Blog | Outsourcing Hollywood, Billions Leave Local Economy, Families Separated

What used to be the healthy and lucrative exportation of movies and television shows from L.A. has now become the painful and devastating exportation of entertainment jobs from L.A.

Kevin James is a Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles


One of America's most lucrative exports is entertainment. It wasn't that long ago that L.A. was the entertainment capital of the world. L.A. was by far the primary source of entertainment content shipped around the globe. Hundreds of thousands of Angelenos built their careers and their livelihoods filling different roles in the entertainment industry. Hollywood is a key contributor to L.A.'s rich history.

Other states began to recognize that entire economies could be created by attracting entertainment jobs to their communities. L.A.'s local leaders, however, remained complacent, confident that L.A.'s sunny skies and comfortable climate was enough to keep Hollywood in Hollywood. L.A.'s elected leaders ignored repeated warnings year in and year out telling them that other states were recruiting local jobs away from us -- right under their noses. In fact, L.A.'s leaders were so callous toward keeping local entertainment jobs here that other cities and states were buying television ads in L.A. to recruit the jobs away from L.A. Our elected leaders seemed to do nothing. They refused to fight to keep these jobs here.

What used to be the healthy and lucrative exportation of movies and television shows from L.A. has now become the painful and devastating exportation of entertainment jobs from L.A.

L.A.'s elected leaders have turned Hollywood upside down. It used to be that television shows and movies that were set in far away places like New York City (I love Lucy), Miami (Golden Girls), or the South (Gone with the Wind), were all shot in Southern California. Now, television shows and movies that are set in Los Angeles are shot in far away places (Battle L.A. was shot in Louisiana).

Lack of a vision for Los Angeles' future by current city leadership has led to the destruction of a local industry. For those that would argue that it is not fair to blame current city leadership for outsourcing tens of thousands of entertainment jobs, one does not have to look farther than FilmLA's own statistics -- "The amount of on-location movie production in L.A. has plummeted 60 percent since it peaked 15 years ago."

City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry were both elected over 11 years ago, while Controller Wendy Greuel was elected to the City Council 10 years ago. Those three elected officials have presided over the largest departure of jobs from L.A. in the history of the entertainment industry. According to FilmLA, in 2005 (when Garcetti, Greuel and Perry were well into their first terms), "82 percent of new TV pilots were made in Los Angeles. By 2011, only 51 percent were filmed here."

I have worked as an attorney in the entertainment industry since 1993 and have had many clients affected by Hollywood outsourcing. An often unreported but potentially devastating hardship caused by the outsourcing of entertainment jobs is the separation of families. When film and television production goes to another state, employees on those shoots must also go to another state, oftentimes leaving a spouse and children behind. There is no doubt such a circumstance can cause severe strain on the family.

My plan to bring Hollywood home will include a fair and equitable across-the-board reduction in our business tax burden and simplification of our business tax structure. The Los Angeles business tax will finally be brought in line with the most business-friendly cities in the region in order to make L.A. competitive again.

Los Angeles is unique in its ability to bring lost jobs back. Because of our geographic location, our climate, our pool of talent, and the fact that every major movie studio is either located in the L.A. city limits or borders L.A., we can bring Hollywood home. While I will work to grow a city film and television incentive program, I will also use the power of the mayoral podium to be a strong advocate in Sacramento to ensure that our State Legislature makes local filming a priority.

If the City Council will not cooperate in the growth of the city's film incentive program, I will go around the City Council and obtain the signatures necessary to put it on the ballot for the public to implement.

According to the California Film Commission, in four years, film and TV projects shooting in California due to California's film incentive program spent $3.9 billion in the state.

I will create an environment for the entertainment industry that provides relief from the city's current obstructionist stream of permitting red-tape which can force businesses through an unnecessary and impossible maze of up to 15 city departments. This will be done by creating a Permit Center which will accelerate previous progress made through the city's Case Management Series office, and will bring in representatives from the key city departments needed to implement effective improvements in permitting. A model to consider is the City of Dallas' Permit Center. Dallas was recently determined by 85 percent of the city's businesses to be a "good" or "excellent" place to do business.

Bringing Hollywood home will result in numerous collateral economic benefits. The California Film Commission reports that a single medium budget movie ($30-$75 million) will purchase goods and services from 485 unique vendors. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation states that a single $175 million movie sustains 2,400 jobs and generates $27 million in state and local tax revenue. According to the LAEDC, 92 percent of all goods and services purchased by California-based film or TV production are locally sourced in the state.

