"Not everyone should have, or wants to have, a film industry," says Jean Prewitt, the president and chief executive officer of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (Ifta). "Countries and communities have to understand why they are doing it."
Prewitt has had so many inquiries over the years from countries, states and communities about encouraging film production that she was inspired to team up with LA-based consultant Rob Aft of Compliance Consulting to write a guide for local communities which are interested in building, attracting or accommodating production activity.
The Rules Of Attraction: Creating A Production-Friendly Community is designed to explain exactly how producers should best be accommodated while also keeping in mind the needs of local residents and the community at large.
It also ensures that communities ask themselves the reasons for their interest in film production.
"You get people coming through, particularly from emerging nations and US states, who are anxious to set up financial incentives for producers," says Prewitt.
"Now money is incredibly important, of course, but jurisdictions trying to get tax incentives may be incentivising the wrong thing. Ultimately you have to address a whole range of other needs. There also have to be clear rules, easy permitting, transparency in labour and taxation issues, and proactivity in getting the producer the information. There's a difference between accommodating a couple of films and building regular traffic."
The guide looks at three types of community with differing levels of experience or appetite and lays out what each should focus on in terms of infrastructure, marketing and logistics.
"You have to have an office where someone can call," says Aft. "You should make sure the restrictions are clear. You need to waive some of these restrictions. But you also need to help communities understand what is happening if streets are going to be closed or cars going to be blown up."
Prewitt adds: "We're trying to help cities, states and countries consider all the different aspects.
"The cultural benefits have to be made clear to their populations. Look at the benefit to Hawaii of having [TV series] Lost shoot there or to New Zealand of hosting Lord Of The Rings."
But you cannot just grab those benefits overnight. You have got to be able to talk the producers' language, say Prewitt and Aft. "The significance of having a film office with someone who knows the film industry cannot be underestimated," she says.
The Rules Of Attraction is available from the Ifta website (www.ifta-online.org).