Some Hollywood workers make the scene in other states

By Lorinda Toledo and Ryan Nakashima
Associated Press / June 3, 2009
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LOS ANGELES - A 25-year veteran of the film industry, William Gilpin lived in Los Angeles his entire life until he moved to New Mexico at the end of 2007. The construction coordinator works on cable network AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad."

Like many TV production workers, Gilpin, 55, followed the jobs that left California and relocated to states that offered generous tax breaks to lure film shoots. New Mexico offers a tax rebate of up to 25 percent of qualifying production expenses, including actors' salaries.

"I came here on a distant location to do a TV series, not planning to move," Gilpin said. "But I realized, you know, what a good place to be."

Gilpin also said fewer competitors in the New Mexico film industry means more work for him.

"In New Mexico, there's three of me in my position," Gilpin said. "In Los Angeles, there's 500."

Last year, a growing number of TV and movie productions were shot in states other than California, up 2.5 percent from 2007, or 45 productions, to 1,842, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Meanwhile, Golden State productions fell 9.3 percent, or 49 productions, to 480.

The infrastructure of moviemaking is starting to form permanently in other states. A $146 million studio complex is being planned outside Detroit, and studios and post-production facilities are going up or already exist in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Florida.

More than half of the 39 hourlong TV pilots for the upcoming season were shot outside California, according to Variety magazine. California is trying to stem the tide.

A $500 million tax credit for movies and TV shows that shoot in California was signed in February by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and will begin to accept applications July 1.

Critics say the plan does little to stop the movement of production elsewhere. The credit, for up to 25 percent of production budgets spent in the state, is capped at $100 million a year - an amount that could be gobbled up by a few big-budget movies.

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