Steve Chiotakis: For the Obama administration, it’s on to plans C, D, and maybe E today as Democrats try to get a jobs bill through the United States Senate. One bill that would’ve sent money to states for teachers and firefighters was again blocked by Republicans.
The effort to create jobs, of course, spans the entire country. And on the west coast, Tinseltown isn’t quite as sparkly in the employment department as in years past because California’s economy is suffering, and television producers are moving their sets to other places.
Tim Molloy is TV editor at TheWrap.com. He’s with us now from New York. Hey Tim.
Tim Molloy: Hi, glad to be here.
Chiotakis: You know, your story today focuses on TV jobs, and you say there was a record number of pilots — TV pilots — filmed last year. And yet, not a whole lot of job creation here in California. What’s going on?
Molloy: Right, the problem is, even though there are more pilots being produced, what’s not being produced are dramas in Los Angeles. And dramas are really the big jobs creators because they are much bigger productions. They require more scripts, more actors often times, and a lot of locations shoots — which just creates jobs and jobs.
Chiotakis: The film industry, of course, took a big hit during the financial crisis, and I know studios slashed a lot of jobs and cut back on production. Where are we now in that realm of the entertainment spectrum?
Molloy: Well my colleague Brent Lang reported yesterday that 126,300 people are now employed in the motion picture and video industry, which is actually up from when the recession started. The problem is, as you said, the number of films being produced is contracting, and the film industry — like the television industry — is suffering from runaway production.
It might not be the best time to be in television in Los Angeles, for example. But it’s a great time to be in television in New Mexico, or New York, or Georgia.
Chiotakis: There’s all sorts of uncertainty in the economy, we know. And we’ve got the eurozone crisis and the deadlock in Washington. How does that trickle into the TV and film industry do you think?
Molloy: I think the most obvious way that it trickles down is in the form of tax incentives. When state budgets are crunched, it’s a lot harder to come up with tax cuts for anyone. And Hollywood is perhaps not the easiest candidate to make a case for because we have this impression of Hollywood as really well-off people driving around in convertibles, or whatever, looking cool. And they don’t seem that sympathetic compared to you know, school kids.
Chiotakis: Tim Molloy, TV editor for TheWrap.com. Tim, thanks.
Molloy: Thank you.
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