There is a work ethic that comes to Americans from the Pilgrims. The notion that all work is equal in the eyes of God. I believe in that concept. I believe that a person should be able to provide a good living for a family off the fruits of honest labor. The American dream is based on this concept. That thought is most prevalent in the industrious folks that run the thousands of small businesses in this state. Those small businesses put North Carolinians to work. They provide products and services used in every aspect of our daily lives. This is no different in our television and movie industry.
Movies have been shot in North Carolina since 1905. NC has a long and proud tradition of supporting the movie industry. Television production also has deep roots in our state. In the current economic environment, it is essential for a state to offer incentives for big Hollywood studios to use the state for movie locations. Just recently Iron Man 3 and The Hunger Games are just a few of big Hollywood’s use of our great scenic state. But independent movie production houses have really been the steady producer in our state. Orion Pictures Corporation’s 1988’s Bull Durham is a fine example of such an effort.
But Hollywood comes, stays for a bit and leaves. As do the jobs that appear because of the movie production. The businesses in North Carolina that keep our movie and television industry alive in between these infrequent visits are independent movie and television productions companies. The video production companies of this state, and there are about 500 of them, employ thousands of family members making a living day in and day out. They live in our neighborhoods and spend money in our stores. They make up the bulk of the film and television industry of this state. They are hardworking North Carolinians, working a full time job, slowly growing an industry poised to change.
There are multiple reasons why supporting North Carolina’s video production business is good for North Carolina’s economy. The chief reason is called “disruptive innovation.” The price of making a theatrical release quality movie has plummeted due to technology in cameras and the digital age we live in. The need for big Hollywood studios is slowly diminishing. North Carolina, based on our work force, technology centers and long movie tradition, is poised to leap ahead of this curve. What is stopping us? A legislative body and process used to working with big Hollywood and not small businesses.
As the current law enabling incentives for movie production companies shooting in North Carolina comes to a close on 11:59 PM December 31st, the legislature has an opportunity to focus support for the small businesses in North Carolina that are already employing thousands of video production staff. Let us build an infrastructure that will draw in the independent movie makers of our future and establish North Carolina as a bastion of Southern pride in filmmaking. North Carolina filmmakers working hard to make North Carolina first in the digital video industry. We can give “First in Flight” a run for it’s money!