Features, Tom Busch get a trimming

“Barber Shop II,” which wrapped several days earlier than anticipated, hasn’t been the smoothest of feature shoots, but it was one of the touchiest in many a year that we’ve heard about.

Apparently there the conflicts between the director, Kevin Sullivan (“How Stella Got Her Groove Back”) and local production manager Tom Busch made their way outside the closed set.

We heard that Sullivan was very, ah, displeased to learn that Busch had substituted a stunt person of his choice for Cedric the Entertainer, one ostensibly less expensive than Sullivan’s choice from L.A. An eyewitness told us that Busch put his hand on Sullivan’s arm and a shoving match ensued between the two.

At any rate, Lisa Holton of Crain’s Chicago Business interviewed Busch as part of her story on the shrinking film industry. “Like too many others suffering from a dearth of feature gigs,” Holton wrote, “Busch wonders if he’ll finally have to uproot himself after 23 years to move his family to L.A. because of a lack of projects.

“In 1999, we could put four to five crews on the streets here at any time,” Busch told Holton, “and today, I’m trying to hire carpenters who don’t want to give up residential jobs just so they can spend two months on my movie.”

“Things are so quiet here, people with 15 to 20 years of experience in Chicago are pulling up stakes and heading for California,” Busch said.

Optimus’ Tom Duff and Jellyvision’s Amanda Lannert, who also were interviewed for the story, commented on taking a hit from the the loss of the long-standing sales tax exemption on graphic arts equipment that will add 10% on any new equipment that post companies may buy.*

Learn what the wage tax credit means to you in our Special Report on the ABCs of the bill by attorneys Bob Labate and Kristen Flagel.