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Location News

Entertainment industry insiders gathered in Hollywood Friday to hash out their most pressing issues and possible opportunities in the first State of the Entertainment Industry Conference.

While panels touched on runaway production and piracy and potential threats, the day started off with a reminder of how valuable the entertainment industry is to Los Angeles County.

"You're looking at 247,000 people who are working in this industry, one way or another, whether they're earning a paycheck or self-employed," Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., said while presenting his organization's "The Entertainment Industry and the Los Angeles County Economy" report.

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With the exodus of film and TV production to foreign shores -- and with the states' incentives plans frequently out-gunned by countries outside the U.S. -- there is some thought that it may be time for the federal government to step in.

The idea of the federal government helping out Hollywood while it is drowning in red ink is sure to raise hackles in some quarters. But filmmaker Michael Moore, for one, thinks it’s an idea whose time has come. And he's not alone.

“That is one good thing the government can do in terms of being helpful and supportive, whether it's filmmaking or other artistic endeavors," Moore told TheWrap.

And he added, it's also time for the states to stop fighting each other with differing tax-incentive plans. "I've always opposed New Mexico against North Carolina, or Michigan against L.A. I don't like that. It's not right. We're Americans.”

Moore is not alone.

pre_locationscouting_zsazsagabors pool by lori baltonIt’s been said that the most challenging job experiences usually end up being the most rewarding. This is certainly true for location managers. The tasks of turning summer-time Philadelphia into a wintry Gotham City under siege, making today’s Los Angeles look like Tehran in 1979, or taking on a project with zero locked locations and two weeks till production have made location scouts into Hollywood’s unsung heroes.

New York City will resume issuing outdoor filming permits starting Monday, after suspending the practice earlier this week in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the city's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting said on Friday.

Though permits will only be allowed on a case-by-case basis, and not in parts of the city hit hardest by the megastorm.

Sandy slammed into the city and its five boroughs, leaving large swaths of Manhattan underwater and an estimated 228,000 people without power. In response, the city limited permitting to productions shooting on soundstages.

A number of New York City-based productions have already started shooting on soundstages this week, including "30 Rock," "The Good Wife" and "Smash."

Though agreeing to resume some outdoor filming, the city is urging filmmakers to be cognizant of the massive cleanup taking place. “As the City continues to get back on its feet, we are encouraging productions to film in those areas throughout the five boroughs that were not as badly affected by the storm," the office said in a statement.

"New York crews are known for their ‘can do’ attitudes, and the City offers a wealth of location options for productions. We’re confident that the TV shows and feature films that call New York City will take this temporary adjustment in stride," it added.

pre_topincentives_canada_montreal2Despite the world’s current economy woes, a wide variety of films, commercials and television projects are on the hunt for the best incentives offered by regions around the globe. These incoming productions can lead to increased economic activity, job creation and a major boost in tourism, and smaller business infrastructures benefit greatly when a film or TV production rolls through town.

wtf part 2 panelists1This past week, the Sales Career Resource Group (SCRG) lunch at the Beverly Garland, "WTF?, Part 2," presented a panel of industry experts and luminaries to the largest audience in SCRG's history. 

To help increase production in Thailand the Thailand Film Office has planned a familiarization tour (Fam Trip) for leading international location managers and select Asian producers which will run November 5–13, 2012.

Dubbed "Inbound Roadshow,"  the tour will include a broad range of activities including: : Ancient Siam, a visit to the historical ruins of Ayutthaya, Ancient River Life, a tour along the Chao Praya River and its canals (klongs) which emulate earliest life in old Siam; Modern City Life,  featuring some of Bangkok's best highlights; Thai Tradition with early Yi Peng (Loy Kratong) festival celebration in Chiang Rai on the banks of the Mae Kok River; Sustainable Living/Economy, a day spent on the Doi Chaang Coffee Plantation with the Akha Hilltribes people; Ocean Life/Eco Tourism, cave kayaking around the Phang Nga Bay with award winning documentarian John Grey, and last but not least, a Spotlight on Film Tourism showcasing the Tower Club at lebua's success with generating tourism to Thailand through its participation with "The Hangover Part II."

pre_santaclarita_vegas_02_vegas_0036The new drama series “Vegas” needed a vintage location for its setting in the wild, early days of 1960s Las Vegas, Nev. According to Greg Walker, the show’s co-creator, executive producer and showrunner, this presented a challenge for the CBS Television Studios production. “Everyone knows those iconic images of downtown Fremont Street looked like with the Golden Nugget and the other original casinos,” he explains. The series also has a Western feel to it as it tells the true story of local rancher Ralph Lamb (played by Dennis Quaid), who became the sheriff of Clark County. Lamb kept law and order in Vegas when the Chicago mob sent men like Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) to run the town’s gambling operations.

pro_cinerama_img_6141_2Thanks to the bold vision of a group of entrepreneurs 60 years ago, a new filmmaking technology was introduced that forever changed the way movies are produced and viewed. This technology launched the widescreen revolution of the 1950s, and it was called Cinerama. Only a handful of movies were produced in Cinerama, but CinemaScope, Todd-AO, Technirama, VistaVision, Panavision and every other widescreen technology that emerged in the ’50s owes its existence to the excitement created by this short-lived format.

FilmL.A., the not-for-profit community benefit organization that coordinates permits for productions in Los Angeles, announced that nearly every major filming category is currently in decline. Overall on-location production dropped 3.9 percent last quarter when compared to the same period last year. Television projects slipped 1.4 percent for the period, led by steep production declines for dramas (down by 18.5 percent) and reality shows (down 20.5 percent). TV pilots also went down by 45.9 percent, though the quarter is not usually strong for this category. “The television landscape is changing in Los Angeles, and, economically, the sector has taken a turn for the worse,” reports FilmL.A. President Paul Audley. “Many of the new TV projects we’re coordinating permits