Georgia Crafts a Peachy Deal to Keep Productions Filming in the State

Hindsight Georgia Filmmaking Incentives
Courtesy of VH1

When Gov. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., recently trekked to Los Angeles to woo movies and TV shows with Georgia’s generous tax credit, he conveyed a message that could make California’s artisans community nervous: The Peach State is making its production base permanent.

The aim, he says, is to overcome the back-and-forth of state legislatures that have traditionally bedeviled local incentives. Georgia neighbor North Carolina has rolled back its program; Louisiana’s is under greater scrutiny.

Deal wants to establish a more permanent production industry in his state and spare its film and TV credit from being a political target.

“If you get caught in the trap of having to defend tax credits to the entertainment industry vs. having to not use that money for things like education, then sometimes it is hard to defend,” he says. “We have avoided being caught in that trap.”

Georgia’s 30% credit is not only more generous than that of most states, including California’s; it also allows producers to count salaries of directors and actors in addition to below-the-line crew as part of their qualified expenses, as long as the payment is for work performed within the state.

Moreover, while California is hoping for a big boost in production since it more than tripled the size of its incentives program to $330 million annually, Georgia has no cap on the amount it is prepared to dole out in credits — which also happen to be transferable, i.e., they can be sold to other entities that may have a greater tax liability.

California has upped the ante. In the first round of allocations under its expanded program, four TV series are relocating to Los Angeles and will receive a special 25% credit. Among them: VH1’s “Hindsight,” which shot its first season in Atlanta.

Deal, however, says that his visit wasn’t motivated by greater competition from California.

“Studios basically said to us, ‘If you get the tax credits right, we will continue to come.’ And we said, ‘OK. We will take you up on that offer.’ We put our tax credits in order.”

Georgia essentially streamlined its credit in 2012, and production continued to grow. According to the state Dept. of Economic Development, $1.4 billion was spent on production in fiscal 2014. In 2007, it had been $132.5 million.

With the state now No. 3 in production, after California and New York, Deal says the goal is to establish a more permanent base for a workforce.

Infrastructure development plays into that strategy. For example, Pinewood Studios’ facility near Atlanta, which opened in 2014 and recently saw “Ant-Man” among its productions, plans to double in size.

Deal is also promoting a Georgia Film Academy — a partnership of universities and technical colleges — as well as an expansion of a grant program to include more recipients who are studying to be part of the film and TV workforce. The idea, he says, is to address a shortage of skilled crew members.

“We think if we have that permanency, (the film and TV business) will continue and stay there with us,” the governor says. “We are doing what the industry needs us to do to be successful.”

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  1. Jose Gonzalez says:

    If you or your friends smoke pot, stay away from Georgia. The true number of prisoners in Georgia on pot charges are hidden with sealed records and changing pot charges to probation charges under their almost impossible to navigate diversion program.

  2. M says:

    There are obviously a lot of “LA” people who have built careers in the old California movie biz, above and below the line. Runaway productions have taken a massive share of the earnings potential out of LA and moved them to places like Georgia. Survival is tough and you are faced with fighting for scraps of work in LA or moving to another state. This has angered those in the LA work force who have chosen to stay here and fight for scraps. Meanwhile, there’s a huge demand for crew in Georgia, which means good pay and steady work in a place where the costs of living are less than half of LA. As much as we all hate to admit it, California has made many mistakes and allowed the business to be driven out of the state. Frankly, it is happening in all sectors of business as well. It is the entitled liberal mindset that causes this damage. Big money means more jobs, why would you bite the hand that feeds you? These people are directing their anger at Georgia and “corporate” producers because they don’t know what else to say or do. Why not direct that energy at California and demand an overhaul of ALL business in California? The incentive in California was written to favor labor unions, not producers. How can they do that and expect producers to keep their money in California? It’s illogical and backwards thinking. The money isn’t flowing in the movie biz like it once was when labor unions and layers of management were formed, there is not enough pie to give a slice to talentless middlemen and useless labor unions. Producers (big and small) are also fighting to survive in this business. Pumping hundreds of millions of dollars for jobs into the state is a good thing, keep up the good work Georgia!

  3. GA, Yallwoodgotseverd says:

    Ok ok Georgia is the place to make movies TV, it’s the best place on Earth !!!! Yes according to there local talent
    They have the best talent on earth there words, such as Amazing, unreal, no words, everyone has production Company’s
    The list of Georgia Bulshit goes on & on & on. I’v been to Georgia there below the line crew at best are shit. There 5 and under actors
    Are, well sub par, oh and if you ask The local talent there all Georgia productions hahahahaha, All LA, Hollywood productions.
    Now hear is the real deal)
    If you an Actor that tried to make it California and didn’t it’s because you not good enough.
    If your working as a 5 and under in Tax incentive State ( Georgia ) it’s because Hollywwod has to hire you for Tax incentives
    Trust me your not there first choice. If at all
    The actors in Georgia a lot of them you can find them Downtown Atlanta. In the Strip Club working or Cam girls or Escorts ( Fact )
    Your Acting schools are at best a laugh.
    If Your a Hollwood Producer, you will go where you save $ bottom line.
    No likes to film there. bugs snakes humidity everyone carries a gun everywhere. In schools, bars, churches
    The best place on the U.S., to have sex with children yes Georgia is # 1 for that ( Fact )
    99% of Georgia’s filmmaker & productions are a internet based or a PO box.
    The State of Georgia is # 1 or 50 depending on how you look at it as most corrupt state in the United States.
    The list of absolute Bull shit that goes on in that state is at best appalling.

