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Blog: A New Plan to Bring Hollywood Home—the 'Los Angeles Production Benefit'

The Los Angeles Production Benefit allows independent productions to be union films in a way that the independent production can afford to pay union wages.

Kevin James is a candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles

On September 12, 2012, I published a position paper in the Huffington Post, titled "Outsourcing Hollywood, Billions Leave Local Economy, Families Separated," spelling out the economic crisis that we face in Los Angeles and introducing the basic premise of my plan to bring Hollywood home.

As an expansion on my initial platform, I am now introducing a new plan to bring entertainment jobs back to Los Angeles. This plan is called the Los Angeles Production Benefit and it brings independent film production and union crews together.

The Los Angeles Production Benefit model is a simple and workable way to keep entertainment jobs in LA and to bring independent film productions to L.A. The Los Angeles Production Benefit allows independent productions to be union films in a way that the independent production can afford to pay union wages.

This model takes direct advantage of the "down time" of union workers and of studio space—and replaces that "down time" with good-paying entertainment industry jobs.

Here's how it works: A database of available crew members is created and maintained in the Entertainment Industry Liaison's office within the Mayor's office. These crew members are union workers with experience in film and television production and want to work in Los Angeles (set decorators, construction coordinators, prop makers, costume designers, make-up artists, camera operators, boom operators, key grips, gaffers, visual effects supervisors, etc.). 

By signing up to participate in the Los Angeles Production Benefit, each crew member is agreeing to work at an adjusted rate (to be agreed-upon between the independent production and the crew member). Independent film producers that agree to shoot their films in Los Angeles will have access to the database and will agree to hire their crew members from the database.

If a producer agrees to shoot his or her film in L.A., these union crew workers (who are otherwise off of work or in-between productions) agree to work on the independent production at an adjusted rate.  In other words, union employees in Los Angeles that are off of work are matched with independent film productions that want to make their film in L.A. and need a crew.

On the same production, in order to fill empty blocks of time on the studio lot, studios that participate in the Los Angeles Production Benefit agree to work the independent production into otherwise open schedules on the lot for a discounted rate in order to sell its services to the independent production (much like a hotel that discounts its rates to a certain level in order to sell an otherwise empty room for a night). This way, the studio is maximizing the lot's availability and the numerous jobs related to the production.

Added benefits to both sides can also occur when the independent production uses the same studio for post production. And finally, the studio could then have a first right-of-refusal for the distribution rights for the film as well. This becomes a packaged production which is a win-win for the unions, the independent production, the studio, and Los Angeles. The union crew workers and the studios keep their calendars full, independent producers can afford to be union productions and to film in LA, our city keeps film production here at home, and the surrounding economy sees significant monetary benefit.

Money that is equivalent to a tax incentive is saved by the independent film production because the union crew is working at an adjusted rateand the studio space is provided at an adjusted rate—during what would otherwise be "down time" when no money is being made by the crew members or the studio for the available space.

Independent film productions are often left out of the available California Film and Television Tax Credit Program, yet they employ thousands of Angelenos in the entertainment industry and provide great economic benefit to L.A.'s local economy. This part of my plan to bring Hollywood home is not intended to replace film incentives (which we must maintain to better compete with other states and countries that have attracted filming away from L.A.), but rather to be a realistic way to provide savings to all parties involved in the process without having to find hundreds of millions of dollars from already cash-strapped municipal budgets.

It is important to note that the Los Angeles Production Benefit model has already been implemented and achieved success with the 2012 film, The Bronx Bull. Directed by Martin Guigui, it has a cast and crew of over 150 people filmed at Universal Studios in Hollywood, the Riverfront Stages in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles, DC Stages in downtown Los Angeles, and Lacy Studios in Los Angeles.

Credit for the foundation of this plan and the success of its pilot project in connection with The Bronx Bull belongs to the film's director and writer Martin Guigui, to producer Dahlia Waingort, and to the Teamsters, the studios, and the other industry unions that were involved in the project.  

