Top Cities in the U.S. for Film and TV Production Not Named New York or Los Angeles
Posted on: May 23, 2020
If you want to work in the entertainment industry but can’t picture yourself in Los Angeles or New York City, your dreams aren’t over. In fact, you have plenty of other options available in which to launch your production career.
Plenty of television and film productions live in zip codes outside of Los Angeles and New York City and there are plenty of great reasons for you and your productions to venture elsewhere. Whether it’s because of tax incentives, gorgeous scenery or to nail down a solid crew base, here are 7 other US cities where the industry is booming.
Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
A 20% tax credit, 4 billion dollars worth of studios and production businesses, and an overall understanding of how the industry benefits jobs statewide (think: tourism, caterers, real estate) makes Georgia one of the fastest growing production and industry minded hubs in the country. To make sure that Atlanta stays at the top of the industry, local colleges have started film industry-focused curriculums for homegrown talent to work in the sector.
Shows filmed in Atlanta: The Vampire Diaries, The Walking Dead, Love and Hip Hop, Family Feud, Say Yes to the Dress
Fun fact: If you notice a “Made in Georgia” peach logo in the credits of your favorite television show, the production received an additional 10% tax credit in addition to that 20% tax credit just for giving Georgia a nice shout-out.
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Boasting itself as “Hollywood South” New Orleans is a culturally deep nook in our country that caters to filmmakers. With a surge of production in the early 2000’s, the state benefits productions with up to 40% tax credit (25% base credit, 10% increase for Louisiana screenplay productions, 5% increase if outside of the New Orleans Metro Statistical Area) and a strong directory of local crew. When speaking with a New Orleans local news outlet on filming in the area, Chris Pratt said NoLa has t “really solid crews.” “(It’s a) great testament to how you can build an industry by making it possible to work there,” he said. “It’s the tax incentives that turned the Louisiana film industry into something really great, and there’s a lot of people working.”
Shows filmed in New Orleans: Scream Queens, NCIS: New Orleans, Into the Badlands, Astronaut Wives Club
Side note: In 2014 Louisiana reported to have 14,000 entertainment industry professionals in the state, just 2,000 less than the seafood industry – which is saying a lot coming from a region known for Cajun cuisine.
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The city of Seattle sells itself by claiming that the state is “30% cheaper to film in than LA” with a 30% cash back incentive on top of that. They also offer the same ocean and arguably better mountains. While they are in tough competition with Vancouver, they do have IATSE crews at the ready and their film and television program is a big part of their economic development plan. If all else fails, they have Twin Peaks to look back on fondly.
Shows filmed in Seattle: Grey’s Anatomy, The Killing
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Giving the region’s tried and true motto a twist, the Minnesota Film and TV Board calls the state “The Land of 10,000 Locations” and provides a “Snowbate” of 20-25% cash back on their productions. Not only does Minnesota have a versatile landscape, but their snow looks a lot better than a fake snow recipe that involves laundry soap flakes.
Shows filmed in Minnesota: Fargo,Natural Born Monsters, Lady Dynamite
Fun fact: One of the Minnesota Film and TV Board’s chairs is Erik Stolhanske of Broken Lizzard fame.
Photo Credit: Luis Boucault / Shutterstock.com
It’s more than the 30% tax credit that brings productions to Chicago. It’s the authentic cityscape, midwest work ethic of the crews, and the established loyalty the city has demonstrated to the industry over the past several decades. Within city limits there is a river, many museums, sculpture parks, and unique architecture and we all know a city with a variety of locations is unbeatable when it comes to production value.
Shows filmed in Chicago: Empire, Real World, Kitchen Crashers
Side note: You have to give it up for any place that welcomes back explosion-philiac Michael Bay with open arms (Transformers 4 was the third installment in the series to feature Chicago).
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Colorado is the only state in the country that will finance up to 20% of a qualifying feature film that is filmed within its borders. This started in 2012 with the implementation of a new house bill that satisfied a high-demand request for in-state production. Not only is that a great incentive for productions to base themselves in the home of the Rockies, but the scenery is unbeatable and is the real deal for what so many Wild West studio sets in California have tried to replicate.
Shows filmed in Colorado: Vice, Myth Hunters, Doomsday Preppers
Fun fact: Home of the production companies that bring you Destination America, Cake Boss, House Hunters and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
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Miami has a 20-30% transferable tax credit for productions that film within the city. The difference between the 20% and 30%? Miami offers fun tax breaks such as a “Family Friendly Bonus” and a 5% tax credit when you film off season. They have even established an incentive program for production companies that hire locals. The city also boosts itself as “the best movie set,” which translates to “our whole city is a stage.” A town can’t be more production friendly than that.
Shows filmed in Miami: Graceland, Bizarre Foods, Burn Notice, Family Takeover
Fun fact: Miami is home to Telemundo, Univision, MTV Tres, and Fusion.
BONUS: NEW MEXICO
Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Although this is a state, New Mexico will give you a 25% film-related tax incentive and their threshold for what qualifies for that incentive is a lot more lenient than most other states. They also tack on an extra 5% for television series and for using residents in the production. They have predictable weather, an established production community, and the state itself is just a stone’s throw from Hollywood proper.
Shows filmed in New Mexico: Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, The Cleaning Lady and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Fun fact: A top tourist attraction for people visiting Albuquerque is a Breaking Bad location tour with either a tour group or you can choose to DIY with resources found online.
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