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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in Toronto film techs' LiveJournal:

Friday, September 9th, 2005
10:48 am
Interested in Props?
This evening at Sew Be It Studio, we are excited to welcome Grace from Paragon Prop House. They do film ( Cinderella Man) and theatre ( up and coming Lord of the Rings) props. I believe she will be explaining how the breakdown of a script works, and how some props are constructed. It's $15 at the door, but it's best to RSVP because refreshments are served, and a head count really helps.

2156 Yonge St (south of Eglinton)
Thursday, August 4th, 2005
11:16 pm
Friday, December 10th, 2004
5:32 pm
sorry it's long, but important!
Here is a report on the meeting held between the film and television industry and the Government of Ontario on Wednesday, December 8, 2004.
The industry was represented by Alex Raffe (producer, co-chair of the Ontario Producers’ Panel of the CFTPA); Patrick Whitley (producer, Vice Chair of the CFTPA and Industry Co-chair of Film Ontario); Mark Prior (President of Comweb, and a Film Ontario board member); the Hon. Doug Frith (from the MPAA); and Brian Topp (Executive Director of ACTRA Toronto, and Labour co-chair of Film Ontario). Sarah Ker-Hornell (Managing Director of Film Ontario) provided staff support to our delegation.

The Government was represented by the Hon. Greg Sorbara, Minister of Finance, and a fairly large group of senior officials from the Department of Finance and other agencies in Government.

The tone of the meeting was friendly and businesslike throughout.

We left optimistic that the government is seriously considering a favourable announcement on provincial tax credits in the near future.

Minister Sorbara led off the meeting by expressing his regret that he wasn’t able to join us at the recent demonstration in front of Queen’s Park. He surveyed the Government’s understanding of the current condition of the film and television industry in Ontario; made it clear the Government appreciates the challenges we face; reiterated his public statements that the Government wants to partner with us to address them; but also made clear he wants to be sure the Government acts wisely and effectively in doing so.

Patrick Whitley opened our presentation. He thanked the Minister for the meeting. He underlined the urgency of the issues facing us. He said that the industry and labour have responded quickly to the conditions facing the industry, and said that we were here to
reach agreement on how the industry and the province can work together to keep the industry going. Ontario’s tax credits need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

Alex Raffe detailed current conditions on the domestic side of Ontario’s film and television industry. She outlined the dramatically uncompetitive nature of Ontario’s film and television incentives, and described the business consequences for her own production company. She urged attention on both the domestic and foreign service sides of the industry, given that they are mutually supporting.

The Hon. Doug Frith reviewed the current competitive environment Canada faces in the global production market. He also reviewed the history of Canadian and Ontario film and television credits, including the federal-provincial dialog that occurred when tax shelters were replaced by the current system.

Mark Prior outlined the effects that current conditions are having on the industry’s infrastructure in Ontario. He described the effect of current conditions on his own company, including the fact that their expansion plans currently exclude Ontario. He emphasized the decisive role of industry incentives in production decisions; outlined the success currently being enjoyed in other jurisdictions north and south of the border; and drew the government’s attention to the decision-cycles in the industry and the need for early action on the issues.

Brian Topp described the effects current conditions are having on working people in the industry. He gave the Minister a flavour of the mood of people at the recent demonstration, and reiterated Patrick Whitley’s points about the urgency of the issues and the need for early action to address them.

A detailed exchanged ensued about industry conditions; Ontario’s competitive position; and the alternatives available to the province.

Film Ontario, the Ontario Producers’ Panel/CFTPA and other partners have jointly funded over $80,000 in industry research through Ernst & Young over the past year, delving into the details of tax competitiveness and the alternatives now open. Finance officials recently asked a number of detailed questions about this research. Sarah Ker-Hornell provided written answers to their questions going into this meeting, and some of these were discussed. Finance Officials told us we had answered all their questions.

In summing up, we underlined what we were asking the Government of Ontario to consider:

• We asked the Government to implement the domestic film and TV commitments set out in the 2003 Liberal platform, which correctly outlines the issues and how the Government can help address them. This would increase domestic television incentives to 33% and film incentives to 40%, subject to certain caps.
• We asked the Government to match the federal service rate, increasing Ontario’s incentive from 11% to 16%.
• We proposed that these measures be announced as quickly as possible, subject to approval by the Legislature during the budget process (we asked that they be enacted retroactive to their announcement).

