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.