Monday, March 30, 2009

Work drying up for film industry

From the Daily News:

Since a successful state tax break for film and TV productions ran out of money on Feb. 2, the heads of two major studios in Queens said scheduling for pilots has come to a grinding halt.

"Once the word started to leak out that it was running out of funds, that was it. Boom - it just stopped," said Kaufman Astoria Studios President Hal Rosenbluth.

Rosenbluth said he hasn't gotten a single call to book a pilot since the $460 million the state allocated for the program through 2013 was tapped out.

Silvercup Studios in Long Island City has no pilots right now, said President Stuart Suna. Last year, it was home to four of the eight pilots filmed in the city for the 2008-2009 season.

Those are troubling signs, since pilots are usually booked in January and February and shot in the spring in time for prime-time premieres in September.

38 comments:

-Joe said...

They are most all shooting in Canada now.
This started years ago making the Canadian studios tool up even more.
Its all about greed, not tax issues IMO.
The top brass and executive producers cooking the books want to avoid "union houses" IATSE etc.
They want to keep as much of the investors $$ as possible. The crooks then get the film released straight to video so they can say there is no $$ left to pay the investors back

Scenery for stuff like SNL and all the other crap shot in the GE building, LIC and Astoria is being made in Mexico.
They are now F_ing all the scenic artists over as well.


PS: Had Liam Neeson not participated in this nonsense his wife would not have gotten bored and gone for that skiing lesson.

She was a wonderful person BTW--One of the few people in this filthy industry not derserving to 'go"

-Joe

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the insider info, but that last Liam Neeson part was cryptic, and kinda weird.

Anonymous said...

People complain about, "Socialism", now even the capitalists need to be paid an incentive to become rich.

When did it become the government's responsibility to bribe private business to make a buck?

This is a form of extortion, industry playing off one government against the other so that by the time the bribes are netted out no one gets anything.

I have an idea, take some of that wasted money and put it towards roads, bridges and the rotting infrastructure, traditional uses of government money, and re-employ the idled. At least the taxpaying motorist would see the benefit.

ew-3 said...

Joe - agree with most of your points, but it's a legal obligation for the studios to maximize profit for the investors.
They are simply beiong shrewd businessmen.
But it points out that the government clowns that represent the public side are rank amateurs at business. Of course these people would go soon as the money dried up. I'm shocked that anyone would expect them to stay. Again it shows up how out of touch politicans are.

Anonymous said...

Whatever your idiotic argument the tax breaks created a lot of JOBS and more then half of them in QUEENS.
Everyone on this blog bashed the tax break as "tax breaks for temporary citizens" and the like.
Whoever was profiting the most doesnt matter because although if I was from Rochester I might hate the idea, no county benefited more than the county of Queens.
You are all (as usual) a bunch of idiots, cuttin off your nose to spite your face.

City Planning is a Joke said...

Hell, don't worry, they are both in Community Board 1, so the real way to make money (as everyone knows in that part of our fair city) is to build! build! build!

All you need to do to get the community behind your its is tell the ill educated property owners (immigrant Greek / Italian) that they can go ahead and rent that basement, add that room, put in that extra floor.

No one will make an effort to let them know that other options are possible ... or what will happen to their community... (thanks Pratt, etc etc)

Of course the point with this small time trashing is to let the big time boys (read 'clubhouse donors') do what they want to do.

No worry about infrastructure. No worry on aesthetics. No real civics to stand in your way. God forbid you say something on astorians.com and get your head bit off (then banned)

Naw. All murmurs of concern will be drowned out (in the spirit of Brave New World) by big headlines screaming QUEENS NEXT BIG DEVELOPMENT!!! ...

and Vinnie 'Big Mike' Donato on the 'community board' downing out (in true Wizard of Oz fashion) humble petitioners seeking redress.

Maybe they can get Pistilli in to design a nice 50 story building... full of Section 8.

(just make sure its along mass transit corridors)

Anonymous said...

CB1 the community board from hell!

Anonymous said...

Instead of spouting off on all this other nonsense, why don't you blame the people who are not extending the tax cut?

-Joe said...

What some rep or PR person tells the press is bullsh*t.

