Hope on the Horizon / Rumors from the Lot

It’s been a hot minute since the last blog post and well, you know why that is. Besides Season 2 of TNT’s Good Behavior shooting here, there’s not much action film-wise in the Port City. However, it looks like a change (or more like a return) could be right around the corner.

This week, EUE/Screen Gems Studios sent out the news to over 1300 production companies that you can count Wilmywood in for their next production. The email stated that effective immediately, North Carolina has committed to long term, recurring funding which provides grants equal to 25% of the North Carolina qualifying expenditures.

As of July 1, 2017, we have $33.6 million in funding available. On July 1, 2018 we will have $31 million in yearly recurring funding.

Executive Vice President at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, Bill Vassar, thanked our local legislators for having the vision to make changes in the incentive grant to make us more competitive down the road. “This is really hopeful,” he said. “As this has been developing with the legislators and word has gotten out that something was going to change, that there would be positive changes in the incentive, we’ve had an increase of interest of people coming here to shoot.”

Nothing is set in stone at this point. I know that’s the last thing you want to hear. And Bill couldn’t give me specifics to share, so you know how I do. I rely on other sources. So what’s the latest “Rumors from the Lot?”

I am not going to mention specific names of shows cuz, let’s be frank, I’d get in some deep doo-doo. But I can say, there’s a pilot, two television series and a feature that I know for sure are at least considering Wilmywood as their home. The operative word is CONSIDERING. Again, nothing set in stone.

Now I’ve got mixed reports about a project heading to Charlotte. Some people tell me they are gearing up to start in a couple of weeks. Does that mean opening offices in two weeks or start production in two weeks? That, I don’t know. Regardless, I am still marking this as a rumor for now.

I did some digging and last month, it was mentioned that a feature called We Were Liars was going to film in New York and North Carolina. Production was set to begin in August. So, that could indeed be it. If you’ve got more details on this one, holla!

That’s all I’ve got for now. I know it’s not much, but it sure is something to be hopeful about!

As soon as I get more details, I’ll let you know!

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HB2: We. Are. Not. This.

First, please let me apologize for taking so long to blog about this. I’ve tried to wrap my head around this whole HB2 thing. People have been flying off the handle about this. Some with facts and some with fiction. Trying to decipher which is which has been a bitch.

There are so many thoughts running through my head. First off, if you don’t know me, I am an unaffiliated female who believes in equality for all.  So, with that being said, I am sure you know how I feel about HB2. So instead of explaining it piece by piece (my brain would explode), let’s look at the effects it has had on our state so far.

Just when things start rolling again, our legislators and governor had go and throw away not only $42,000 for an emergency session but also more job creation here in North Carolina.

As an ambassador to the City of Wilmington,  it is become very difficult to welcome visitors here when folks are asking if it’s safe to be here. Seriously, lemme quote the last conversation I got about visiting North Carolina.

KATE: In light of the recent news story about NC, my wife and I will be visiting. We’re lesbian couple, will we have an issue with discrimination? Just Wondering

ME: No! There will not be any issues. Our legislators in North Carolina do NOT reflect the citizens who live here.

KATE: Thank you! That’s what I thought, but ya know I still has to check for peace of mind.

To those of us who live here, it seems like a ridiculous question because we live here and WE KNOW how welcoming this city is, but thanks to those who “represent us” we look like a bunch of haters and backward individuals.

So how is HB2 working out for us so far?

Let’s see, PayPal, Dow Chemical, the NBA, BioGen, American Airlines, Citi, Lowe’s, Wells Fargo, Apple, the NCAA, Google (just to name a few) are VERY disappointed in our leadership’s decision.

This week, large corporations like Bank of America, Cisco, Miramax and Uber signed onto a letter protesting the new law and demanding its repeal. Small businesses are also taking HB2 to task. [SOURCE]

Just today more than 15 large companies ie Reddit, eBay, Starbucks…joined the fight against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law. [SOURCE]

HB2 is also creating uncertainty with companies as well.

Leaders from across the country have banned non-essential travel to North Carolina. San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, West Palm Beach, and New York, with more pending.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed an executive order banning all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The order requires all New York State agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to the state of North Carolina, and bar any such publicly funded travel that is not essential to the enforcement of state law or public health and safety. [SOURCE]

As far as film is concerned in our state, we have a little backlash, but what we don’t know is how is will affect our future.

The Hulu/Lionsgate production Crushed had one casting call the day before the emergency session took place. Rumor has it, based on a couple of crew members who were hired for the production…HB2 was the reason they packed their bags. I cannot confirm that however.

My sources in Western NC have told me that Dirty Dancing ONLY stayed because they were already too vested with locations and talent timelines and had made a commitment to film there. Otherwise they would have hit the road as well. Again, however, I cannot confirm it.

