By this time next week, I should have pretty good idea of what I’ll be working on next – and, more importantly, where. Whether it’s the SF space opera or the urban fantasy series or the non-genre cable show or one of a number of other opportunities, scoring the gig will only be half the battle. A change of location could well be in the cards.
I wish it were as simple as getting the green light and then moving forward on production here in Vancouver with the many talented individuals I worked with on Stargate. That would be a best case scenario but, realistically, even if one of our shows does get the go-ahead, there’s a strong likelihood we may be headed east, to Toronto, to shoot it. It’s incredibly frustrating because, as much as I love Vancouver, the ruling BC Liberal party has made it almost impossible for new productions to seriously consider shooting here. Simply put, your budget goes a lot further in Ontario – which is why that province is so unbelievably busy. BC, on the other hand, is another story. The film & television industry here is hurting. The work is going elsewhere. And what is the government doing to help? Not a hell of a lot. They claim that matching Ontario’s tax credits would be, in their words, “a race to the bottom”, in which the province would lose out on revenue. Bullshit.
This is what I had to say on the subject a couple of months ago:
“This link offers a great analysis of the situation (http://www.scribd.com/doc/121494475/Kurt-Bruun-BC-Film-Incentive-Analysis) and a great explanation of how it works. Kurt Bruun sums it up this way:
“BC was standing around one day thinking about how it loved apple pie (yes, I’m using a pie analogy for money).
“MMM….I love apple pie,” said BC.
“What’s that?” said BC’s next door neighbor “You like apple pie?”
“Heck no,” replied BC “I said I looove apple pie!”
“Well,” said the neighbor “You can have this apple pie I have right here for free.It’s a delicious apple pie!”
“Free apple pie? What’s the catch?” asked BC
“Well, you can have this here beautiful apple pie but once I give it to you, do you mind if I have a small slice of it back….say, 7.9%?”
“Deal!!” exclaimed BC. And BC took the pie, sliced off 7.9% and gave it to the generous neighbor.
This arrangement went on for years with the neighbor always bringing BC the apple pies and BC slicing off the 7.9% to enjoy over 90% of it.One day the neighbor came up to BC and said “Hey buddy, times are tough and I’m wondering if there’s any chance you could slice me off another couple of percent off that pie. You can still have the pie but maybe just make my slice a little closer to 10% than the usual 7.9% we’ve been doing for years.”
“You know I sure do love your apple pies, neighbor but…up yours!” said BC. “I want to only give you back 7.9% still.”
And the neighbor walked away with the whole pie.”
It’s not, as many think, a case of productions taking money out of the taxpayer’s pockets. Unlike BC residents who must pay taxes here, a production will pay taxes wherever it chooses to set up shop. By coming here to shoot a film or television series, it is helping to fill the government coffers, both directly (in the taxes it pays as a business entity) and indirectly (by employing hundreds of BC residents who, in turn, pay taxes as well). By driving productions away to far more attractive shooting locales, it’s the BC government that is taking money out of its own pocket.”
The BC Liberals make it sound as if it’s a level playing field in which an equal amount of productions are shooting in both provinces and thus paying taxes in both. That there is idiot talk. They’re either too stupid to figure it out or completely disingenuous, relying on the simpleton assumption that the matching “tax breaks” the BC film & television industry will take money out of taxpayer pockets. Again, just the opposite is true. Matching Ontario’s tax incentives or, at the very least, making BC more competitive, would level the playing field, luring productions to BC that would spend money in BC, employ BC residents, and pay taxes in BC – rather than go elsewhere.
But the BC Liberals, apparently, can’t be bothered to help. They’re too busy dropping 11 million dollars on a Bollywood awards show, a move many see as a transparent attempt to win votes ahead of the upcoming provincial election (http://ca.ibtimes.com/articles/446815/20130316/times-indian-film-awards-fixed-held-before.htm). Unlike the tax incentives, this 11 million dollars IS money out of taxpayers’ pockets.
The BC Liberals don’t seem all that interested in helping those in the BC & Film Industry keep their jobs. And I’m sure those in the BC & Film Industry are looking forward to May 14th, the date of the next general election, for the opportunity to return the favor.