My Turn: film incentives create jobs, tourism

Published: Jan. 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2015 at 4:43 PM EST
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Now, I'm not in favor of incentives for every industry, but none makes more sense to me than...
Now, I'm not in favor of incentives for every industry, but none makes more sense to me than incentives for the film industry.

I spoke last week during this segment about uncertainty hurting our local economy.  Be it a special use permit or film incentives, uncertainty is not a good thing.

Now, I'm not in favor of incentives for every industry, but none makes more sense to me than incentives for the film industry.

For me it's about jobs.  It's about tourism. It's about the other businesses it brings to the area.  And it's about the good things that industry brings to the cultural aspects of our community.

Attracting the film and television production business is becoming very competitive.  For years, this type of business was primarily done in California.  But as we've seen in recent years, the decisions are being made there, but the work is being done everywhere.

We have everything in place to make it happen.  We have the skilled workforce.  We have shooting locations like beaches, farms, mountains, small towns and big cities. And we have the infrastructure.  The only thing we don't have is a long-term financial reason to do business here.

This type of industry is a big bonus to our economy.  And I think it's high time our leaders need to make a statement that we really want this business and the incentives are here to stay.

As a good friend of mine said recently, "Would we rather have ¾ of a pie…or no pie at all?"

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed comments from viewers:

I really appreciate your support with the film incentive. I work in the film industry and have recently bought a house here in Wilmington. It will be a year in April, and would hate to have to move to where the incentive is picked up... I love it here, my parents have retired here to be closer to me and my sister who is my boss, so it would really effectaffect sp.? a lot of people in so many ways... I just pray the incentive is picked up.


The only thing wrong with the film incentive process is as follows:

A lot of New Hanover County film workers  are  employed for only one segment of the serial shows and then the series moves or they are no longer needed....I have heard and do not know the truth, but have been told that the County then pays unemployment for the next so many months.  IF this is true then we are paying out a lot of money for some very short job time.


Hi,  nice job on the segment today!!    You are very well spoken and I appreciate your speaking in behalf of people like myself.  Thank you for telling it like it is and in such an eloquent manner!


In response to the post: "The only thing wrong with the film incentive process is as follows:", you have zero facts, so let me help. When a New Hanover County film worker gets hired on a TV show, they are on the show until the show wraps for good (One Tree Hill, 9 years) or it moves elsewhere (Revolution, 1 year). On a feature film you have a finite number of shooting days and then you are finished, looking for the next job. Some feature films go for a few months, some more than a year. It is the nature of the business, a business that brings in 10's of millions of dollars into our local economy yearly, and has since the '80's. As far as your remark about the county paying unemployment benefits, "Benefits are paid from the North Carolina's Unemployment Insurance Fund, which is funded by a tax paid by employers.", taken directly from the N.C. employment security commission website, Some legislators are having a hard time wrapping their head around the numbers, or they have an ulterior motive for not wanting the incentives, politics, no filming in their home district, etc. When I talk to the vendors, many of them say that they would have to lay off employees or shut down if the film industry went away ! Film productions rent houses, hotel rooms, vehicles, furniture, warehouses, and the list goes on and on. I personally own a home and 3 vehicles, all taxed and payed for right here, as do about 800 of my coworkers. A friends company made $100,000 from Iron Man 3 and his business has nothing to do with film, normally. Hopefully the legislators will get more accurate information in the future and not rely on an N.C. State professors study, that said only 70 jobs were created in 2012 from the film incentives ! Where did he get his facts ? What were his motives ? It's ludicrous, Iron Man 3 alone employed more than 100 local film workers ! Filmmaking is a real industry and other states get it and are reaping the rewards (Ga.and La. specifically). Our incentive expires 12/31/14, productions planning now, for a shoot next year will be going south, along with our talented crew base.


So you want Wilmington to be like California ??? That is really not what I see or want in my city or home town.

If that is what you like move to the west coast. I think you should look deeper and think long.


We truly appreciate your short but sweet segment on the news tonight. You hit the high points on our embattled industry. Movies are an American home grown one-off custom job with a tremendous amount of labor and support services required. We all talk about jobs as if they are showered from above. They take work and support to nurture. No business desires uncertainty, and if the climate doesn't seem stable they simply look elsewhere.

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