OK, so many of you will know of my Scottish heritage. But should Scotland should have its own film studio?
Given the amount of location work I complete in Scotland and the general desire for the big American shows to make use of the Highland and the Cities of Scotland alike, perhaps my personal answer should be yes? After all, there are many talented crew north of the English border, and many more stunning locations to enhance production values (remember Glasgow for Philadelphia in World War Z?). Having a studio in Scotland would enhance this and allow for integrated production work to take place in close proximity and thus should help with reducing the costs associated with unit moves. Notwithstanding this, perhaps it would actually help to drive down production costs by creating more competition?
Regardless of my views, a report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise has made clear that this is a more broadly supported perspective.
Their report recommends encouraging private-sector proposals, with public bodies drawing up an alternative plan. Great news, but will there really be enough interest in investing the necessary funds to make this happen, and then, will it be successful?
Well… The report cites some convincing reasons including the increasing demand for studio space in Scotland regarded as being driven by the continued availability of the tax incentive and the resultant boost in productions going into principal photography. Couple this with the fact that the public sector has provided £60m of support for the screen industry over the past three years and you start to see the reasons why it may make sense.
So if we take this at face value and then factor in the increase in high production value television (which now also attracts the tax credit), demand must surely continue and therefore reinforce the case?
Director of Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise David Smith was quoted as saying: “This report gives us a sound understanding of Scotland’s options in developing a dedicated film and TV facility.
“From here, we can move quickly towards the next phase of work to establish interest from the private sector and develop a robust business case for public sector investment.”
The report references a “foundation studio” option which is recommended by the authors. In the report this is estimated to require a budget of about £15m.
So, in the words so rarely heard from the mouths of the Dragons on the popular Dragons’ Den, I’m in!
Anyone interesting in discussing how we make this happen both commercially and/or creatively, please do get in touch.