Relax, the tax incentives will go into effect

IRONICALLY, GOV. BLAGOJEVICH was going to sign the Illinois 30% tax credit bill into law next Monday at Essanay Studios! The unconfirmed signing ceremony was being set up because the governor had the time to do so.

We can safely assume that the gov’s photo op signing will be put indefinitely on hold.

That doesn’t mean the bill will languish as it did earlier this year — delayed first by the senate action and then by Blago’s demand for a photo op surrounded by celebs, taking it into May.

Blagojevich will remain governor, however, for the forseeable future. He can sign the tax credit quietly before Jan. 1. If not, it will automatically become law in late February, or 60 days after its passage by the state senate.

MORE FINANCIAL STRESS is being put on spot houses doing business with Detroit’s Big 3 carmakers. They are said to be changing their payment policy to commercial companies by delaying payment for a total of 40 days.

The new policy will pay 50% of the job 70 days after the contract is signed, and the second 50% will be paid 70 days after the project is delivered.

This puts spotmakers in a precarious financial position themselves, since payment to their crew and suppliers will be delayed as well. For the past 30 years, commercial producers have been accustomed to the accepted payment of 50% when a job starts and 50% immediately upon completion.

OPRAH IS OFFICIALLY TOPS, ranking first on The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 list, an annual ranking of the most influential women in the entertainment industry.

On another Oprah front, the multimedia mogul will host at least two episodes of her talk show in Washington, D.C., Jan. 19, the day before our new president, Barack Obama, is sworn into office.

WHO’S NEW. At Foundation Post, Tim Sepulveda, most recently with Radar and Daily Planet, has joined as a motion graphics design, expanding that department to six. He’s worked on McDonald’s, Nintendo, Nickelodeon and Viacom, among other commercials.

“THE MERRY GENTLEMEN,” shot here in early 2007, will kick of the Midwest Indie Film Fest’s 2009 program series Feb. 3.

“Gentlemen” was written by DraftFCB production exec Ron Lazzeretti, a former spot company owner and producer of an earlier feature and many award-winning shorts. Michael Keaton stars and also directed and Steven Jones produced.

ONE OF OUR HOLLYWOOD READERS is home boy Vince Vaughn, as evidenced by his Email to up-and-coming movie mogul Reid Brody in the BackTalk comments section at the end of the story.

IFP’S HOLIDAY BLOWOUT MONDAY will introduce Kodak’s new product launch and screen the winning film of the IFP’s 2008 Production Fund. The festivities go from 7-10 p.m. at 1104 W. Wabash. Free and open to all.

CHICAGO SCREENWRITERS NETWORK reports that although screenplays are flowing in, a reminder of the fast-approaching Dec. 31 deadline should spur all you procrastinators.

IPA’S NIGHT AT THE MOVIES Dec. 15 will be a giant networking party for everyone in the biz, with the purpose of raising money for greatly needed marketing and promotion of our newly-won 30% tax incentives. PHIL DONLON’S SHORT FILM, “Wrestled,” about a religious man trying to change a prostitute, airs through December on IFC. Chicagoan Steve Ordower edited, music by Tony-winning musician Duncan Sheik. Donlon is a former Chicago filmmaking who has been working in L.A.

Donlon’s new film, “The Man in the Silo,” was dedicated to his friend, the late David Lee, whom many will remember from the Original Screen days. “Silo” had a successful star-studded L.A. premiere at the Beverly Hills’ Fine Art Theatre. “It’s tied up in a bitter law suit and can’t be distributed, although we’ve had many offers,” Donlon reports.

Party venue is The Ashland, an iconoclastic bar owned by three former L.A. club owners. IPA members free, of course, and non-members pay $20. Free pizza, popcorn, movie candy and surprises are part of the fun.

MILESTONE: Michael Frank’s Earwig Music’s celebrates its 30th anniversary of producing recordings for blues artists Saturday, Dec. 13 with a Liz Mandeville CD release of her “Red Top.”

The performance, party and art exhibit takes place at Tencat Productions in Evanston. Exhibit at 6 p.m., performance at 9.

AD STATS TO PONDER. The bad news: eMarketer estimates that U. S. TV ad spending will decline 4.2% to $66.9 billion in 2009, not only due to the economy, but the fundamental changes in how TV advertising is bought and sold.

The good news: online advertising is expected to grow to $29.5 billion next years.

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