Do you like movies? I love movies. I stood in line for hours just to get into a midnight showing of Star Wars (yes, I am a nerd). I am the reason they make four-disc versions of the Lord of the Rings. I love to see how movies are made. Movie making is fun, interesting, and a huge economic boost to local communities.
The average cost just to make a movie is around $35 million. That is small change compared to the $100 million for major studio motion pictures. That does not even include the $40-$50 million you need to distribute and promote each movie.
Can you imagine what that money would for to the New Hampshire economy?
That is why people in New Hampshire are working to draw movie-makers to New Hampshire. Rep Jeffery Goley has submitted HB 540 as a way to create jobs and boost our economy.
HB 540: This bill establishes a credit against business profits taxes for motion picture production expenditures made in New Hampshire.
In simple terms this means that the state will offer a tax break to motion picture companies who come and film movies here. Normally I am against most of these types of tax breaks, because they usually only benefits the corporations. This one is very different.
This is exactly what is happening in New Orleans.
“Louisiana’s growing industry has contributed to the continued success of new film production in the United States by leveraging assets that are economically and culturally advantageous to the industry, specifically during times of economic uncertainty. In addition to the generous tax credit, Louisiana has been able to attract and retain consistent film production into the state with the growth of skilled workforce, new infrastructure, and versatility and diversity of locations.”
“The film production tax credit program was designed to cultivate and sustain a thriving film production industry in Louisiana – and it’s been very successful,” said Stephen Moret, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development. “Louisiana is now No. 3 in the country in film production activity, and the industry supports thousands of jobs in Louisiana that previously did not exist. In fact, third-party economists have estimated the economic impact of film tax credits in Louisiana to be nearly six times the fiscal cost of the tax credits” (From Forbes)
Lowering the tax for film production has already boosted the local economy in New Orleans. Is there a possibility reducing the tax rate for film producers would result in a loss for New Hampshire? Of course there is; however, there is a significant difference between the film industry and other industries. The film industry spends millions making a movie and the majority of that money goes to workers. The production company only makes a profit after the film is released.
That brings me back to the $35 million average for film production.
Where does that $35 million go? How would that $35 million be spent here in NH? The short answer is: people and places. The production company needs to hire workers to do the filming, and rent places to shoot the scenes.
This is another reason I support this bill. The jobs we are talking about are not minimum wage Walmart jobs, these are good union wage jobs. The majority of these jobs would go to IATSE members. IATSE represents over 113,000 stage hands nationwide, who do almost everything except act in the movie. They represent everyone from the microphone operators to the cinematographers. They are also the people who build the amazing sets.
Other unions are involved in making a movie:
- The Screen Actors Guild (SAG_AFSTRA) represents most of the actors, stunt people, and dancers on the big and small screen.
- The Screen Writers Guild – that one is a given. (To be eligible for an Academy Award, the writer has to be a member of SWG)
- The Teamsters are usually tasked with all transportation of people and equipment.
- The IBEW ensures that all wiring is done correctly and meets safety regulations. They also work with the IATSE crew to provide lighting on and off the set.
There are tons of other union jobs that are used in a movie production. Movie companies reach out to local unions for police, fire, and EMT details. There are also unions who represent hair, makeup, and visual effects artists.
Another area that can only be handled by local small businesses: the food! Every production has food catered for the actors and the crew. Hundreds of thousands of dollars would be pushed right into local restaurants to deliver food for hundreds of people. This is something only the local community can provide.
The more movies are filmed in New Hampshire, the more jobs we would create and the more we would boost our local economy. This bill is an absolute win-win for New Hampshire. I encourage you to contact the NH House Ways and Means Committee and tell them to pass this bill today!