The Golden State is shining a bit brighter following a pledge from Netflix to spend more of its $6 billion content budget in California.
Leadership as high as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the head of the California Film Commission have praised comments made by Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, in an exclusive interview with TheWrap published on Monday.
“It shows their commitment to working with these skilled crews, and the talent they know they can attract. It’s going to lead to others following suit,” said Amy Lemisch, Executive Director at the CFC.
“News like Ted’s put us in a place where people will invest,” echoed Paul Audley, president of the nonprofit FilmLA. “Commitments like California’s tax credit and from Netflix give a sense of security for other entities to provide growth.”
Indeed, California’s revised tax credit system — formerly a capped lottery that reverted to a jobs ratio system in 2015 — has seen more original film, TV and new media shoots lured back to the state. Netflix wants to increase that count, and currently has about 1,000 hours of original content on streaming on its service.
Tax rebates have proved lucrative for studios and independent producers looking to save on budgets — like Walt Disney, a mainstay in Atlanta, Ga. for its Marvel cinematic universe. The leader in studio marketshare helped Hollywood bring Georgia an economic impact a reported $7 billion in 2016.
Louisiana also offers generous tax incentives, as do several locations up north in longtime-location home Canada.
Mayor Garcetti said L.A. specifically had “more to offer television and film producers than anywhere else in the world: unmatched production resources, diverse landscapes, and hardworking people who are the heart and soul of the entertainment industry.”
“I’m thrilled that a creative force like Netflix is investing in our city — because it means new opportunities for L.A.’s workers, and sends a signal that Hollywood is where the most gifted on-screen and behind-the-scenes talent is planting roots and planning the future,” Garcetti continued.
“I personally believe instead of investing in tax incentives that we should invest in infrastructure,” Sarandos told TheWrap on Monday.
“When you think about productions chasing tax credits all over the world, it puts the onus on the cast and crew who have to travel. You move to Los Angeles, or you grew up in L.A., because you wanted to be in show business — and then you have to move to New Orleans six or eight months a year,” Sarandos continued.
“I hope you save enough money to put a $100 million production at risk by having a lot of miserable people around.”
Lemisch echoed how important it is to utilize that talent where their quality of life is highest.
“[Sarandos] helped reinforce what we at the CFC are always talking about — working in California, the quality of the crew, the ability to attract such an enhanced production value. Its clear incentives are not the only things that make us attractive,” she said.