By: Lucy Sosa
When Lost first came out on iTunes back in 2005, when it was one of just five shows you could buy for $1.99 an episode, I remember thinking it was the best thing ever. Gone were the days of begging my Mom to drive me to Best Buy for the latest season of 24. Despite multiple warnings from my Dad to stop spending so much on iTunes, I couldn’t because Lost was so damn addicting.
While I felt slightly guilty for many years, I can now say my compulsive spending on Lost and dozens of other shows is not something to be ashamed of. By supporting the show, I contributed to an enormous growth in Hawaii’s film and television industry that helped dragged the state out of an economic recession.
You’re welcome, Hawaii!
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to not be thinking about everyone who worked on your favorite TV show and movie. It’s their job to entertain you while you kick back and relax with a tub of buttered popcorn after all. But it’s the people who pirate our favorite shows and movies who threaten to kill the things we love. I don’t know what I would’ve done without Lost during summer ’06. Would I have stared at a blank wall like my cat? Been forced to actually go outside?
Not to mention piracy threatens the livelihoods of hardworking people everywhere. Many of the people who worked entry-level jobs on Lost have worked as core crew members on all seven seasons of Hawaii Five-0 and are being hired for Marvel’s new show Inhumans, currently filming on Honolulu. Crew members from a wide range of departments have the ability to hone their skills and rise in the film and television industry ranks, strengthening Hawaii’s film economy so we can get more binge-worthy shows set in the tropical, lush islands.
It’s because of competitive film tax incentives why more and more productions are flocking to Hawaii, with production spending already surpassing $117 million in 2017 so far. In return, productions hire local residents to give back to the local economy. That’s great news for the local cameramen, lighting technicians, and makeup artists who don’t want to uproot their lives and families to tough it out in Los Angeles or New York where rent on a studio apartment could get you a three-bedroom house with a pool in the Midwest.
Speaking of great news, CBS just renewed the crime drama Hawaii Five-0 for an eighth season. That means the 256 local workers in Oahu who worked on Season 7 get to keep their jobs for yet another season. With pay rates increasing 3% each season, salaries for local crew members are expected to exceed $27 million for the upcoming season.
Last year, the filming of Kong: Skull Island hired over 400 local workers in Oahu to help bring the mythical Skull Island to life. While many films rely on green screen technology to cut corners, Kong opted to create valuable film jobs on an island 2,500 miles away from Los Angeles. If you missed the film in theaters, fear not, it’s now available on iTunes and DVD.
If you’re a scumbag who pirates, just know you’re hurting the local workers on shows and films like Hawaii Five-0 and Kong by threatening their ability to land another job in Hawaii’s film and television industry.
Furthermore, when productions come to town, they spend money on everything you can possibly imagine, giving local economies a boost they would not experience otherwise. Hawaii Five-0’s location department budget exceeds $3 million per season, with $1 million going toward security and a little over $1 million going toward the crew housing allowance. Key expenditures per episode include:
- $75,000 on local rentals and purchases for the Electric and Grip departments
- $35,000-$55,000 on transportation rentals and gas
- $30,000 on catering and craft services
- $30,000 on hardware and lumber supplies
- $15,000 on set dressing
During its 42-day stay, Kong: Skull Island generated more than $70.5 million into local economic activity, benefitting a wide array of local businesses and industries. Key expenditures included:
- Over $8 million on local rentals and purchases for set decoration, production, and other supplies
- More than $2 million on transportation, including truck and car rentals
- Nearly $2 million on local catering and other food items for the cast and crew
- More than $2 million on hardware and lumber supplies
- Nearly $5 million on lodging
Every film and television production contributes a significant amount to the local economy where shooting takes place, and by paying for your content, you are supporting creatives and local businesses all over the United States.
I hope it’s not too late, given that an entire decade has passed, but I just want to say THANK YOU to everyone who worked on Lost. You justified my hermit lifestyle with one of the first shows on which I ever binged, and I <3 you for it.