Actors Happy Hour! on Tuesday, May 19, at Mother’s Bistro, was a rousing success on all fronts, given that APP-NW had an ambitious agenda for the evening. As you know, Actors Happy Hour! always features a conversation on a topic of interest to our members and this month the topic was OPIF/iOPIF, Oregon’s film incentive programs. Before that conversation started, however, APP-NW gave a report on its efforts to acquire true, 501(c)3, not-for-profit status. More about that in paragraph six!
Nathaniel Applefield of OMPA gave a great report on the current status of legislation in Salem to improve and extend the Oregon Production Incentive Program and the Indiginious Production Incentive Program. Applefield gave us a comprehensive explanation of how the programs work and how they are designed to grow. He pointed out that Oregon’s plan is to control the growth of the program to match the growth and training of Oregonians to fill the jobs on OPIF projects. Nathaniel noted that other states with much larger incentive packages and/or no caps on the number of projects are finding that their infrastructure does not keep pace and usually have to import crew and other personnel.
Applefield emphasized the overarching goal of this year’s legislative push was to extend the sunset of the program to 2024 and to increase the overall pot of funds available for the tax credits. He urged all in the community to contact their state legislators with their own personal stories of what our industry means to them and how their lives are affected by the availability of work right here at home.
Tim Williams, Executive Director of Oregon Film, was also on hand to give his perspective on the bright future of the Oregon film industry. We were honored he was able to take the time to join us.
To round out the discussion of OPIF/iOPIF 2015, Lara Cuddy of Reverie Films shared her experiences with the programs from the producer’s prospective. As one member pointed out, the more our performers know about the whole process of getting a project made the better able we will be to make a meaningful contribution to that project’s success. It’s rare that we as performers have a window on what goes into putting a project together, so Lara’s remarks were eagerly received.
But the biggest surprise of the evening came as Nathaniel Applefield led an impromptu “paddle raiser” to collect cash and pledges to fund APP-NW’s filing fees to acquire 501(c)3 status. His enthusiasm put us well over the top and we will be filing the paperwork – with the required fee – very soon! At the top of the evening, APP-NW presented a progress report on its efforts to become a real, “grown up” organization. Paperwork had already been completed to register as a non-profit corporation with Oregon and to get a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN). The last step of the process was filing for 501(c)3 status, which required a substantial fee. We anticipated collecting the money at AHH! over the next few months. We were surprised, delighted and humbled at the level of commitment and support shown us on Tuesday as we more than met our goal and our total filing fees for the entire process are more than covered.
Achieving 503(c)3 status does a number of things for APP-NW. First, it makes the organization the responsible party, rather than an individual. The generous soul who had been lending his Social Security Number to the organization has heaved a huge sigh of relief! But most important, APP-NW will be able to solicit tax deductible donations that will allow us to go forward with our plans to increase the number and complexity of the educational and training opportunities for our professional performer community. After all, in addition to creating work-place standards, APP-NW exists to improve and increase the level of professionalism in our community.
Singer Cyndi Lauper said her father told her: “Da more ya loin, da more ya oin!” (learn/earn – for those who don’t speak Queens, NY) That’s our philosophy here at APP-NW, too. Come learn with us. The sky’s the limit.