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The Neil Craig Report


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#1 ericoh

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Posted 25 October 2004 - 04:18 PM

Hi Everyone,

I know it has been discussed ad naseum, but here's another perspective on runaway productions. This was sent out by my camera union, IATSE Local 667. Just food for thought...

- Eric



This article is about the Neil Craig Report, which was commissioned by FilmOntario to set the record straight on incorrect statistics regarding Canadian production levels that are often cited by anti-runawayproduction groups.

This report probably should have been done years ago, but considering that ?runaway? production rhetoric is still coming from the U.S., this is as good a time as any for this information.

As other U.S. states implement tax credits of their own, (42 states as of last week) the attention is focusing within the U.S. This report will help minimize the ?blame Canada? syndrome.

- Rick Perotto, Business Representative, IATSE Local 667

STUDY SHOOTS DOWN RUNAWAY GRIPES
October 25th, 2004:

It turns out that production in L.A. may not be destined to collapse at the hands of Canadian service producers, as some Americans have been griping since the release of the 1999 Monitor Report. Commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America, the Monitor Report has been held up as a bible by anti-runaway activists in the effort to keep productions in the U.S.

But a new Canadian-commissioned study, International Film and Television Production in Canada: Setting the record straight about U.S. "runaway" production, claims that figures in the Monitor Report are erroneous. It also stresses that Canadians spend far more money on Hollywood fare than Americans spend shooting in Canada.

The CFTPA, the Directors Guild of Canada, ACTRA Toronto, IATSE 873, the Quebec technicians union SCTVQ and lobby group FilmOntario financed the study. It was prepared by Gary Neil of Neil Craig Associates.

The Neil Craig Report finds that the Monitor Report "contains contradictory claims and basic arithmetic errors, double counts figures and uses methodologies that are highly unusual in standard economic analysis." It also states "employment in the U.S. film and television production industry has actually increased by 6.6% since 1998," despite American claims of significant job losses from runaway production.

The Monitor Report claims that runaway production had a negative effect on the American industry to the tune of US$10.3 billion in 1998. By comparison, the new Canadian report suggests that number was closer to US$1.7 billion. In addition, the study stresses that in 2003 alone, US$$1.3 billion left Canada for Hollywood through cinema admissions, sales, DVD and videocassette rentals, and broadcast licence fees.

Between 1998 and 2003, the U.S. saw a positive balance of trade of US$1 billion when Canadian spending on U.S. film and television imports is compared to the volume of U.S. productions shooting in Canada, according to the Craig report.

Patrick Whitley, cochair of FilmOntario and president of Toronto's Dufferin Gate Productions, which produces dramas in Canada for Showtime, including Canadian/U.S.-hybrid Queer as Folk, says that people in front of and behind the camera in L.A. are increasingly deciding against shooting in Canada because of the current lobby against runaway production.

"I am starting to see a groundswell of support for keeping production in the U.S.," says Whitley, explaining why the report was needed. However, considering other factors that are affecting the volume of production in Canada, the study could be coming a little late in the game.

"I thought it was a very solid report and something I wish we had done a little earlier," says Whitley. "The reality out there right now is that there are other things causing people to reconsider shooting in Canada - i.e. the dollar." The Canadian dollar has been drifting around US$0.80, a mark the Canadian industry has always viewed as having dire consequences for production in Canada.

Despite such concerns, Whitley believes that the amount of money Canadians spend on U.S. entertainment is an important consideration. "Look at the billions of dollars worth of American product that we consume in this country," says Whitley. "I believe we have a right to be part of the manufacturing of that product."

The Craig report also stresses that Monitor "ignores the increasingly global nature of movie production and the growing importance of foreign markets to the U.S. industry," and points to 42 U.S. states currently offering some kind of incentive to lure production away from Hollywood.

Brent Swift, who heads up American anti-runaway production lobby group the Film and Television Action Committee, says that dollars funneled back into the U.S. from what Canadians spend on American entertainment are simply not part of the runaway production equation. While at press time Swift had yet to get his hands on the report, his contention
remains that Canadian subsidies are a breach of U.S. trade regulations and NAFTA.

Swift goes on to say that incentives within the U.S. are not part of the runaway equation either. "[Canadian provinces] can fight each other for movies and [U.S. states] can fight each other for movies. That's one thing, but it's different when you're talking about national governments and crossing borders."