After meeting, the Government issued the following news release:


TORONTO – The McGuinty government welcomes the input of the industry in finding ways to support the film and television production sector in Ontario, Finance Minister

Greg Sorbara says.

“I am pleased to say that we met today with Film Ontario and had a good discussion.  They provided helpful insights into the industry,” Sorbara said. “There were some very throughtful proposals put on the table today. I reinterated our support for the industry and committed to a timely response given the urgent nature of the situation.”

We were pleased by this release since the Government acknowledges the “urgent” nature of the situation, and is contemplating a “timely response”. We weren’t expecting any immediate announcement on credits since the measures we are asking for require Cabinet approval.

We issued our own release last night:

Toronto - Ontario's film and television industry left a meeting with Finance Minister Greg Sorbara optimistic that the Government heard the message and is serious about addressing the "perfect storm" facing Ontario's film and television industry.

"Minister Sorbara told us that the government understands that the industry is facing an urgent problem. He told us that the government is considering steps it can take in the very near future," said Alex Raffe, co-chair of the Ontario Producers Panel.

"We asked the government to announce that it will implement its 2003 election platform promising domestic tax credit enhancements as soon as possible, preferably announced before Christmas," said Patrick Whitley, co-chair of Film Ontario. "We also urged them to announce improvements in incentives for foreign service productions."

The government issued a press release tonight acknowledging the issues are "urgent" and need to be addressed in a "timely" manner. The industry will be watching for results in the days to come.

• Keep up the campaign: Companies and unions and guilds will continue to encourage their employees and members to email, write and fax the Minister of Finance, the Premier and other members of Government to underline the urgency of the issue and the need for action. If you haven’t written to the Government yet, please do so as quickly as possible. It’s important that they continue to see the commitment of people in our industry to turning it around.
• Daily contact with officials: We will be in daily contact with officials in the Government to work with them on the details of the proposed tax credit changes and to make sure any new issues or problems are immediately addressed.
• In the event of an early announcement: We are going to be thinking of ways to thank the Government for its early action. Celebration will be in order.
• In the event there is not an early announcement: A industry-wide Forum will be called in the first weeks of the new year to discuss an action plan to keep these issues in the public eye and to encourage the Government to address them as quickly as possible.

For more information:
Please call Sarah Ker-Hornell, Managing Director Film Ontario, (416) 642-6704 or email at sarah@filmontario.ca
Thursday, December 9th, 2004
9:07 am

The city of Toronto website gives this information out. It's like a hotlist for everything. I think being able to check it out when you drive by a crew you don't recognize will be the only benefit. Or maybe to check out what stars are in town.

Current Mood: unemployed
Wednesday, December 1st, 2004
6:27 pm
Today I rallied
I arrived at Queen's Park promptly at 10am, along with about 2000 other people. There were actors, extras, unions, schmoozers, post production people and more. My work made a float and parked it right on University Ave. A few Canadian celebrities spoke, and some sign shaking occured. There were big slushy raindrops falling and the lawn turned to a muddy bog, but we were in high spirits despite being cold. Before long, the sky brightened, the rain stopped, leaving the sun to shine down on us. So terribly symbolic. Felt good to be a part of it all, hope somone was listening.

Thank you IATSE for initiating this event. Even us NABET folks were there and wanted to show you gratitude. We may be competition, but we all have the same goals, and it doesn't hurt to unite.

Current Mood: optimistic
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
9:40 pm
Don't let the government call a wrap on the film and tv industry!
The liberal government promised to fix Ontario's tax credits.

Keep it a promise!

Wednesday, December 1
Queen's Park
10 am

Fact: Ontario's tax credit is 11%

Fact: Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia offer tax credits of up to 45%

Fact: Tax credits don't cost money, they generate revenue!

Be at the rally to help protect your livelihood!

for more info call 416.536.4827

xposted to toronto
9:39 pm
This is a flyer my union has handed out as it's pertinent to the entertainment industry...and perhaps you to.

