Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shoot JR in Dallas!

Never say never. I don't blog about politics and don't read political blogs because the thrusting, parrying and falling on swords gives me a frightful pain in my right temple. However ---

As a Texan, I shudder at the thought of the movie version of Dallas or the television series based on Friday Night Lights being filmed any place other than the Lone Star State. It's as an unconscionable notion to me as burning a flag, spitting in the wind, tugging on Superman's cape, or giving Russell Crowe a faulty telephone. But, if the Texas legislature doesn't find a way to keep up with the other 39 states now offering film incentives, Friday Night Lights could move from its pilot site in Pflugerville, Texas to North Carolina.

Yeah, my Texas pride is offended but more importantly, Texas has lost half a billion dollars in economic activity in recent years because producers have taken their toys and gone to states that played a better game with them. That's real revenue that could have gone into our roads, libraries, parks, and schools. Gone. According to Texas Governor Rick Perry's office, 3200 film related jobs have left Texas since other states began offering incentives. Those were real jobs held by real people. Gone.

The focus of Texas lawmakers appears to be on getting more revenue into Texas schools and improving health benefits. Who am I to say that these issues are less important than economic development? But economic development provides the means for putting more revenue into Texas schools and improving health benefits by, among other things, providing the infrastructure that attracts homebuyers who pay gigantic city, county and school property taxes. It's an economic circle.

A bill last year offered a rebate based on wages paid to Texas employees during a film or television production. The governor also recommended that $20 million be spent for incentives and $10 million for promoting the state as a filmmaking and tourism destination.

According to the Dallas Morning News, one Austin lawmaker said proponents' requests for funding "were laughed at" by budget leaders focused on school finance, and the item was eventually dropped entirely. Argh. Prioritize after education? Okay. Drop all together? Very bad. Laugh at it? Grow up, people!

So, amid the lawmaker wrangling and public relations spinning, the clock is ticking for NBC and for producers of Dallas.

State film commissioner Bob Hudgins said last week that the City of Dallas "is doing everything but holding a bake sale" to encourage producers to shoot the Dallas film in Dallas, Texas. So, I say to Mayor Laura Miller, you bake the pies and I'll bring the brownies!

Dallas Film Commission

Texas Film Commission

Austin Film Festival


Christina said...

Why on earth would such a talented writer like yourself post "what else we should read" before her own Previous Posts. It's alarming.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Hmmmm... That's just the way the template is set up. Never gave it any thought before. Think I'll go explore how to change it.

Patrick J. Rodio said...

Yeah, they can't shoot Dallas anywhere else, that's just silly.

oneslackmartian said...

Haha, didn't know about this. Living in NC, I have to laugh at a place called "Pflugerville." You made that up, right?

Hope Texas can keep Friday Night Lights because NC doesn't deserve it. If any state can screw up a project, ours can. We finally got the lottery, mainly because the five states that border us had the lottery. The Atlantic Ocean probably had it as well. Consequently, North Carolinians were pumping large sums of cash into other states’ bank accounts. So finally we get our own lottery, and before it even launches, the NC Lottery Commission is busted for fraud, waste, and abuse . . . before the FIRST TICKET IS EVEN SOLD.

Anonymous said...

first, who gives a shit how you have your template set up here MaryAn? we all have a mouse and built in scrolling capabilities with our eyes. don't worry about how to chaneg stuff around, looks fine and need to spend it writing (wink)... second, new pic in the profile, cool

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Pflugerville is north of Austin and where they shot the pilot for the Friday Night Lights television show.