Run, Run Rudolph – Runaway Productions

01Nov11

While I understand the concerns of “runaway productions” that employ talent outside of the United States, I also realize that this is not a new phenomenon.  The perfect example that comes to mind is the Rankin/Bass TV specials from the ‘60s like “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” or “Frosty the Snowman”; these TV specials have become classic seasonal fare but most people do not realize that these classics would not have even been possible if the animation work had not been out sourced to Japan.  I am not trying to down play the loss of jobs to the United States but the reality is that producers have to plan their productions globally in a global economy to keep their costs economical in a global market.

I have also been aware of the boon in film and television productions produced in Canada, due to tax incentives, such as the Stargate franchise.  What I take away from this, is that producers in the United States are generating work on a global scale.  What does this mean to the workforce in the United States?  I don’t know but I do feel that individual countries may need to rethink their ideal of workforce because we are no longer dealing with national employment but rather a global workforce.  That is a reality of the cyberage; we are a global economy of converging technologies, jobs, lifestyles, culture, and information.

I do know that in order to stay viable in such a competitive market as the film industry, producers need to take advantage of any incentive given to them.  For example, Mexico has become a global shooting hotspot due to the, “226 tax incentive instituted in 2006…”.1  The affects of this incentive are, “…now clearly visible with the number of films shooting locally jumping to 50-70 per year from 15-30…”1  It would seem to me that the only way that the United States may stay viable as a workforce in the creative industries is if the country is able to stay competitive with the tax incentives offered to producers globally.  California is trying to counter runaway productions by extending a “$100 million tax credit bill”.2  “The program…was first put into…,” effect in, “…2009 and provides $100 million in tax credits annually for movie and TV production (with the exception of network TV series). The money is committed each year as soon as it becomes available on a day in June. As of now $400 million has been committed.”2

I leave these thoughts feeling a little disgusted with myself because I have always been an advocate for keeping things local but I guess in a global market, I need to reassess the idea of local because isn’t China local to me on the world wide web?

Russell McGee

1 J. Young, Global shooting hot spot: Mexico, WWW Document, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118044956?refCatId=13

2 A. B. Block, California Extends $100 Million Tax Credit Bill, WWW Document, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/california-tax-incentives-film-television-246210

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