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In January of 2008, the Seattle Film + Music Office posted an online survey intended to gauge the current state of the local film and music industry. We were fortunate to have 113 respondents, who were extremely forthcoming and informative with their responses. Easily the most apparent and most vocal respondents were those belonging to the Seattle film community (66% of respondents answered that they were primarily in the film industry; 26% said they were primarily involved in music; and the remainder worked in both industries equally). The responses from the music industry, while less frequent, were constructive and to the point. In general, music participants were concerned with the rise of emerging technologies and its effect on product distribution and revenue.

Film responses were more varied. Concerns ranged from shortage of qualified crew members, to rising cost of living, to insufficient support from local government. There was a clear demand for stronger training programs relating to the technical aspects of filmmaking. Respondents cited the rise of new media as both a hindrance and as an avenue toward wider viewership. Many found that marketing Seattle as a more film friendly city would be a crucial first step in attracting outside productions, increasing incentive programs, and improving local infrastructure.

Despite numerous obstacles, many remained optimistic. Most respondents had sustained or increased business growth over the last year (84% of respondents reported that their businesses had either hired more employees or maintained their current workforce; 87% said they had maintained or increased their gross revenue), the majority of which work independently, carry a small crew, or contract out employees (approximately 85% work in companies of 10 employees or fewer). And though a lack of skilled technical professionals was noted as a limitation, nearly all felt there was no shortage of creative talent in the city. Seattle’s geography was often mentioned as a valuable asset to an emerging film industry. People frequently cited the city’s close relation to companies at the forefront of emerging technology as a unique advantage of being located in the area. Likewise, the beautiful and diverse landscapes offer filmmakers an incredible variety of locations in which to tell their stories. Consistently cited was the extremely favorable quality of life enjoyed by our city.

Once again, the Seattle Film + Music Office would like to thank everyone who offered their time, experience, and insights in filling out this survey. We will be using this information as we push ideas forward to the Mayor and Council to grow both the film and music industries.

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