While he admits that multinational corporate strategies that have seen studios replace five or six films with one bigbudget movie full of major stars has impacted job loss in L.A., Swift maintains that the majority of jobs are lost to runaway production. While the rise in the Canadian dollar helps the employment situation, Swift says it is not enough
to combat jobs lost to Canadian subsidies such as tax credits.

Susan Murdoch, VP of Toronto prodco Pebblehut Too, says FTAC's response to the new study comes as no surprise. "I don't think we ever expected the study was going to sway anyone from FTAC. Their argument is strictly based on employment in the Los Angeles area, and it's a very narrow focus," she says. "You have to look at the entire picture. Canada has always been in the position of being in an enormous trade deficit with the United States in
terms of entertainment and cultural product and it is a very valid consideration because we're not only talking about the production side of the industry, but the sales and distribution side as well."

While Canada represents a small portion of the U.S.'s ultimate audience, so small in fact that American distributors lump Canada into their North American market, Murdoch contends it is an important territory because of its stability.

"Safe markets are as useful in the grand scheme of things as extremely lucrative markets because you always know
they're there," she says.
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#2 TJ Williams

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 01:41 PM

As Mark Twain (An American) said "Figures don't lie but liers figure"
Strangely each report gets just the conclusions the authors wanted.

To me the strange part of this is the IA second deal in Canada. making union workers cheaper in Canada. Clever after the union spent 30 years trying to keep production, from spreading outside LA by preventing technicians in other areas from joining the Hollywood union.

Last week I was flying thru the Tri Cities where we don't all hafta take our shoes off like at home. So we are all filing thru in our running shoes while a guy with big boots is forced to take off his shoes. So is that clever because big boots could hide more explosives or is it really dumb because the guy (moron) who originated shoe bombs used running shotes.

I don't know about LA but Film and TV series production is way down in Seattle
and I can't go to Vancouver without seeing crews working on the street.
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#3 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 05:05 PM

TJ,

Same here in LA.
In the 90's you could drive just about anywhere in town and see
a handful of different productions going on.
There could be a half dozen alone in downtown at any given time.

In the early 2000's, you could drive around all day and be lucky to see
one or two.

As of recent, there are a few more, mainly because the Canadian dollar is
stronger, therefore it's not quite as advantageous to go there, but still
production is way down from what it was in the 90's, yet there are
about twice as many crew members here now. When production began
drying up in other states in the first couple years of this decade, crew members
from all over the country moved here to LA thinking it was better here.
Ironically, now many of those states offer incentives and the states they left to
come to LA is now hoppin with work, and crew members in those places (like Louisana) are scarce. I've had two possible jobs in Lousiana in the past few months myself.

Like you said, figures don't lie. It isn't coincidental that the Canadian people
who financed that study came to the conclusions they did. They dug and dug
and dug until they found a way to come up with the results they wanted.
Even going to the lengths of saying they (Canadians) spend more on Hollywood
movies and merchandise than the amount of production that comes in...therefore
they feel they DESERVE a piece of the pie. That's a bit humorous.
There is hardly a business that American's don't spend FAR more than any other
country on, does that mean we deserve to have the largest piece of those companies /businesses work too than?

Production is still down here (in LA), and though other countries are taking the work away
too, the film work that's leaving this country is still mostly going to Canada.

The irony in all this is, that after Canada started their incentives to take work away from us, they were happy and didn't have a problem with it. Now that other countries are doing the same, Canada is "losing" our work that would of gone to them to these other countries, and they are bitching about it. So as long as our work was going there and benefiting them, they were happy, as soon as our work starts going to other countries (or back to the U.S. in other states), they feel betrayed or as one Canadian women reported in a story I read, "their work" is down. I emailed her and reminded her that it isn't "their" work when it's a runaway production from the U.S.
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#4 Steve Johnson

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 02:05 AM

TJ,

Same here in LA.
In the 90's you could drive just about anywhere in town and see
a handful of different productions going on.
There could be a half dozen alone in downtown at any given time.

In the early 2000's, you could drive around all day and be lucky to see
one or two.

As of recent, there are a few more, mainly because the Canadian dollar is
stronger, therefore it's not quite as advantageous to go there, but still
production is way down from what it was in the 90's, yet there are
about twice as many crew members here now.  When production began
drying up in other states in the first couple years of this decade, crew members
from all over the country moved here to LA thinking it was better here.
Ironically, now many of those states offer incentives and the states they left to
come to LA is now hoppin with work, and crew members in those places (like Louisana) are scarce.  I've had two possible jobs in Lousiana in the past few months myself.