These movie people were planning to move out of New York and Los Angelos and shoot in Canada long before the tax cuts came.

They get to steal more money that way. When you have tax cuts there is more much bookeeping out in the open and less ways to cheat investors.

SAG cards, Extra cards, IATSE forget it

They just shoot in Vancouver and pull people off the street for $60, feed them some cheap catering a day and write them up as $150 ea.

Battle of Seattle was shot in Vancouver (Charlize Theron and her husband "whatever" put everybody in the fight scene in black jackets and hoods.
....that and some hot dogs was their pay for the day.

Regarding Natasha Richardson, so much for socialized health care. Instead of doing a immediate scan and simple bore craniotomy
The Micky Mice put her in the back of an ambulance and had to drive her 2-1/2 hours to a MRI machine.
----to late.
Apparently packed emergency rooms, No helicopters, not enough trained doctors at most hospitals up there.
Nobodys want to go near a hospital.

Just politicians and journalists...I had my experience (the tour bus incident) in that Country ....once was enough

Anonymous said...

Instead of spouting off on all this other nonsense, why don't you blame the people who are not extending the tax cut?

A CORPORATE TAX CUT? IN THIS ECONOMY?? DO I GET ONE FOR MY FAMILY? WE CONTRIBUTE TOO!!!

@$#%*#^@@

Anonymous said...

Naw. All murmurs of concern will be drowned out (in the spirit of Brave New World) by big headlines screaming QUEENS NEXT BIG DEVELOPMENT!!! ...

-------

Both Silvercup and Kaufman Astoria saw the handwriting on the wall a while ago - industry has been moving out of NYC for quite some time now - this climate merely speeds the trend.

They have been putting their eggs in the basket for massive development projects for a while.

The collapse of the film industry strips away their fascade to the core: the are at heart real estate companies.

Anonymous said...

A CORPORATE TAX CUT? IN THIS ECONOMY?? DO I GET ONE FOR MY FAMILY? WE CONTRIBUTE TOO!!!

Well, actually, you just did. Obama's tax relief plan put an additional $40 in my bi-weekly take home. Guess I can afford to go see a movie now - just not one made in NYC.

Anonymous said...

You blew $40 to sit on you ass in cheap little seat to view on a foreign made flick or some crap remake made on blue screen with computers ?

Spiderman III was the last for me.
All the one liner bad acting, fast cuts and watery cyber cinematography & cellphone yapping was enough for me.

May as well take a ride the hot rails to hell on the #7 train for entertainment.

$ 2 Bux

-Joe

Jeremy Kareken said...

I am willing to give anyone a tax break if they hire someone in this economy.

And the arts and showbusiness generates a great deal of revenue for the state, or rather it did.

Lino said...

"Joe" said "Regarding Natasha Richardson, so much for socialized health care".

Life expectancy: Canada 80.34yrs World rank:14

US mainland: 78.06yrs World rank: 45th.

President Truman proposed Socialized medical care in 1945-6, it was vehemently opposed by the AMA (doctor's "union") as a result of that cynical, effort, we remain the only first-world nation not offer this basic right, but the highest cost per-patient to-boot.

The Natasha Richardson case is sadly typical of what happens to people who initially "feel fine" and wave-off medical attention after blunt trauma to the head, docts refer to this as "walk and die". I have a number of relatives, including two that are doctors in Canada. There is no shortage of emerg medical care.

There, as here, people are triage-d on entry. Had she taken the initial offer of medical intervention she might have survived.

-------------------------------

Scenery made in Mexico..you want to clarify that one?

NBC is a tight Union shop.

Look, you have posted your feelings about the Jewish dominated media...as a 44 year SAG member and former IATSE member, you may have a point...but lets stick to reality.

Anonymous said...

"There is no shortage of emerg medical care"

Actually, there was no emergency helicopter for her. She had to be driven for hours and didn't make it.

Anonymous said...

If Canadian health care is so good, then tell the Canucks to stop coming to America for ooperations.

Lino said...

"Anonymous said...
If Canadian health care is so good, then tell the Canucks to stop coming to America for ooperations."

"ooperations"? Is that like "oops"?

Well anyway the traffic tends to go the other way, especially with such operations as hernia, hip and knee etc.

