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Are Film Tax Credits Worth It?

Here is everything you need to know about filming incentives.

Filming incentives play a crucial role in convincing big-budget studio productions where they choose to shoot. In fact, filming incentives can ultimately boost or even destroy an aspiring actor's acting career.

What are filming incentives?

Filming incentives started in the 1990s as many TV shows and movies traveled to Canada to film their productions. Since then, states have offered increasingly competitive film incentives to attract productions from other states and even countries. The structure, type and size of the film incentives vary from state to state. Many film incentives include tax credits and exemptions, and other incentive packages including cash grants, fee-free locations, or other perks. Many people argue that movie production incentives provide increased economic activity and job opportunities. While others argue that the cost of the incentives outweigh the benefits and say filming incentives are a form welfare to the rich.

Do filming incentives work?

For example, Louisiana's filming incentives was capped last year for the first time in history. It's important to highlight that their filming incentives were capped, not canceled. In fact, the fund limit for TV shows and movies was set to $180 million a year, which still makes it among the most generous in the world. However, despite having a large filming incentive, the number of crew jobs available in Louisiana have dropped 75% as crew workers are traveling to Atlanta, Georgia where their film tax credits are uncapped. So why did so many film crew workers leave Louisiana? According to a New Orleans film crew workers’ union partly attributed this to a perception that the incentive had in fact been completely cancelled.

How rumors can destroy a film industry

Crew jobs have slightly increased and Louisiana's film production looks better than it did in the past. However, the perception of a dying film industry can hurt not only the state's film industry but the actors that live and work in that area. For example, when rumors surfaced that filming incentives in Louisiana were coming to an end, film crew workers immediately left NOLA and traveled to Atlanta. The risk of financial uncertainty is enough to scare away producers who are looking to get the most they can for their risky filmmaking investments. Consequently, when states make short term commitments to film tax credit programs, producers question the financial commitment and look elsewhere to film their productions.

Why Georgia's film industry is on fire

This is why Georgia's film incentives boost the state's film industry. Their commitment to funding production's with a 30% tax credit and the Governor's dedication to keeping the filming incentives helps promote more TV shows and feature films to film in the Peach State. For instance, Pennsylvania was on track to have a budding film industry however, a long delay in the renewal of the state tax incentives meant producers were going to look elsewhere to finance their productions. In addition, California's capped film incentives has also lead to an immediate drop in film crew workers and productions filming in the filmmaking capital of the world. Ultimately, film incentives play a major role in a state's film industry. They can make an actor's career by bringing new job opportunities however, a single rumor of financial uncertainty can have an aspiring actor looking for a new career. Featured Image Credit: AMC Related: What do you think? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

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