Production Tax Credits Don’t Just Apply To Flicks

Usually, when one hears the term production tax credits, the first thing that one thinks of would be the entertainment industry. In that respect, if you’re shooting a film in New York, the incentive pertains to production costs incurred in New York State. Qualified productions include: Films, Episodic television series, television pilots and presentations, TV movies and miniseries. Particular groups of productions are excluded from the program, including, but not limited to, documentaries, news or current affairs programs, interview or talk shows, video lessons, sport shows or events, daytime soap operas, reality programs, ads, music videos.

However, this kind of credit goes past the entertainment realm. Under federal law, the production tax credit, or PTC, has an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the output of electricity from utility-scale turbines. This incentive was made under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The PTC is applicable for the first decade of electricity production. It is set to end on December 31, 2012. Similarly, through Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, wind project developers can choose to get a 30 percent investment tax credit, or ITC, instead of the PTC. For tasks put into service before 2013, at which construction begins prior to end of 2011, developers can elect to receive an equivalent cash payment from the Department of Treasury for the value of the thirty percent ITC.

Connecticut is holding on with Democratic Governor Daniel Malloy, but Malloy wants a change. He desires to reduce the amount to 25 % from the existing 30% and to only 50% of the credits might be shifted. This ensures that to invest in a motion picture the companies could only sell 50 percent to get cash into their budgets. Of the fifty percent, by the time it is reduced in funding you might be talking 40% for the producers. A new report claimed that only 7 cents on the dollar was returned to the economy, but majors like NBC who recently place three shows in Connecticut doubt that fact and question the accounting methods. 80 productions received the credit last year. Connecticut as being a neighbor of New York is going to do well to keep the incentive while others are cancelling.

By the end of 2006, state government authorities estimated the Act had attracted $750 million in production expenditures, a 6000% increase over 2002’s before-tax credit expenditures. During these procedures, the state has worked to rebrand itself as “The Hollywood South” to imply a financial structure hospitable to a host of market sectors associated with the major movie studios. Further than the conjecture of financial windfalls, then-Governor Mike Foster recommended the value of the new incentive strategy culturally to put ourselves in the spotlight for big movie productions. Just what this meant was that Louisiana could pride itself on the ways it represented the Hollywood majors’ pursuits and, conversely, the ways the show biz industry represented Louisiana through significant productions.

The production tax credits are on the books all through this year. For initiatives put into service this year and last, designers have the option of taking the credit as a Treasury grant. That option “saved the industry” as soon as the recession dried up the industry for tax-equity funding of renewables.

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube Make an Effective Comedy Duo in “Ride Along”

“Ride Along” stars Kevin Hart and Ice Cube as future brothers-in-law with near opposite personalities. The two face a unique set of challenges during a routine police ride along that turns unexpectedly eventful. “Ride Along’s” unique combination of comedy, action and character growth results in a funny, feel-good film with a satisfying ending. It delivers enough mayhem, of both the action and the comedic sort, to keep audiences entertained.

Fans of Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy will find a lot to love about “Ride Along.” He is hysterical as Ben Barber, a high school security guard who prides himself on his video game prowess. The fast-talking and diminutive would-be slacker has his eyes set on the police academy. He hopes to secure a job as a full-fledged officer in anticipation of marrying his girlfriend Angela Payton, played by Tika Sumpter.

Angela’s brother, James Payton, played by Ice Cube, is put off by Ben’s bumbling, slacker ways. As a protective older brother, the Atlanta police veteran does not believe Ben will make a suitable husband for his sister. The hard-nosed cop comes up with the perfect solution. He decides to take Ben on a ride along to test his mettle.

James suspects that the overly-chatty, gaming-obsessed Ben will soon grow bored with the series of routine ride along stops. He and his partners, played by John Leguizamo and Bryan Callen, distract Ben with simple tasks, such as breaking up a dispute between two teens playing a pick up game, laughing and shaking their heads when he inevitably bungles them. Meanwhile, James secretly works on a big case. The Atlanta detective and his partners are trying to bring down a local crime boss named Omar and are close to cracking the case. The ill-timed ride along coincides with a major arms deal involving Omar. When Ben catches wind of what’s going on, he offers his help in hopes of proving himself as a man and as a future police officer. These developments take the ride along in a whole new direction, and the search for Omar gives rise to several plot twists and results in an exciting showdown near the end of the film.

