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Ian Arnold on Morning View's Next Steps (Featured User Comment)

The proposed $2.8 billion studio project is a huge deal -- very worthy of critique and scrutiny. At the same time, it deserves to be treated fairly.

 

We like to feature user comments that we find particularly interesting on Patch. Sometimes the comments will be thought-provoking and unique and other times they will be funny or creative. 

This one, from Ian Arnold, just feels level-headed and reasonable. (View it on the right). The comment was written shortly after the last councilmeeting, when Morning View announced that it has the 300 acres needed to move forward with land purchase agreements. They've since signed letters of intent to purchase more land within the city limits. The city manager and several councilmembers voiced their support for the project at that meeting. 

Morning View is being discussed heavily on Dixon Patch these days. That makes total sense, because the proposed $2.8 billion studio project is a huge deal -- very worthy of critique and scrutiny. At the same time, it deserves to be treated fairly, like any other business. 

It's easy to take an extreme stance when it comes to big news items like this, especially when it comes to internet commenting. But for the sake of the town, there's value in maintaining context and proceeding accordingly. That goes for both sides of the issue. 

In just a few sentences, Arnold strikes that tone, which is why we wanted to share his comment. 

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Joe Knows March 23, 2013 at 03:50 AM
$2.8 billion film studio in Dixon? Who is going to fund it? Whoever believes this proposal is legit, should buy shares for the new movie studio and see what happens to their money. You would be better off buying swamp land in Florida.
J.r. Hesseltine March 23, 2013 at 03:10 PM
As I said before and i think everyone knows there is alot of questions out there that need to be anwsered and as i understand it,it cant happened until the questions are answered in a public form so as i see it who really cares what M V is doing more power to them.I also think this will be a good thing,but as for now who knows !!! I do know one thing it has giving me the since of Community talking with everyone on here and agreeing and disageeing so for that THANK YOU MORNING VIEW for the subject and THANK YOU the PATCH for giving us the form only found out about you guys alittle over a year ago after i had back surgery and couldnt get out so ii feels good to know whats going on here around me in this little ole town ..
Josh Harris March 23, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Yep. I made a feature film called No Ambition in Suisun a few years ago and worked on a few other features. Worked on a ton of shorts. I was stage manager at www.sfdigifilm.com a while back and I graduated from there. Helped with about a hundred short movies there or so. Placed third in a writing competition www.168project.com recently. Just trying to see what I am good at. I also go to the Biola Media Conference every year, which is how I know Howard Kazanjian is a stand up guy. Don't know if he's connect with this project though, just heard a rumor (among the cloud of others).
Josh Harris March 23, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I'd say that the issue is not the viability and beneficial nature of the idea, but the credibility of the funding and the execution of the idea that is worth scrutiny. Dixon would be an outstanding place for a movie studio because it's a quiet, low crime, low drama area where a movie can be shot in peace. There is relatively low cost of living, it's close to an international airport and to San Francisco... it's a great place for a movie studio. Movie studios are really clean and prefer to mind their own business. It's a good industry for a quiet town actually. A slaughterhouse would have been much more noisy, stinky and bad for the environment, but it would have fit the "reputation" of Dixon, but maybe not the character. Dixon is quiet and clean. Been there a lot and considered moving there a while back. So the real question is... are the people of Dixon being duped? That's a fair question, but it's not looking that way at the moment...
Ian Arnold March 23, 2013 at 09:01 PM
The $2.8 billion threw me when this was first announced. It's a huge number. For the life of me, I can't imagine how that much could be spent on some buildings. Then I realized the total cost includes construction, hiring and training staff, outfitting the studio with the right equipment, vehicle purchases and many other costs over the next few years. The number still seems awfully big, but according to the MPAA, in 2007 the average film cost $65.8M to produce. That helps me put the number into context. The cost over the next couple of years of building, staffing, training and outfitting the studio is about 42.5 times the cost of one of its products. I still look forwarding to more information, but the number doesn't bother me any more--at least not like it did at first.
Josh Harris March 23, 2013 at 09:07 PM
It's a big number no matter how you slice it. I'm not sure what they plan to put in, but if they want that many sound stages and the backlot... there's plenty of ways to spend money on that sort of stuff. All the things you said make sense. But 2.8 billion is a lot of money and, like I said, it will be interesting to see how credible this is and how they plan to execute this project. I'm not sure what the real figures are either.
Gary Erwin March 23, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Consider building everything, buying all of the equipment, staffing, training, a few years of wages and the funding for the first few features. I think once the details are in it will make more sense.
Gary Erwin March 23, 2013 at 11:24 PM
We all need to remember that this is a privately funded project, not our money and they are the professionals. We just need to be patient and wait to see it unfold.
Gary Erwin March 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Josh, The residents of Dixon elected a Mayor and City Council and they in turn hired our City Manager. None of the above people have an issue with the Studio being built. They have checked things out. I suggest that you spend your time helping to fix the problems in Fairfield and let the residents of Dixon work this out.
Since 1865 March 24, 2013 at 02:52 AM
I look forward to more truth coming to light on this whole fairytale. People may not like negative comments or sometimes the flat out truth but its needed to keep everyone honest. I and the others have as much right to voice the negative as others do the positive.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 03:01 AM
I agree with you on the face of your statement but when people go as far as to possibly damage another’s reputation then it is a no go for me. Many of the items that were brought up I could have helped you through. I’d seen all of that before and I know the city was aware of it. It will be great to see the details come out into the open. I know deep down that this will be a net positive for the community. I can’t wait for others to see it in the same light.
Joe Knows March 24, 2013 at 03:09 AM
