×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

California Production Tax Credit Boosts Below-the-Line Work by 12% in 2016

California’s below-the-line entertainment industry employees saw a 12% hike in hours worked in 2016, compared with 2014, the state’s film commission reported Monday.

The commission said the hike was due to the expansion of the state’s Film and Television Tax Credit Program, which is aimed at halting the erosion of California-based production to states with bigger incentives, such as Georgia and New York. The annual allocation was increased during the 2015-16 fiscal year from $100 million to $330 million, and applications are ranked on how many jobs they will produce, rather than being selected by lottery.

The report said the expanded Program 2.0 has attracted or retained 100 film and television projects generating an estimated $3.7 billion in direct in-state spending, including $1.4 billion in below-the-line wages.

“The encouraging short-term results we reported in last year’s annual report have evolved into sustained and very encouraging long-term results for Program 2.0,” said California Film Commission Executive Director Amy Lemisch. “The expanded tax credit program is working as intended and having a real impact.”

The commission administers the program. Lemisch told Variety that she was not surprised by results, based on data for below-the-line workers covered under the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans.

“We’re pleased to see these numbers because they’re actual evidence of what we’ve been hearing anecdotally,” she added. “We have been hearing that it’s become more of a challenge to get stages in California because they are operating at such high capacity. We’re seeing similar kinds of increases this year.”

The program expansion, enacted in 2014 by California lawmakers, covers five years and $1.65 billion in tax credits. The credit is set at 20%, but producers are eligible for an additional 5% “uplift” if they shoot outside the L.A. zone, commit to music scoring or music track recording in the state, or to do visual effects in California.

Lemisch said much of the increase was due to relocation of a growing number of established TV series to California from out-of-state, which reached 12 in June when NBC’s drama “Timeless” announced that it was shifting production for its second season from Vancouver to California. “Timeless” joined three other TV series (“Lucifer,” “Legion,” and “Mistresses”) to relocate from Canada to California under the commission’s Program 2.0.

The report also said that production outside the traditional Los Angeles 30-Mile Zone has been growing, reporting that  tax credit projects are on track thus far to spend $28 million across 10 counties outside Los Angeles County.

The commission announced in July that three big-budget films — “Captain Marvel,” “Island Plaza,” and “Midway” — have been selected to receive the California production tax credit for filming in the state as part of an allocation of nearly $68 million to eight independent and studio projects.

Captain Marvel” has been set for a conditional $20.8 million tax credit. Brie Larson stars in the superhero tentpole, which hits theaters on March 8, 2019. Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” received a tax credit last year under new rules that allow productions with budgets of $75 million-plus to be part of the program.

More Artisans

  • Jeff Goldblum performs in a sketch

    Inside the High-Pressure World of Late-Night Talk-Show Prop Demands

    Television production is an area where “Hurry up and wait” is a common refrain. However, for the prop teams that work on late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” that’s not an option. They typically have only a matter of hours to deliver what’s necessary. Lou A. [...]

  • Smithsonian Handmaids Tale Costume

    Why the Smithsonian Chose to Enshrine 'Handmaid's Tale' Servant Costume

    The iconic red-caped, white-bonneted outfits worn by Elisabeth Moss and the other childbearing servants in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” created by costume designer Ane Crabtree, have become that show’s signature visual.  Hulu immediately knew it had a good thing, hiring groups of women around the country to parade in the garments to promote the show. [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Why 'Missing Link's' Title Character Was One of Laika's Biggest Challenges

    Stop-motion studio Laika pushes design boundaries in every film it makes, and the lead character in “Missing Link” is no exception. “It became pretty apparent that [the character] Link was going to be the cornerstone,” says director and writer Chris Butler. “I did this rough drawing many years ago, and it was basically like a [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    New 3D-Printing Technology Was 'Missing Link' for Laika's Latest Stop-Motion Project

    For the upcoming animated comedy adventure “Missing Link,” stop-motion studio Laika set the bar very high. To execute the designs created by director and writer Chris Butler, artists would have to speed up their 3D printing of character faces — and those faces would have to be the most complex they’d ever created. “Missing Link” [...]

  • The Old Man and the Gun

    Ohio’s Midwest Locations and Flexible Tax Credit Lure Producers

    With its small towns, rolling farmlands and industrial cities, Ohio embodies the American Midwest. Other location lures for filmmakers include the shore along Lake Erie, the campus of Ohio State University, the striking skyline of Cincinnati and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Buckeye State also provides producers with a 30% [...]

  • Nancy Schreiber Mapplethorpe Cinematographer

    DP Nancy Schreiber Captures Life of Artist Robert Mapplethorpe in Grimy Gotham

    Don’t tell cinematographer Nancy Schreiber that she’s having a renaissance. That would imply there’ve been slumps in her long career, and she won’t have any of that, even if for a time she was taking smaller jobs as the gaps widened between larger gigs. “It’s never been about the money, for me,” says Schreiber over [...]

  • What Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga Share:

    LeRoy Bennett Keeps Top Acts Like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande in the Spotlight

    You might say that LeRoy Bennett is a shining light among lighting and production designers for pop music. Doing double duty creating both touring sets and their illumination, he started out with a 14-year run as Prince’s collaborator, went on to work with Nine Inch Nails and Madonna and has counted Beyoncé’s and Bruno Mars’ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content