“Ride Along” is part comedy, part action movie and part coming-of-age film. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are the cornerstones of the story and provide plenty of laugh-out-loud comedy. The actors work hard to earn laughs, and it shows. The ride along is punctuated with exciting shoot-outs and chase scenes, making it work as an action film. During a grave moment in which the main characters are engaged in close-range gunplay with Omar and his henchmen, Hart and Ice Cube are forced to trust one another with their lives, resulting in a new perspective that changes the nature of their relationship by the end of the film. Their character growth portrays a hopeful message about how important it is for family members to overcome differences and learn from one another.

Tim Story, who directed Hart in 2008’s “Think Like a Man” and Ice Cube in 2002’s “Barbershop,” plays to Hart and Ice Cube’s strengths, getting the best out of both actors. Hart combines male juvenilism with a healthy dose of machismo for a performance reminiscent of a young Eddie Murphy. His comedic brilliance shines through with heavy ad-libbing and constant, self-deprecating riffs on his short stature and lack of courage and sex appeal.

Ice Cube, with his dagger-like stare, over-the-top tirades and take-no-prisoners bravado, reminds you of why he was able to make such a successful transition from rapper to comedy actor in the first place. The actor excels at turning awkward silences and glowering stares into comedic gold and somehow makes seriousness seem funny. Together, he and Hart form an unlikely but effective pair. Cube’s aggressive, straight-man style is the perfect foil to Hart’s comedic mania. Their chemistry is undeniable, and they might be considered one of the best buddy-cop duos since Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan.

This sequel-worthy comedy succeeds because it does not take itself too seriously. While it is light on plot, it has a wealth of comedy and thrives on being silly. ” Ride Along ” balances fast-paced action scenes against, slower, more laid-back ones for a good pace that keeps the audience engaged. It is a great movie to watch with family and friends, especially if there is a little conflict in the group. There is nothing like a great comedy such as “Ride Along” to remind people that with a little light-hearted laughter and love, even the most challenging interpersonal differences can be overcome.

Education and the Complete Individual

Education is something that many have said much about. Most of these are complex or vague. Consider the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s saying that education is ‘an ornament in prosperity’ and ‘a refuge in adversity’. There have been a great many attempts to explain this description, but none have quite succeeded in satisfying my curiosity. Alternatively, this is what the English essayist Joseph Addison has to say on education: What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. This too, has a great many explanations and elaborations. But does it really tell us what education is? Does it tell us why we need education? Not really, since the concept of the soul is, till date, a shadowy area. So how can we begin to comprehend what everyone claims is essential to life nowadays? To put it simply, education is a process of training our mind so that we can apply it in a field of our choice: which is why we have education not as a single seamless entity, but as a whole made up of various divisions: music education, scientific and technological education, art education, even teacher education!

Education can be considered similar to picking and eating a fruit. Picking a particular fruit on the tree is akin to choosing a field to get an education of. When we bite into it, we get our first taste of the subject. As we chew on the bitten portion, we begin to understand its various aspects – the tastes, textures, intricacies and complexities of it – and when we are ready to move on to the next portion, we swallow what we have assimilated so far so that it can be used for further application. The tree we get the fruit from is the entire body of past thinkers’ teachings and the voice that tells us which fruit to pick is the interpreter of that knowledge: the teacher.

Throughout the lifelong course of education (no, it’s not like school or college which ends after a fixed period of time), we get to know about things that always were, still are and always will be around us, waiting to be recognized and acknowledged. Light plays a central role in education – both literally and metaphorically – for visual inputs are the best learnt and without light – of the sun or electrical – we would be missing out on a whole world of knowledge. In fact, this is where phrases like ‘light of knowledge’, ‘throw light on the matter’, ‘kept in the dark’ and so on came from.

You might be thinking, how can we narrow the infinite field of knowledge to select what we will need or want to know? This is where the part on ‘training the mind’ comes in. The mind, as psychology tells us, is the centre of cognitive faculties which enables consciousness, thinking, perception and judgement. It is the kitchen for the information we acquire, where we can season and prepare the bits and pieces of data into comprehensive knowledge. Like any good kitchen, the mind has infinite capabilities (which is often the reason for confusion among us youth when it comes to deciding on a particular field to ‘specialize in’ for higher education) and therefore needs to be trained in order to make this choice clearer as every good chef needs to know what to or not to use for a dish. Unfortunately, the world we live in does not allow us to experiment with our capabilities without being ostracized or reduced to penury. Thus the need for specialization. And thus the need for education.