We cannot wait any longer to take swift and bold action to fight for our entertainment jobs. The health of many other industries is directly related to a vibrant entertainment job base, including tourism, technology, and small business. Join me in bringing Hollywood back home.

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.

John Wayne's Honda September 18, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Ever since the writers strike its been bad and just getting worse, below the line loose their homes, while the actors and producers have no problem moving our industry out of town if it fattens the bottom line. Can't really blame Louisiana, Canada or New Mexico they figured out filming brings in more money for the economy than taxes and fees, unfortunately the leadership in Los Angeles can't compute the math.
venice beach rider September 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM
They are moving same reason every industry or family is. Rent is too high. Housing is too high Bank owns everrlything and if you wanna live your you are nothing more then a slave to the bank. Land = money. Filming needs land. Answer get out of this slave driven area to something where profit is possible. I own an internet retail site and im in the process of moving out too. Who the hell wants to pay over 1000 a month for 1 bedroom or less?... The whole happiness of life ends when all you do is work to pay the bank right?
venice beach rider September 18, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Also when rent is high this means employees need more pay which means everything is higher. Pay the employees more is good but if it all goes to rent the employees are actually happiest leaving the state too and getting paid less but being able to save some money and not share a bedroom woth 4 people living dormitory style :( Welcome to the new world order
venice beach rider September 18, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I used to live in hollywood. Rent was cheap the area was cool. Lots of jews roll and roll people russians etc. and cool real people now i go there all fancy gays and people who are assholes and just honk at you if you dont move fast enough. Hollywood people have been displaced and they wont move back cause hollywood is over. Yes the area is now better to replace the studios with a bunch of banks like beverly hills a bank branch on every corner to make sure these kids are nicely in debt and never leave slavery
Chuck Mason September 18, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Globalization has come to Hollywood. Fast film (remember?), and now sensitive video capture has lowered the cost and know-how required to make pretty pictures. Editing can be done on a Mac. Until producers (and other above-the-line staff) realize how miserable it is in Dallas or some other hot and humid Republican hellhole, they will continue to go where it is CHEAPER. It will be the Walmart effect; Hollywood will be competing w/ New Orleans and Shanghai for productions. As Walmart shows us, quality does not matter. Fix that, Mr. Mayor!
venice beach rider September 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Quality isnt what hollywood is losing it is creativity thats what really suffers in this new system. Every thing now is just a copy and rip off to make money. But who has time to be creative when most your day is spent in the rat race? I dont blame people for leaving la. La sucks now. After one dealing with something like parking enforment and anyone with a brain realizes what a cold hearted system our governments have become
Mark Charles September 19, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Mr. James, Thank you so very much for making this point and taking on these issues. As a production designer of TV commercials, and proud member of IATSE Local 800, I have seen this bleed off first hand. Local and state government has done very little to combat this problem and I can only come tho the conclusion that they have no idea how many people work in the industry, and how their dollars impact the rest of the state. Hollywood is not just actors and producers. On one shoot day, our crew call sheet will have upwards of 60 people on it. Not only are there those people "on set" but we draw on the resources of numerous local companies as well. From camera rental houses, caterers, vehicle rental outfits, prop houses, wardrobe warehouses, the list goes on and on. A horrible amount of damage to the industry has been done and it is high time we double down on this keystone of our economy instead of exporting it to other states.
Anonymous September 19, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Fed up with Garcetti, Perry and Wendy. Get these Serial-Incumbants out of Office. From: Homeowner, Businessowner, Taxpayer!
Lightnapper September 20, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Add Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina to the list. Atlanta-- 7/12's as we speak.
