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So You Wanna Be in Pictures

Yesterday, I really didn’t have much time to blog. The reason was that I spent the whole day at Soundstage 41 in Albuquerque shooting a corporate training video with a client. Next to the soundstage I was shooting on, a movie was being shot on another soundstage. I can imagine right about now you must be really confused. How could I have been shooting yesterday on an Albuquerque Soundstage, when this was just announced last week:

Governor Bill Richardson today joined Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez at a news conference to announce that Digital Media Group (DMG) will build a $50 million digital media production facility on the site of the old Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail yard in Albuquerque.

“Today marks another critical milestone in the economic evolution of New Mexico,” said Governor Richardson. “This rail yard is an important New Mexico landmark- a symbol of the railroads that helped make this state great. This project will turn it into a landmark for the future. It will be a symbol of where New Mexico is headed, as we become the center for cutting edge digital media production.”

DMG is planning to build two 20,000 square-foot sound stages, two digital insert stages, a construction mill, and food service and child care facilities. The facility will be able to handle every kind of digital film and television project from pre-production through post-production. It will also become a multi-purpose center that will pursue advanced medical imaging technologies, virtual reality training technologies, and a host of other digital imaging and simulation.

Well, it turns out Albuquerque already has a number of soundstages. In fact, the one I was shooting in yesterday is part of a 30,000 square foot complex. The best part is it is for sale by Amusing Investments in Santa Fe, and the price is only a paltry $2,000,000. Unfortunately, I don’t have cash lying around, but I’m kind of hoping the city (subscription) can help me out:

Fred Mondragon, who heads the city’s Office of Economic Development, said the project might use industrial revenue bonds, which would require City Council approval. The city also could consider assistance with infrastructure and some transportation issues, he said.

IRBs are bonds that are used to finance business facilities. They are repaid by the companies that use them, not by the city, but the use of IRBs clears the way for tax incentives.

Heck, with all of this going on…

Since Governor Richardson took office in 2003 New Mexico’s film industry has generated nearly $200 million in new revenue for state and local economies. The state has increased the number of local film crewmembers from less than 100 to more than 600 craftsmen and artisans. New Mexico now has 3 ½ film crews, and is actively training more through the Governor’s Film Technician Training Program, which was introduced earlier this year. These are good, high-wage jobs that build solid, marketable skills.

I can’t help, but make a ton of money. Now the facility I have my eyes on won’t cost tens of millions of dollars, but the good news is we’ll be open for business the day after the Governor and Mayor help me get the money. Plus, we have the added benefit of not being a soundstage located next to a train track.