Throughout the exhibitor hall at Siggraph, Louisiana officials had a perfect opportunity to reach attendees about moving to “Hollywood South”.
And the message was simple: the state expanded tax credits to include animation studios or anything digitally made. Anytime I walked by the Louisiana booth, they were constantly pepping that the state has a low cost-of-living expenses than New York and Los Angeles and our colleges are preparing students for the digital workforce.
The Digital Interactive Tax Credit, which was passed during the recent Louisiana legislature session, offers 25% tax credit for digital interactive media that is produced in the state as well as an additional 10% tax credit on payroll expenses to Louisiana residents. One studio is taking advantage of the new program, Moonbot Studios of Shreveport, La.
The education sector is also changing to adopt the new tax incentives and workforce. The flagship Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge recently landed Electronic Arts in building the North America testing center. LSU-Shreveport’s Animation and Visual Effects Institute has seen a 400% increase in enrollment in the one-year-old program. The LSU-Shreveport program also has a working relationship with the newly-establish animation studio, Moonbot.
What’s unclear is if the recent budget cuts to education institutes will hamper innovation. One student told me that the College or Arts and Design at Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge did suffer from the recent cutbacks but the college received a grant to fill in the gap that was left from budget cuts. The Animation and Visual Effects Institute at LSU-Shreveport also suffered from the recent budget cuts, but the program didn’t have to lay off employees; John Miralles, director the AVE institute at LSUS told me.
Even with the budget cuts, the student at LSU believes that animation studios are coming to Louisiana as more movie productions are made in the state.