Hollywood on the Mon

This article about building an media and entertainment industry in Pittsburgh has some provocative suggestions -- but few concrete ideas for how to move them forward. There are four suggestions:

1. Pittsburgh needs facilities.
2. Put together a local incentive package.
3. Get local groups to work as a united front.
4. Get nontraditional businesses involved.

Can this happen? I hate to say this -- I really do, because I think that Pittsburgh offers a huge potential upside to motion picture and TV production companies, and having a visible and successful media and entertainment industry here would be fabulous -- but blah, blah, blah. Re-read those suggestions: They all put the responsibility somewhere else. Someone should provide facilities, put together incentives, get groups together, and so on. But who?

If today's local entertainment community is waiting for facilities, financial subsidies/incentives, multi-lateral cooperation, and interest from the industrial and manufacturing trades in a "new economy" proposition, then it's going to wait a while.

Instead, the local entertainment community can turn the question around and accept the responsibility. How can that community seize the initiative and leverage regional resources to build a local industry?
1. Seize the day, in a public way. Collaboration and cooperation is a great thing, but someone or something needs to energize the movement. Is the Pittsburgh Film Office going to lead the charge? If so, great. Get visible. How about a blog? How about communicating through non-traditional means? (Hey -- I teach copyright law. Can I help?) There are always some delicate politics involved, but it has to be possible to create a public presence without ruffling the wrong feathers.
2. If you want facilities, you'll have to build them yourselves. There are hungry and innovative real estate developers in Pittsburgh. Find them and work with them.
3. Partner with local organizations that work with the entrepreneurial community. If entertainment is a growth proposition, then get with the people who are into economic growth. If entertainment is a jobs proposition, they'll listen to you. They know the subsidy/incentives game, and they have some money.
4. Partner with the universities. CMU's Entertainment Technology Center, which gets a great plug in the P-G, is a world-leading organization. (It also happens to be right next door to Innovation Works.) And CMU has, hmmm (warning: irony alert!), a few faculty and a few alums who know something about the entertainment business.
But most of all, as with any other new value proposition in Pittsburgh, the entertainment industry can't wait for the world to improve around it. It has to push to make it happen on its own.


2 Responses to "Hollywood on the Mon"

Amos_thePokerCat said... 5/02/2006 11:00 PM

I know it envolves crossing several bridges, rivers, and even a state line, but they are filming the latest .

Now, there is an irony alert.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 5/09/2006 10:53 PM

Grr. It seems blogger comment does not like my hrefs. Looks good in the previews.

They were filming the latest Spiderman 3 in CLE. I guess CLE is a cheaper dirtier NYC.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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