ruth September 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Kevin blew the other candidates out of the water at The Taglyan Center Mayoral Debate. Hollywood Chamber, Millennium, (Garcetti and The Chamber's big supporters), must have gotten a rude awakening. He is not popular..He has ruined it here and will ruin all of L.A. if he becomes Mayor.. James called out the City Council Corruption, passing of Garcetti's ILLEGAL Hollywood Community Plan, law suits, federal investigations. how we lost our industry while they sat there on that Council, all beholdin to special interest groups, doing nothing. Garcetti pontificated about how he has saved Hollywood: Remember the drug dealers, the prostitutes?..as if they are things of the past..He is delusional. His focus has been passing the HCP and making Hollywood into a higher density, faux Las Vegas/Manhattan. Pay back to his developer funders, handing them Hollywood with the Hollywood Community Plan. He and Villaraigosa and his appointed City Planners.. while our industry and PEOPLE have fled here in droves..so much for the population explosion (all lies as Kevin pointed out last night) that his HCP was based on. The Hollywood Chamber, Millennium, and Garcetti must have been shocked how their candidate paled by comparison as the reactions from the audience were more supportive of James..The Truth Teller. PROOF. The PEOPLE OF HOLLYWOOD are fed up with this City Council and are not voting for Garcetti. The event may have backfired on the Sponsors and Chamber PAC Committee.
Kathy September 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
The problem is.....what type of idiots vote these morons into office??? Who in their right mind could have voted for Tony Vilar???? -----TWICE???? The preponderance of voting sloths increases year by year. Unless realistic, practical voters overtake the system, California will be just a welfare pile with nothing left but beautiful year-round weather.
EagleRockMom September 22, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Please bring Hollywood back to Hollywood ASAP!
Jo September 22, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Los Angeles politicians have been bought and paid for by the unions. 17% of LA's general fund is used to pay people who are not working and that will be 27 % in 3 years...almost 1/3 used for pensions+retiree benefits...shame on LA mayor and city council for selling us out. Now, there is $1.5 B worth of sidewalk repairs needed but $0 budgeted for sidewalks. $0 budgeted for tree pruning; they just do emergencies now. Street sweeping reduced from every 4 weeks to every 22 weeks (or never). There is rare enforcement of bldg codes such as abandoned houses with tall weeds, broken windows and algae pools. Every dept reduced by about 2/3 so that services have been decimated. Go to pensiontsunami.com to learn more about our bankrupt city, state and country. http://www.fixpensionsfirst.com/
Jo September 22, 2012 at 02:25 AM
most aircraft development and building was done in CA, now there is practically none. CA state has ruined the business environment by regulating and taxing them to death. No wonder businesses have moved out in droves and people are moving in droves to TX and UT, two of the most business friendly states. Now, LA is giving tax breaks to auto dealers...Oh yes, that's brilliant, picking and choosing which businesses to help out. Meanwhile we are a sanctuary city for all the illegals. 1/3 of all of the country's welfare recipients live in CA. The number of people that actually pay state and federal taxes is going way down. Our country had 17 million food stamp recipients in 2000 and now we have 47 million. And I hear these Cal Fresh advertisements encouraging people to apply for food stamps, so not only do our hard earned incomes go to the food stamps but also these ridiculous ads. Aerospace is almost completely out of CA....who are the idiots that keep voting these Democrats into office??? We plan to leave CA within 5 years....There are only 3 City workers to clear all the storm drains in the entire SFV now. volunteers have been cleaning the gutters, storm drains and parkways every Thursday for 2 1/2 years due to the City's lack of services...Funny, I don't recall my taxes going down with drastically reduced services.
SIMON September 24, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Garcetti has given up a lot of jobs in our city for not doing the job that he was voted in to do which is to do what is best for the community. Now Garcetti has given up the majority of emergency resources (Fire resources station 20 ) in echo park and silver lake. Garcetti laid down for Fire Chief Cummings and took advantage of our safety, how many times has chief Cummings been on the news for lying to the city of los angeles regarding a broken down 911 system and also shutting down fire resources in our high hazard fire districts
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Punk Attitude September 28, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Just throwing this out there but doesn't the City of LA need tax money? LA isn't just about Hollywood and this comes from me - I worked in the music business so I am sympathetic. Who will pony up the tax money to pay for streets, safety, schools, and what not? I don't think giving HOLLYWOOD a bunch of business write offs is going to do this. Can someone please explain to me how is LA going to get out of this budgetary mess? It can't just be the city workers and teachers with pensions to blame. It's really much more. It's called REALITY TV. That's all people watch now which is a sad commentary about our civilization.
The MOG September 28, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Jo, as a candidate for a local neighborhood council, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting a couple of seats down from Kevin James, at this year's Congress Of Neighborhoods. All I know is, that compared to Gruel, he appeared dynamic, insightful, and obviously is so well prepared! As far as the illegals, that horse is out of the barn by now, I reckon. Now, we have to find a way to legitimize all the Dreamers. I wish that instead of giving local contracts to major businesses, we could find a way to put our youth into enterprises, such as neighborhood beautification, concentrating on the many alleys, in my particular part of town, for instance, or giving them the work on the new park on 50& York. We are going to need their FICA Contributions more and more, in order to support all the retiring Boomers. Too bad we have to fund Obamacare to the tune of 1 billion. We could have used that money to make Social Security solvent, and secure for all generations to come. Like it's supposed to be!