Another obvious question would be: how can we get education? It’s easier to use metaphors and analogies when describing something like this, but a parallel in the real world is sometimes hard to provide. One answer could be a school, college or university. There are also other means to formally get education. Such as home-schooling, distance learning etc. All of these provide us with a forum to exchange knowledge – where we can gain as well as give. This is a guided and restricted form of education, especially in the Indian scenario. It is difficult to find a good school where we can tailor our education according to our needs and interests. Often, we fail to avail of the opportunity even if it is within our reach. Peer pressure, our parents’ and elders’ wants, whims and wishes and societal trends all play a role in influencing us. And this very often has an adverse effect with the student being unable to cope with the contradictory inputs and buckling under the combined pressure. An educational system where students can fulfil their desires and not bow to transient trends is necessary for proper development and realization of one’s full potential. An example of how this can help could be the famous English poet John Keats. Trained to become a doctor, Keats renounced his apothecary’s license to follow his desire, eventually creating a path for himself that no one else has quite been able to match.

Education is not just a pathway to money, as is often considered nowadays. The fact that it provides a doorway to affluence is secondary. Education is first and foremost, I believe, a source of joy and pleasure that is also a means of enhancing our capabilities. It is a landing that provides us with infinite doorways to choose to continue into, each leading to a different yet interconnected walk of life (after all, how can we forget that science and philosophy, despite being ‘at odds with one another’ go back beyond human comprehension?).

The needs of the human in order to lead a productive and satisfactory life have long been debated. Yet one point stands clear in this debate: along with the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, education is extremely necessary, especially in today’s material world. After all, without education, one cannot gain employment and without employment, one cannot fulfil his/her basic needs and is considered a failure by modern society.

The knowledge we gain through our guided education is definitely useful for life in the sense that they will be required to succeed in gaining and maintaining employment, a must to be accepted in society. Not having a job is enough to have you labelled lazy, a failure, even weird or odd. And any employer will require you to have a thorough knowledge of your field, which is easily available for the taking through education.

Education provides us with an endless canvas. How much of it we put into use is up to us. New fields seem to emerge everyday – parapsychology, particle physics, noetics, to name a few. Although relatively ‘unknown’ or ‘obscure’, these have as much importance as the others we know of. The flood of engineers and accountants that India is facing seems to know no end. Easy money is apparently all people seems to think of. They are becoming flat characters in the play of life: although given names like ‘security of future’, lust for a fat wallet seems to be the only motivation.

On the other hand, there are billions of people around the world who want to get an education but are unable to due to poverty, geographical isolation, familial conditions or ignorance. Like the Lady Law, education is blind to the faults or favours of those who take a sip from its pool. The people who are not able to get to its banks because they are dragged back by the brambles of shortcomings – economic, social or cultural – have to endure a life full of superstition, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, poverty and exclusion. The literate but uneducated are considered equal to the illiterate as their life pretty much goes to waste (not everyone is the Old English poet C├Ždmon, after all). We must, however, keep in mind that this ‘education’ is totally career-oriented – a trait that has emerged in the past decades.

Let us now consider another angle. So far we talked of the relevance of education in the tangible corporeal world. But, being human beings, the intangible yet equally expansive world of our feelings is equally important. Education plays a major role in helping us find our niche here as well. We humans are inherently social. Even ‘loners’ have at least one person in their confidence. In fact, the more solitary one is, the stronger the bond is with those that person does interact with regularly. Even those who have large friend circles have an inner circle of those who they trust. So, where do these friends come from? Most of our friends and acquaintances come from school, college and our workplace and education is the line connecting these dots to one another. We go to school and college to get an education, as do those who become our friends. We talk about things that we have learnt somewhere down the line: academically, through music, film, news bulletins, books, etc. These, too, are an important part of our education. Academia alone is not enough to make us a complete person. It is definitely important, but our character and personality depends on our education as well. As we grow up, we learn new things and experience various feelings and emotions. Events and situations, too, play a part in education. Growing up, we have quarrelled with our parents. These sometimes go downhill over time and ruin the parent-child relationship. Alternatively, it can also teach us to give people space and motivate us into trying to understand before blindly contradicting. Regardless of that outcome, it teaches us what not to do when we take up the mantle of parenthood. Whether we put it to use is, of course, a completely different question altogether.

