We love the film industry and what it is doing for Louisiana.
Louisiana is this amazing place that will fill your senses to the brim. We have some of the best music, the best food, the best people and the best stories in the world. Anyone who has ever visited know this to be true. And as people who live here, we know it to be gospel! But for the majority of Louisiana's history, there wasn't an industry to support all of the singular storytellers here.
That changed about ten years ago when the State of Louisiana created a film tax incentive to bring jobs back to the United States from abroad. It was a landmark decision: no one else in the United States was doing it! And it has brought hundreds of film and television projects to Louisiana and BILLIONS of dollars in economic impact.
It has also changed the conversation about Louisiana. We were once only in the news for negatives. But now, the press refers to Louisiana as the "movie-making capital of the world." Once a state only lampooned in comedies that didn't shoot here like The Waterboy, Louisiana now hosts prestige projects like Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave and homegrown Best Picture nominee Beasts of the Southern Wild, Emmy winners Treme, True Detective and American Horror Story and popular television series like NCIS: New Orleans.
These successes are redefining our economy. It's reversing the "brain drain" of young minds to other states. And it's also attracting people to Louisiana, both new residents and tourists eager to experience our state.
Who are we?
We're LFEA, the Louisiana Film & Entertainment Association! We are comprised of lifelong Louisianans and newcomers to the state who believe in the future of the Louisiana entertainment industry. Some of us make movies for a living, some of us created companies that do business with the entertainment industry, and some of us just want to support what entertainment is doing for Louisiana.
We live in Shreveport, St. Francisville, Lafayette, Covington, St. Rose, Monroe, Baton Rouge, Houma, New Orleans...all over the state! And that's one of the great things about the entertainment industry: it impacts the entire state of Louisiana.
LFEA's Mission: We're a professional trade association created to grow the entertainment industry in the state of Louisiana. LFEA plays a substantive role in the long term prosperity of Louisiana's entertainment industry; an industry define by various sectors including film, music, digital media and live performance. The association works to bring together the individual working in the entertainment industry with businesses invested in Louisiana. LFEA's goal is to speak with one voice regarding the positive economic impact the entertainment industry provides to Louisiana.
What's the problem and what's the plan?
We need protect the Louisiana film industry to ensure its positive growth! The current film incentive (called the Motion Picture Investor Tax Credit) has created the best environment for long-term growth in the the country. We need to protect it in order to protect the growth of Louisiana's film industry and Louisiana's economy. If there are changes made, we want them to only strengthen and streamline that growth, creating more jobs and more opportunity.
To do this, we need to fund a landmark economic impact study. Louisiana Legislators are asking us for concrete data, and we need to give it to them. We need to give them an honest, independent study from the noted research firm HR&A. But a good study costs a lot of money: around $150,000.
And why are we doing a Kickstarter?
We have already started raising money to cover the cost of the study. Now we need to raise the final $50,000 to get the facts. We considered many options for how to raise this money. And Kickstarter was the clear choice because it creates an opportunity to do two things:
1) It gives YOU an opportunity to tell YOUR story. We know that film has a positive impact on a wide array of residents and businesses in Louisiana. And you should share your story. We want you to say "Here's My $2," which means "film has had an impact on ME!"
2) It gives us an opportunity to connect with you. The prizes are the perfect opportunity to connect with each other. By supporting this Kickstarter, you can mingle with filmmakers at the New Orleans Film Festival. You can meet one-on-one with a casting director, a talent agent, a film composer or a producer. You can learn how to break in to the film industry. You can meet a great headshot photographer! And we get to meet you and see what you have to offer!
By backing this Kickstarter, you are doing more than signing a petition. You are putting your money where your mouth is. By saying "Here's My $2," you are supporting film.
What are the prizes?
We have SO many amazing prizes and more yet to be announced! We've already received such an outpouring of support even before the campaign has begun. You can see a full list of all the prizes offered to the right.
One prize we expect to be a big hit are the official "Here's My $2" t-shirts (pictured above). They are incredibly soft and durable. For $42, you get a shirt in your size, a magnet, a sticker, access to attend a "Breaking In" class, your name in Scene Magazine and on a petition, and membership in LFEA for a year!
We'll be announcing all prizes on Twitter and Facebook, so make sure to follow us at @heresmytwobucks and facebook.com/heresmytwobucks. And of course, we'll continue to update this Kickstarter page throughout the campaign.
And by backing the Kickstarter at any level, you'll also get a one-year membership in LFEA. You'll also be able to vote at member meetings, receive the latest information on the entertainment industry, along with invitations to the best networking events. Find out more at lfea.org/membership.
Fully funding this Kickstarter means we have also fully funded the new landmark economic impact study. And that's the first phase of the "Here's My $2" campaign. While the study is being conducted, we'll be hard at work fulfilling your awesome prizes! We'll be collecting your stories via video, email, Facebook and Twitter. We already have over 300 and need as many as we can get!
Once the study is complete, it will be released to the public, as well as given to the Louisiana Legislature and the Governor of Louisiana. It will be accompanied by your names: the people who believed in entertainment enough to put money on it and say, "Here's My Two Bucks!"
In Spring of 2015, the fun starts. We'll be publishing your stories in Scene Magazine in a special issue. We'll also be telling your stories: in emails to the Louisiana Legislators and the Governor of Louisiana, on Youtube, on Facebook and Twitter and on Scene's website at sceneent.com.
And our campaign will continue onto the steps of the Louisiana Capitol in May of 2015. There, we'll be able to share our stories face-to-face with our friends in State government, telling them just how great film has been for Louisiana.
What if we're unsuccessful?
We have a lot at stake. If we're unable to fully fund this Kickstarter, we won't have that money to fund the economic impact study that we need. And unlike some other crowdfunding companies, Kickstarter is ALL-OR-NOTHING. So if we come up even a little short, we get nothing. But we really believe you are out there! And that you have friends and family that have been impacted! It's important to get the word out early and often, and to keep telling your story.
And what's my story?
My name is Micah Haley. I grew up in Baton Rouge but now I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. I work for a company called Scene Magazine. We cover the film and entertainment industry in Louisiana and across the South. While attending college at LSU, I was counting down the days until I moved to Los Angeles to begin my career in the film industry. But to my surprise, Louisiana brought the film industry to me. After working on movies already in Louisiana, I worked to help bring films to Louisiana at the City of New Orleans' Office of Film & Video. There, I got a bird's eye view of how film was impacting my home state, and it was amazing.
Five years ago, I left to start Scene Magazine. We wouldn't exist without the entertainment industry. And yet, we do not participate directly in Louisiana's film incentive program. We also do not receive money directly from the film and television projects that DO participate. We are a part of the sustainable entertainment economy that is being created. But no current economic impact study accounts for Scene's existence. And that's why I was the first person in line to say, "Here's My $2."
Risks and challenges
The big risk is that we are truly funding an independent study. We are asking honest questions and we expect honest answers. We truly believe the results of the study will be positive because we see the evidence every day. But it is possible that the study may not depict our experiences.
But the good news is that we will still have all of you, who came together to fund this Kickstarter. That alone is a testament to the enthusiastic, statewide support of the film industry in Louisiana. The data that we are compiling by doing this Kickstarter is itself positive, factual evidence that supports the film industry.
If we're successful there will be a lot of prizes to deliver! Some of the LFEA members donating their time are incredible busy members of the film industry, so we may have some difficulty scheduling those meetings immediately after the Kickstarter, but they will happen. Please understand we're committed to fulfilling all prizes as soon as possible!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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