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Film Commission says incentives making big impact on local economy

READ MORE: Film Commission says incentives making big impact on local economy
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Some big bucks from the film industry spilled into our local economy last year. In fact, productions spent more than $100 million in our area. But how is the money really spent, and is it staying local?

The magic of filmmaking is seen frequently on the streets of Wilmington.

Stephen Thompson spent nine years on "One Tree Hill." Just because the curtain has fallen on that show, does not mean he's now twiddling his thumbs.

"It's been insanely busy," Thompson, a director of photography said. "I've gotten calls for three shows in the past week. If they all come in I'll be busy all year. Everybody's going to be busy all year."

For now, Hollywood East is living up to its name. The Wilmington Regional Film Commission says productions spent $113 million in our area last year.

Film Commission head Johnny Griffin says that money is all spent locally. Money spent outside the state is not counted.

"Typically about 60 percent of what they spend is on local labor, people they hire, local crews they employ, and about 40% is on goods and services, everything from things they purchase -- lumber, paint, set dressing, furniture -- things they rent -- automobiles, hotel rooms, equipment. So it's money they spend with local vendors," Griffin said.

Where do those numbers come from? The productions themselves. They fill out a form anticipating how much money they will spend. The final numbers are figured much later.

"Once the film is completed, before they can file for the incentive, they actually have to go through an audit with the state, and once they go through the audit with the state, those figures are finalized," Griffin said.

And that could take a couple of years.

Griffin says the state's 25-percent film incentive is driving our the show business in our area right now. Not having a competitive incentive is what led productions away from us to other states.

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Is it fair when they bring

Is it fair when they bring other drivers from out of state? Is it fair when the catering company is from out of state. Is it fair when the lightniing crew is from out of state. They need to hire local people who are drawing unemployment. With all the movies that are coming to North Carolina there could be a drop in our unemployment. Hiring locals who will spend money in the grocrey stores, movies, drug stores, eat out, buy clothes, shoes, pay their local bills. We have truck drivers, catering companys, lightning people, hairdressers, drivers for vans, local people who know where everything is.. WHY NOT USE 90% OF THE LOCAL PEOPLE. That is what should be done. People here have bills and families just like the ones from out of state. Get a job in your own state. Thank you

I hope no one hires that guy

I hope no one hires that guy to spell or proofread anything. What, exactly, are "lightning" people?

Plenty of locals ARE working

LIGHTNING is a truck rental company. The drivers hired are out of Teamsters LOCAL 391. Although this is a right-to-work state, the reality is that unless you are in the Teamsters or IATSE 491, you probably won't get hired since the productions make deals with the local unions. There are three shows in production at Screen Gems and most of the people there working ARE local. There are accountants, department heads and producing staff from elsewhere, but set dressers, carpenters, painters, location managers, office staff, prop masters, etc. are from Wilmington, or at least North Carolina. I know because I'm working there and I am local for 25 years!

setting aside

his mis-spelling of one word, he raises a valid point.

So rather than belittle his question, why not answer it with fact?

While you're at it, perhaps you can report on just how much in tax incentives resulted from the $113,000,000 which was reported spent?

Again, fact is asked for not blow hard rhetoric.