“insert city name here:” The New Hollywood!

14Oct12

This week we’re dealing with precarity, volatility, and other employment issues in the creative industries/cultural sector/art-realm. I’ve recently come across some articles indicating that some city is becoming the “new Hollywood.” Among other cities, Pittsburgh and St. Louis have been considered new meccas for film and/or television production. 

Now, a study by FilmL.A., an organization giving out film permits in Los Angeles, highlights the epidemic of “runaway production” and the effects it has on workers and the city. Runaway production is “the loss of film and TV work to other states and countries.” The study finds that “on-location filming of motion pictures fell 21% during the third quarter.” Union workers who are now finding it harder to find a job in the city may end up losing health insurance as well as their income.

It’s not just film that’s running away. A report by the LA Times claims that only 2 of 23 dramas that premiered this fall are shot in Los Angeles. “Each show takes $60 million out of the state and represents 840 lost California jobs.” That’s quite a blow.

FilmL.A.’s president, Paul Audley, says that there needs to be more policy to help bring TV drama projects back to Los Angeles. However, as we’ve read, especially in Oakley’s “Art Works,” policy properly regulating the cultural sector is difficult to properly make.

The article may be exaggerating the effect on specialized workers’ employment prospects. Hall says, “[i]t’s not easy for workers to transition the skills of a cameraman or assistant director into working in a cubicle or at the DMV.” This statement indicates she is not considering that cultural workers often have secondary employment, and will still have at least a little income while not working for a film or TV production specifically. This is not to say, however, that film and TV workers don’t have reason to feel distressed. Maybe they should consider moving to Pittsburgh or St. Louis. 

~Senia

Grim Script for Hollywood – local TV and film work declines again

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