Dahlia Waingort negotiated this business model with the unions and studios and saw it through to success. I look forward to partnering with the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation and other important entertainment industry groups in Los Angeles in implementing this plan.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Darcy Blaze January 08, 2013 at 09:22 AM
Once unions encumbered the old British studios too. The sound stages and hardware were eventually sold off, rented out separately, and union involvement was reduced to just having a say in standard contracts. Surrounding London, Leavesden Studio has now been added to Pinewood, Shepperton and Elstree, regularly producing block busters like Bond and Batman. Britain can't of course match Hollywood for sunshine, but it has a fine record in the film industry for writers, actors and creative, intelligent crew who will work all hours and get laid off when the job is done. The US has a population of 300 million with around 9,000 gun deaths a year. In the UK virtually all guns, except shotguns, are illegal. London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, with both poverty and massive wealth giving every opportunity for violent crime. However the entire UK, with a population of 62 million, has around 45 gun deaths a year, pro capita 40 times less than the US. The US has the most impressive and statesmanlike president in its history and he is getting nowhere with unions, big business and guns. Get real, the US is incapable of change. Make more films in Britain, make more profit, have more fun in London and stay alive. We invite you to our tea party, to drink it that is, not throw it in the Hudson. Gun deaths are one thing but in the UK manners matter. It's a British eccentricity I know. Milk and sugar anyone? http://www.darcyblaze.com/
Bob Foster January 08, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Darcy, from what I can see the Arabs have taken over the UK. You forgot to report the violent crime committed in the UK from stabbing and robberies that far out weigh what happens in the US. Darcy the US beat the Uk pretty bad already. Somebody needs to stick a fire cracker up your butt on the fourth of July to remind you who is the boss.
Darcy Blaze January 08, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Dearest Bob, Thank you for your response. In the UK carrying a knife, without good reason in public is an offence. Knife deaths in London, is just 57. Both knife and gun deaths are down this year. The US also has knife crime in addition to gun crime. When the Second Amendment was passed into US law, personal weapons consisted of short and long blades plus flintlock pistols and muskets that at best could inaccurately fire a round every 20 seconds, over a hundred yards. Today the popular AR-15, based on the M1 is designed to spray 400 bullets a minute over three to five hundred yards in front of troops storming beaches. it is designed to massacre indiscriminately and that is exactly what it is doing to your school children. Restricting US citizens to one Colt type six shooter revolver each wouldn't be perfect but it would be a start. Darcy http://www.darcyblaze.com/
Darcy Blaze January 08, 2013 at 02:53 PM
More to Bob Most Arabs in London are extremely well heeled and are far too busy buying up both the UK and the US. You need to look to other minorities in London for knife crime, most of London is extremely safe. Regarding the US beating the UK pretty bad (in England we say badly, quaint, I know) to what are you exactly referring? Berry Gordie repelling the British invasion with Motown? I thought we were the best of friends with a special relationship, at least that's what our leaders keep telling us, I for one am a huge fan of the US. Now we come to your most interesting comment about firecrackers up butts. As the Author of 'Deadly Prediction', an erotic thriller in the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, I have included a number of perversions in what is primarily a thriller. However I do confess firecrackers up butts on the 4th of July is one I missed. I shall try and include this uniquely American form of celebration in the sequel, which moves to Vegas. I must say it is a truly inventive concept and typical of the US, which tries to automate everything including sex. I assume it started out as a sexual aid for obesity. In the UK we still do sex manually, using muscles, it's a tradition. However we now have Halloween so I guess it's only a question of time before the shops are crammed with butt-firecrakers on the 4th July. As for reminding me who is the boss, that is so dominant, I'm sure you'd make a perfect Christian Grey. Darcy http://www.darcyblaze.com/
ruth January 08, 2013 at 10:52 PM
And..what about Kevin James ideas and plans about bringing Hollywood back to Hollywood?? The other three candidates sat by for years and watched the INDUSTRY LEAVE HERE and did NOTHING to stop the bleeding. Guess the developers funding their campaigns have no Hollywood Show Business interests.. I know hardly anyone votes here, which is tragic, but can you at least stay on topic? Maybe you thought you were commenting on another article.. And I love England, but why do all the Brit actors wind up here, working here, and having their own T.V. shows here. AS IF we have SO MUCH work to go around.. Oops I went off topic..
Skraeling January 08, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Arabs have not taken over the UK...geez...
Darcy Blaze January 08, 2013 at 11:35 PM
I stay off Mullholland in LA so I know the Laurel Canyon area, I also go to Vegas - not to gamble I might add. The point I am making is to give up on Hollywood and come to Britain with your films, we will welcome you with open arms. Ok its cold and grey a lot of the time but London is world fun and culture central. Oh and I didn't go of topic - I want Hollywood to notice my Deadly Prediction novella - basically a treatment for a screenplay. It's set in London and South East England using iconic novel locations. The Iron Lady and The Kings Speech were terrific. Now Fifty Shades has gone to Universal and Amazon is running out of whips and cuffs lets get cracking Harvey and bring back the erotic thriller genre with my Deadly Prediction. http://www.darcyblaze.com/
