We’ve had several inquiries from the community asking about our efforts to renew the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. There seems to be an undercurrent of both curiosity and concern, and we are often asked, “Are we doing enough?” We wanted to address this question and update the community on what is happening behind the scenes.
The bill to renew the program is not yet in play and during this interim period we are working hard to influence the process. Here’s an overview.
- Washington Filmworks has a legislative team in Olympia. Three lobbyists speak with legislators daily on behalf of the program. Keep in mind that there are 49 Senators and 98 Representatives.
- We have solidified over 50 film industry professionals from across the state to be Team Captains or part of our Film Leadership Network. Once the legislation is in play, this group will be key to mobilizing the community when there are calls to action.
- We are working with constituents on a regional outreach campaign. This allows us to target districts where legislators are undecided and organize outreach campaigns as necessary.
- We have solidified support from the unions that represent the film industry – SAG, AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters. The leadership from these unions also lobbies key legislators on our behalf.
- We’ve reached out to film-related businesses across the state, asking them to sign onto our Business Letter of Support.
- We launched Take 2, our legislative blog, in order to share information and to make our renewal efforts more transparent. We have found that legislators are also using the blog to keep informed.
- We have created informational slides to raise awareness about renewal. These are playing in cinemas across the state.
- We are working with constituents who are writing their legislators, arming them with important economic and jobs data from the program, and helping them respond to legislators’ questions about the program.
- We are leveraging the recent success of Washington incentive feature films such as ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’ ‘Eden,’ and ‘Fat Kid Rules The World.’ Successes like these help remind legislators that Washington State is a nationally recognized filmmaking destination.
- We host and attend industry events whenever we are able, sharing our story and renewal efforts, and raising awareness.
- We continue to work with an economist and PR strategist to help us tell the best story at our upcoming testimony in Olympia.
Once the bill comes into play, we will rally. Washington Filmworks’ leadership will be called to Olympia to testify about the history and success of the program. At the end of the day, elected officials don’t make decisions solely based on the opinions of experts and talking heads. They want to hear from the constituents who elected them. So while we might sound like a broken record, we can’t stress it enough – your letters are so very important.
In addition to the renewal campaign, we continue to administer the production incentive and review completion packages from our summer productions. Washington Filmworks is still the first point of contact for most filmmakers coming to the state. The office continues to facilitate questions about locations, permitting and production resources.
Rest assured that we are doing everything we can think of to get the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program renewed. Our to-do list is long, but we are always open to community assistance and creative solutions. If you have other inspired ideas we could consider for the renewal campaign, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.