Thursday, March 28, 2013

Want the film industry to stay in Louisiana? --Then DO SOMETHING!!!

So much as been written on this topic that it is starting to become redundant.  But yet is anyone doing anything other than yelling in the press?! 

Below the 2 articles on the subject is a link from the LA Film and Entertainment Association that you can follow to make your voice heard. 

We all understand what the Governor is trying to do, and the "hair cut" approach he is taking.  But we all know how devastating a bad hair cut can be.  And in this case, it won't grow back out.  This link is to the rankings of the top state incentive programs and how they are viewed and rated.  Yes, we are #1 today, but look at the others and the reasons they have fallen.  The common theme:  reduction of the incentives. 

According to the gov, the cuts are small and will have a "negligible effect" If the"hair cut" is so small, then why even bother cutting it.  The benefit is much greater.  I am not a fan of "Hollywood fat cats" taking advantage of the system.  However, in this case, if we keep putting the milk out for the fat cats, at some point they will not be able to leave.  That is the true path to sustainability and the reason these incentives need to stay in place.   Gov. Jindal, don't touch the milk!

Jindal’s tax proposal could devastate film industry via @lsureveille

Film industry leaders say Jindal tax plan would cripple production; administration disagrees


Governor Jindal unveiled his plan to eliminate Personal Income, Corporate Income and Franchise Taxes in the upcoming legislative session. The administration has not yet filed an official bill, but instead have offered a draft bill that outlines the Tax Swap Program. As a part of his larger package to eliminate income, corporate and franchise taxes, the Governor has also suggested changes to the film program.
How do these changes impact the film industry?
• Impose a salary cap of $1 million for above-the-line talent.
• Exclude financing fees from the cost basis
• Increasing the current state sales tax rate from 4% to 5.88% and include services.
If passed by the legislature, these changes will have a dramatic impact on the entertainment industry in Louisiana.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jindal-now is not the time to f' with the film credits

Why?   Why now?  Why do we seem to take something that works and just kill it.   That's is exactly what will happen to our film industry in Louisiana if Jindal "touches" the film credits at this time. 

Even though the administration says this will have "a negligible impact" on most productions, it doesn't matter, the momentum will start to slow.  Any hint or suggestion that money will be taken away or not made available will do major damage, no matter how small the cut is.  A small cut can start an infection that could kill you, that is what this plan will do.   And why now?

Here are some points to consider.

1. Competition. We are not the only state that offers film incentives.  Many do, and many production companies take them up on those tax incentives and film there consistently.  So if we reduce our tax incentives, we automatically concede that future business to those states.

2.  The spin off.  An incentive is designed to do just that, incentivize, to help a business make a choice on location.  And in return for that business, we get more spin off business.  THAT IS WHAT IT IS DESIGNED TO DO.  So why kill it now.   We have major production facilities and new start-ups that are a true "state-wide" economic boon.  There are facilities in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, Lafayette, and who knows how many more on on the drawing board that may never materialize if the credits are altered in any way.  The list is very long of new businesses who have located to New Orleans for the "incentives".  Again, why are we killing this now?

3.  Recognition. Does anyone realize the impact of the Oscars on New Orleans this year.  I personally don't care about who wins what, but this year was different.  The Beast of the Southern Wild is a prime example of why tax credits work.  When you hear the back story of the actors in that movie and how they were chosen, and how the City of New Orleans has such incredible raw talent that you can pluck someone from behind the counter of doughnut shop and make him a star, you can clearly see how the recognition factor works.  Now every producer in Hollywood will be down here(if they are not already), looking for the next rising star.  And it was not just that one movie, there are hundreds of examples.  Reality TV has set up shop in Louisiana.   Now I know some are not fans of how our swamp relatives are being portrayed, but I have news for you, its called reality TV for a reason.  And it is doing quite well in Louisiana.

4.  Do the math.  This is all ways the argument from the "cutter" of taxes.  Its the parent saying we can't afford it, we are just giving the Hollywood fat cats more money.  I ask that Jindal makes one simple comparison on giving away money to out of towners:  compare it to road construction projects. Please do the math on how much money leaves the state on road construction.  You may think that those guys on the side of the road causing traffic congestion are locals, but they are not.  No one is analysing this outflow of money.  Billions have been given to our state on so many levels and for so many projects, yet no one has looked at the statistics on how much of that money has remained in the state. 

