DeVito, Modine Headline California Locations Conference

BY: Marjorie Galas, Editor

Speaking amongst props used in films including “Ghostbusters” and “Twilight,” on the floors Max Factor created the cosmetics that would define the glamour of Hollywood, Matthew Modine and Danny DeVito urged California Location Conference attendees not to let local production slip away.

“Five seasons of ‘Taxi” shot right here at the Gower Studios. My wife spent years on ‘Cheers” set in a Boston bar that also shot at Gower,” said DeVito. “Now a guy in Alabama is going to give you 30% off, and struggling producers are going to take that. We can sit back and let it go.”

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has heard the pleas of California businesses, such as Star Wagons and Eastern Costume, which suffer from runaway productions. While the legislators in Sacramento debate the validity of film production incentives in California, hemorrhaging continues. Film L.A.’s Annual Pilot Production Report (June2014) revealed another season of steady loss. Los Angeles retained only 90 projects ( 19 one hour dramas and 71 half hour comedies) out of 203 tracked during the 13/14 development cycle, yielding a 44 percent pilot production share. Last year, LA’s pilot production share was 52 percent.

For the 7th consecutive year, the California Film Commission and FLICs (Film Liaisons in California) have united to host the conference dedicated to promoting news and information pertaining to California film production. Actor/Producer Matthew Modine was the first featured speaker and summed up the tensions by jokingly announcing the Hollywood sign was being sold to Louisiana, and that the Oscars were heading to Vancouver. While stating his love of the state, Modine confessed he investigated Georgia and New York due to their substantial tax credits. With a story set in California, he’s utilized locations in San Fernando Valley, Big Bear, and Malibu; however the second stage of production will hang on whether his movie is picked during the upcoming tax credit lottery.

A cast member of the Philadelphia-based but California shot “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, producer Danny DeVito stated he was lucky to have completed his movies, including “Throw Momma from the Train” and “Matilda” in California and continues to fight to keep production at home. DeVito shared some stats related to the eleven season strong series “It’s Always Sunny” that support the need to keep filming local: 2,910 jobs have been created, one million dollars has been paid in sales take, and 6,393 has been paid in income tax.

“We only shoot ten shows a year, but it is consistently shot here,” said DeVito. “It’s always sunny in Philadelphia on the Fox lot. We have the edge here, it’s beautiful, it’s sunny. This is the incentive itself. What, do you want to get bit by a bunch of mosquitos in Georgia?”

DeVito also touched on the importance of keeping crew in California. While high salary actors can often bring their families (or fly them often) on location, crew members are forced to leave their families for weeks or months. Many crew members have begun relocating to states where they find more steady work, resulting in a weakened crew base in California, and a strengthened crew in states such as Louisiana and Georgia.

“Hollywood was once the film capital of the world. We need to get that lure back,” said DeVito. “We are the film capital of the world.”

To learn more about the California Locations Conference, visit:
http://conference.filmcalifornia.com/