    • andy h says:

      Their, there, they’re. Your spelling and grammar is horrific. The rest is just a bunch of lies. If the below the line crews are so bad whey are so many of them moving to GA from La La Land?

      • Jose Gonzalez says:

        Georgia has draconian marijuana laws. Stay away if you or your friends smoke it. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Being destitute in California is a lot better than being imprisoned in Georgia. Don’t let their numbers fool you. They use sealed records and change marijuana charges to probation violation charges to hide what is happening.

    • Haha says:

      Bitter much? Something is odd about your writing too; very difficult to read.

  4. Georgia is a very bad place for artists who smoke pot. Before you commit to moving to Georgia, have a talk with Governor Deal and tell him you won’t move to the state that uses marijuana as a loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery.

  5. Phil says:

    As one of about 3,000 Studio Mechanics members, THERE IS NOT A SHORTAGE OF WORKERS!

  6. jc says:

    Heres the one thing georgia natives dont get no tax credit no Hollywood.

  7. Judy C says:

    This is nothing more than more CORPORATE WELFARE. We give these multi BILLION dollar companies all these handouts. STOP THIS.

  8. jc says:

    The govenor is fooling himself if he thinks tax credits alone will turn georgia into the next Hollywood south. What he fail to realize is that his state like so many others have to keep relying on film tv tax incentives in order for Hollywood producers to continue to shoot in there state. California has a few distinct advantages over these other states a countries.

    1. There are over a dozen tv shows and movies that are shot in California/ los angeles that are not receiving a tax credit. These other states and countries cant make that claim.

    2. All of the major studios are located in California with no plans of leaving the state anytime soon.

    3. The vast majority of your Hollywood producers, directors, production crew writers actors live in California and they all have came out and said that they prefer to shoot projects in california to stay closer to home. Many of them want to stay in California.

    4. People from all over the world and the U.S countinue moving to California particularly los angeles to go for there dreams. They bring with them their talent and life experience from where ever there from.

    5. People move to los Angeles just for the weather alone….enough said

    • Mike Green says:

      You’re missing a major point. Georgia is a right to work state. Film companies hate dealing with unions. They save a ton of money beyond the tax credit by hiring Non-Union workers. You add that with an uncapped tax credit Georgia will remain a force. It’s been 10 years and the industry is still growing. Pinewood Studios isn’t going anywhere. Also several actors are moving here and finding more work than they did in California.

      • HDS says:

        *sips Water* So what happens when the water runs out?

      • Judy C says:

        Fine, then let them shoot here but STOP using our tax money to bribe them.

      • jc says:

        Mike I hate to bust your bubble but name me a film or tv show that doesnt receive a tax credit but film in gerorgia anyway.?

        I can name a few for California
        heres a list.

        Greys anatomy
        How to get away with murder
        Modern family
        Captin america the winter soldier
        Extant with halie berry

        Thats just to name a few thats not including most sitcoms that shoot on sound stages. These projects I just mention dont receive any tax credit what so ever but chose to shoot in California anyway. Name me something from Georgia.

        2. You talk about pinewood studios give me a break there are about 2 dozen pine wood like studios in southern California. And im not talking about the major studios.

        3. U talk about non union state and that’s the main reason california film crews dont want to shoot there they dont get paid the same amount of as would in california. Producers are forced to higher low skilled georgia workers.

        4. 7 actors are moving to Georgia to get work. How much do u want to bet that georgia is their secoundary home while california is there main home.

        5. Did u read the latest info on feature film prouduction for 2014
        California led all states in feature film production with 22 georgia only had 10 u couldnt even beat new york wich is more expensive to shoot then L.A or georgia new york had 13 features.

  9. sickOf TravelingForSubsidies says:

    “Permanent”, oh my god that’s hysterically funny. A business that relies 100% on tax payer money for its very existence, is not permanent. Try rolling back all the free money taken from roads and schools in Georgia and watch where the film industry goes.
    “Studios basically said to us, ‘If you get the tax credits right, we will continue to come.”
    What a shock. Take money from the state and give it to us in the form of subsidies that we then transfer and resell to high net worth individuals and corporations to reduce their income tax, and we will film a movie in your state. This whole system is a scam on the public, and I can not wait for it to collapse.

  10. PMA says:

    What happens when this Governor is NOT reelected and some tea party member gets in ?

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