Yet it is very easy to reach out and touch the numerous "physical" production studios in the state, the many jobs created by the film industry. 

And here is another stat to consider:  the number of L.A. transplants who now call the State of Louisiana home.   Go look at the empty office buildings in Los Angles and surrounding areas, all losing tenants as part of a migration out of L.A. to greener pastures, like another LA, Louisiana.

So why now?  Why when people are committing their lives by moving to our state, do we say, oh, no, that's costing us too much money.  Why can't we at least wait until a sustainable infrastructure is in place that would keep the industry moving forward with less credit incentives.  Why now?  I  understand that it is an expense and a cost to the state, although the Lottery proceeds to the state seem to be doing quite well.  If the YLC can step up and afford to keep the CCC bridge lights on, I think the state can step up and "at a minimum" wait before sacrificing the golden goose that is doing so much for us now.

But, while we are at it, lets go ahead and reduce mardi gras next year.  All that overtime police pay is really hurting our bottom line.  Who really wants all those tourist here, what a pain.  I really hate the way they spend all that money, and use our hotels, and fly into our airport.  And who cares if the Superbowl comes back.  What an unnecessary expense.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Believing what you hear can be damaging

A properly crafted message, slogan or jingle can make or break a brand.  And you know the ones that I am talking about.   Call to mind the sound of the duck quacking about supplemental insurance, "How will you pay your bills?  Af.......", Complete this one;  "Red Robbin......".  Or "5 Dollar, 5 Dollar ______  _______"

And of course, our local fav, Rosenberg's, Rosenberg's, _ _ _ _ Tu-lane.  This one shows your heritage and age.

These jingles, slogans and messages are designed to hook us and stick in our minds.

So, if our brains unconsciously absorb these sounds and can create an uncontrolled recall, then think about the thousands of sounds and sayings and wives tales that we have heard throughout our lives.   Like, "that will put your eye out" or "dry your hair or you'll catch a cold" or "if its sounds to good to be true, it probably isn't"  or "don't invest in the stock market" or  "if you keep doing that you'll go blind", oops, too much.  

These tales, myths, beliefs and sayings exist in every culture and are often so pervasive that we sadly and blindly take them as the truth.

But what we don't realize is the affect these sayings have on the development of our personalities and the way we see life and ourselves.  We could be unconsciously creating negative thoughts that are holding us back and not even realize it.  We may not have taken the risk to buy an investment property because Uncle Lou  said real estate is a bad investment.  Or the family adviser who said "you can't start a business unless you have a lot of capital".  While that may be good advice, it may have stopped you completely from moving forward with your multi-million dollar idea. 

And my all-time personal favorite:  "Einstein said, 'the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result".  I love this one because, as it turns out, Einstein never said this....Einstein.  If you google it, you will find the real quote, from an unexpected author, Rita Mae Brown, on an unexpected topic from her book Sudden Death in 1983.
Think about it.  Einstein would have done an experiment over and over again, and would have expected a different result.  That would be the definition of experimenting!  Thomas Edison is well known for doing something over and over again until he got it right.   Most great inventions and successes came from repeated attempts expecting a different result.

The power of these beliefs is amazing.  This one, incorrect "Einstein" statement, that has been passed down and spread like a malicious virus, actually made me question myself.  Was I actually insane?  Am I trying to build a business by going to work everyday and expecting a different result like more sales, or am I delusional?   Do people think I am crazy?   They are telling me that I am.  I mean by "definition" I am doing the same thing over and over again, every day trying to make it work.  They must be right.

The revelation about this saying came from me actually googling it.(how sad).  Once I realized that this saying had no basis, the chain of fear that I might need therapy was suddenly gone. I laughed out loud, I mean LOL.  I could not believe that I fell for that ridiculous statement. 

Then pity set in for those who had been telling me this and I could see their chains that were holding them back from their true potential.  And yes, a few who ironically might actually be insane, according to Webster's real definition.

We hear these sayings like we hear the commercial jingles.  If we are not careful of how we process this information, it can sneak in to our consciousness and become reality.  Think about all of those sayings and opinions that we carry with us through out life.  If only we could learn the true definition of these debilitating tales earlier, how much anguish could we have saved ourselves.

So simply remember, "believing what you hear can be damaging".  Lets hope this statement gets spread around and becomes a reality.

Well, you know what they say;  Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.  Wait, is this one true?

©Mark Subervielle 2013