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Why Wisconsin won’t be the next Hollywood.

Why Wisconsin won’t be the next Hollywood. (photo)

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A few years ago, states were playing tax incentive chicken with each other to see who could offer the best deals to lure film and TV productions away from the familiar confines of California and Toronto to shoot in their neck of the woods. And now they’re paying for it. As the Los Angeles Times reports, some of those states are starting to find that those tax breaks don’t always add up.

When Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce looked at the 32 days “Public Enemies” spent shooting in Oshkosh, Columbus and Madison, they concluded the production had received $4.6 in tax money and the state had only gotten back about $5 million. The numbers are arguable (advocacy groups claim Wisconsin actually got $7.4 million out of the deal), but the economics are clear: it doesn’t make sense for nearly every state in the union to try to outdo the other. “The bottom line is, there really aren’t enough film productions in the United States for every state to play in this game, and eventually the states where it doesn’t make economic sense aren’t going to be players,” New Mexico’s Peter Dekom says. And he’s absolutely correct: there’s no exponential supply/demand curve for Hollywood film productions.

As the article notes almost in passing, all this competition has been “a major contributor to the sharp falloff in industry employment in Southern California.” And as one state after another jumped into the game, they undercut each other in ridiculously short order. The idea that states could cultivate lasting relationships with studios over time — regardless of competing incentives — doesn’t make much sense. Take Texas: last year, the Austin Chronicle reported that between 1998-2006, studio films gave Texas $530 million and 8,300 crew jobs; in 2007, it was $300,000 and 20 crew jobs. Total. There was a mad spiral of competing incentives when Texas realized Louisiana and Oklahoma were stealing away productions with their own incentives, with crews and productions migrating accordingly.

There’s no way every state could possibly hope to become — now and forever — the new capital of American filmmaking. And until that levels out, everyone’s gong to suffer and live out of suitcases.

[Photo: “Public Enemies,” Universal Pictures, 2009]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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