New Year New Jobs!
Yes, finally California film production is on the rise! For years, we have watched film and television production be lured away to other states and other countries. In September, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that more than tripled the size of California’s film and TV tax credit. After much lobbying by California filmmkers and crew, what began as just a bill has finally become a law.
The tax credit pool will be divided among different categories of production. Features will get 35%, independent films will get 5%, relocating TV series will get 20% and new TV series, pilots, movies of the week and recurring TV series will get 40%. Next year sees incentives handed out by the CA Film Commission for features go up to $80.4 million and new TV pilots and Renewed Series will get $92 million. Relocating Productions From Out of State will get $44 million next year and $66 million starting in 2016. Indie projects will see $11.5 million in tax credits in 2015-2016 and have that go up to $16.5 million every remaining year of the program. To spread the wealth, provisions in the expanded program see an additional 5% added to productions that shoot outside southern California as well as increase the incentives for visual effects done in the state.
Key Changes from Prior Incentives
- Increases tax credit program funding to $330 million per fiscal year; extended for 5 years
- Expands eligibility to big-budget feature films, 1-hr TV series (for any distribution outlet) and TV pilots
- Eliminates budget caps for studio and independent films
Replaces current lottery with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
Eligible for 25% Tax Credit:
- Independent Films: $1 million minimum budget; credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures (only independent projects may sell their tax credits)
- Relocating Television Series, without regard to episode length, that filmed their prior season outside California; $1 million minimum budget
5% Credit Uplift (Maximum credit = 25%)
- Filming outside the Los Angeles zone + 5%
- Music scoring/music tracking recording expenditures + 5%
- Visual effects expenditures (minimum spend required) + 5%
New Ranking Selection Process
Productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon their "job ratio" and other criteria against "like" projects (TV ranked against TV, indie projects against indie, etc.). Tax credits will be awarded to those productions in each category with the highest ranking.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti predicts that the expanded credit will mean that 10,000 jobs will return to the Los Angeles area in the new-year. And if you frequent production listings such as “Below the Line,” you will see an increasing amount of films scheduled to shoot in Los Angeles. This shows great promise and for entertainment workers in Hollywood (especially for those working in the areas of film & television). With the law in effect, we are all looking forward to a brighter and more prosperous new year!