The Advocate’s piece on Scene Magazine’s publisher Andre Champagne gets it right

by Micah Haley on March 30, 2014

DSC01204-webThe Advocate has a piece in today’s paper interviewing Scene Magazine‘s publisher, Andre Champagne. The author, Bill Lodge, does a solid job of telling his story of moving back to Louisiana and starting several companies, including Hollywood Trucks and Scene Magazine.

The article rightly points out how the State of Louisiana’s infrastructure tax credit program assisted in the development of Hollywood Trucks. However, it is vague about how Scene Magazine has benefited.

The success story of Scene is a powerful proof of the success of the film industry tax credits. Movies such as Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave and Dallas Buyers Club spend millions in the state before receiving tax credits back. Companies like Hollywood Trucks, who participated in the now-sunset film infrastructure tax credit program, have also spent millions in Louisiana before receiving tax credits back.

But Scene Magazine has never received any tax credits. Or any other state subsidy. We’re a company that the economists don’t count. The number crunchers miss us completely because the State doesn’t give us money and neither do films. But Scene Magazine wouldn’t exist without the entertainment industry.

It was Champagne, along with several other investors including God’s Not Dead producer Jarred Coates and Justified actor AJ Buckley, who invested their personal income from working in the film industry and decided to invest in a media company.

We have benefited indirectly from the tax credits. And we continue to benefit. Film industry support companies that were opened to support the film industry directly advertise in Scene Magazine. And Scene, in turn, hire locals and purchase local goods.

Scene is just one such company that escapes the eye of economists everywhere. When a new report comes out purporting to give authoritative data on the benefits and costs of the State’s film tax credit program, we’re left out, along with restaurants, hotels, music festivals and scores of other entities that benefit indirectly.

Entertainment is a billion dollar industry in Louisiana. One that did not exist a decade ago. Let your local legislators know you want to keep it here.

Click here to read Lodge’s full story at theadvocate.com.