What ALL Washington State residents should know about SB 5539

This is a personal request for support to all my friends who work just as hard as I do.  Boeing, Microsoft, Real Estate, Media, Retail, Graphic Artist, Game Industry, Musicians, State Employees, Teachers, Union and Non-Union – Yes, there are Union and Non-Union jobs within the film industry.

WHAT’S THE DEAL GINA?

Washington’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program gives a refund of up to 30 percent to movies, television shows and commercials filmed in Washington (providing the budget is over $500,000).

SB 5539, the bill to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program,  was voted out of the House Committee on Community & Economic  Development & Housing on Monday with a vote of 8 to 1. Representative  Santos was the single no vote on the committee. We are working with  Representative Santos to address her issues with the legislation and  we hope to have her vote when the bill comes up on the floor.

SB 5539 will now be referred to the House Ways and Means Committee chaired by Representative Ross Hunter and we will likely have a hearing scheduled  this week. As a reminder, Representative Hunter put an amendment on  the bill during the 2011 legislative session which cut the funding for  the program in half so we expect it to be a tough committee and will  need your support.

OKAY, BUT WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS?

Well it helps keep myself and other filmmakers here in Washington so that we provide you all with work too and it brings Hollywood/International Studios back to Washington State to film the ‘real’ Washington vs. going to Vancouver BC or Portland…or worse, a recent film called “Chronicle” was filmed in South Africa to be Seattle. They even used Seattle as the cover for their movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1706593/

Chronicle
Budget: $12M (estimated)
Opening Wknd:  $22M (USA)
Gross: $83.9M (Worldwide)

If they had really filmed here and only 10% of that budget went to Washington State – it would be $1.2 million dollars.

Twilight is another example but this time, it is a HUGE franchise that  – filmed in Louisiana, Oregon and B.C with a few establishing shots needed to remind the viewer that it’s based in rainy Washington.   Let’s quickly take a look at the financial figures:

The first movie Twilight:
Budget: $37M (estimated)
Opening Wknd:  $69.6M (USA)
Gross: $351M (Worldwide)

The second – New Moon:
Budget: $50M (estimated)
Opening Wknd:  $143M (USA)
Gross: $710M (Worldwide)

The third – Eclipse:
Budget: $68M (estimated)
Opening Wknd: $83.6M (USA)
Gross: $695M (Worldwide)

The fourth – Breaking Dawn P1
Budget: $110M (estimated)
Opening Wknd: $41.7M (USA)|
Gross: $662M (Worldwide)

TWILIGHT’S BUDGET AND WHAT COULD HAVE GONE INTO THE STATE:

Breaking Dawn P1 & P2: Filming began on November 1, 2010 and wrapped on April 15, 2011. They are the only two installments of the franchise not entirely filmed on location in Canada. Filming took place on location in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Rio de Janiero, Brazil as well as in Vancouver, Canada.

So adding up the budgets (since part 2 info isn’t out yet, I made the budget equal P1) it comes to $375,000,000.

IF only 10% of that money went into Washington State’s economy – that would be $37.5 MILLION dollars.  Corry’s Cleaners, Production Assistants, Extras, Taxis, WA State Ferry system, restaurants, hotels, hardware stores etc would have benefited from it.

OKAY, SO WHAT DOES IT BENEFIT FOR WASHINGTON STATE BUSINESSES?

The first thing to remember is that this is not about Seattle. Filming has gone around the entire State of Washington for decades.  From Snohomish to Spokane to Oak Harbor to Seattle.

Filming in Washington State means business for you by productions using: Hardware stores, SeaTac, restaurants, catering services, Attorneys, hiring security, taxi/van services, Macs, grocery stores, night clubs, gas stations, Adobe products, PCs, local musicians, graphic artists, clothespins for god sakes, and much more.

It also means tourism which means revenue for businesses as well.  Had Twilight actually been entirely filmed here in Washington – imagine the tourism revenue like what Northern Exposure and Twin Peaks did for North Bend and other places.  The very airport runway that I used for filming the “Carrera” car race was the same airport that Northern Exposure used.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, is one of the bill’s sponsors. She says the bill’s focus is on jobs and points out that projects don’t get any incentive money until they have gone through a rigorous review of their spending, including wages and benefits, in the state.

FOR WASHINGTON STATE FILMMAKERS & ALL OTHERS – WRITE IT UP

For all film industry professionals, write your Representatives to urge them to support the renewal of the program. It is especially important that members of the Ways and Means Committee hear from constituents in their districts.

For all others such as businesses and people who just want to support, please contact them and explain why you support as well.  For a full list of members on this committee visit the following link:

http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/WAYS/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx

EASY WRITING OR YOUR OWN WORDS

Our friends at IndieClub have designed a wonderful online resource to  make writing Representatives fast and efficient.
http://www.indieclub.com/wasupport

OR

If you prefer to write in your own words or directly, click on your Reps name and then their email address.
http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/WAYS/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx

MAKE IT PERSONAL

As always you are encouraged to personalize your letters and tell your  representatives how this program has impacted your lives.  This is a critical week for the legislation. We have a series of blog  posts scheduled to publish this week to encourage the film industry to get involved. Please remind your team members to check the blog regularly for the most up to date information about the status of the  bill (www.blog.washingtonfilmworks.org).

CALL

Legislative Hotline Operators: 1-800-562-6000
Just remember, it’s only one minute of your time to call as well.

Thanks for your continued support!

Gina Lockhart
Producer/Director/Writer

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