As you probably have seen Producer/Director Rob Reiner stated immediately after HB2 passed, he will never bring a production to North Carolina as long as this bill is in place. He encouraged his peers in the film industry to do the same. [SOURCE]

Meanwhile not all in the General Assembly are backing the bill. Senator Jeff Jackson has taken to social media.

And our favorite red head Rep. Susi Hamilton is just as upset about the outcome of HB2.

And this…good Lord:  “The people of North Carolina want to talk about roads and economic development and jobs and that’s where I’m going to focus my attention, not on ridiculous restroom and locker room policies that some people are trying to force onto the private sector,” McCrory said. [SOURCE]

I can’t help but think of a school yard taunt: “Quit talking about yourself!” Hate to tell you this, McCrory, but the people of North Carolina are just getting started.  The Gov’na certainly made his bed, but he doesn’t want to lie in it any longer…

And it is also apparent, McCrory has no idea what’s in the bill they passed in a 12 hour period.

NC Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is running against McCrory, is asking all those who are ashamed of HB2 to sign a petition on ShameonMcCrory.com

Every hour, there are more companies, cities and states standing up against HB2.

In conclusion, I cannot stress to those who don’t live here that we in North Carolina want you to know our legislators DO NOT reflect who we are as citizens of North Carolina. We are welcoming. We are warm.  We. Are. Not. This.

Thanks for giving us all the headlines leaders of North Carolina…

Revised language for $30M NCFilm Grant. Raises Cap for TV series.

Last week, Senator Michael Lee announced that the leadership of the House and Senate agreed to replenish the NC Film Grant with $60M for the next 2 fiscal years — $30M per fiscal year.  The next step was to revise the language of the film grant.  The goal was to focus more on television series rather than features which would be more beneficial to NC Film Crew and small businesses.  Most of the changes relate to that.

The budget compromise is 429 pages long and the Senate will be voting on the deal tomorrow.  Someone bring in the coffee, Jolt Cola and Red Bull please cuz it’s gonna be a long night!  Seriously, how on earth can one human carefully go through 429 pages and know what the hell they are voting on?  I’m definitely NOT saying to NOT end this thing. Lord knows this budget is almost 11 weeks overdue, but…well, I’m just sayin’! At least the House requires 72 hours before voting after receiving a monster like this budget.  The Senate, however, does not.  FYI, according to Colin Campbell over at the N&O, this year’s budget will be the longest-delayed spending plan since 2002.

Our legislators in the NC Senate in general as you know are NOT fans of the film industry. So you can imagine what it would be like to fight for it.  It’s like trying to run up a tidal wave. So, any changes that were made, were nothing short of a miracle. So, if you have a moment, please make a call or send an email to Michael Lee, Bill Rabon, and Harry Brown on the Senate side and of course Rep. Ted Davis in the House and thank them for fighting for us.

Anyway, let’s get to it. What are the major changes in the language?

First, the NC Film Grant is a five year plan, expiring July 1, 2020. In this budget we are replenished for the first two years.

Currently the NC Film Grant has a minimum spend of $250,000 per episode for video or television series. The minimum spend will increase to $1M per episode.  As a dear friend of mine put it, that will assure we don’t get a lot of low budget/low rate crapola. Yeah, I’d say that’s a good way to put it.

Feature Films remain at $5M. Commercials remain the same as well at $250,000.

Now for the cap! We all detest the $5M cap. The current cap has a max rebate of $5M, up to 25% on qualified expenses/purchases of productions for an entire television series or feature film.  We lost out on a few projects because of that! So, the good news is that the max payout will be raised from $5M to $9M for a single television series.

Now here’s where it gets interesting.  All things are not created equal.  Like feature films. The current the rebate would remain the same at $5M.

You see what they did there? Do I love it? Not really. But should we focus on longer term projects such as television? Yes. As I stated earlier, the goal was to focus more on television series – longer term jobs for the crew and more spending with our vendors. Television is more important to our film folks.

Of course we all wish we could just go back to our good old film incentives, and throw the grant out the window. But it is what it is and we can only move forward from here. What we have in the new budget will get us back on our feet, so in the end it’s worth smiling about.

Other changes include fringe benefits for those who work less than 35 hours per week. In the new grant language, it removes the 35 hours.  I don’t have a complete understanding about this yet.

So now the Senate will vote then the House this week.  Will they make their Friday deadline?  Will the Governor veto? We shall see…

SEE HOUSE BILL 97 NOW (Film Grant on page 299)

 

Under the Dome Vacates Wilmywood: More details

So, it looks like my sources were once again correct. Although there has been no official words to come out, crew members who work on Under the Dome, commented on social media platforms with sadness, frustration and agreement, not corrections to the story.

SEE STORY NOW

Today, I got word that CBS has initiated strike orders for all the sets. I also heard there will be a set dec sale sometime soon, but that it will be small. Most of the show’s belongings will be broken down and shipped out. Under the Dome wraps season 3 this Friday.

