Thursday, February 28, 2008

Villa Muse Call to Arms

Friends, Countrymen, Austinites we now find ourselves teetering on the cusp of a bold future. Do we reach out with open arms to the glorious unknown? Or shall we remain as we have always been, simply a footnote on the pages and screens of film history, tucked away in the independent film sections of higher learning textbooks across the galaxy. For to long have we been considered a hobby and amateur film town at best with the exceptions of Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez. The average film in LA costs 70 million dollars while the average film in Austin costs a staggering 1.5-3 million dollars. We are seriously missing out.

Louisiana offers a 30% return of total capitol put forth for production in their state. There are fifteen other states in the union that offer 15% or more in return for capitol spent. Since the creation of these incentives the industries in both Louisiana and New Mexico have exploded from non-existent to power-houses that facilitate A-list productions on a globally competitive level. We are stuck in the middle. A sort of go between the talent and crew must traverse between the seeming future hubs of major film production. It saddens me and many colleges to think of all the talent leaving their beloved Austin simply because the work isn't here. The harsh reality is that if we do not make a strong and decisive entry into the ranks i fear we simply may never achieve the level of production many of us have so longed for.

Villa Muse is ready to make such a bold move. They offer a production facility that is both vertically and horizontally integrated. This means that when a production comes to Villa Muse they have the ability to handle preproduction, production and post all on a single campus. As well as all manner of digital animation and video game production. The facility is not closed off to independent productions. in fact the facility will have a full time staff of almost 400 employees capable of filling almost any roll during the production process.

To take this even further the villa Muse property will contain all manner of commercial and residential property as well as all the necessary infrastructure. The idea is to build a new community from the inside-out. As you can see there is a dual purpose for the surrounding community. Villa Muse's surrounding community serves as a both a home to its residents and as possible locations for any production to use. The so very intriguing aspect of this venture is the infrastructure being built with film making in mind. For example, a film crew wants to film at your local Austin grocery store. Well they are going to bring a lot of people, trucks, electrical equipment, props, lights, generators etc. Not to mention slowing traffic and disrupting the surrounding businesses. At Villa Muse the surround communities infrastructure will be wired and prepared. Instead of using a noisy generator they can simply plug in.
There will be alternate roads and walkways. Commercial properties will have multiple entrances.
Villa Muse really is unprecedented.

Villa Muse has paid special attention to the surrounding environment and communities when designing the layout of the subsequent facility. The landmass is essentially a flood plain that fills to about an inch of murky water. In order to make this land ready for development something would have to be done with the water. Fortunately this has been thought through. The flood plain will be filled in with dirt from a neighboring site leaving a man made lake that can support the water already present while not running it off onto neighboring developed or undeveloped areas.

Currently the site chosen garners about 9600 dollars in revenue for the city of Austin per year. this a very small number by any standard. The proposed studio when finished and having fulfill their contracts that would pay the bond holders first then move on to be annexed by the city and taxed accordingly. Keep in mind no Austin resident will be taxed for the construction of the facility or the infrastructure, only its existence within the city after the fact. The tax revenue accrued after development will easily dwarf the previous number easily in the hundreds of thousands.

The truth of the matter is this. Should this facility be built and the productions file in, our incentives will come and our film community will grow from an amateur film town to global competitor.

We must show our support on March 6th before city council. This Studio concerns everyone that wishes to work in the business and stay in Austin.

Adam Moroz
Caught in the Act Production LLC
Contributing Editor


Contact Austin council:
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm

To read Villa Muse's Jay Podolnick discuss these issue:
http://www.statesman.com/opinion/content/editorial/stories/02/05/0205podolnick_edit.html (copy and paste to browser field)

1 comment:

Hiten Patel said...

Adam,

A small factual correction, if you don't mind:

The total taxes paid last year were approximately $6,500 -- to Dell Valle ISD, Austin Community College, Travis County, the Travis County Healthcare District and the Emergency Services District. Since this land is not in Austin's city limits,
none of these taxes were paid to Austin. Austin can only tax within its city limits. So, Austin will not lose any of its current tax base by allowing Villa Muse to be built.

When fully built and annexed by Austin (bringing Villa Muse into Austin's city limits), Villa Muse will bring in millions in taxes to Austin given the estimated total residential and commercial property value. This is significantly more than the estimate you provide of "hundreds of thousands."

Thanks for your consideration, and for supporting Villa Muse in its efforts to build the industry in Texas.

Hiten