Fla. labor sets up council for one-stop prod’n shopping

Deal follows labor troubles on set of 'Bob'

MIAMI — Following union troubles on the set of just-debuted ABC series “Maximum Bob,” the Florida Film Commissioners Assn. (FFCA) has encouraged labor leaders to jointly set up a Film Florida Labor Council.

Loosely modeled on the East Coast Council, which works with low-budget film shoots in the Northeastern U.S., the Florida council will offer one-stop shopping to producers by uniting reps from IATSE, SAG, the Teamsters and other unions.

Council is one in a series of initiatives by Film Florida, a new FFCA-backed organization designed to promote the Sunshine State, which lays claim to being the No. 3 state for location work.

“Smaller projects are apprehensive sometimes about working with the IA and the Teamsters in Florida, so the Labor Council will allow producers to sit down with all the union representatives and get a deal that works with their budget,” said Film Florida chair Jeff Peel.

While Florida is a right-to-work state, union presence is strong here, and labor disputes on the set of Warner Bros. TV’s “Bob” repeatedly threatened to halt production, said Elayne Schneiderman, who was production coordinator for the Miami-based shoot.

“Bob” is on production hiatus after shooting six segs, and — Nielsens willing — will return to South Florida for another six. But a decision to shoot a second series here would likely depend on producers getting a better contract with the Teamsters, Schneiderman opined.

Peel is optimistic that Florida’s council will help maintain the growth curve for location work in the state, which faces strong competition from the low-cost filmmaking meccas of North Carolina and Canada.

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