California vs. Runaway Production

28Nov11

We have talked a lot about runaway production this semester and the increasing push to outsource the many processes of media production. Chapter 1 of MMW explains, “In today’s creative industries, all production is global, and all labor is local. The global movement of companies into emerging markets, deploying dynamic outsourcing and offshoring techniques, and stimulating runaway production benefits new locations by providing periods of increased local labor and jobs” (5). When speaking of this issue, it is common to bring up California and the once-centralized Hollywood system that has been diminishing thanks to these new outsourcing techniques and runaway trends.

However, this article from Hollywood Reporter brings to light what California has been and will continue to do in order to counter these trends. Chapter 1 of MMW states, “At the same time, in an effort to become known as creative cities, both local- and state-level governments will pass tax incentives to attract media companies” (6). Though California is already known as a creative hub, they utilize these tax incentives in order to prevent many of the runaway productions from happening, and in order to retain workers and jobs that will ultimately boost their economy. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that extends the state’s tax credit for film and television production until the end of 2015.

Many are responding positively to this extension, because it successfully helps to compete with many similar tax incentives that are being implemented by relatively unknown or unpopular places wishing to draw the creative work to their locations. Assembly member Felipe Fuentes states, “With the State’s unemployment rate hovering around 12%, we need this incentive to help keep tens of thousands of Californians employed. Extending this program will prevent production companies from moving their projects, jobs and spending out of California.”

It is an interesting view of the runaway production situation, because I never really thought about what California was having to do to preserve and attempt to salvage what remains of the industry that is so engraved in their culture. “If our state government is serious about getting Californians back to work, we must be aggressive in preserving the industry that creates so many middle class jobs and supports so many local businesses both small and large. We must be willing to fight to keep the film and television production that is such an inextricable part of our identity, our history and our economy. We must never allow the day to come when we look up at the Hollywood sign on the hill and realize that ‘Hollywood’ is no longer here.”

-Annie

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