Besides academic information, schools also impart social education. They teach us, sometimes by pointing out our mistakes, what we should or shouldn’t do in a particular situation. For instance, we learn to stand up and greet a teacher when he/she enters our classroom. We also learn to respect our higher-ups and when to follow instructions without question. This gives us an idea of the norms of society.

Education teaches us control. It tells us what is acceptable behaviour in a certain environment and what isn’t. Experience, which is yet another form of education, often also teaches us when to exercise caution and when to be spontaneous. For example, at an informal gathering like a house party, it is acceptable – even expected – to wear casual clothes. Also, we can be freer in expressing ourselves: we can talk over one another, raise our voices etc. In an office party or a similar formal gathering, on the other hand, a certain code of conduct is expected to be followed. A professional front – in both mannerism and appearance – has to be maintained. Formal attire is required and an unruly or unkempt appearance must be avoided. We also learn these things through books, entertainment, word of mouth etc. Education and its imparting is therefore an intimate and implicit part of our social life as well.

Education is a major source of mental contentment. There is a simple, innocent pleasure in gaining knowledge. As sentient living beings, we humans are inherently curious. And fulfilling that curiosity paves the way for further questions to be answered, for the thirst for knowledge to become a quest for more. Also, considering the level of competition nowadays, any and every little snippet of information in addition to what our peers know gives us an edge in the rat race of modern life. And success because of that little edge gives us a great deal of satisfaction, joy and pride: the boost to our self-esteem that is essential to our well-being, mental and, thereby, physical.

A complete individual is one who leads a wholesome life. He/she has both contentment with his/her material possessions and mental satisfaction in his/her current place in life. The complete individual, hence, is one who has found a balance between the material and immaterial worlds: one who has both access to resources and the means to enjoy them; someone who has both adequate material possessions and happiness in life. And what makes all this possible but education?

Having Trouble Watching 3-D Films? Tips To Make 3-D Viewing Easier

After hearing about how great 3-D movies are, you and the family finally make the trip to the theater to see the latest and greatest feature. About twenty minutes into the film you start to feel uncomfortable. You look away from the screen to see if the rest of the family is starting to feel a little… off. When you ask your wife if she’s feeling a little dizzy she shushes you and keeps eating her popcorn, barely blinking as she watches the dancing images. If you close your eyes for a little while, you start to feel better. But soon, your son elbows you and tells you not to fall asleep – the best part is coming up! You try to get back into the movie, but that sick feeling starts to come over you again.

Until this moment, you may have prided yourself on having perfect vision because you’ve never needed to wear glasses, but you are experiencing something that, according to one study published in the Annals of Ophthalmology, affects over 56% of people between the ages of 18 and 38 (though the problem can affect people of all ages). The headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and feelings of nausea that can bother you while watching 3-D movies can be blamed on a number of eye issues grouped under the umbrella term “binocular conditions.” These problems can be the result of slight misalignments of the eyes, unequal vision between the eyes, or the eyes’ inability to work together as a team.

The American Optometric Association estimates that between 1 and 3% of the population have profound visual disabilities that make 3-D viewing extremely difficult or impossible. For the rest of us who are able to see the 3-D effects but who just happen to feel a little extra queasy during the action sequences, a course of Vision Therapy with a qualified eye health professional can likely make the viewing experience more enjoyable. Working to correct visual teaming problems, such as convergence insufficiency (eyes unable to turn inward) or convergence excess (eyes turn inward too much) can also help relieve eyestrain that you might experience while reading or working at a computer.

But wait! You are still stuck in the middle of a crowded row of moviegoers all at the edge of their seats as virtual swords slice through the air. If you don’t want to leave the theater, try to give your eyes a break anyway. You can always wait to see the parts you miss at home when the 2-D DVD comes out (unless, of course, you just got a brand new 3-D television for the holidays).

Try this exercise called “palming” to get some immediate relief right in your seat. Palming helps to relax the muscles and stimulate the acupuncture points around the eyes. It also brings healing energy to the eyes through increased blood circulation.

