Louisiana aims to score film composers with tax credit

Louisiana’s recently renewed Sound Recording Investor Tax Credit could give the state an edge in film scoring, even for films shot outside Louisiana. On Monday, a one-day workforce development session coordinated by New Orleans composer Jay Weigel and Los Angeles Music Supervisor Joel C. High connected leading Hollywood composers with 70 musicians from the New Orleans Philharmonic. The event was funded by a $70,000 Louisiana Economic Development Entertainment Workforce Grant, Weigel says. The composer formed Carondelet Music Group with High after Hurricane Katrina to encourage more Louisiana-based sound recording. For this week’s event, Weigel and High recruited composers John Swihart [How I Met Your Mother and Greek], Christophe Beck [Under the Tuscan Sun and The Hangover], Marcelo Zarvos [The Good Shepherd and The Door in the Floor] and Christopher Lennertz [Alvin and the Chipmunks and Supernatural] to New Orleans to tour facilities, record original scores with the orchestra and mentor musicians. “It was a home run,” Weigel says. A marketing CD featuring the recordings and comments from composers about what Louisiana offers is now in production. The tax credit includes a 25% refund for in-state expenditures related to the production of a sound recording — a strong draw for the large number of composers in the industry who are paid lump sum production fees, Weigel says. “They might get $75,000 or $100,000 to score the music and have to pay all the costs associated with production themselves,” he says. “If they come to Louisiana, the deal looks great. They’re going to make 25% more.” — Maggie Heyn Richardson

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