I have really cool friends. They are heroes and saving the life of something I never even knew was threatened.
They are saving Hollywood.
Sharon and Bob Jimenez, hosts of the popular LA Business Today show, are on a mission to restore Hollywood’s glory days of movie making back to its former glory.
I thought Hollywood was as viable and crazy as ever.
Well I guess some parts are anyway.
Some, not so much.
How did such an effort begin and what was the necessity for its formation?
According to Sharon, the idea for Bring Hollywood Home began when in 2008 Hollywood actors were devastated by the writer's strike.
"They contacted me and said that they realized no matter how talented they were, they were victims of forces much larger than their talents keeping them from the jobs they had trained a lifetime for in the arts. I brought my leadership through Icon Imaging PR to their cause of attacking apathy and getting young Hollywood to realize that political activism and their futures went hand in hand."
Meanwhile, Sharon's husband Bob went to work for Senator Ron Calderon while she worked to bring actors, writers and producers into the understanding of the tax credit incentives that might help them get more work in California.
"When the first California tax credits to address runaway production were finally passed in 2009, Calderon's office was bombarded with phone calls from independent producers who were very upset that the tax credits didn't include anything but a non-transparent lottery for independent filmmakers not connected to the major studio projects. I opened up my condo in Westwood and over a hundred independent filmmakers, producers, actors and writers showed up with a FB post."
Sharon said that moment in Westwood was when the idea for Bring Hollywood Home came into full focus.
"Forces too large and too corporate were controlling everything from news to programming and the 'money' needed to make movies, TV, commercials and media enterprises. Independents needed a seat at the table in the legislature and in the business leadership of California."
Recently Sharon and Bob hosted a star-studded event for supporters that brought out a cache of celebs. The Benefit Concert for Bring Hollywood Home on July 30, 2012, for raising awareness of the loss of jobs in California from nearly two decades of runaway production was a huge success.
Sharon and Bob are no strangers to the battlefields of social issues.
Bob is a Peabody Award-winning documentary maker and respected television reporter/anchorman who has long battled to bring social issues into focus.
"In 2005 I worked for Bill Mundell, Chairman of Californians for Fair Redistricting. Out gunned by lawmakers who didn't want to give up their power to draw their own districts, we decided to make a documentary film about gerrymandering. I became the producer of Gerrymandering the Movie."
Bob's background was useful in his Bring Hollywood Home efforts.
"In 2010 Sharon formed Bring Hollywood Home as a 501c4. For the past two and a half years I have built many relationships with filmmakers. The benefit concert on July 30 was the culmination of a lot of work to build a non-profit with no money and with some very serious detractors who were not in favor of a 501c4 led by a grassroots activist with a big PR and political consulting resume like mine.
Sharon is an independent filmmaker bringing many skills to the leadership of Bring Hollywood Home.
"My fierce determination and passion for justice goes back to my early days of reporting the news in Jacksonville, Florida, Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia. I took on human trafficking sending some pimps to prison for their trafficking of underage teenage girls—a few death threats—I was the first reporter in Atlanta to cover the Atlanta Child Murders and became a close friend and advocate to the mothers of the missing and murdered children. I was state capitol bureau chief at the Gannett-owned WXIA-TV where my reporting changed the law about receiving political contributions that directly influenced voting on banking bills. My reporting did not make me popular with the powerful Georgia legislature."
Sharon said the tax breaks and incentives from other states have obviously been catnip to movie makers who are plagued with less money, even in Hollywood, and forced to cut the bottom line.
Personally, I agree that Hollywood must remain the capital of the film world. How glamorous would it be to see headlines reading: Chinese red carpet event draws huge crowds as Joan Rivers insults China's leaders and their wives as they enter the Oscar night festivities?
Oops, just doesn't sound the same to me.
If you love Hollywood and want it to remain the film capital of the world, consider joining the battle. There is always a need for soldiers on the front lines of Tinseltown.
Kudos to Sharon and Bob, who as usual are fighting the good fight and winning!