  • First, remove those 3-D glasses – they make you look sort of silly anyway.
    Take a couple of deep breaths and close your eyes gently. Place your elbows on your knees and lean forward, allowing your head to rest in your hands.
  • Now, place the palm of your left hand over your left eye with your fingers touching your forehead. The hollow of your palm should be directly over the eye, but not touching it. Be sure to leave enough room to blink. Set the heel of your hand on your cheekbone.
  • Then, place your right hand over your right eye with your fingers crossing over the fingers of your left hand. The right palm should be placed over the eye and the heel of the hand should rest on the cheekbones just as you did on the left. It’s important to keep breathing as you do this (hopefully you won’t be too overcome by the smell of all that popcorn). Full, deep breaths will help your eyes as well as the rest of your body relax.

The temporary discomfort that you may have experienced while watching a 3-D movie could be telling you that you have a binocular condition that forces your eyes to work extra hard to see the real 3-D world that you live in all the time. An eye exercise like palming can be done at any time throughout your day (preferably someplace where the air is fresher and things are a bit quieter than they are in this hypothetical holiday cinema) to help relieve eye stress from anything from movie watching, to computer use, to other close work like reading or sewing.

So, no, you are not the only one finds the whole 3-D sensation a bit sickening. The good news is that you can probably teach your eyes to work together with the help of a qualified optometrist. Who said today’s movies can’t teach us anything – they just may be letting you know that your eyes need some attention.

Short Film Ideas

How to find winning short film ideas. The idea that begets all other ideas. In academia they call it cheating. In the professional world, it’s called collaboration.

I’m referring specifically to the process of venturing beyond one’s own resources and borrowing or buying ideas, assistance, and products from others in order to accomplish a goal.

In school, you’re punished for asking someone across the room for the answers when in the middle of a test. Pride and intelligence are measured by your ability to come up with the answer, solution, or creative result by yourself.

Our idol based/pop star culture reinforces the lone ranger notion by presenting success stories as if they were primarily a matter of one person pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

In the professional world, at large, and in the filmmaking community, in particular, it is understood that teams are the entities that get things done; small armies of passionate individuals, each of whom contribute a specialized form of knowledge or skill, united by a common desire to move a project from concept to completion.

Getting rid of an outdated and overused idea:

In finding short film ideas, one of the most commonly made mistakes is that of unnecessarily re-inventing the wheel because of a felt need to be independent.

If you are not a writer or have never written a script before, why start now? Unless the primary goal of your short film is to work on your writing skills, and I submit that there are more efficient and less exhausting ways to do that, it’s best to stick with what you already know and are good at. To put it bluntly, hire or collaborate with an existing writer who already has scripts written or who would be eager to write for someone that will actually get his script on lens.

This will not only allow you to focus on coming up with new short film ideas, but it also ensures the integrity of your project. If your short film is going to have your name on it and be used to position your future career, now is a great time to show others that you know how to choose a good story.

Creating through networking

The sad news about the film industry is that there are far more workers than there is work. The upside to this for the independent filmmaker, however, is that this industry has an atypical amount of unemployed talent willing to work in a cost efficient manner. Why reinvent the wheel and fry your brain trying to come up with a script idea when you can invest that same time and energy into reaching out to the community of freelance writers?

Professional networking can sometimes feel annoying, awkward, and labor intensive. This is precisely why it’s easier to just sit alone in an editing room trying to write a script when that’s not what you’re good at. It’s why many independent filmmakers just cast their non-actor friends in supporting roles instead of enduring the discomfort of things like visiting a local playhouse and getting to know the actors in the community.

Successful filmmakers understand that connections, not ideas or money, are the currency that move projects forward in the film community. No matter how much you lack in financial resources and creative ideas, you have the power to take control of your project’s destiny by making use of the ever expanding gamut of social tools designed for this very purpose.

To be clear, I don’t endorse plagiarism or copyright theft of any kind. This isn’t an article about stealing. This is an article on getting things done and getting things done requires one to ruthlessly abandon the lone ranger mentality and the subpar results it yields. Successful filmmakers are the ones who not only know how to use a camera, but who also know how to make use of the resources around them. Sometimes genius is simply a matter of knowing which genius to ask. At least that’s the kind of genius that get’s it done.