According to the AARP some 1.85 American go bankrupt each year from medical bills. Someone you personally know will be ruined due to this situation.

That, and the piss-poor rank in life expectancy are a disgrace.

You can thank the AMA and Republican pols for this situation.

It is nothing to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

Republicans? Do they cause obesity? Because that's a big reason why Americans are sicker.

Rock Wangslot said...

Look, you have posted your feelings about the Jewish dominated media...as a 44 year SAG member and former IATSE member, you may have a point...but lets stick to reality.

-Joe and reality don't mix.

Anonymous said...

The problem with these payoffs to industry is that other municipalities match and raise and pretty soon any economic benefit is destroyed. Additionally, it gives others the idea to start demanding too.

The key to restoring our viability will be restoring and invigorating the dirty industries that we so casually discarded decades ago.

Since our dollar has been destroyed, we will have to re-create the conditions that nurtured American industry in the days of our forefathers. Less spending, Less debt production, more capital in industrial production that we will no longer be able to buy overseas.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how people have no idea what they are talking about. The film industry in NYC and Queens was booming the last few years because of this tax break. If your family can put thousands of people to work, then yes you should also get a tax break. Genius.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has seen some of the shit that I have seen in the past five years, and experienced some of the vile behavior of the local tweeded moviegoers, can't be shocked that this industry is tanking.

Missing Foundation said...

Amazing how people have no idea what they are talking about. The film industry in NYC and Queens was booming the last few years because of this tax break. If your family can put thousands of people to work, then yes you should also get a tax break. Genius.

-----------

Dear Mr Suna:

If anyone could be freed from paying taxes they could put a lot of people to work and make lots of money.

The problem is you guys are using this to build a real estate empire that not only denies monies for a healthy city (tax breaks) but depresses chances for it to recover (infrastructure costs to support your money making real estate endeavor).

Genious indeed.

PS The benefit to my 7 year old to enjoy a waterfront park far outstrips any justification you can make to take it away from him, his kids, and his grandkids.

Anonymous said...

The key to restoring our viability will be restoring and invigorating the dirty industries that we so casually discarded decades ago.

No, the key to restoring our viability will be looms... MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF LOOMS!!! And at those looms, millions and millions of women and children!!! Working 15-hour days, six or seven days a week, with no light and air!!!

Only 19th Century products and 19th Century working conditions will restore New York City to its former glory! Who needs modern times and modern ways???

Anonymous said...

There would be no waterfront park without development of the waterfront. Genius.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. What industries have disappeared between 1970 and the present in New York:

Printing
Garment Industry
Automotive Assembly
Radio Assembly
Breweries
Electronic Assembly,
need I go on?

Perhaps you can weave yourself a rope with the looms and hang yourself.

-Joe said...

Radio Assembly
Breweries
Electronic Assembly.
------------------------

Yep All gone.
I repair electronics on the side (2 Way radio, high end Glass Audio, guitar amps etc.)

I now have to "hunt" mail order or on Ebay.
LNL, Green Tele Radio, EPC in Freeport...ALL GONE.
Allstate Jamaica aver is still around but has limited and NTE parts.

Every time I pass the F-14 in Calverton I get a feeling of disgust.
....We gave it all away.

Rock:
A word about the IATSE
I don’t care too much for them.
They are just as guilty for chasing the industry out of the city.

It’s a "Closed" father and son union who happen to be a bunch of overpaid thugs, possibly organized crime to boot.

A wile back in the 80's I moved a monitor with my foot during sound check at the Beacon. This big fat Local 1 slob walked right up to me on stage slinging a baseball bat.
He was demanding I move it back.
It our drummer came flting over the drums and almost ended up in a full out brawl.
Keith A (RIP) who I knew from Roxie in LIC smoothed things over.

There was also another time Ace Frehley teck carried the loaded and charged "smoker" in from the coach.
(this early instriment used Magnesium strips, coal powder, mineral oil and 14 volts of NiCad batterys.
It required special handeling and a sighn off from the fire Marshall to arm)
----They thugs smashed him into the wall; the guitar went off in the case firing all the smoke detectors, burning the foam. People thought the whole place was burning down. This was the Garden. (Norton’s joint at the time)

Some of those guys are cool but most are assholes.
Broadway may be the next to go..its just to dam expensive to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Joe. It is amazing that so many people think these industries disappeared in the days of the dinosaurs rather than in the last 20 or so years.

