On production costs:
Yes, production costs are cheaper north of Gotham, but only slightly: Connecticut Film Center’s Stamford facility rents for about 10% less per square foot than comparable New York studio spaces, according to CFC managing director Bruce Heller.On working cheaper and AMC/OLTL's competition:
The real Connecticut attraction is the tax break, Frank said. The state offers a 30% tax credit for production costs, above and below the line. New York, by contrast, extends a 30% credit for below-the-line costs only.
The recurring question from prospective financiers, Kwatinetz said, was: “ABC has smart people. What do you think you can do better?”On union agreements and actor/crew pay:
The answer: Not only work faster and cheaper than traditional nets on the production side, but keep more ad and distribution dollars for themselves on the backend.
On the Internet, the soaps will face a different kind of battle for viewers. Kwatinetz is emphasizing story and production values — within budget — because he knows his shows will be competing among thousands of selections available at a mouse click or finger-tap.
“Our competition isn’t GENERAL HOSPITAL,” he maintained. “It’s the primetime soaps on Hulu. It’s, ‘Do I want to watch this, or Jon Stewart?’ ”
Prospect Park worked out deals last December with the unions — SAG-AFTRA, DGA and WGA. Terms of those agreements aren’t public. In general, they give the producers more flexibility. For example, actors are paid per day, rather than per episode under previous guild contracts. With the accelerated production sked, that means if, say, an actor works on five episodes in one day, net pay is much less.
Kwatinetz acknowledged Prospect Park is paying somewhat less to the soaps’ cast and crew. But, he said, “It’s not like we’re paying people one-third what they’d get in New York.”