In recent years studio and union lobbyists in D.C. have tried to shift the perception of the entertainment industry as that of all glitter and glamour — in other words, little urgency to help the well-heeled with issues like piracy and overseas runaway production.
On Wednesday, in their latest effort, a mix of behind-the-scenes craftspeople and a smattering of celebrities will descend on Capitol Hill for what is being billed as “Beyond the Red Carpet: TV & Movie Magic Day.”
At the Cannon Caucus Room will be animators from Disney’s “Frozen,” Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy from TNT’s “Dallas,” a costumer designer from “Turn,” R.J. Mitte from “Breaking Bad,” a makeup artist from SyFy’s “Face Off” and Fox’s Sunday NFL Sports robot, Cleatus.
The mix may have shades of a mini-ComicCon, but the intent is to get the message across to visiting lawmakers that the industry is a wellspring of jobs for creative professionals. To underscore the point, there will be a touchscreen from the MPAA in which a member of Congress (or their staffers) can see how much production is going on in their home state.
“We felt that it was so important to highlight the people behind the scenes and all the jobs that the entertainment industry supports,” said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who plans to be there with Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.). They are co-chairs of the Creative Rights Caucus.
The spread of production across the country, has been fueled by states offering movie and TV tax credits, with California recently more than tripling the size of its program in response. An incentive offered at the federal level, which offered accelerated deductions of production costs, expired on Dec. 31.
The prospects for anti-piracy legislation, meanwhile, are doubtful given congressional gridlock and the protest in 2012 over the Stop Online Piracy Act, which highlighted the lobbying power and even emotional pull of Silicon Valley industries. Instead, the industry has been focused on trying to forge voluntary agreements with other industries to fight piracy. A coalition of dozens of industry companies and groups, CreativeFuture, has been trying to boost the value of creative content in the digital age.
Chu said that although the event is geared toward behind-the-scenes professionals, there will be a nod to the red carpet: On display will be an Oscar statuette.