By Rik Deskin
Actor, SAG-AFTRA Seattle Local President
I am an actor. You might be an actor, too. You want to work. I want to work. In the Seattle Local, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Washington.
Washington state’s Motion Picture Competitiveness Program (MPCP), has entered its 10th year, overseen by Washington FilmWorks. The local film industry created the MPCP as an economic generator and jobs-creation program. Production companies film here, utilize local resources and hire local cast and crew. For every $1 invested, $10 comes back to our economy. The MPCP directs that companies can receive a rebate on work paid for in Washington. It is a win-win.
Well, it could be a win-win.
The approved MPCP budget, $3.5 million, is the fifth smallest fund in the country. Georgia offers more. New York offers more. Almost everyone offers more incentive for film producers to choose their states. No question, Washington has produced some excellent projects, including one Spokane-based television series. However, our available funds are being exhausted. In 2016, Washington state lost, or “missed,” over $100 million in filming opportunity because we did not have enough money in the fund to incentivize it.
We need to renew and increase our program. The legislative session began on Jan. 9. Help make our voices heard. Here’s how:
- Go to the Keep Film In WA website and sign the petition here.
- Make sure that at a minimum you are writing (calling is better) to your state senators and representatives. Be sure that they support HB 1527 and SB 5502.
A stronger incentive program is good for Washington. It will increase work opportunities for cast and crew.
I am an actor. I worked six days in 2016. That is not sustainable.