With the examination of a base report complete, it is now necessary to point out a few things to avoid when creating your study, ensuring a credible and worthwhile exercise.
1. Overstating the Benefits – Many film commissions feel the pressure to make a recent film the most important economic news to happen in a region in a long time. Try to keep in perspective the fact that other economic activity continues to take place in your community and that the film industry is one part of it. Overstating benefits calls into question the credibility of your organization and can provide a platform for local and regional media to examine your results in depth and start asking questions. Even if your figures are correct and the model you used justifiable, too much media scrutiny could overshadow the hard work and benefits of doing the report.
2. Multiplier Madness – Be upfront about the multipliers you used and be ready to defend them. As mentioned, be conservative in using multipliers. For example, if the majority of actors and crew came in from out of town, the spending or long- term financial impact will be less than that of a locally engaged crew. Many a report has fallen by the wayside by taking the calculated impact and then adding a multiplier of 3 to make the numbers look more impressive.
3. Watch Vocabulary – It is crucial to remember who your audience is when reporting results. Is the report aimed at the community and elected officials, or is it meant for a senior government department that is most interested in the technical aspects of what you have done? Stay focused on communicating the right message to the right crowd.
4. Don’t Cover Up the Other Impacts – Obvious negative impacts should be mentioned as well as the positive impacts. For example, if road closures in your community lead to traffic jams and frustrated commuters, this should be mentioned at the same time as the other impacts. These reports should not simply touch on all the good, but acknowledge the challenges that were faced and, hopefully, overcome by individuals and the community.
5. Don’t Take All the Credit – When announcing a sterling performance from a film in your region, don’t take all the credit for its success. Sharing the spotlight is important to ensure future partnerships and making the film commissioner’s function that much more appreciated. Attracting filming to your region, sustaining the production and facilitating its successful completion is a valuable community economic development project. The community should get much of the credit. Be sure to identify and mention by name the government and community partners who were particularly instrumental in the project’s success.