I still remember Ballatine Beer, Televisions that were made in America, an electronics district in lower Manhattan, Manufacturing of all kinds in the outer boroughs and a flourishing maritime and port industry in New York.

How easily we let them slip through our fingers and when someone mentions the obvious, that you have to have something to trade in order to have "trade" they are dismissed as an old fogey.

See Phillips, "American Theocracy" for an explanation of how we got this way.

-Joe said...

Yep---Ballatine all the others, Star street pretzel factory, Gretsch guitars.
I grew up around George Street and Knickerbocker, the brewarys were all just right up the street. All cobblestones BTW.
I still have a bunch of clocks, Neon and round serving trays.

I remember at 12 noon the steam whistle would blow and they would open up this lunch shed.
Hell ----my grandfather would grab me and his frozen mug out of the freezer and run up there.
Fresh beer and free soda and hotdogs for kids.
These companys were both staffed and really cared about the people around them

I also remember a hotdog factory in Maspeth had a lunch shed as well.
I remember passing it going to Avation HS. The Q-39 bus passed 3 blocks south of it

All this beer in stores today is horrible.
For real beer you have to hit the micro brewerys on the East End, The local firehouses out there seem to aquire fresh secret "stashes" in these small refillable Kegs

Anonymous said...

As usual my fellow Queens residents prove themselves to be idiots.
Simply readt through the previous posts on this page and you will find that 80% are ramblings of blowhards who do not even understand the topic.
And you wonder why everyone considers us the backwards borough still living in the 80's full of Archie Bunkers. From the previous posts...they are right.

Anonymous said...

Really? There are ample books detailing how private interests play one municipality against the other to gain extortionate concessions and they are not written by Archie Bunkers from Queens.

One reason that economics is called the "Dismal Science" is that it deals with the reality of scarcity. Limits on time, money, natural resources. Everything economic is a balance of one interest against another. To pay the bribe that this industry requires another group must be deprived of funds.

It is reasonable for one to ask whether this is the best use of money in bad times.

Ridgewoodian said...

Anonymous: It is reasonable for one to ask whether this is the best use of money in bad times.

Yes, it's reasonable to ask. And it leads to another reasonable question: does the state gain or lose in the bargain? If you compare how much money it gives up to the tax break with how much it gains through economic activity generated by productions that might otherwise have relocate does it come out ahead? If it does then I think the break is reasonable, if not then it’s not. The real question is what the numbers are. I don’t have them – do you, does anyone here?

I do have very anecdotal evidence that the tax break is a good thing. One of my very best friends has been a key grip in the New York area for ten or twelve years. (You've probably seen his names dozens of times, if you stick around for film credits.) He's a member of the union - IATSE Local 50, I believe (but don't quote me on that). He busts his ass day after day, at all hours of the day and night, in burning summer and freezing winter – anyone who thinks movies are nothing but stars and glamour and magic should work on a set for a day. Now he's not getting Rockefeller rich but he IS able to pay a mortgage on a beautiful home in Ossining and his wife has actually been able to stay with their two young sons and not have to hurry back to work a few weeks after giving birth. At one time this kind of thing - honest hard work, enough pay to have a decent home and a family - wouldn't have been remarkable. They even had a name for it: the American Dream. But in the last thirty or forty years, with the decline of unions and, probably not coincidentally, the stagnation of real wages and the transfer of wealth further and further up the social ladder it’s become more and more unobtainable. Whatever the state can do to reverse this lamentable trend is all to the good. My friend pays taxes, supports local businesses with his patronage etc. In other words he’s fully integrated into the economic life of the community. If New York productions started moving to L.A. or Toronto or even Connecticut he would be put in a much more precarious position.

I know that you don’t make policy based on the experiences of one person – which is why I don’t think Canada is going to scrap its health care system because of Natasha Richardson – but I suspect me friend’s experience isn’t singular. Thanks to the film industry there are thousands of New Yorkers who have good jobs and are solid members of the middle class. Until someone shows me hard data proving that the state is materially harmed by the tax breaks I say restore them.

