"It's been dry for too long," said actor Paul Walker. "I have friends that, you know, started with a second home, a vacation home up in Big Bear, and then from there it turns to ... scratch, and planning on holding onto the home that they got here in town. All the toys are long gone, so I hope it turns around soon."
But "Fast and Furious" is among the few feature films shot locally these days. Entertainment industry experts say runaway production ran away a while ago.
"We have seen virtually all of the feature film industry leave California," said Paul Audley, president, FilmLA. "We went down from a high of 71 in 1996 to a low of last year of 21, and this year, to the best of our knowledge, on schedule to date for on-location major film over 75 million is only five."
It took the loss of the local production of ABC's hit "Ugly Betty" last year to New York to prompt local leaders to take action. The result is an incentive package recently approved by the L.A. City Council, designed to make L.A. more attractive to producers.
"We estimated it's about $3 million of tax revenue and millions of dollars in the local economy every time one production leaves," said Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti.
Garcetti says the incentive package includes installing utility power nodes to eliminate the need for generators; providing production crews access to city-owned parking lots at reduced cost; developing new tax incentives; and appointing a "film czar."
"Those are the details that this really gets into and it asks for the department to begin in each of these categories to actually implement these things to make L.A. the film and television capital of the world again," said Garcetti.
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