Hundreds of film and TV industry workers practiced a different sort of runaway production today, heading to Sacramento where they turned the Capitol’s north lawn into a Hollywood soundstage as they rallied for a bill to quadruple production tax incentives.
“Our jobs make magic on the screen, but we can’t feed our families on fairy dust,” said Thom Davis, business manager of IATSE Grips Local 80. “Every day, film and television production jobs are leaving California.”
A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol said the rally had caused no security issues and was scheduled to continue for much of the rest of the afternoon. The CHP doesn’t issue crowd estimates, but the spokesman said the group’s permit said it expected to have 350 people attend.
Assembly Bill 1839 has passed the Assembly by a comfortable margin and is awaiting passage in the Senate before the California Legislature adjourns at the end of the month. The bill would boost the state’s annual incentive package for local film and TV production from $100 million to $400 million. AB 1839 also would raise eligibility limits for maximum project budgets.
“The men and women behind the camera of our movies and TV shows are proud to be part of an industry that is California’s heritage,” said Ed Duffy, vice president of Hollywood Teamsters Local 399. “AB 1839 ensures that the film and television industry is a central part of California’s future, not just our past.”
Actor Ron Perlman of Sons Of Anarchy, Rocky’s Carl Weathers, and actor-director Daniel Stern joined in the rally, as did the crew from Pretty Little Liars, the ABC Family show that films in California and is one of the major recipients of this year’s recently awarded incentives.
The rally featured an interactive exhibit that allowed participants a behind-the-scenes glimpse into filmmaking, including a “green screen” that drops a person into a virtual backdrop; make-up artists and hair stylists who demonstrated how they transform an actor into a character; and foley artists showed how they create sound effects.
The rally fueled plenty of posts on social media and beyond, including politicians such as Assembly members Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) who spoke and then tweeted from the rally:
The California Film and TV Production Alliance – the umbrella group of guilds, unions and other businesses and associations that organized the rally – estimates that the current incentives generate $5.4 billion in direct economic stimulus, and have helped retain 60,000 jobs. Many have criticized the program, however, saying it’s far too small, with too many other restrictions, to compete with incentive packages offered by other states and countries. The group posted this video on its site: