CA Minimum Wage Increase; Mileage Rate Decrease for 2016

As a reminder, California minimum wage went up to $10/hour as of January 1. The allowable federal mileage rate for 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down from 57.5 cents for 2015.

You can get a full breakdown of minimum wage by state at the Department of Labor’s website.

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L.A. Sees More Production Days as Incentive Program Hits Full Stride

Hollywood production is booming thanks to the newly overhauled California tax credit incentive, according to recent numbers. Fueled partly by a number of high-profile television series relocating to Los Angeles from other states, the so-called “2.0” version of the incentive program has generated a 24% uptick in local production days for TV dramas in the third quarter of 2015, enough to keep local industry vendors busy.

Read more about it in the Los Angeles Times. See all incentive programs across the country in our interactive incentives map.

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IATSE Reaches New 3-Year Deal with AMPTP

AMPTP_LogoA negotiating unit for below-the-line crew members reached agreement with the AMPTP on a tentative new three-year deal covering film and television production in Los Angeles, it was announced today. Neither IATSE nor the studios are releasing terms of the new Hollywood Basic Agreement as of yet.

If approved by the union membership, the pact will go into effect August 1, 2015, just after the current agreement expires. Early resolution of contract talks can give local production a shot in the arm, as producers and financiers avoid the worry of any work stoppage in the near future.

“I am pleased we were able to reach an agreement that provides industry stability and meaningful terms and benefits to the membership,” said IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.

“The industry is pleased we have reached a new agreement with IATSE months before the contract expires,” stated AMPTP President Carol Lombardini. “With the tentative agreement in place, our member companies can immediately begin planning production for the future with certainty.”

The negotiated deal will next be sent to the IATSE national board for approval. If it passes there, the next step would be member ratification vote.

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California Film Office Updates Incentive Regs

The California Film Commission has unveiled the full set of newly approved regulations for its expanded Film and TV Tax Credit Program. New procedures for applications, eligibility and audits are now detailed on the agency’s website, along with the CFC’s new project selection and “jobs ratio” ranking. The latter-most piece is perhaps the most sweeping change to the “old” credit program: instead of the lottery system, the 2.0 version of the selection process will include a formula that rewards projects that create more jobs.

The regulations were created by the CFC with input from the industry, then reviewed and approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which vets all agency regulations for the state. In addition to raising the annual credit cap from $100 million to $330 million, the overhauled program was expanded to include TV pilots, one-hour series for any distribution outlet, and high-budget studio features.

The entire set of guidelines can be downloaded here. The complete regulations can be found here.

The agency has also posted qualified expenditure charts and a handy jobs ratio calculator on its main site.

Other key features highlighted by the CFC in their announcement of the new regs:

  • 5% “uplift” for non-independent productions with qualified production expenditures for visual effects, music scoring/track recording or filming outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone.
  • Category-specific competition – under the new program, different types of productions (e.g., TV, indie films, studio films, etc.) each have a dedicated fund of tax credits, so each project competes directly against comparable (or “like”) projects.
  • An all-new, all-online application process

The agency also gave more detail on summer application dates below. A winter application period for all project types has yet to be announced.

May 11-17, 2015 – Non-independent TV projects only:
  • $55.2 million in tax credits available for New TV series, TV pilots, MOWs, and Mini-series for any distribution transmission
  • $27.6 million in credits available for Relocating TV Series

July 13-25, 2015: Independent Projects and all Feature Films:

  • $40.25 million in tax credits available for feature films
  • $5.75 million available for independent projects
(Source: California Film Commission)

Have incentives questions for California or any other state? Please contact Media Services incentives specialist Verlette Franck or check out our interactive map here. You can also do a side-by-side comparison of up to four states or regions.

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Incentives Heat Up in Land of Enchantment

NewMexico_flagNew Mexico is looking to extend and enhance the production incentives that have attracted such television heavyweights as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, along with countless feature films. Two new pieces of legislation were passed by overwhelming majorities in the state’s two lawmaking bodies; one would extend the 30% TV incentive to stand-alone pilots, while the other would allow production companies to pre-assign their production rebates to a third party.

The second bill is significant in that it allows smaller players and one-off productions to receive a fuller return on the incentive. Since it’s a cash rebate and not a credit, pre-assignment would enable producers to fund their projects at 100% of the value of the incentive.

The bills will next go to Governor Susana Martinez for signing.

Story first reported at Deadline Hollywood.

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CA Rolls Out First “New Program” Tax Credit Lottery in May

On April 1, the California Film Commission will accept applications for its last-ever tax credit lottery under what is now being referred to the “old program.” The office made an announcement today that a large number of television series productions currently receiving credits will return for an additional season and remain in the program for its final year – leaving only a handful of credits available to new productions and eliminating studio projects from eligibility for the final lottery.

Ten million dollars will still be available for independent productions via the lottery, with old program rules still in effect.

First Application Period for New Lottery May 11-17

The new program will have two application periods for fiscal year 2015-16 (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). The first will be May 11-17, for non-independent television projects only. Credit allocations will be available July 1 at the earliest. Other details from the film commission:

  • $55.2 million in tax credits available for New TV series, TV pilots, MOWs, Mini-series for any distribution transmission
  • $27.6 million in credits available for Relocating TV Series (defined as a series with $1 M minimum production budget, previous season shot outside CA, and must attest that the tax credit is the primary reason for move to the state)
  • Projects will be selected via a new competitive ranking system based on jobs and other criteria

A second application period, to be announced this summer, will cover other types of production. Read more about the old and new programs at the California Film Commission website here. Learn about production incentives nationwide here.

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Amazon Streams to Globes Victory with “Transparent”

JeffreyTambor_Transparent_AmazonIt’s no secret that television has been giving features a run for their money in recent years in terms of critical praise and bragging rights. The 2015 Golden Globes proved to be truly groundbreaking in a whole new way though, as two of the biggest television awards were given for a show that has never seen a traditional airwave.

Amazon Studios chalked up the first major streaming crossover win with Transparent, which took home Winner of Best Comedy and Musical Series and Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy for Jeffrey Tambor. While streaming stalwarts like Netflix’s House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black have struck Globe gold before for performances (indeed, Kevin Spacey won for Best Actor in a Drama Sunday night as well), none has taken one of the coveted “Best Series” awards until now.

What makes Transparent a double winner is its boundary-pushing subject matter, opening the door wider for communities that aren’t always represented in Hollywood. Tambor stresses that fact as he tells journalists, “This is about changing lives.”

Kudos to our friends at Amazon for taking a leap not only in becoming a front runner in the world of original programming, streaming or otherwise, but on taking a chance with the choosing of atypical topics… which paid off Sunday night in a big way.

Read more about the Transparent wins and the streaming revolution at NPR.

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