine (High-desert Hollywood) relates:

But the latest Hollywood influx is not about pleasure. It’s about business. And much of it happened because of one man: Governor Bill Richardson.

Richardson came into office in 2003, telling New Mexicans that the state needed to attract new businesses and making the film industry a priority growth target for the state. Then he convinced the state government to roll out an incentive package for filmmakers. Today, as many as 32 states offer similar perks, but few are as established or as generous as New Mexico’s. They include a 50 percent reimbursement of wages for on-the-job training of state residents, a tax rebate of 25 percent on all direct costs and labor (or no sales tax on most production costs), and a film investment loan program that offers no-interest loans for up to $15 million.

. . .

The state started small, chasing low-budget indie films before moving into bigger productions that had been shooting abroad and finally courting repeat films and longer series TV productions. At all times, one constant guided the state: “We approached it like a business,” says Eric Witt, director of media arts and industries for the governor. “It had to make money for New Mexico.

"Repeat films and longer series TV productions" That means a sustainable industry with a host of specialized jobs for locals and more economic activity that simply catering to the out-of-town cast and crew:

Until the industry matures, the local jobs lifted from Hollywood won’t last long. Recognizing this stark economic reality, all of the states and countries courting the industry hope to build a self-sustaining film culture, from homegrown filmmakers in high schools to professional digital animators. But New Mexico figured that out first.

Read more here:

Also... what do you think about High Desert Hollywood?

We're also the subject of a nice write-up in Southwest Airlines' inflight magazine Spirit (I 'd thought it was related to the movie), which you can read here.

In the meantime though, an excerpt:
Of course, New Mexico and the other places courting value-minded moviemakers (see “The Next Hollywood?” on page 132) will never displace Tinseltown. Its concentration of money, production assets, and creative talent will allow L.A. to remain the entertainment capital of the world. But with a raft of incentives, a growing band of industry pros, state-of-the-art facilities, and a topography that runs from frozen tundra to scorching bleakness, the Land of Enchantment could become “Hollywood Southwest.” Expect fewer film crews to wrap with martinis in L.A. and more to celebrate with margaritas in New Mexico.

1 comment:

e said...

a little conversation was generated by this post. Visit the Google Group here ( for more...