Pilots Crash and Burn in ‘Chilewood’

Still think film-and-television production is “booming” in New Mexico?

Entertainment Weekly has compiled a list of “more than 70 pilots” looking for 2018-19 pickups from the five broadcast-television networks.

Just one was produced in New Mexico. (Where the heck else should one shoot a Roswell reboot?)

Of the 73 pilots listed by EW, Errors of Enchantment could find production locations for 62. But wherever the 11 unknown pilots got shot, it’s safe to assume that the Land of Enchantment wasn’t home to a single one — the marketing-crazed New Mexico State Film Office would have issued a press release. So the state’s share of the 2018-19 pilot season for major broadcasters was a whopping 1.4 percent.

Unsurprisingly, California and New York dominated the productions, with 36 — representing a gargantuan share of 49.3 percent. Next up was Canada (Vancouver 8, Toronto 2), Illinois (4), and Louisiana (3). New Mexico’s single pilot tied the state with Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, Oregon, Georgia, and Massachusetts.

The data continue to show that New Mexico is not much of a player in the film-and-television industry. The two “legacy” states remain as powerful as ever, and even states with “incentives” that are nowhere near as generous as New Mexico’s can compete for studios’ production dollars.

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3 Replies to “Pilots Crash and Burn in ‘Chilewood’”

    1. Lloyd, the research on the failure of Hollywood “incentives” is broad and deep. The RGF has been documenting the boondoggle here in New Mexico for many years.

      Outside RGF stuff, I’d start with USC’s recent work, for a broad overview.

      Then I’d read the two latest state-level analyses: Virginia and Rhode Island.

      And New Mexico’s own research, in 2014, showed a “return on taxpayer investment” of 43 cents. (We need to have that study updated.)

      Basically, the industry uses states as ATMs, to grab “free” cash, without building any permanent infrastructure — that remains, overwhelmingly, in California and New York. In recent years, several states, including Michigan, Alaska, and Florida, have repealed or strongly curtailed their handouts. But New Mexico is stuck on stupid, to the tune of $50 million a year.

    2. Lloyd,
      Dowd Muska has ample information for you in his comment, but as a simple rule of thumb, if you are taxing people in the economy at large and shifting those resources to another industry through direct payments, the subsidy makes no sense. Note that an overwhelming majority of industries merely receive tax exemptions or some kind of limits on tax liabilities (we can debate/discuss the merits of those). The film program from a libertarian perspective is literally robbing Peter to pay Paul (taxing the rest of us and giving money to film).

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