Jo September 29, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Punk, you are wrong; it IS the City workers' high salaries, pensions+benefits that are bankrupting LA and CA. Avg DWP salary $85,000. LADF &LADP retire @ 50 get 90 % salaries for PLUS cost of living (COLA) each yr + medical, dental & vision gold. My LAFD friend retired gets $125,000 pension & he gets FREE $600 eyeglasses for him and his wife ONCE A YEAR. They pay zero co-pay when they go to the doctor. He told he that next year his pension will be higher than what he made when he worked due to COLAs. When the fireman dies, spouse gets all for life. A City truck driver that hired in at 18 & works 30 years gets $70,000/yr pension. Gruehl attended a meeting; I said pensions are bankrupting LA, way out of whack w/ private sector; I worked for same company 35 years & my pension is a fraction of LA's retirees. She said "Sometimes private pensions are more." A guy said: "Even though my 2 sons just joined LAPD I am mad as hell about the high pensions. My sons looked @ future pensions --t is OUTRAGEOUS - I'm mad even though they are my sons, this is bankrupting LA." A guy with LA City said "But a City truck driver won't get much." BUT, John Bwarie (works for Councilman) said CONTRARE! A truck driver WILL get $70,000 pension; if he hired @ 18 and worked 30 years, he can retire at 48." Bwarie described how City employee's pension are calculated. Democrats are bought & paid for by unions.
Chuck Mason September 30, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Jo, I'm a union man who was just SAVED by my union (cancer treatment at UCLA from my IATSE health plan), but I have come to the impression over the years that public employees are getting it better and better. And more better. Once, the impression was that they would toil for lesser salaries in order to retire earlier w/ a decent/above average pension. Now it seems they still get the pension (or even more) AND the salaries have grown also. Please provide some links to studies of this. Studies w/ stats, etc. These figures you mentioned seem to be from some sort of scholarship on the subject. thank you
Punk Attitude September 30, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Jo, we have a housing crisis that no longer funds the state with property taxes. There's one big source of income for the city and state that is gone. My parents worked through to their early 70's. I will probably end up doing the same. I don't think anyone should be able to retire with those crazy pensions until they are 70. My friend works for the LADWP for near 25 years and she is about to retire at age 54 with all those nice benefits. LADWP rates are going up. That chaps my A _ _!!! And by the way I agree with what you had to say I just think it's easy to ONLY blame city workers.
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 01:08 PM
I'm with you Jo! Why people can't see it baffles me. Seems like they'd rather spend time revisting Prop. 13. I'd say we need more restraints on conviscatory tax powers on Gov., not less. NY City in the 70's is the perfect example of Public Worker Compensation bringing a Metropolis to it's financial knees. We need a Gov. like New Jersey has. Who will simply say, "No."
EagleRockMom September 30, 2012 at 04:45 PM
What baffles me is that you guys skipped over wealthy producers who are millionaires as a possible source of your frustrations. You cant tell me those guys aren't protecting production bottom lines at your expense. It just seems counterproductive to attack city union workers such as firefighters who dedicate their lives to save ours. They put themselves at risk and could die as a result, and their families should be left to fend for themselves with no benefits? Come on.
SIMON September 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM
I found information that shows how LAPD and LAFD do not put a burden on the system from their retirement funds. Both of these agencies have what is similar to a 401k where they invest 20% of their money each time they get paid. After a 20 or 30 year career they end up with a good amount of money, The city in return also gets a percentage from this money that is being invested. Politicians such as the Mayor don't want to let the public know instead they are always looking for a way to raise taxes and use some of the city depts as scapegoats
SIMON September 30, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Where it becomes a big deal with the pensions is with the fire chiefs who use dept money to travel over the world and say they are looking at other fire depts, the Fire chiefs according to Wendy Gruel are making over $100,000 a year in overtime alone meanwhile they close fire companies that are serving the front lines. That is what needs to be investigated
Chuck Mason October 02, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Sounds like a bombshell. Please verify this info; hyperlinks?
SIMON October 03, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Hi Chuck Mason, I found information regarding the defferred compensation program that LAFD and LAPD sworn employees are enrolled, this program is not the PERS like the LA COUNTY where the state pays their retirement. Please excuse my ignorance on trying to load it on here as a hyperlink but the web site is www.wisegeek.com/what-is-deferred-compensation.htm
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