The film industry is very expensive. Big movie budgets often run above $200 million, and even smaller films like Nebraska can cost about $10 million. Where does that all go? Once you remove all the big expenses like actors, special effects, advertising, and various studio fees, much of that budget goes to the crew and affiliated services. These aren’t necessarily people employed by studios – it’s often local craftsmen, caterers, and propmasters. These small businesses often depend on the film industry for income, but with film credits moving the centers of production, many of these companies are struggling to stay afloat.
The Los Angeles Times ran a sad but insightful article today about the fates of many “industry-dependent” outfits in the Hollywood area that are now downsizing, moving, or closing shop. For all the good news and industry growth that state-sponsored film credits generate, it’s worth recognizing that when something as massive as the film industry relocates, it creates economic ripples. This isn’t to suggest that the film industry should never move – but it’s worth recognizing the parts of the industry that are struggling the most with these changes.
The next time you’re watching the credits of a movie, don’t ignore the “payroll master” or “assistant chef.” These folks have to make a living too!