In my experience, it takes more than a few professionals to put together a $2.8 billion project. Large corporations take years to make a commitment and budget decision for a project of this large proportion. I highly doubt that a startup LLC, led by one CEO, has the private sponsors to make this happen.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Oh and you’re a High School Teacher, well that’s the rumor. What do you teach?
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Key to your statement was "In my experience". What if this is a new way of doing things? A fully integrated production campus funded by the independent professionals that are going to use it. Maybe they are tired of reinventing the wheel every time they want to tell a new story. Many aspects of the industry are in trouble…look at VFX for example. Tax incentives have been driving where films are shot…one year it is Vancouver the next Arizona each time the incentives change the hot crews move or new crews are developed only to be shut out a few years later by some state that has a sharper pencil. I believe what we will see is a lineup of well known producers and directors that have scripts that they want to develop and release…not having to bow to one of the big six. Not every story that should be told will be a tent pole…some stories just need to be told. They will also have a list of tent poles (Blockbusters) that they will do….but it is the other stories that they got into the business to tell.
Since 1865 March 24, 2013 at 03:45 AM
I'm suprised its gone this far, like the track the land will be bought and then it will get voted down. That is if the land even gets purchased, so far nobodys shown this town anything or put their money where their mouth is.
Joe Knows March 24, 2013 at 06:33 AM
Key to your statement Gary is "what if"? How about this - What if the city of Dixon makes a mistake on this project and gets sued like the city of Mammoth and goes bankrupt? There is no new way of doing things. Business is business and the city of Dixon best have a team of lawyers looking at this, not the city council and the city planner.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Joe give it a little time. The City is not making a mistake. They will soon get to a point where they can tell us a lot more. Business is done this way, the movie business often sets up LLC's and does not fund them until they are sure that they are ready to pull the trigger. Look around the country and you will see other smaller studios that have been built using tax dollars. These people are asking for none of that….be thankful.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Get to know about the industry: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-runaway-visual-effects-20130324,0,1842816.story?track=rss
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Uh... I have never taught a day of highschool in my life. I'm not a teacher, but I did teach a lot of filmmakers at the school in San Francisco in my role as Stage Manager because people had no idea what they were doing on their first projects. Not sure why you ask...
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 05:01 PM
I have no interest in fixing the problems of Fairfield. I may become a Dixon resident if this studio project works.
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 05:08 PM
There are a ton of FX people out of work right now, that's for sure. Outsourcing doesn't help. Is this project supposed to have an FX division as well?
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 05:23 PM
But my wife is related to John Howland from the Mayflower. I read in your profile you are related. Do you have family from Minnesota?
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 05:38 PM
Interesting, I googled Josh Harris Suisun and there is indeed a teacher there... but it ain't me. "There can be only one..." jk. No, be assured that I am not that Josh Harris, my middle name is Paul, named after my wonderful grandfather, RIP.
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 06:05 PM
I'm twitter @DirJoshHarris
Josh Harris March 24, 2013 at 06:10 PM
http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/dudewhomakesmovies/page/2/ I used to have this when Kathy L'Ecluse thought it was worth publishing for some reason. God bless her, RIP as well.
Joe Knows March 24, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Gary, I appreciate your positive response. It sounds like you are familiar with the film industry. I am questioning the legitimacy of this particular LLC, given its' past history. Also, there are many factors involved in a project this size that a small city council really needs the advice of wise counsel, before they make any commitments. Failing to do so, may lead us down the wrong path and put the City of Dixon in financial jeapardy. There have been other failed projects in this city that are an example of that (e.g. train station, library property) There are also other more important projects already on the table that need to be addressed (e.g. water). I am concerned that our city council is wasting time on a "pie in the sky" proposal, when time is short to prepare our city in other areas.
Joe Knows March 24, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Gary, I appreciate your positive response. It sounds like you are familiar with the film industry. I am questioning the legitimacy of this particular LLC, given its' past history. Also, there are many factors involved in a project this size that a small city council really needs the advice of wise counsel, before they make any commitments. Failing to do so, may lead us down the wrong path and put the City of Dixon in financial jeapardy. There have been other failed projects in this city that are an example of that (e.g. train station, library property) There are also other more important projects already on the table that need to be addressed (e.g. water). I am concerned that our city council is wasting time on a "pie in the sky" proposal, when time is short to prepare our city in other areas.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Josh my understanding is "everything under one roof" and this makes sense knowing the condition of both VFX and Practical Efx. Both areas have and continue to take hit after hit.
Gary Erwin March 24, 2013 at 11:37 PM
Joe, don't confuse the library blunder with the City Council. I do understand your point. Trust me when the whole enchilada is out there in front of you steaming...you'll like it. The net effect on the city will be positive.
David A. Davis March 26, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Joe you are 100% correct. Reference any 2 to 4 billion dollar project....... i.e. Apple 2 Campus in Cupertino, LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal, Willets Point Development Project in New York and you will find that from purchase of land to completion and occupancy is 2 to 3 times the timeline Morning View is claiming. This topic has everything to do with my experience (38 years of commerical big job sub-contracting) and simply cannot be built by January 2015. A realistic timeline would be 5 to 7 years from this date forward. That is of course if the funding is available. The environmental impact study required by the State of California could bring things to a grinding halt indefinitely along with several other hurdles inherent in a project of this scope. City Council meetings are about to get very popular.....dave

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