Monday, April 2, 2012
I recently taught a Business of Acting seminar - and there was some good news. When I researched TV series and films being shot in the region it was clear we are in an upswing. There are a number of current TV series casting - from Drop Dead Diva, Army Wives and Homeland, to a new pilot called Nashville. Plus, an impressive number of films. But there was bad news too. Most of these were shot in neighboring states, not Tennessee. And sometimes, state film commissions give added incentives to production companies to only hire local talent. So even if we're willing to travel, we sometimes don't have access to the work around us. It's a shame that Tennessee isn't really competitive. While the states around us are offering 30 - 35% tax rebates on the money these productions spend, Tennessee doesn't match that. If you check the Film Commission website, (here: http://www.state.tn.us/film/) you'll see them trumpeting a 32% rebate. But it's not that simple. It's actually a 17% rebate, with an additional 15% headquarters incentive. Simply competitive. That's why Georgia and North Carolina and Louisiana all have 20 or more productions listed for 2011. Tennessee has five. And one of those was a singing competition. So what are we to do? Well, work hard to promote ourselves to out of state casting directors. Use online submission sites to compete. And work to change the political climate in Tennessee to one that recognizes the value -culturally and economically of all the arts, including film. You can call or email your state rep or senator and ask why our film incentives aren't competitive. They need to hear from you. Most of them would be surprised at the number of their constituents interested in the subject.