This past weekend was a real eye-opener for me. I knew the industry was slow here in Los Angeles, but when I sat in a continuing education classroom at Contract Services with a bunch of guys who are usually always busy (and I mean always), all anyone could talk about was how thin work has gotten around here.
Yikes. If the heavy hitters aren’t making ends meet, what hope do the rest of us have? I’m currently getting enough work to keep the wolves at bay, but that, of course, can change at any time.
For those of you not familiar, over the past few years several other states (and countries) have been handing producers suitcases full of cash in order to lure film production away from California. I think the technical term is incentives, but really it’s a bribe.
And it’s worked very successfully. There is currently almost no production in California, but Louisiana and Georgia (the newcomer to the world of corporate kickbacks) are hopping.
I love my job and I’d like to keep doing it, but I’d rather drink poison than move to Georgia or Louisiana (nothing personal, you understand), so the question is how long I can hang on. An added complication is my being well past the age of being able to snag a rich husband.
Note to parents of girls: Look at my life. This is what happens when you teach your daughters self-reliance. They end up alone, without Botox, veneers, or overpriced sports cars and worrying about how to pay the bills.
I just have myself and the cat, so as long as I can get enough hours to keep my health insurance, I’ll tighten my belt and soldier on.
But what about the people with families?
One state ends their sop and another starts up. Since most of these subsidies actually cost the states money (currently for every dollar of film revenue that Louisiana brings in, it spends $7.30*), it’s baffling that they keep doing it, but I’m certainly not one to underestimate the capability of humans to not in any way, shape or form learn from our mistakes.
Most of us who have spent our entire working lives in the film industry have skills that don’t easily translate to the real world, and even if we do decide to branch out, we have resumes that are confusing and frightening to anyone not familiar with the transient nature of film production (“No, it’s the same job, for the same people.. just with a different name on the letter head”).
So Wednesday, I have a career counseling appointment at The Actors’ Fund to see if I have any chance of any sort of work at all once production in California dries up for good.
Or, even better, if I can manage to start some sort of business that legally appropriates taxpayer money just like the studios are doing.
I suspect not, but we’ll see.