While the state of California remains intent on keeping filming on home turf, post-production work may be quietly seeping out.
“The situation is getting desperate,” said Leo Chaloukian, who sits on the California Film Commission and heads Ryder Sound Services. “Too much work is leaving the state.”
During a recent commission meeting, Chaloukian said the negotiations between producers and the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees failed to address labor costs in post-production.
“The union made some good advances in production, but they’ve gone backwards on post-production,” he said, noting that burgeoning post-production communities in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Florida are stealing work away.
“I talked to one television producer who took his post-production work up to Canada because he could save $ 10,000 per episode,” Chaloukian said. “It’s all a dollars and cents issue. We simply can’t compete with what these other areas are charging for labor.”
Gerard Shadrick of Intersound Inc. agreed that some business has been lost to Canada.
“I started noticing it about a year and a half ago,” he said.
Another post-production exec, Rusty Nields of Post Plus, believes the exodus is most seriously affecting longform TV and motion pictures, as opposed to commercial work.
“To me, it’s not just a labor situation, though,” he said. “There’s also a tremendous problem getting permits and police and whatever you need on these sets. And when you’re dealing with unions, you’re sometimes dealing with very antiquated, restrictive rules.”
In response, IATSE West Coast topper Harry Floyd said he was willing to sit down with post-production houses that are having problems.
“We’ve already met with people concerning the sound union,” he said. “But the proper forum for these discussions would have been the recent contract negotiations (with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers). We’re always willing to talk, but these problems should have been brought up then.”
The new IA contract, meanwhile, will be voted on by IATSE members Tuesday.