Just an example

This recent article by Peter Schorsch provides an example of how things worked – and didn’t work for Florida – under the Richard Corcoran reign. In “On soccer’s biggest stage,” the writer focuses on what happens “when politicians who know nothing about brand management get involved.” Corcoran’s anti-Visit Florida stratagem resulted in a 9% drop in British tourist visits in 2017. Yes, certainly, thanks Speaker Corcoran and don’t let the door . . .

Feature films and television shows bring tourists too. One can hope that a mindset prohibiting Florida from investing in Florida is on the wane and that even film production might soon find its way back into the good graces of our sages at the Capitol. That depends entirely on the November mid-term elections, of course. Paying attention to the campaigns, representing the realities of production decline to the candidates in terms of lost jobs and broken careers, knocking on some doors and making some phone calls and writing a few checks, all these are necessary summertime undertakings for any Florida film enthusiast who really cares.

It’s late May already and November isn’t all that far off.

The word on the street, again.

The word on the street, again, is that yet another made-for-Florida project will not be produced-in-Florida. Even though it was our Florida production crew and their great work on the pilot that helped create a winning look for this sexy drama, it looks like “Grand Hotel” is California bound after all. The network recently announced its pick-up of the episodic without even giving a nod to its Sunshine State origin and seductive Miami Beach locations.

Here’s the pilot; check out what we’re losing.

We applaud the City of Miami Beach for making “Grand Hotel” the first recipient of its production incentive; however, $10,000 is simply not enough to convince ABC execs to shoot where the real action is. Will we get the occasional pick-up days á la “CSI Miami?” More than likely, especially if the show continues to use the beautiful Fontainebleu Hotel for background. But somehow we have to bust out of this cycle of getting just bits and pieces. Perhaps this would be a good time for South Florida’s business community to step up to the plate with some out-of-the-box ideas. Any chance of that happening?

Tampa keeps it alive

Paul Guzzo’s article yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times sheds light on a couple of factors that remain favorable to Florida filmmaking in this era of rampant film incentives and runaway production. “Who books 42,000 room nights in Hillsborough?” focuses on hard numbers, specifically the results produced by interim film commission Tyler Martinolich who has notably upped revenue from commercials shot in Hillsborough County. Because of similar efforts across the state, Florida is still a go-to location for big-budget commercials, which – if wisely promoted – can go a long way toward curbing the collapse of our endangered production infrastructure.

Counties like Hillsborough that are willing to put skin in the game – Miami Dade, Pinellas, and Palm Beach counties also come to mind – ensure that there will be crew and support businesses ready to meet rising demand when we can find a way to make that happen. Couple these with forward-thinking film commissioners like Martinolich who look for local production sectors that can be nurtured and enhanced, and we can hold some hope that our production infrastructure will be kept from evaporating entirely.

This article emphasizes, however, that commercials can’t do it all. Real growth requires the economic shot-in-the-arm that only sustained feature film and episodic television production can generate. Thankfully for all of us in the Florida film community, a growing number of counties appear to grasp the importance of keeping the Sunshine State in the filmmaking game. Because of this, Florida is still on the global radar for motion picture production.

COMPASS Chair, Chris Ranung is twenty-plus years a filmworker and president of Local 477 of the I.A.T.S.E. – the AFL-CIO affiliated labor union that represents working crew in Florida: grips, lighting technicians, paint & scenic, wardrobe, construction and propmakers, craft service personnel, greens, set dressing, special effects technicians, sound mixers and sound department personnel, studio teachers, animal wranglers, first aid, the marine department and much more.

Chris believes ardently that Florida’s film community – its actors, working crew, production teams, supplementary personnel, support businesses – ranks among the best in the United States.  He sees COMPASS as the necessary vehicle to reinvigorate production and restore jobs, revenue, and dignity to the Florida men and women who work in motion picture production and the Florida small businesses that sustain this historically important Florida industry.

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