Like you said, figures don't lie.  It isn't coincidental that the Canadian people
who financed that study came to the conclusions they did.  They dug and dug
and dug until they found a way to come up with the results they wanted.
Even going to the lengths of saying they (Canadians) spend more on Hollywood
movies and merchandise than the amount of production that comes in...therefore
they feel they DESERVE a piece of the pie.  That's a bit humorous.
There is hardly a business that American's don't spend FAR more than any other
country on, does that mean we deserve to have the largest piece of those companies /businesses work too than?

Production is still down here (in LA), and though other countries are taking the work away
too, the film work that's leaving this country is still mostly going to Canada.

The irony in all this is, that after Canada started their incentives to take work away from us, they were happy and didn't have a problem with it.  Now that other countries are doing the same, Canada is "losing" our work that would of gone to them to these other countries, and they are bitching about it.  So as long as our work was going there and benefiting them, they were happy, as soon as our work starts going to other countries (or back to the U.S. in other states), they feel betrayed or as one Canadian women reported in a story I read, "their work" is down.  I emailed her and reminded her that it isn't "their" work when it's a runaway production from the U.S.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


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#5 Brett Manyluk

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 03:14 AM

I wanted to write a response to the previous comments, but I'm late for my Secret Canadian Agenda meeting.

<_<

Brett Manyluk
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#6 mattmarek

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 09:25 AM

what is a runaway production? do you think that the movie must be shot where the money is or came from? producers have and will continue to shoot where they can that fits the budget. this is the nature of the producer. if he can save money by shooting in prague or s. africa, is it not a no-brainer that he'll be taking his production there? and it's you guys that have made l.a such a saturated market so you can't complain about the numbers of unemployed crew. i don't know about current vancouver situations, but toronto is miserable right now and has been for a while. very little ia action. again, toronto is a bit of a saturated market in these times. if i wan't to, i'm free to leave.
michael: what are your thoughts on these productions going to loiseana and other such states? are you not willing to go there for the work? is that also considered a runaway production because it's not being shot in your backyard?
love you all, and i'm not wanting to come across as negative or stand-offish, but i'm tired of hearing americans complain about how the days of now are nothing like the days of 10/15 years ago and how you guys 'deserve' the work to be kept at home.
peace. :)
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#7 David Allen Grove

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 12:20 PM

I wanted to write a response to the previous comments, but I'm late for my Secret Canadian Agenda meeting.

<_<

Brett Manyluk

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I knew it! ok.. that's it! I'm flying to Canada next week to SPY on you guys!

Lets see.. I have to come up with an excuse... um.. I know!
I'll buy a BM vest from Walter! Yea... That's it!
I have to um.... get the final fitting for it too... yea!

Actually.. I WILL be at Walter's Studio on November 5th so if any of you guys in Toronto want to stop by and say hi it would be awesome to meet you! Maybe we could have lunch at a restaurant that is within walking distance?

I think it will be awesome to see Toronto! It will be my first time in a strange and mysterious foriegn country! ;)
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#8 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 01:53 PM

Actually.. I WILL be at Walter's Studio on November 5th so if any of you guys in Toronto want to stop by and say hi it would be awesome to meet you! 


David,

While you're up there maybe you could say hello to my vest. Its due to be finished around about the same time. Maybe my vest could keep your vest company while you go drinking with all the local ops!
:P
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#9 David Allen Grove

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 03:52 PM

Hi Stephen!

I sure will! I think I heard a rumor that Garrett ordered one too about the same time! My vest is number #139 (I memory serves).

What's your vest number?
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#10 mattmarek

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 06:31 PM

david,
i'd be happy to let you buy me a drink :P

give me a shout, i know a few places
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#11 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 03:48 AM

David, Not sure of my vest number yet. Its a Universal with Low profile arm.
Be careful of that Matt Marek fellow. He gets drunk real easily and then you'll need your new vest just to carry him home. :P
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#12 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 11:15 AM

David/Matt....I know a few places too (devil's horns suddenly appear on my noggin)....perhaps we can make it a small steadi op gathering Toronto style.

Let's hook it up....David, bring your warm jacket cuz up here in Canada we have to be warm and dodge around all the igloos, penguins and striking hockey players...they're everywhere!
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#13 ericoh

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 06:16 PM

Hi David,

I'll see you at Walter's as I live 5 minutes from his place, and I'm sure that Jeremy will come out as well as Jennifer emailed us about your visit. By the way, I have Traditional Deluxe #136.
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