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FilmL.A. unveils marketing campaign to tout the local film industry

Film-industry promoters on Monday unveiled a plan to heavily promote L.A.'s signature business at a time when much of it is leaving California.

The $135,000 marketing plan, dubbed Film Works,is designed to remind Angelenos of the "economic and cultural benefits the L.A. region receives from local filming" while underlining some of the challenges facing local businesses squeezed by runaway production.

Led by FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that contracts with the city and the county to handle film permits, the two-year campaign will involve outdoor, print and Web advertising as well as public-service spots that will run in Mann Theatres. 

A new black-and-yellow Film Works logo will be displayed on billboards and kiosks beginning in January, followed by ads on the sides of film trucks thanking communities that welcome filming and highlighting jobs created by local productions.  Filmworksnew

"Our audience is all of Los Angeles, but our object is really threefold," said FilmL.A. President Paul Audley. "We seek to promote filming in Los Angeles, thank area neighborhoods for hosting filming and renew local appreciation for filming's economic benefits."

FilmL.A., which consulted with a coalition of labor leaders, politicians and industry representatives, developed the plan, reported by the Los Angeles Times earlier this year ("L.A. to film crews: Come home"), in response to growing concern that the city was not doing enough to promote its historic ties to the industry -- and to stem the steady outflow of production to other locales.

L.A. County's entertainment industry, which directly employs 140,000 people and many more whose livelihoods are tied to the film and TV business, has been devastated by the flight of production to Canada and increasingly to other U.S. states, more than 40 of which offer film tax credits and rebates.

Although California's new incentives have helped to slow the decline, on-location production last year suffered its steepest drop since tracking began in 1993, reflecting a long-term flight of filming not only to international rivals such as Toronto and Vancouver, but also to Louisiana, Michigan and New Mexico.

The state's share of U.S. feature-film production plunged to 31% in 2008, down from 66% in 2003, according to the California Film Commission. And only 57% of all TV pilots were shot in L.A. in 2009, down from 81% in 2004, according to FilmL.A.

Audley announced the event at Los Angeles Center Studios, surrounded by camera trucks and trailers and props brought in by local film-service companies. He was joined by City Council President Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, and other local politicians who talked about steps L.A. was taking to be more film-friendly, such as offering free parking in city lots and installing more electrical power nodes to facilitate filming in downtown L.A.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did not attend but in a statement praised the campaign.

"Half a million people in the region depend on a thriving local film industry for their livelihoods,'' he said. "We can keep jobs in Los Angeles if we can find creative ways to keep filming here at home and in the state."

-- Richard Verrier

 Photo: City officials were on hand to announce plans to market Los Angeles and curb runaway production during a press conference Monday morning at Los Angeles Center Studios. Credit: Brian van der Brug/LA Times.

Comments () | Archives (7)

As there are over 100,000 people who make their living with production jobs in L.A., how about if Film Works opens an online store and sells some t-shirts and caps (at cost) so that we can further promote filming in Los Angeles. It's a pretty cool logo - I'd be proud to wear it.

I am interested in finding how Angelenos can be selected to have their homes used for filming. I've seen film crews at a few homes and would love to find out how I can submit my home for consideration too.

I agree with LAFilmWorker, they should totally offer caps or t-shirts to promote. Runaway production is a major problem in this city. I have a lot of friends who are out of work because a lot of movies that were here before have gone off to places like Louisiana or Atlanta. Keep films in LA!

Cap Equity Locations (www.CapEquity.com/locations ) has listed “Film Ready” properties to facilitate some of the challenges that have existed in Los Angeles. Our owners of commercial and residential properties offer flexible pricing and understand the challenges of our budget restricted production community. We introduced production vouchers this last year to incentivize productions to work at our properties in L.A.’s TMZ (Thirty Mile Zone). Cost effective locations will help to drive down the production budgets in Los Angeles.

It's a nice thought, but it's too little too late and it'll do nothing to keep production here just by pep talking communities. Production will stay in L.A. only if L.A. and California make it cost-effective to do so. And that means finding capital that's willing to invest in movies that stay in California and Los Angeles -- as opposed to investors who are all looking for tax breaks. The investors call the shots - and they are the ones who repeatedly insist on Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico and elsewhere. All this is really a tiny drop in a very large bucket.

Until the two main issues affection Los Angeles filming are addressed, producers will continue to leave the area: first, the lack of tax incentives and second, a local citizenry hostile to one of the major industries of the state. The same people who are quickest to say "I hope filming goes away because I hate my street getting blocked off" probably aren't thinking about lost jobs and tax dollars leaving California, but it's a shortsighted perspective that ignores the revenue we get from productions staying local.

The excellent written message of the logo can't be even seen, much less be understood in the split second most people will see it when they pass it on the street. The way it is designed, the eye has to go to ... four.... different places to read the message. So while there are a hundred different way those words could have been displayed in a way that the message could not be missed, the very well written message will instead just be lost out in all the real world visual clutter that will surround it.


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