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November 2012

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Coupe Studios, which created this open for the political talk show The War of the Words, has been busy with election-themed spots. ed in less regulation than more, but that's not always the case." TAX INCENTIVES & GLOBAL COMPETITION Eric Roth is the executive director of the Visual Effects Society (, a global organization headquartered in Sherman Oaks, CA. The VES represents visual effects practitioners in film, television, commercials, music videos and games. It's member- ship spans 29 countries. "While there are a number of issues that we are looking into, we don't deal with any of the local politicians," says Roth. "A reminder here is the VES is a global organization. We've got mem- bers in 29 countries, so we pretty much have not gotten involved in the political process." According to Roth, the VES has always supported the efforts that its members have put forth on the local level, pointing to tax incen- tive programs as an example. "Given that two-thirds of my mem- bers are here in California, I would like to see that some of the things that California can do are being done, so that people here can work here. They don't have to get on an airplane and say good- bye to their families for six, 12 or 18 months. We'd like to see that, but other than encouraging that in broad ways, we haven't taken any kind of political [position]." The visual effects industry, says Roth, is a dynamic global market- place. "The industry is global and this organization is global," he notes. "I have to wear different hats simultaneously. My hat as the head of the organization is global. I have to recognize that the pres- sures are global. But, at the same time, I am a Californian. The major thrust and energy for the organization comes from Californians, because that's where the most of my members are. So I personally hope California steps it up." Roth is thankful that a tax incentive program exists in California, and that it's been renewed going forward, but he feels there still needs to be greater incentives. "While it's great that something does exist, everyone knows that it's not nearly as large as it ought to be in order to have a major impact to bring jobs back to California." Outside of the state, and the United States in general, Roth says the VES's member are happy to be getting business, but are con- cerned about losing existing business to developing markets. Mem- bers in London, for example, see the possibility of losing work down the road to Poland and other eastern European countries, as well as to India and China. "I've heard people in India saying that in 10 more years, that work is going to go to Malaysia," says Roth. "Everyone is cognizant of global competition, prices and wages, and the stresses and pressures to be competitive are never ending." STATE-WIDE INCENTIVES The Post New York Alliance ( is an associa- tion of post professionals and organizations working within film, television and interactive media, creating content and entertainment properties in New York City as well as New York State. Its goal is to foster growth and collaboration within the industry, specifically in New York, and to speak as a unified voice on issues relating to jobs, technology and public policy. Yana Collins Lehman is the managing director of Travanna Post (, a post production accounting company that's also a founding member of The Post New York Alliance. Collins Lehman emphasizes that the alliance works with govern- ment on the state level, and points to Governor Andrew Cuomo's policies in the state. "The fact that Governor Cuomo has put a very specific mandate out to agencies that he is 100 percent about creat- ing more jobs in the state has been hugely impactful on our industry," she notes. "When he signed into law an incentive that we lobbied for, for three years, that had a massive impact." Back in 2004, a 30 percent tax incentive was put in place for pro- ductions that shoot and post in New York. "What we created and lobbied for is a carve out of that," she says of the Alliance's recent efforts. "It's a standalone, post-only incentive. It's the only one of its kind in the country, where, if you don't shoot in New York for what- ever reason, but you come and finish and complete 75 percent of the qualified spend in New York for post production, then you receive credit. It was passed in August of 2010. The Post New York Alliance came together specifically to lobby for this incentive, because we knew it would be a great way to bring more jobs to New York State, and that would impact all of our businesses." Collins Lehman says her first trip to Albany in August of 2010 went amazingly well, with the new bill being passed on the first try. "It gave me a very unrealistic feeling of how politics are done," she notes. The effort resulted in a 10 percent post-only credit. Then, in July of this year, the Alliance returned to Albany to push for a more aggres- sive incentive — this one tripling the existing credit to 30 percent. Post฀•฀November฀2012฀ 31

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