It must be another budget cycle. Another citizen-consultant for Hollywood South has presented the half-truth that some $200 million in annual public investment is a good buy because it results in direct and indirect jobs. The first half of the truth is that any government investment to recruit an industry results in “indirect jobs.” A caterer can make extra money from film industry subsidies or from incentives doled out to oil executives, or from incentivizing businesses in the wedding industry, for that matter. The second half of the truth is that the current policy is dedicated to getting local creative workers “jobs in film.” These are short-term contracts, including some highly paid, out-of-state producers and headliner talent, and untold masses of low-paid, local assistants and extras. If precarious employment in an industry that profits on the backs of local labor is the goal, then simply refund taxes directly to the coffers of those services that all freelance and gig workers need: education, health, and housing. Or at least be honest that the primary winners of Hollywood South supply-side economics are the corporate executives, propertied elites, and their financial middle-men who broker and buy Louisiana film credits as easy cash. A free, open-access tutorial in Louisiana film tax credits is available here: Can we support our creative workers in a more transparent, equitable, and socially just manner?

Vicki Mayer


New Orleans