Sleep January 09, 2013 at 11:44 AM
The unions are the reason the movie industry will never come back to California as well as England. It is all going to non- union states and countries. It is all going the way of the Twinkie.
Sleep January 09, 2013 at 11:48 AM
California needs to become a right to work state to get out of it's economic disaster.
nonoise January 11, 2013 at 04:16 PM
The entertainment industry has left for Canada, Switerland and other countries and cities because of the high taxes. The city council has done nothing to keep the business here in Los Angeles. Vote for the only candidate that is NOT a city councilmember or a city employee. The only candidate is Kevin James.
Darcy Blaze January 11, 2013 at 04:47 PM
3D animation is still big in Canada - like London it's all about the talent.
Chris January 13, 2013 at 01:00 PM
It has nothing to do with unions and everything to do with greed. Industry executives cant get enough money in their pockets. Look at the profits this year. Productions go to states and countries where they get the biggest incentives. More money for them. The union bashing is a nice right wing union busting talking point, though!. And by the way Darcy, my friends in the UK that are in the legitimate film industry are always complaining about the low wages and lack of benefits, and more specifically, lack of jobs. That's why they all want to work here. Productions in London all go to Bulgaria or some such place so they can pay extremely low wages to the locals and save as much money as they can to fill their own pockets. Selfish big, greedy business is not a friend of unions, you're right.
catman January 13, 2013 at 03:02 PM
As somebody who works in this industry it is my opinion that if any industry needs unions protecting them its the movie industry. I have worked both union and non-union productions and the fact is producers are all (without exception) a bunch of blood-sucking vampires. They regularly violate federal and state labor laws on non-union productions because #1. the Labor Relations Board is a joke and #2 everybody and their brother wants to be in the movies so there is a never ending pool of people who will work for nothing or next to nothing just to get a credit on their resume. In order to bring productions back to Hollywood we need to start offering tax breaks like they do in states like Michigan and Louisiana. Because unions aren't the reason producers are flocking to other states to shoot their productions. Its the tax breaks they're getting. Because at the end of the day the only thing these vultures who call themselves producers are concerned about is how much money they can get away without spending.
Union Buster January 14, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Boo F*cking Hoo Cris the Communist and Catman the boob. The two of you will never have to worry you will never work on any of my productions because they are all filmed out of the country. Call me greedy as you will you stupid fools. But I have people and making great livings. In the words of Gordon Gecko greed is good.
Sansooman January 14, 2013 at 07:23 AM
There would of never been an American Revolution if we had gun control and the same mentality as the weak people of Britain.. " When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. " " No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. " " The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. ": Thomas Jefferson No man who is not allowed to keep and bear arms is not a free man, but a slave, and the only reason for a government to want to remove that right is because it fears it's citizens because they have bad intentions and don't want to negotiate in good faith, but rather threaten because they can...There is truly peace through superior fire power, and it gives the octogenarian the same security that the gangster thug has because he can rest assured that he can defend himself. I have been to Europe many times, it is in general a safe place but, the people are weak and soft and would not stand a chance in hell if they had to defend themselves... We know
Chris January 14, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Union Buster is exactly the kind of law breaking, blood sucking vampire that catman is talking about. I'm sure his"movies" are real winners. You know,"movies" with some washed up 80's action "star". Movies to really be proud of. I'm also pretty sure that neither catman or myself, or any other crew member with an ounce of talent would ever work on one of his "productions". I hope he is happy with his piles of money that he has obtained at the expense of other peoples livelihoods. And for the record, greed isn't good, Union Buster, it's sickening. And a big childish Boo F*cking Hoo right back at you.
ruth January 14, 2013 at 06:45 PM
There is nothing in this article about NON union..or NON union jobs. The other three candidates have been too busy filling their campaign coffers with big wealthy developer's campaign contributions to have time to deal with this problem, which has affected so many. All three spent more than enough time on City Council to do SOMETHING.. Garcetti was PRESIDENT of it. THEY DIDN'T. Hollywood is Garcetti's district..He calls HIS 'vision' of Hollywood 'The NEW Golden Age of Hollywood'.. which means his higher density Hollywood Community Plan, to accommodate his Skyscraper Developer funders..they can now build what they want here, a total transformation of Hollywood as we know it..More Night Clubs (more violent shootings on our streets), more bright lights, BIllboards, and Vegasy Strips, no restoration of ANYTHING..And the REAL HOLLYWOOD? The INDUSTRY???He could care less. But he passionately pleaded with City Council to fork over tons of our money for his developer funders other project..The Hollywood Cap Park and passionately pleaded fro them to have L.A. take over the dissolved CRA,to protect his developer funder's projects, which was the ONE TIME city council members, and their legal council told him 'NO!' ..it would bankrupt L.A. for sure.. Did he ever go to bat like that for THE REAL HURTING HOLLYWOOD INDUSTRY? NO. No big bucks there for his Mayoral Campaign. Pathetic.

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