The devil is in the tax code details for two television shows about to move production from Vancouver to Los Angeles.
Lucifer and Legion are among 13 television shows being lured to California because of new state tax credits.
But while the shows will be missed, two local unions are not worried about the long-term impact on Vancouver’s television and film industry.
“It’s no concern at all,” says Phil Klapwick, the business representative of IATSE Local 891 which represents crew members. “We’re a pretty good shooting location and we have a great working relationship with Warner Bros. [which produces Lucifer] and the CW Network [which produces several series being shot in Vancouver.]
“Our crews will be immediately snapped up by something,” he says.
Not only that, but when a new show starts there’s added investment in props and wardrobes.
Today was a day of mixed blessings. So excited to shoot #Lucifer in LA but will miss our Vancouver crew so so much. What an incredible team😈— tom ellis (@tomellis17) March 4, 2017
Jason Cameron, ACTRA’s local business agent for film, television and new media echoes Klapwick’s comments.
“It’s never a good thing when we lose a production and it’s obviously provided a lot of work, but business isn’t slowing. It seems like every week there’s a new show.”
A reputation for high professional standards both on and off the screen, an attractive Canadian dollar, a locale that can pass for so many other places and proximity to Los Angeles have all contributed to making Vancouver the third most popular filming location in North America. Only Los Angeles and New York are busier.
Klapwick understands why producers are being attracted to the idea of relocating to Los Angeles. Most of them are based there so it’s nice to go home after a day of shooting. Two years ago, when Mistresses decided to move to Vancouver for season three, one of the stars of the show, Alyssa Milano, quit because she didn't want to disrupt the lives of her two young children. Last year the show returned to L.A. for season four.
In this current round of changes, two New York-based shows are leaving for L.A. as well.
Most of the main characters are also decided on before filming starts and many are based in L.A., ACTRA’s Jason Cameron says. There are some Vancouver-based actors who were hired on later and it will be an adjustment for them when the shows head south.
In the meantime, The Crossing Studios, which opened in Coquitlam last year, is now hoping to expand. Its most recent project was The Mountain Between Us with Kate Winslett and Idris Elba.
Streaming services such as Netflix are also finding it necessary to feed the beast of consumer demand. “Part of the reason that’s given confidence [in Vancouver] is there seems to be a real increase in streaming videos,” Cameron says. Netflix series being shot in Vancouver include Lost in Space, Altered Carbon and Haters Back Off.
Other television shows being shot in Vancouver include BBC’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Supergirl, Arrow, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce and season 12 of Supernatural.
Films being shot here include Light of my Life directed by Casey Affleck, Anthem, Love Machine, Meditation Park, Ollie and Game Over, Man.