For years I have been advocating that California’s lawmakers take a more pro-active stand to keep filmmaking in Hollywood. But over the past few years a staggering sixteen thousand film jobs have left California for New York, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and so on.
The reason is simple. Those states offer impossible to ignore incentives for producers.
The argument always was, how could Hollywood, ever leave Hollywood, when all the studios, cameras, crew and actors were based there? Well, film production largely has left, and with it a thriving economic infrastructure that supported restaurants, stores, and dry cleaners. It’s not unlike Detroit when the car industry started leaving.
So I look at Broadway today and I see such parallels with Hollywood. New York State offers huge incentives to filmmakers to come shoot their movies here. They very ones that cost California the jobs.
But New York’s lawmakers are doing little to see that Broadway remains, well, on Broadway. The reasoning goes something like this… How could Broadway ever leave Broadway? The theaters and singers and dancers are all here…
It’s easy to point to The Lion King or Wicked as proof of Broadway’s health… But digging deeper, theatre (like film) is a risky business, and Broadway currently supports a thriving community beyond just the direct theatre jobs, but Broadway, like Hollywood, needs an economically fair playing field – if Broadway is to remain on Broadway.
Remember, no one ever thought the car or film industries could leave their cities.