[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/18/art.film.crew.jpg caption="This week, I am in New Mexico for the next installment of our Building Up America series. What I've learned is that this state is absolutely cleaning up in the film business, and I mean in a big way."]
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: I don’t really know if the President is much of a movie fan, but if he saw what the movie business is doing here in the Land of Enchantment he might be. Here’s my latest dispatch from the wilds of New Mexico in my daily letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
You should totally have been with me today! I had so much fun running all over the countryside of New Mexico, chasing down interviews, being pushed around by the wind, and quite possibly getting serious sunburn. Ha! Just kidding, but if you could get your airport security folks to lighten up a little on making me throw out my big tube of sunscreen every time I take off, perhaps I would not have to chase a new one down every time I land.
Enough on all that. I want to tell you how New Mexico is absolutely cleaning up in the film business, and I mean in a big way. Seven years ago the state launched an aggressive effort to lure more filmmakers out from California. I know, I know…lots of states at one time or another have said “Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” and have given the Tinseltown gang a call; offering fruit baskets, or free lawn mowing, or something like that to win a little of the Hollywood trade. And usually it either doesn’t work, or works a little, or works for a while, but that’s about it.
Not these New Mexico folks. They told the movie mob that they’d give them a 25 percent rebate on every dollar they spent hiring local workers, buying local products, and using local services. They offered help finding locations and free use of many state lands and sites. The state further said it would pay half the salary of workers being given on the job training for big league film work.
There’s more to the equation, but let me jump to the result: More movies and TV shows are now being shot here than you can imagine. More than 40 last year alone! The state estimates that 10,000 jobs have been created both directly and indirectly by the booming film trade. And 300-million dollars a year is being pumped into the state’s economy by the movie and TV makers.
Is all that enough to offset all the economic problems folks in New Mexico are facing now? Of course not, but it’s certainly helping. And imagine, in film terms, what might develop later! Ha!
The trip is going very well, as you can tell, and I’ll try to get a postcard your way. The only disappointment so far is that we’ve been working so hard I have yet to visit any of my favorite restaurants or even try out a new one. Calamity! Oh well, perhaps we’ll get that fixed tomorrow in Santa Fe.
Until then, call if you wish. Although I must warn that I’m having some issues with my new touch phone not much liking my touch. I wonder if I have offended it. Will keep you updated.
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