There are signs that San Francisco’s post-production business is returning to pre-9/11 levels. The last few years have been tough on the region, with the downward-trending economy in general and the bursting of the Silicon Valley dot-com bubble in particular.
Local post facility DubeyTunes Studios erroneously reported as out of business by this reporter in a recent issue of Pro Sound News is just one example of the many local post houses that are doing just fine, thank you. DubeyTunes and its several divisions continue to be very successful in developing audio and entertainment products for a variety of markets, including media delivery platforms, mobile entertainment, and games, according to CEO Stuart Dubey.
Crescendo! also has responded to the upturn by diversifying and expanding its services with the creation of a hybrid room to handle 5.1 projects in addition to traditional stereo work. Director of operations, Cindy McSherry, reports that the facility enjoys a strong advertising agency client base.
San Francisco’s audio post community has long relied on ad agency business, says Brian Botel of local pro audio equipment dealer, Cutting Edge Audio Group. A number of the agencies that fled the area after the dot-commers disappeared have since returned, restoring some degree of normalcy.
A recently announced package of initiatives by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will also likely have a positive impact on the regional post-production market. Keen to restore the city’s role as a major attraction to Hollywood producers and location scouts, Newsom’s plan offers a total overhaul of the city’s film office and commission.
According to reports in local publications, not a single Hollywood film has been made in the area for two years, and television production has been nowhere near the level that it enjoyed in the 1990s, when shows such as Nash Bridges made extensive use of San Francisco’s historic urban landscape as well as available soundstages and post facilities.
Mayor Newsom’s 7-point plan appoints local entertainment heavyweights to the film commission and dangles several carrots before Hollywood. Those include tax incentives as well as capital investment in the Treasure Island film facilities, former home of Nash Bridges.
Meanwhile, Lucasfilm is on track to move into the Letterman Digital Arts Center on a 7-acre business campus in the Presidio in 2005. The sometimes-controversial creation of a cutting-edge movie production operation in the federal enclave brings 1,500 jobs into a city that is already riding high on the successes of the locally based Pixar animation company and Electronic Arts videogame studios.