Conglomeration, diversification, trans-nationalization of ownership, escalating production and marketing budgets, are just some of the trends that are shaping the contemporary face of filmmaking. How we consume media has changed and the consumer who is willing to view content on a cell phone, a tablet, a computer or a home theater screen has had an enormous impact on the industry. And as financial considerations continue to be the driving force, global dispersal of production to incentive jurisdictions has become the new norm. This is both positive and negative. It means more work around the world, less concentrated on a few production centers, but it also means a financial race to provide significant incentives that may or may not have a positive return on investment for the jurisdiction.
For the film commissioner, physical production may have stayed somewhat the same – though with the addition of visual effects personnel and processes, larger crews, more equipment – but for many, it is their job that has changed. The expectations are higher, the work of “selling” the production on our jurisdiction is more intense, and the needs of the company while on the ground are far more than they have ever been before. In the old days, the productions were often quite self-sufficient, but now, we are “hosts” – and are called upon for all sorts of support, time, research, advice, and assistance. In many ways, this is a very positive development, as film commissioners are brought into the process, not treated solely as a distanced political entity.
At the end of the day, the more knowledge we have, the more prepared we are, the more likely we will be to see a positive outcome.