No laughing matter

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.

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23 Responses to “No laughing matter”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Maybe they will do a remake of American Flyer.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Yep…right. Another giveaway of our tax dollars for some pie in the sky promise. States have been outdoing themselves to bribe the film industry into their respective hellholes and this is no exception. I’m not aware of any definitive studies showing the public benefits from these giveaways, since its a competition of tax breaks between states, but maybe that’s because I’m ignorant.

    OTOH, we can’t do much worse in New Mexico than we are doing so what the hell. Find a film series that needs a lot of extras as gang bangers and armed meth heads and Bob’s your uncle.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      As I said, I’d like to see more of the deets. Pacifica built this studio a little more than 10 years ago in its first effort “to expand its reach into incentivized markets.”

      It’s pretty clear New Mexicans are finding work in the industry, though finding Martinez and Keller in agreement on anything has to give one pause.

      What’s not clear is whether the state and cities (and taxpayers) are getting their money’s worth.

      I think I posted a link a while back to an article basically saying that incentives are worthless to anyone save the corporations that get them (lookee, investors, yay!) and the politicians offering them (lookee, voters, job creation, yay!).

      Here’s one argument undergoing peer review that says “by and large, incentives don’t seem to be that effective.”

      The Upjohn Institute has done some work in this area too. “Any benefit-cost evaluation of tax incentives needs to take into account that even without the incentive, a considerable portion of the incented activity would have occurred anyway, or that other substituted business activity would occur.”

      Again, we need more info. Are these contractor gigs, like mine? Do they include health care and other useful tidbits, unlike mine? Will there be any training to get outsiders into the biz, or is this only for folks who are already working in the TV/film biz and know the secret handshake?

      UNM has a media-arts program. CNM offers film-tech studies and whatnot. Be nice if their grads could find work.

      Anyway, there’s precedent for dopers going Hollywood. When Phineas Freek sold his head shop he went into show biz. With predictable results, I might add. That said, his venture was all private sector — no subsidies involved.

  3. Sharon Says:

    Sounds like good news for anyone in film production. I know they really wanted a project like this in Austin area, but no way the state government here is going to back the creative arts. They give all our money to the local F1 race track that employs ticket takers and popcorn makers. Loved Breaking Bad. Took me a long time to watch it because I just didn’t think I would like it. But got hooked quickly and hated when it was over. Saul is pretty good too.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what shakes out. A studio changes hands and then … what, exactly?

      We always think of TV/film gigs in terms of who’s in front of the cameras, but there’s a ton of stuff going on behind the lens. These shows all need carpenters, electricians, makeup artists, costumers, caterers, gofers and grunts.

      Would these people be employed without the injection of $14 mil’ in ecodev money? Beats me.

      I loved “Breaking Bad.” Thought it was the dumbest idea for a show ever until I started watching it. I didn’t think “Saul” would fly, either. Just two more reasons why Netflix will not be offering me a position in management anytime soon.

      Have I mentioned that Bob Odenkirk does business with the local Trek Superstore? The manager says ol’ Slippin’ Jimmy likes to ride the bikey bike when he’s not working the rubes.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Just $14 mil? Chump change when you think of the loot ol’ Scotty Walker handed out to Foxconn. $3 billion. A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon we’re talking real money. What’s that so-called capitalist credo…socialize the risks, privatize the profits? Where’s Princess Dumbass of the North to screech her famous, “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The devil is in the details, as they say. The local blat had its arts and entertainment editor write the piece, instead of kicking it to the business desk, where I see an editor, an assistant editor, three staff writers and an editorial assistant listed.

      It’s a business story, not an entertainment piece, and you’d think the number-crunchers (or upper management) might take an interest. Maybe later?

  5. psobrien Says:

    Film industry tax breaks aren’t working well for Tucson. But, building missiles to blow shit up is booming in the Old Pueblo.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, we got that going on here too. As you know, Herself and Khal both work for Darth Perry’s little fireworks stand. There’s a bit of taxpayer money subsidizing that operation as well.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Nothing against Herself or Khal but how come my tax money gets spent on stuff to kill people whether I like it or not, but the so-called Christians can make sure none of their tax money goes into preventing ’em from being born?

      • khal spencer Says:

        The fact that Uncle can shovel close to five billion bucks into the New Mexico economy courtesy of Better Living Through Weapons of Mass Destruction (not to mention the money Uncle shovels into various military bases) and the state is still in the economic and educational doghouse makes me wonder whether further tax incentives will do much good. Frankly, I think the issue is that we can’t get the state to divest itself of its dependence on handouts.

        Hell, as the weekend story out of Española demonstrates, our young people can’t even figure out who to shoot (they murdered a young man who just got an internship at LANL, proving once again that we kill our best and live with the rest). Small wonder these young folks aren’t scholars in the STEM fields. Or, in the film industry.

        I suppose, Larry, if we could create a six hundred billion dollar a year industry in abortion and birth control, Big Business would climb on board and suddenly those would be good ideas instead of things to ban.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          You are correct – another odd thing to me is the Rethugs/so-called Christians are so opposed to abortions (unless of course the fetus is inside one of their mistresses) when so many of the folks who need/want them are pretty much against them politically. You’d think they’d want to exterminate all those potential Democrats before they’re born, but instead they want them to be born so they can then treat them badly. But I’m sure that’s what Jeebus tell’s ’em to do, right? Just like he told them to vote for Fat Nixon.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            Religious leaders and churches are parasites. Money making machines that should be taxed as businesses. That wasn’t too strong a statement, was it?

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” Attributed to Denis Diderot.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            And our man Denis was an editor. Got to love ’em.

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            You are right – did you ever see the John Oliver bit on how easy it is to create a so-called religion and get out of a ton of US tax obligations? Kinda surprised that Fat Nixon didn’t create the Church of Trump along with his university, casino, airline, etc. That scheme would still be going just fine.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Larry, I take it you didn’t see the new sign over the White House?

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Well when I visited y’all last June I was stunned not to see miles of solar collectors so NM could sell California all the power they can swallow. A far better plan than fighting over the movie production boondoggles which didn’t do Michigan any good years ago. Today I passed miles of wind turbine fields here in what is now Red State Michigan. Even dim witted conservatives and tea baggers know where the money lies and it ain’t in making movies.

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