Ironically, this was the last official prop purchase for Under the Dome. I do believe I see our NC Film Industry in there.

lastfilmprop

If you haven’t seen the sets at EUE/Screen Gems Studios, I would HIGHLY recommend you take a studio tour ASAP to see the stages where Under the Dome calls home. The tours run Saturdays and Sundays at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm. At least for now.

The only good news I can tell you is that now with Dirty Dancing releasing the $4M in unused grant money, we will be having a pilot or two this fall, but I am holding off on releasing the details at the moment.

FYI: Pilots will only keep folks employed for 3 weeks or so.

I’ll keep you posted!

RUMORS FROM THE LOT: Under the Dome to leave Wilmington for Season 4

We should have read the writing on the wall, or lack there of when the already iconic “Sweetbriar Rose” exterior in Burgaw for Under the Dome returned to its natural form. But because these guys persevered despite the cost and stayed in Wilmington for season 3 – we thought maybe just maybe they would consider staying here one more season.  That’s if there is a season 4.  But we already know there will be.

However, multiple sources have told me that an announcement was made today.  I was told that Executive Producer Peter Leto let folks know that if Under the Dome gets picked up for another season, they will not be returning to Wilmington.

Rumors are swirling about the CBS show heading to Utah for the 4th season, and that this move was spearheaded by Executive Producer Neal Baer. Utah has basically our old film incentive, a 25% rebate.

No official announcement has been made regarding a 4th season yet, nor is this information I am giving you now.  I am just telling you what I am being told.

This is sadly Banshee all over again.

Please feel free to thank our North Carolina General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory for putting 300+ more people out of work.

I will try to get confirmation on this matter ASAP.  More details to come.

SEE UPDATE NOW

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Sleepy Hollow’s move to Atlanta CONFIRMED

Well, we’ve been talking about it for at least two months now.  We knew in October that Sleepy Hollow was not going to stay for a third season.  Vancouver was mentioned, but for the last couple months, Atlanta was the front runner. Even though no official word has been said in regards to a third season, Sleepy Hollow folks headed to Atlanta and scouted the area on Friday.

Now, the Star News is reporting that what we already knew to be true is confirmed.

Fox Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden said if it’s renewed for a third season, “Sleepy Hollow” will move production from Wilmington following the demise of the North Carolina film tax credit program.

Thanks NCGA.  Thanks Governor McCrory.

READ STAR NEWS ARTICLE NOW!

 

THE WILMYWOOD DAILY – 10/06/2014 Sleepy Hollow, The Choice, Reel Teal Film Fest and More.

No one is about and about today, but Sleepy Hollow and Secrets & Lies will be later this week.

Another Sleepy night tonight!  Woo Hoo! “The Plan Is In Motion from The Kindred.”

The Choice kicks off one week from today and they are keepin’ it super local!  The start production over at Dockside with a nice size crew, not to mention over 80 background extras.  It’s nice to see people employed as we get closer to the holidays!

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As we eagerly wait for Max Steel to come out in 2015, check out our super hero Ben Winchell and his side kick Ana Villafane as they participated at a fundraiser for Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

REELTEALReel Teal Film Festival is a solely student-organized film festival presented by members of the Flicker Film Society at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. With emphasis on the award show atmosphere, this festival programs innovative films from film makers, students, and enthusiasts, to promote a community that fosters competition and cinematic diversity. Complete with a teal carpet, photographers, and Q&A with filmmakers, Reel Teal encompasses all your film festival and award show needs. The event will be split up into two screening blocks – Friday, February 13, from 7:00pm-8:30pm and 9:30pm-11:00pm at Lumina Theater, UNCW. GET DETAILS NOW OR SUBMIT

We will have an awards show from 11:00pm to 11:30pm to present the cash prizes and trophies to the winning filmmakers.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  Volunteer at the polls.  We are looking for folks who are pro-NC Film to work in 2 hour shifts at the one stop early voting (October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014) locations and on Election day (November 4, 2014) in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County locations. GET MORE DETAILS NOW

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REGISTER TO VOTE: If you have not yet registered to vote, you must do so NO LATER THAN October 10, 2014 by 5pm or you will NOT be able to vote in the General Elections on November 4, 2014.

ABSENTEE VOTING BY MAIL: Absentee voting by mail begins September 5,2014 and runs through October 28, 2014

EARLY VOTING (ONE STOP) PERIOD: October 23, 2014 – November 1, 2014

LIST OF WHO VOTED FOR AND AGAINST FILM: NCGA_FilmmakersVotingGuide_2014

MOST POPULAR THIS WEEK:

That just about does it for me; I will have more Wilmywood updates for you tomorrow morning (unless something breaks) and every weekday morning we do “What’s Up in Wilmywood” at 7:30am & 8:30am LIVE on Sunny 104.5.  And on Thursdays during Cape Fear CW‘s Primetime News at 10!  Got Scoop?  Email me: sheila_brothers@yahoo.com.  Or message me on Wilmywood’s FB  or on Twitter You can also just post your comments below!  Until then, that’s a wrap!!