Friday, October 2, 2009

Spread the Word that Film Jobs are High Quality

According to the Des Moines Register, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, in an interview on IPTV’s “Iowa Press” is uncertain that the film industry creates high paying jobs in Iowa. The fact of the matter is that the film industry DOES! While the jobs created are not traditional forty-hours-per week with benefits jobs, the jobs pay well and it is possible for Iowans to make a living that fits the Iowa Department of Economic Development 's (IDED) definition of “High Quality Jobs.’

The IDED uses a spreadsheet, which is located at, to determine whether jobs created by companies are eligible for the High Quality Jobs Program. IDED uses the 130% Wage Threshold columns to determine if jobs created are “high quality.” Taking the sum of the 130% wages per hour without benefits and dividing it by the 99 counties in the state, the average high quality job wage is $18.60 per hour.

Movie Crew and Cast jobs are similar to skilled construction trades, were workers are often employed for the duration of a project and then move on to other projects. They are also similar in that they are skilled positions that require specialized training and experience and pay good day rates, usually with over-time. A typical working day on a movie is twelve hours. Day rates range from $150 for entry-level production assistants to $500 for specialized camera operators and $750-$1,000 for stunt and special effects coordinators.

Using a median day rate of $300 or $25 per hour, as an example, an Iowa skilled worker who is employed for twenty-seven 5-day weeks per year would make $40,500 per year. If thirteen of these weeks were a 6-day week, which is fairly common with feature films, this worker would earn an additional $3,900 per year.

While not “traditional,” film industry jobs fit the category of “high quality.” Please share this information with your legislators, the Governor’s office and the IDED staff members.

Visit , to determine who your legislative representatives are and to obtain their e-mail addresses. You can send an e-mail to the Governor through his website, and you can e-mail Amy Johnson, Interim Iowa Film Office manager at and the IDED Board at

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