A Zoom press conference Tuesday featuring California Film Commission director Colleen Bell and Dee Dee Myers, the state’s newly appointed director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, was disrupted by a Zoom-bomber who spewed racist and sexist profanities, accompanied by fits of loud screaming, before finally slinking off to bother someone else.
“I have never had this happen,” Bell said apologetically. “I’ve been on a couple of hundred Zoom calls, and that’s the first time I’ve been hacked.”
Myers agreed. “This was my first Zoom hack as well,” she said after the hacker left following a few minutes of inane blather, loud music and random cartoon imagery.
When the conference resumed, Bell returned to her pitch for the importance of the state’s annual $330 million tax incentives program administered by the commission, which is a state program within the governor’s GO-Biz office. According to the CFC’s latest report from December, the program has an investment of $1.55 billion in tax credit reservations, and approved productions are on track to generate nearly $11.2 billion in direct in-state spending. This includes $3.9 billion in qualified wages to below-the-line crew members, $3.6 billion in qualified vendor expenditures, and another $3.7 billion in expenditures that do not qualify for tax credits. “Collectively, these productions are hiring more than 34,173 cast and 43,862 crew members,” the report says.
Myers, who served as President Bill Clinton’s press secretary – and later as Warner Bros’ EVP Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for five years – thanked the industry on behalf of Gov. Gavin Newsom “for making safe workplaces so that production can get back up and running again.”
Most of the presser was boilerplate stuff, with Myers assuring those on the call that “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” as Covid-19 vaccinations continue to slowly roll out in the state. Myers, whose sister is a film and TV makeup artist, said that “people need to continue to be vigilant,” and that it will be “many more months” before everyone can be vaccinated.
At the end of the call, Bell unveiled the commission’s new logo — that’s it above — and announced the launch of its newly redesigned website.