Queen's Park
Saturday, November 27, 2004

After a year of waiting for Premier Dalton McGuinty to make good on his election promises it's time to act. Let's start putting some pressure on McGuinty to honour his commitments and start doing what he said he would do.
We are still waiting for labour laws to protect workers and prevents harm.
We are still waiting for the promised rebuilding of public services we all need.

"The people of Ontario chose change- now keep your promises"

More info:
Ontario Federation of Labour

xposted toronto
Friday, December 5th, 2003
12:07 pm
twelve productions on my union's hotlist currently, at least me calling in my availability daily is for a reason. Someone must be working. Funny though, the birth announcement in my newsletter has as many babies born as productions running. I guess I know what unemployed people do to feel better.

Another good qoute from the seasonal rag:

"Governor Schwarzenegger's recent bloodless coup in Califrnia, has agan raised concerns her in Canada that the "runaway production" train that certain American film industry types have been pushing will build up some additional steam.
Variety repaorts that on his first trip to Washington, Gov. Schwarzenegger made it a priority to lobby for a U.S. federal tax bill that would significantly lower taxes on U.S. movie produstion. Arnie is clearly on record as strongly favouring efforts to promote production in California.
If you believe SAG President Melissa Gilbert, the situation is the U.S. is pretty dire. "People in the industry can't afford to buy medicine for their babies", she says. "They don't ride around in Limosines." No one was around at the time to point out that limos are pretty scarce for Canadian crews as well.
This kind of Rhetoric is common amoung U.S. union officials, especially from the DGA and SAG. If you were to judge U.S. production by the tenor of the many reports written in Variety over the last year, you'd have to assume that the U.S. industry has simply collapsed, and that U.S. technicians are lining up outside L.A. soup kitchens, just praying that the chow is half as good as it was on the craft truck last summer."

written by Bruce Lyne

Funny, there are at least half a dozen amazing movies that just came out that I am dying to see. None of them were made in Canada.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003
12:30 am
In Union News
I am about to quote from my local union's newsletter...it's facts.

"The past three years has seen a significant decline in revenue, while expenses have remained fairly constant. Producer levies are lower and permits aren't working, so permit fees are down dramatically. The Executive Board and I (Ross Leslie Business Manager) have been concerned about this for quite awhile, and have tried to find an option that would balance our books, not drastically alter the integrity of the structure we have put in place, and be the least offensive to the membership. We didn't want to propose a universal dues increase, so we opted for the path that the other Unions and Guilds have taken; the implementation of working dues in which members still pay the current dues, but also pay a percentage of salary earned."

Wow, this bites. I am currently paying $600 a year to be a member of this union, plus $660 in benefits annually for a single person. So during the holiday season while I'm already strapped for cash I have to dish out my quarterly payments. Then some day when I have the priviledge of another film gig, I will get to pay them 2% of my paycheque. I know they are trying to find the less painfull route, and I am greatfull that there was a pay increase this year. When oh when will this industry pick up?!?!

I found great comfort in the pace of working in theatre this fall. Unfortunately for slightly less pay and weekly work as opposed to full time...I had to turn down what I'm sure will be the last of the daily calls this season has to offer.

Time to seek independant work?

Current Mood: shocked
Sunday, November 30th, 2003
9:51 pm
I started this community because there are so many film technicians in the GTA and surrounding areas, and I'm pretty sure we have alot to talk about. Many catastrophic events happened this season that have really limited the number of shows in town this year. I'm sure there are many people wondering if they chose the wrong career, or if they will ever work again. SARS, the Canadian dollar, Schwarzenegger and our provinces lack of interest in trying to give greater tax incentives....all of these are factors in the lack of work.

I personally am in wardrobe and I have had so little work this year I have moved on to theatre. I am very optimistic and I do plan on being very active in my community to find ways to get people educated on what we can do to get work in this business. Simple things like writing letters to our MP's, and getting a good network of talent going here are a start.

Of course, there is always room for venting, gossip and classifieds. So have fun and meet people.

Go ahead and introduce yourself as you join. Mention your union affilation, department and anything you've worked on if you wish.


Current Mood: optimistic
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