SIC 7819 Services Allied to Motion Picture Production

 
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SIC 7819

This category includes establishments primarily engaged in performing services independent of motion picture production, but associated thereto. These include motion picture film processing, editing and titling, casting, wardrobe and studio property rental, motion picture and video tape reproduction, and stock footage film libraries.

NAICS CODE(S)

512191

Teleproduction and Other Post-Production Services

561310

Employment Placement Agencies

532220

Formal Wear and Costumes Rental

532490

Other Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Rental and Leasing

541214

Payroll Services

711510

Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers

334612

Prerecorded Compact Disc (Except Software), Tape, and Record Manufacturing

512199

Other Motion Picture and Video Industries

INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT

This highly fragmented industry covers a range of services and products geared toward the production of motion pictures. Usually, firms engaged in this sector focus mainly or exclusively on a specialized operation and generally contract their services to motion picture producers or distributors. As small, relatively unleveraged firms, these hired guns often are forced to compete with each other on pricing in order to attract major Hollywood studios as well as independent filmmakers, who typically work with a tight budget. In 2006, 7,700 establishments operated in this industry, earning a combined $6.44 billion in revenue. The two largest and highest earning segments were video tape or disk reproduction and sound effects or music production.

Major studios such as Disney and Twentieth Century Fox invested in large facilities to house equipment for post-production activities, including editing and sound mixing, that can be accomplished onsite. Some, like Twentieth Century Fox, boast complete ground-up digital integration, bypassing the need for analog sound conversion. Others include wardrobe and scenery stocks and tape reproduction facilities. Thus, the firms engaged in services allied to motion picture production were scrambling to maintain their viability in this increasingly consolidated marketplace, often positioning themselves as an attractive purchase for major studios.

The hottest sector of the industry in the early 2000s was the production of special effects and animation. The astounding success and proliferation of films and movies featuring computer-generated special effects led to a rapid expansion and enhancement of these technologies. Film studios were engaged in competition to dazzle audiences with the most amazing visual images. By the end of the 1990s, 16 of the 20 largest all-time box-office hits had sold themselves primarily on special effects. By the 2000s the trend continued, with films including Spider-Man, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Star Wars: Episode II, Finding Nemo, Shrek 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest dominating the top rankings for box office earnings.

ORGANIZATION AND STRUCTURE

The overall structure of the services allied to motion picture industry is distinguished by a heavy reliance on subcontracting and freelance talent. Firms rarely enjoy movie-gross percentages and remain fixed on jumping from one short-term contract to another. As a result, these companies are usually in a poor bargaining position with studios, a feature that is exacerbated by the highly fragmented nature of the industry. They are continually forced to monitor the contracts competitors enter into in an effort to out-price them and attract studios.

The key players in the industry are the directors and producers who develop strong relational networks based on previous successes and reputations. The production team, which is composed of primary and allied production services, brings together a diverse group of professionals, services, and capital equipment. These relationships are temporary, created for the single purpose of producing a particular film. However, such temporary organizations are reassembled with the production of each new film. A service provider's reputation is a paramount factor in the ability to facilitate membership in the new network.

Motion picture production is a highly complex business that involves interplay of commercial and creative considerations. There are a number of interrelated activities that may be broken down into four phases of development, pre-production, production, and post-production.

Development

The development stage involves acquiring literary rights, writing and developing a screenplay, and hiring key creative personnel such as the director and the cast. Key allied services during the development stage include those offered by literary agents and talent and casting services.

Literary agents represent writers and directors. Agents negotiate for their clients and review scripts. They make determinations regarding what projects constitute good film property and then convince producers and actors to take on these projects. Most literary agents are involved in the development of potential deals, concept development, and the provision of creative and practical advice on translating a script into a motion picture.

Casting for a motion picture is usually the result of interaction between the casting director and casting consultants or services. The casting director is responsible for casting roles and maintaining an ongoing relationship with talent and casting consultants. Casting consultants are hired on an individual project basis. They function as an actor clearinghouse for the director. Casting consultants seek out and hire actors, negotiate...

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