NC Film Misnomer: “Production Crew Members Do Not Live in NC”

NCFILM_MisnomerWe keep hearing from misinformed public officials that the film industry creates jobs that are not permanent and that private contractors come in from other states and leave when the film or television productions are over. This is one of the most twisted ideas that is thrown out there all the time. Although some outside workers do come in, most of those are producers, actors, and some department heads. NC has a leg up after 30 years of making films and television shows.  We have department heads that have made NC their permanent home.

The first thing people have to understand is that North Carolina has a crew base unlike many states since we have been making films since the 1980s. A huge number of NC film crew members also work on films in Georgia, South Carolina, and Louisiana which strengthens those states’ crew bases whenever there is no work due to political uncertainty in NC.

There are thousands of skilled workers across the state that have made NC their home for the past thirty years (welders, drivers, carpenters, electricians, etc….) that work full time in the film industry. There are many that are born and raised in NC that have entered the film industry when other industries slowed down due to unfair trade agreements, shipping jobs over seas, etc.  Again, another example of legislators creating economic conditions that ruin industries.

DCWhen crew members worked on “Dawson’s Creek” for 6 years, quite a few rolled over to “One Tree Hill” for another 9 years. They would most certainly say that 15 years of steady work is not part time contracts. This is a just one example.  Many crew members will end a show after 6 months on a Friday and start a new production that following Monday.

Let’s talk about how much a film industry worker puts in in labor hours. The average film crew member works 70-80 hrs a week, and for a select few that could be more.

Most film crews work in 6 months what it takes your average 32-40 hr a week worker a full year to do. These are dedicated hard working North Carolinians.

When the snowball effect of productions rolling in one after another is in full swing due to legislators creating the economic conditions, then most film crew workers will put in more hours than an average NC worker would have worked in two years in just 12 months.  These are not part time jobs.

under-the-dome-cbsNC is now home to some of the highest rated TV shows airing on television. “Sleepy Hollow”, “Under the Dome”, “Homeland”, “Banshee.”  If these networks had to fly in all 200 workers per show from other states, put them up in hotels, and give them per Diem for six to eight months at a time,  then it would not make any economic sense to film in NC.  This is yet another reason why we have so many television shows come here to do business.

But here is the clincher.  They HAVE to hire locals across the state to make it a viable business plan. If they don’t hire locals, then they would not  benefit from the incentive because the expenditures would offset anything that they would save from the incentive.

The fact is we have THOUSANDS of crew members that live in North Carolina.  They owns houses, send their kids to NC schools, pay taxes.  Thousands that call North Carolina their home, not their little vacation town.  This only scratches the surface. Remember we also have major motion pictures rolling in our state as well. Just take “Iron Man 3” for example. They had over 300 crew members working 70-80 hrs a week for 10 months in NC.



  1. This is less that politicians are uninformed (they may be, but I don’t think their message would change), they are being bought by studios in Atlanta that want our incentive program gone. Pinewood in particular. It isn’t just misinformation, this is dirty politics. Lobbying. Bribery. Corruption.

      • Well said! If we have experienced film workers NOT being given work it is due to others who will work for FREE. This is what cuts off our nose despite our face in NC Film! Just like bands, there used to be pay for them at bars then some free bands came into “play” and off went the income for those artists as well. WELL SAID ADAM. YOU ARE CORRECT! Thanks for saying it, few would ever be so honest!

  2. I am a North Carolina Native, an ECU grad who is a working actor, writer and producer. I live in Wilmington and chose NC to raise my family over New York and LA. I want to stay here, in my home state. The place I love, where I have extended family. I am blessed to work pretty regularly in the Film/TV industry and would very much appreciate the film incentives remaining intact! Look at Georgia as an example with an annual draw of over $2B from our industry and they have a more aggressive incentive than NC.

  3. There are a lot of out of state jobs given away. Many times the “Low Paying” jobs are filled by “political hires.” I’ve witnessed entire departments filled this way (PA’s, Office PA’s, Entire Accounting Dept, locations assistants, even a few drivers) go to out of state that should come from instate. The policy makers may not like it, but strengthening the Union power will prevent this from happening and keep those Union jobs local. Canada has a great law where you aren’t allowed to work as an international worker if they can fill the spot with a Canadian hire.(I think many places do.) If the lawmakers really feel this way they should write a law that says priority must go to local hires. Then they can track it and give proof to their claims. As for extras you won’t get paid much, the whole reason movies are made here is for cheap labor and locations. The entire pay scale of film positions is skewed anyway and the policy makers are probably looking at above the line vs. below the line and in that regard are absolutely right that more money goes out of state than comes in.

  4. Pingback: Production Crew Members DO Live in NC

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  6. After 30 years of business from this well-established industry, I have to call it IGNORANCE instead of misinformation. There is no excuse for it. Of course in a broader sense, this also means that these elected officials do not have a pulse on NC’s economy either. How can you discount hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs and businesses who depend on the motion picture industry? I was born, raised and educated in NC, and have just returned to film/tv after raising my youngest child. I have three family members who work in this industry, and we pay our taxes in NC. We need to educate the public once and for all….. and make darn sure we elect only the well-informed next time we are at the polls!

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