One week after declaring war on Amazon, Stephen Colbert announced on his show last night that his campaign had resulted in the ordering of 6,400 copies of Edan Lepucki’s new novel California from the independent bookstore Powell’s Books. While maybe an impressive number in the book publishing world, where 15,00o books sold can land you on the New York Times bestseller list, it sounded on TV like a small-ish result for a campaign involving Colbert’s rabid follow-him-anywhere fans.
Related: Stephen Colbert Declares War On Amazon (Video)
To that point, Colbert told his followers, “You know what would really show Amazon that we will not lick their monopoly boot? If we put California on the New York Times bestseller list!” (watch the video below). But Colbert also broadened the game, telling viewers they could continue to order from Powell’s via ColbertNation.com — or, if they’d rather, through other indie bookstores, naming as examples Parnassus Books in Nashville, Politics and Pros in Washington, D.C., and Rainy Day Books in Kansas City.
Colbert began his campaign to give his publisher, Hachette a leg-up in its contract battle with Amazon; last week he urged viewers to stop ordering from Amazon and to purchase Hachette-published California, from first-time novelist Lepucki, from Powell’s. Read More »
UPDATED 7PM: The California Film Commission completed its production tax credits lottery this afternoon and of 322 projects submitted today, 28 were selected to receive credits before this year’s $100 million total allocation runs out. Other qualified applicants go on a waiting list. The number of projects submitted this year approached double last year’s number. On the first day of last year’s application period, 177 projects were submitted and 27 were selected to receive the credits. Ultimately 74 projects received tax credits from last year’s $100 million allocation. The increase came from the large number of smaller independent projects that moved from the waiting list to be awarded credits as larger projects withdrew.
Today’s figures are subject to change as the commission reviews the applications. More information will become available Monday afternoon about the estimated total spend by approved projects, estimated wages, the number of cast and crew members employed and breakdown by production type — feature vs. TV, studio vs. independent.
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The battle over tax breaks for California film and TV production intensified today as scaled-back, pared-down legislation moved to the state Senate for final consideration. An extension of California’s showbiz incentive program (Assembly Bill 1069) was cut down from 5 years to just one year by the state Senate Appropriations Committee. The Assembly in May passed a version that would have extended the $100M per-year credit program through 2014. That time element could still be adjusted in the Senate, but the cutback is indicative of the scrutiny expenditures of any sort are receiving as the Legislature struggles with the state’s $9B budget shortfall.
Critics say California has far more crucial spending priorities than handouts to a wealthy industry at taxpayer expense and want to eliminate the tax breaks altogether. Industry advocates say the state needs the incentives to compete with other states offering similar or greater tax breaks to film/TV producers. They point to a study released in June by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, which said the program has brought $3.8B in economic output and supported 20,040 jobs since its inception in 2009. Read More »
California’s film and television tax credits would be extended five more years if the State Assembly has its way, after a bill that would add an extra $500 million to the program was approved today by a 72-1 vote. The state Senate will vote on the legislation, enacted in 2009 to slow runaway production, later in the summer. “What we’re doing with this bill is retaining and creating jobs by leveling the playing field and making California competitive again,” bill co-sponsor Felipe Fuentes told the LA Times. An additional $100 million is set to be allocated for the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Times said, but of course that’s if a new state budget is passed by then — Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed cuts are massive and could steamroll any proposed credit program; they also have generated serious pushback from both sides of the aisle. Also, a state budget has been signed into law only five times in two decades, according to Reuters, so who knows how long this could take. The California Film Commission, which administers the program, said that since the incentive was signed into law, its projects are responsible for $2.2 billion in direct spending within the state, including $756 million in wages paid to below-the-line crew.