Is Hollywood on the move?

hollywood-sign-landmarkTom Schatz discusses the new era of Hollywood within his chapters in McDonald and Wasko’s edited anthology The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry. He examines the way in which the film industries’ centrality has moved cross culturally from Hollywood to the rest of the United States and beyond, he states, “because of the proliferation of film production in many locations, some attention has been given to the issue of whether the U.S. motion picture industry is still centralized in Southern California. Some scholars argue that the film industry is characterized by flexible specialization, with activities fragmented at different locations”(56). As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent the spring semester of my junior year interning at a small film production company in Dublin and in order to earn credit for this amazing opportunity I was asked to write a research paper on a topic I explored through my internship. I chose to write about the differences between the funding of films in the United States verses film funding in Ireland. In conducting my research for this paper I sat down with my boss at the production company and asked her about her thoughts on these differences. She discussed the way in which European projects are often financed through government subsidies that offer funding for the development and production process of a film. Essentially, grants are given to projects to sponsor the script writing, location scouting, casting calls, and other various pre-production logistics as well as the production process itself. Ireland has two such government-established subsidies put in place to encourage the production of indigenous Irish films. These are The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and The Irish Film Board. Irish_Film_Board_logo.svgThe US does not have any collective cultural funds or government subsidies put in place like the Irish Film Board; American producers rely solely on their own money as well as private equities and the generosity of wealthy individuals who are willing to invest in their project. My boss attributed the decentralization of Hollywood to these private equities as well as to the implantation of regional tax incentives endorsed from state to state in an attempt to move the film hub from Hollywood and LA to all across the country. She believes that this regional incentive to film movies in different states has allowed the film industry to expand nationally and provides an insight into the individual cultures and customs of each state. She also believes the US is becoming a lot more like Europe in that sense, as each state begins to assert its own practices and traditions thus separating itself from the rest of the country and allowing itself to become its own private nation of sorts. These regional tax incentives encourage films to be made and set in various states nationwide rather than just in Hollywood so that the vast differences between states can be depicted on screen. Schatz would argue that this shift from Hollywood to the rest of the country and beyond could also be attributed to fragmentation and runaway productions. Regardless of why, it appears that Hollywood has had its time and the film industry is expanding across stateliness as well as cross-culturally.

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