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Marianne Paskowski

Yet Another Reason to Hate California

May 23, 2008 10:14 AM

Forget about the earthquakes, mudslides and the brush fires that plague California.

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that the odds of providing incentives for film and TV producers to stay in California are slim because the state faces a possible $20 billion budget deficit.

Yikes, how could the Terminator let this happen? The WSJ points to other states like Georgia, New York, Michigan and, yes, Mississippi, that are providing production companies with financial incentives and tax credits to lure producers to their states.

I’ve been writing about “runaway production” for decades. It really took off in the 1980s, when producers headed to Canada to take advantage of attractive incentives to do business there.

The story comes on the heels of ABC’s recent decision to move production of its hit series “Ugly Betty” out of California to New York.

In my neck of the woods, the Right Coast, even the tiny town of Plymouth, Mass., has obtained funding to build a studio to attract Hollywood defectors.

Don’t you expect more from the Terminator? I do.


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Comments (13)

Arthur :

I don't blame Schwartzenegger for focusing first on California's gigantic budget shortfall -- especially with a legislature that seems incapable of any sort of budget-trimming.

However the lack of tax incentives are just one reason for "runaway" production (which, more accurately, should be called "chaseaway".) Everything from gasoline to liability insurance costs more here in LA.

While Southern California weather and its huge concentration of talent and production facilities continue to hold the center, that advantage could evaporate in as little as 10 years as a new generation of video-savvy students starts producing hits from wherever they happen to live.

Plus, a lot of talent will flee LA as an unintended consequence of the Writer's strike -- fewer new scripted shows, fewer spec scripts bought and far fewer pilots produced. A lot of those mortgage foreclosures are film and TV people no longer able to afford their high priced digs.

Marianne :

Love the moniker "chaseaway" production. What bugs me is that this problem has been growing for almost three decades.

If Mississippi can figure this out, what's wrong with the powers-that-be in California? Producers should be pressing this issue harder.

Guess that's why they call LA, La-la-land.


I agree, it seems kind of sad Mississippi can figure it out, but California can't. Although Tampa Bay never has been able to either, even though Miami has. And our beaches are much more attractive for filming.

Marianne :

Hi Miss Attitude,

Just Googled to learn the next "Terminator" will be shot in New Mexico, the biggest film the state has ever contracted for. Actually there are 40 states, not including California that offer incentives to producers.

Duh, Arnold?

Thanks for your post,

It's really getting tiresome; all these whiners waiting for the 'government' to bail them out. Let's put the blame where it belongs for the 'runaway' production: The greedy unions, that's who. Same thing with the nmanufacturers, sending their production overseas for the cheaper labor.

Marianne :


The state of California has major economic problems. Where is the infrastructure for public transportation, for example."

Don't blame that on the unions, but conspicuous reliance on gas fueled cars in California, and a government that led it slide and glide by.

Some of these new tax incentives from other states, to at least keep tv production here, could work, if they provide enough jobs, say, for those in Mississippi to shore people up and make them more self sufficient.

Arnold made his money in Hollywood and it's disappointing that the problem continues.

Thanks for your post, I hate jobs going overseas. Fun to call India for customer service for Verizon?



Yo, Bl;ondie --

It's a competitive market out there, which the Hollywood-centric whiners seem to forget. Given the drivel that oozes out of those Left Coast studios, more eastern influence, even a dollop of common sense from Mississippi, could produce a real upgrade in taste.

Cruisin not Bruisin

Marianne :

Gee Cruiser,

So Hollywood should just relo to Tupelo, Miss.? Could be worse, Elvis, after all, was born there.Think it's a dry town, tho, having once been stuck there on a visit to the printer. Remember driving 30 miles to get a brewski.

Thanks, I think, for your post.


The "Great Bear" / "Golden Gate State" is suffering from forty plus years of denial.

Had the legislature in Sacramento banned together with Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, the idiots inside DC's Beltway and secured our southern border in the sixties, everyone would be in much better shape. The population would be smaller, the welfare system would be manageable, those here would be registered voters AND tax payers.

But, NO. The large produce farm people wanted dirt cheap labor, everybody wanted dirt cheap domestic help, nannies and grass cutters.

I lived in Malibu, Santa Monica and LA during the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Those of us with even an ounce of vision knew in 1975 that the one hundred thousand illegals stealing into the state every month then would, in a generation or two, create millions to drag down the system.

Twenty billion deficit? I'll bet it's more, much more.

There are other factors in the equation for run-a-way production, like a Teamster sitting outside in a station wagon ready to run an errand, getting four grand a week. I signed off on payments like that at Paramount, but I don't lay that much at the feet of the unions.

I support the Guilds and the unions and the studio management. I have been both. I know it is possible to run a profitable production where everybody is paid fairly. I've done it.

Remove the greed factor from everyone's perception of what they are worth per day, per week and you have the beginnings of reasonable production costs and profits.

Without that mentality, it does not matter where you shoot and edit, you are doomed to spiral into the dirt on which you stand.

Make it a partnership of those involved and you're on to something rewarding.

There is much to do, but California is not the Titanic and not heading for an iceburg. Off course? You bet'cha. Salvage-a-ble? Absolutely.

Some creative thinking, a vision and a plan followed by a lot of blood, sweat and smiles will and can keep Hollywood as Hollywood.
Peter Bright

Marianne :


If Al Gore is right about global warming, both the Left and Right coasts are indeed Titanics ready to break up in the ocean.

But that's 40 years or so from now.

Regardless of the immigration issues that are daunting, how in the world does Mississippi manage to step up to the plate?

The state is dirt poor, and has its own problems that it's trying to creatively address, at least in this case.

Thanks for your historic point of view, hope you're right about the future of Hollywood.


Dave Sanders:

20 billion haha thats just the State....not the
governators fault...the demo legislature is a givaway to all the illegals....The county of Santa Clara is billions in the hole and so is the City of San Jose albeit only millions in the so called capital of Silicon Valley. BUT !! On I think June 14th if your a man you can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman...maybe they just need to increase the marriage license fees? Proposal on the table to charge everyone 10 bucks extra on their vehicles fees to save the State parks....Everyone wants things for free so this ought to go over big. Law just passed to put warning signs by ocean in Spanish and English...this should save money huh? then next court case will need signs in Vietnamese and Tagalog? We have people here for 40 years and they can't speak English and I can't get a burger fixed right but I am the racist bigot? Welcome to the Third world....remember what the asshole mayor of San Francisco said...what starts in California goes nationwide..pity pity pity
later...watch for me on America's Most wanted soon
Westcoast Dave

Dave Sanders:

OOOOOOH yea I forgot ...in 1984 the Texas tilt took place with electronics companies moving to Texas...AMD, Intel, Cypress etc etc due to less taxes....Then moving to China and now Vietnam..
Why not the movie and TV industries....At least maybe the English versions of Sex and the City hahahahahahaha

West Coast Dave
WE need the Earthquake soon!!!!

Marianne :

Hi West Coast Dave,

The global economy is shifting. Boston used to be called Silicon Valley East. It's now a ghost town. San Francisco had it's ups and downs and is now slowing recoverin from the dot.com bomb.

Detroit used to make cars. Gary Indiana used to be the steel center of the world. Not any more, the biggest steel manufacturer is in Europe.

What next? Agriculture? Watch out Brazil and other emerging nations are shifting the tectonic plates on the entire food and energy sectors.

And now Hollywood, a long time coming.

My two cents this Sunday evening.

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