Hollywood makes us laugh. Makes us cry. Occasionally, makes us think.
Mostly it just bores us, leaving a lot of the world’s most expensive popcorn to be thrown out.
When money is involved, there are faster ways to lose it than investing in a picture, but most of them involve throwing cash off a moving train or betting on the Atlanta Braves.
Of course, I use Hollywood as a metaphor for the movie biz, which does its level best to actually shoot films anywhere cheaper. The flavor of the moment is Georgia, where generous tax breaks have produced an industry that will have an estimated $6 billion in economic impact this year.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, Georgia has moved up to third in the nation as a production location, behind only Hollywood and New York. In California, Governor Moonbeam is firing back with expanded tax incentives.
CNBC’s Mary Thompson reports that 40 film and TV projects are active in Georgia this month alone.
The state’s allure starts with the generous tax breaks and topography (beaches, mountains, everything in between). Also, Georgia is a right-to-work state, but that doesn’t come into play as much as you’d think. Bigger productions often hire only union labor.
The thrust of Ms. Thompson’s story is how job possibilities have people scrambling to get appropriate training, and how the state wants to help.
There will always be cranky critics who say states like Georgia and Louisiana give away the store by making movie tax breaks too generous. Count this orange cat among them.
It reminds me of “The Sting.” Sure, Newman and Redford conned the gangster out of $500,000. But it looked like it cost them $800,000 to do it.
A link to Ms. Thompson’s story: http://tinyurl.com/nfb6mbp