Monday, April 4, 2011

The Big D, Redux -arc 3-13-11

---So this is one of a series of posts I started in another blog that sets up this move to the Big D---

So what ever happened to Detroit? Well we are packing and heading North East. Actually I'm heading north east and Aislinn will head out a bit later.

Why on gods earth would one move out of California and specifically San Francisco for Detroit?

Well it's complicated. The film biz in the bay area is for shit, well sound post anyway. There were three big players but unfortunately they decided to build little fiefdoms and not build a community. It felt like a community of sorts but that was the people not the "industry". And two of the three have picked up there toys and gone home leaving nothing behind. As "evil" as some of the Hollywood moguls have come off they were at least trying to build an industry and wanted to last a long time.

Coppola has gone off to make wine and has really retired his whole company. You would think that with children in the film biz there would be some desire to pass on the "family business", but I guess not.

Saul Zaentz I'm quite a bit more pissed off at though. He and his partners were rolling in dough and just decided to cash in. Probably more them than him, but still. Now he was pretty old so I can see him wanting to retire but he killed the brand and sold off the place. Not only did he wipe his company from the map (he wouldn't let the name go with the sale so...) but with that he also trashed a slew of low budget filmmakers and media folks who had been surviving in a very expensive area because of reasonable space costs at the SZFC. There was no provision to help them in any way and that completely fractured the small community that existed there.

Lucas is the only one left. Unfortunately that isn't enough to keep many of the support businesses going.

Sure the economy hasn't helped but most of the big down moves happened well before the melt down. It was a lot of very selfish short term thinking.

Oh well.

Detroit has had it's share of that as well.

Hollywood would seem like a logical place to go but it's getting pretty entrenched and I think they are blowing it. They are all about keeping the work IN LA. The powers in SAG consider any production out side of LA a "runaway production". They are one of the biggest hurdles to getting film incentives in CA.

Now that you don't need to be in Hollywood to shoot a film, and even Hollywood doesn't shoot all their films in Hollywood, films are going to go where it's easier and cheaper. Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, and... Michigan are the top places in the US.

Detroit has the up side (at the moment) of extremely affordable housing. For a prospective studio they have large already built spaces that take a minimum amount of work to convert in to very nice sound stages. In the winter inside is a good place to be, but in the spring summer and fall you have easy access to rural and urban landscapes. The summers are warm/hot but not as bad and smoggy as you can get in LA so...

And there are tax incentives, really nice ones. The governor is trying to pull back on that because Republicans are traditionally anti business, wait I thought that was the dems??? Well what ever he is he probably won't make much happen. It's hard to sell cutting jobs in this economy.

So Michigan has a ways to go and they could always screw it up. But they have been to the bottom of the barrel and know what it looks like and have taken some action to change things.

California on the other hand ????? It's in BIG trouble and has been for a decade or so and nobody in charge (either party) seems to have the balls to own up to it. SF is if anything worse.

Cal has a 25%+ budget short fall and going up. All they ever want to do is cut public welfare budgets which are pretty small. Nobody has gone and cut anything that affects the top 1%. SF just makes parking even more impossible and ups parking tickets to the point that you could get a dinner in a nice restaurant for less. Sounds like whining I know but parking tickets have more than doubled in the last five years. And they have put in meters that are not lit and are near impossible to figure out, and I do tech support! There were three of us lighting matches to try and read the LCD screen to find out how to pay one night down town. It was one of those one meter per block and you need to do a secret hand shake to know if you have put any money on the spot your car is parked at. OK way OT.

Michigan has a less that 5% budget short fall.

Anyway all told it seems like a decent idea, the move. Our cost of living will drop through the floor. Providing we rent out the SF house. It would also if we sold the SF house but that seems like a bad idea unless it's forced.

So it looks like April 8th or so I climb in a truck with the dog and head out.

I'm going to see if I can find Travels with Charlie in an audio book and Monty and I can listen to that as we trek across the country.

I'll see if I can up date the blog a bit more often.


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