Reviewing 2016 and Looking Ahead to 2017
2016 was a milestone year for Local 479, with another increase in the number of in-state productions from the previous year. We grew larger, both in membership and geographically, with the IA awarding Local 479 jurisdiction over the majority of the state of Alabama. By March, qualifying members were benefiting from the Vacation Fund checks, one of three programs designed to give back to our members.
On October 1st our local turned 30, and we observed that anniversary at a special end-of-year celebration on December 10th. The turnout was terrific, and the
festivities were attended by executives from the IA, including President Matthew Loeb, 5th International Vice President, Department Director of Motion Picture & Television Production Michael Miller, and Assistant Department Director of Motion Picture & Television Production Dan Mahoney.
Two New Websites
In December we launched this new public website as well as a brand new members-only Member Dashboard website; both the result of more than a year of planning and design.
The new members-only site allows us to control the distribution of information to members in good-standing, providing members a way of making payments via the web and giving members and producers the ability to search the database to find members in good-standing qualified to fill job openings.
In 2016 we added a new compliance audit process so that we can identify crew members who have signed deal memos with illegitimate credentials during production instead of making claims against these production companies after their shows have wrapped. This new active compliance audit process has been met with cooperation from productions and has helped us to identify IATSE members from other Locals who are falsely working as GA locals. It has also helped us to recognize and address a trend of our members hiring individuals without checking with the local to see if they are members and in good-standing. We have made significant positive strides in reminding our members to hire their brothers and sisters in good-standing first and foremost.
Solid Studio Work
We saw more than 90 projects come through the door in 2016 and every purpose-built studio in Atlanta has been booked solid in that time, leaving 80% or more of the projects to be shot in warehouses and on-location. I anticipate even more work coming to Georgia once Tyler Perry Studios’ for-hire studios at Fort McPherson are completed and come online. The same is true of Valhalla Studios off of Moreland – the stages at Valhalla look great and are located inside of the Perimeter, a fact that I know will please a lot of our in-town members.
A lot of people are interested in the work coming from Marvel Studios and I am pleased to note that this studio has steadily continued to increase the number of local members hired for their productions.
In 2016 we began seeing an increase in productions like “Stranger Things”, which fall under the Streaming Video on Demand (SVODs) category. I fully expect that we will see more of this type of work in 2017 as companies like Netflix produce more original content. Video game production is exploding in Georgia as well and our members may see interesting new connections to that industry in the coming years.
Many of our members, especially our newer members, are taking advantage of our education and technical training programs. In 2016 our Director of Education Kevin Amick and his assistant Ed Hotchkiss conducted 171 classes with an attendance of around 2,400 members.
Take a look at the calendar of events on our Education page to see if there are any upcoming classes that might improve your skill set.
The Executive Board is well aware of the political group Americans for Prosperity and its goal of abolishing tax incentives including the one that has helped promote Georgia’s booming motion picture industry. We are doing our due diligence on this matter and have a good ally in Governor Nathan Deal and other members of the legislature.
At this point we consider the film tax incentive safe but will continue to monitor the situation because your livelihood is at stake.
This year you as a membership voted to establish a State Political Action Committee Fund. This PAC will help our efforts to stay active and engaged in the political scene throughout the upcoming years.
As Business Agent my job is to manage the office and the business of Local 479, and to step in when there are labor disputes between members and productions.
After 20 years of serving as Business Agent I continue to learn lessons about our industry and about our local.
With more than 4,000 members in our ranks I am no longer able to walk on a set and call everyone by name, but it is my goal to get to know as many of you as I can in the coming year.
See you on set!
Business Agent, IATSE Local 479