LETTER: Caution must be exercised when it comes to movie studios

I thank Christina Mitchell for injecting some realism into the discussion of building movie studios here.

Additional factors include that some day Los Angeles may shape up to produce efficiently (one producer already does fine there, unions have to be part of that productivity). I note where Lions Gate Entertainment has big sound stages in the US – where land is cheap, not near Hollywood. And speaking of Vancouver BC, note that an early boost was availability of the large Dominion metal structure fabrication building in Burnaby. (There already was a busy TV show production facility in Burnaby, part of a TV station.) For economics in general, note that people with venues such as old stone buildings get tired of the disruption and other costs so start charging well for use by filming people – that happened in Vancouver BC, and eventually will reduce demand for activity here.

Throughout the Nov. 2 article is a presumption of picking taxpayer pockets. But the record of government meddling is poor. Some governments have at least disconnected from specific schemes, instead subsidizing training as done for ship building here, thus reduced risk to taxpayers.

I ask if promoters of building a studio have the money themselves, or are just promoting – one airplane project for example flipped among several locations in Canada and the US with sure deals but never went into production.

I comment that notions involving media tend to be even more fanciful than average – for example advertising is assumed to be a certainty – but I worked on the technical side of a system that an experienced media mogul couldn’t make work financially, and know people who worked on a social networking service funded by the founder of a very successful enterprise. It failed to attract enough customers I predicted it wouldn’t as it seemed too narrowly useful, dependent on targeted advertising to them.

Some business types are like restaurants – everyone wants their own, few succeed. The risk-taking and the rigor required for success belong in the free market where people think thrice about their money, not in the fantasies of grandstanding politicians. The proper role of government is to ensure public safety for honest people, who can then be creative and productive. Will Saanich council fulfill its duty of protecting people against initiation of force, or will it be an initiator by meddling and taxing to subsidize moochers?

For the record, I do not share political views with Ms. Mitchell. I simply agree with her cautions about viability of movie production buildings.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

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