Welcome to the Keep Film in WA Series – The Faces of Film!
This series aims to shine a spotlight on the people behind the films of Washington State, using portraits of them at work to remind the public and legislators the lives (and livelihoods) that are at stake if the incentive program disappears on June 30. Along with each portrait, the cast or crew member will share in their own words the important role that the incentive has had in creating their career and why it is important to have a vibrant film industry in Washington State. We hope that these photographs serve as inspiration, and that you share your story with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and social media (#keepfilminwa)—and most importantly with the elected officials that represent you in Olympia!
Name: Dave Drummond
Legislative District: 21
Describe your work: I am a location scout and manager. I find and secure the various locations needed for films, television and commercial productions that film in Washington State.
Years in the Industry: 13
Why is Washington State a great place to film?
Washington has a diversity of locations that rivals anywhere in the country. Virtually every type of landscape can be found within our borders, from the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula, to the high desert of central and eastern Washington, to the city centers of Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, and countless small and mid-sized towns. In addition the industry talent and services that have been developed locally can compete with anyone in the U.S. or Canada.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do? About being on set?
I love helping to bring a project to life, by discovering a new or special place that matches the director’s creative vision. I also love the collaboration that goes into the making of any film. On set I work with others to manage the logistics and behind-the-scenes support required by the production unit. Ultimately those efforts help create an environment where the director and actors can do their best work. Seeing the eventual results of all that collaboration on screen is very gratifying.
How has the incentive program played a part in your career growth?
My career has been forged on projects that were incentivized by the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program. The skills I have learned and the connections I have made on those projects are the reason I am working in the industry today. Without the incentive program it’s unlikely I will be able to continue my career here in the state.
What kind of financial benefits have you seen or experienced from the incentive in your great community?
As the location manager on a film or television series, I see a lot of the direct spending that productions do in various communities. Much of that money goes to businesses and services that are not specifically part of the film industry. In the location department, we typically spend money on things like motels, restaurants, contractors, facility rentals and security services. We also often raise the visibility of a specific town or community in a way that attracts visitors.
What would you like legislators to know about the incentive renewal?
Competition is fierce between various U.S. states and Canada for film production work. Without a strong incentive program, Washington State will be relegated to the sidelines and will see much of its homegrown talent and services leave the state. Contrary to the notion that the incentive program is only servicing “Hollywood,” the reality is that productions hire local workers and generate millions of dollars of economic activity in Washington. Productions in the program are also required to provide health and welfare benefits to their employees. As a union worker, I depend on those benefits to provide insurance for my family. We cannot afford to let this program expire.
What would happen with your film career and life if it were to go away?
I depend on our incentive program for my livelihood. It is likely I will have to pursue job opportunities in other states, away from my family, if the program is not renewed. I hope all legislators will support House Bill 1527 and Senate Bill 5502.