-Joe said...

Im a SAG and ASCAP Member
I hear what Ridgewoodian is saying however in NYC these UNIONS actually STOP and prevent people from working or getting work.
Let me name a few:
Hmmm: Blackmail, Extortion, Payola. "Ghosting" Bid rigging, Moving and Storage, Auctions.

#2 IATSE UNIONs are "closed" unions.
I have a friend who worked at SNL as a scenic artist. He'd work Thurs, Fri, Sat Earn $2100 and come home with around $980 after IATSE's assorted 30% "fee's" to work plus taxes.
A certain producer and blujean makers Daughter formed "Broadway Video" so they NBC, and General Electric can pretend not to know each other and push more people windows, shoot in lofts, LIRR tunnels etc due to the cost of IATSE shops.

For Example Notice how most every sitcom on NBC is the same crap: SNL, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation.
The cheesy lame writing, same clothing companys gay crap, Alecc Baldwin and Tina Fey jumping out of every corner.

There is no reason to reward corperate crooks in bed with West Villiage writers both doing a lousy job.
BELEIVE ME THESE PEOPLE ONLY HIRE THERE OWN !

The shows are HORRIBLE let them go, pull the flush chain and start over from the bottom.

The problem is just like the auto industry---- TO MANY FAT CATS & BUDDY SYSTEMS FLYING THE BIRD !

In NYC you cant work in the industry unless your IA yet you cant get in to that "brotherhood" unless your a relitive, sombody dies and your voted.

800 or so IATSE members making $200,000 a year buying milk at the local Larchmont Deli or Walbaums is not going to fix the problem.
Its actually a very small "closed loop" compaired to the population in need work. Yes, Read the credits on the shows. All the same writers, grips, actors, producers.

The Big conglomerates who bankroll these productions just keep all the money and spend it in different parts of the world. Not only Vancouver B.C but lightbulb factorys in China
(NBC is General Electric)
I think Patterson knew this and said F_these people

Silvercup, Kauffman are going to end up high end Co-Op's.
...they all knew it since they are all friends with the Mayor.

They all Deserve Acadamy Awards for duping the public and setting up the Dominos for housing

THERE WERE NEVER NEW JOBS TO GAIN IN THE FIRST PLACE

italian girl said...

"For Example Notice how most every sitcom on NBC is the same crap: SNL, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation.
The cheesy lame writing, same clothing companys gay crap, Alecc Baldwin and Tina Fey jumping out of every corner."


Actually I think 30 Rock is kinda funny.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the input from both Joe and Ridgewoodian. These go to the crux of the argument. It is a shame getting honest dollars and cents figures is so difficult.

What a travesty that a comedy such as "Ugly Betty" that is about Queens cannot be filmed in Queens. The film industry started in Queens with Edison's first studios yet we need to bribe them to have them stay.

Joe said...

Baaaa...The hottest thing at 30 Rock (the real 30 Rock) is the NBC photographer Mary Ellen.

Man can this girl dress, work a camera and look good on a surfboard. (Montauk)
-Joe

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you can weave yourself a rope with the looms and hang yourself.

Wow, violent. You must be a big, tough blog man.

Industries that have "vacated" New York since the 70s:
Printing - You can blame the Internet, in part, for this one. And the fact that nobody has the attention span to read a book anymore. Not coming back. Like the blacksmith.
Garment Industry - we've exported jobs overseas so Americans can afford to buy clothing.
Automotive Assembly - well, yeah. Where in New York do you propose to build an auto plant?
Radio and Electronics Assembly - once again, jobs have been exported overseas, not just out of NYC.
Breweries - well, maybe all the old breweries, each of which only brewed one type of lager, are gone. But there's a brewing renaissance going on now, if you'd been paying attention, and the city has several tasty craft breweries.

My point is that pining for the olden golden days is a waste of time, and unattractive to boot. Technology changes, products change, consumer and labor markets change. If film/media is an area NYC can excel in, we should embrace whatever jobs the industry can bring to the city. The alternative is yet another vacuum.