Film Industry Jobs: A Shift From Hollywood to the South

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Many TV shows and films have been produced in Hollywood, but that could be shifting to a new locale

California has always been a hopeful place for career success. It was famous during the gold rush of the 19th century, and until just recently Hollywood enticed aspiring actors with its enormous productions that they could only dream of joining.

While California still makes money in movies and television – producers, actors and crew are finding better work in other states such as Georgia, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

The stars’ names may still shine on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but the actual stars are filming elsewhere, and the question is: Why have they found work in other states more appealing?

The answer lies mostly in economics.

Why Are Film Industry Jobs Leaving California?

Several contributing economic factors detract actors and producers from flashy and expensive Hollywood stages. Not only is the cost of living a big hurdle in finding work, but so is the cost of filmmaking. California is losing business for three main reasons:

1. Prices Are Higher in Los Angeles

We all know it’s more expensive to live in this large city, and not just because of the $6 coffees at Starbucks. Take a look at this list of the top ten states with the highest taxes this year, and you’ll see that California is No. 4, collecting the highest amount in total state taxes at $115.1 billion.

These numbers make an unattractive location for movies, whose investors not only end up paying over their budget in taxes but also in food, hotels, equipment and other expenses that come with making a movie and hiring a crew.

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Films like the Hunger Games have shot primarily in North Carolina, eschewing Hollywood for better economics

If investors need a large crew for a big production, they’ll pay higher hourly wages because of the high cost of living. If the crew is traveling, they’ll pay higher rates for hotel rooms and meals. Even if investors want to celebrate at local gourmet restaurants, they can’t do it without breaking the bank, which is why other states like Louisiana and North Carolina are more appealing.

2. Other States Offer Better Tax Credits

While LA may be hailed as a glorious filmmaking capital, all that glitz and glamour is taxed, and people are finding discounts elsewhere. With other states offering tax credits to ease the price of production and California offering little benefits, filmmakers are taking more advantage of locations that will put leftover money in their pocket.

California’s rationale stems from the fact that most of the tools for filmmaking are already at their fingertips, but producers have a different rationale with the simple factor of money in mind. If it’s cheaper to use an actual building in Georgia as a movie set than a fabricated set in California, and if the state offers more tax incentives, why wouldn’t a company set up production in Georgia?

Even big-budget movies have opted for these locations.

The first Hunger Games movie was filmed primarily in North Carolina, and the recently wrapped-up production of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was filmed mostly in Georgia. Such movies could save up to 30 percent of their budget with tax credits.

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3. California Jobs Are Becoming Scarce

The entertainment business is a hard act to break into, but it’s becoming even more of a struggle for California employees. A quick look at statistics shows the decline in California’s employment prospects, simply put film industry jobs are spreading out across the country instead of concentrating in California. From this chart, you can see the huge employment increase in states like Louisiana and Pennsylvania while California has decreased.

Workers have found themselves in situations where the financial strain of California combined with the lack of available film industry jobs and few benefits pushed them back across the country.

Advice For Entertainment Careers

If you aspire to work in entertainment, maybe the best place to start is not California, as many people are led to believe. The outlook today is better and cheaper in southern locations for many different-sized productions.

Who knows? You could end up on a set with Vin Diesel or Jennifer Lawrence.

This article is a guest contribution from public relations specialist Savannah Marie, who also happens to run the wonderfully informative blog Mixios.com

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About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.

Comments

  1. I’ve heard that Atlanta is a thriving place to be for TV, Film and music industry jobs. I was wondering if any insight to that?

  2. I am from California and its a shame thatI cant even afford to live back at home. Iwould love to give my kids my same California experience and upbring but seriously California is very over rated. For what people pey id rather live in Hawaii for that expense theres alot of violence its not even worth it.The question is what would California do if everyone moved out maybe that would force the state to rethink things . Cause you cant have no production without actors everything goes hand and hand.

  3. Tillnetta Johnson says:

    Hello Mr. Clapp, I have a concern now I am a Ga native and I know that a lot of movies are coming here if not already here in Ga. I’ve applied to be an extra for the hit show the Vampire Dairies on several occasions like today even! I’ve even met the unit production manager of the show twice at the same pet store but at two different locations when I was working at those stores at the time. And she told me what I could possibly do to get into the industry. She did however gave me two different email addresses and when I told her that I did email her she said that her assistant may not have passed it along or it went into her spam. I told her it is a yahoo account and one of her accounts was a yahoo account as well. The other was a google which I know a lot of people use in this business. Now, since she never got in touch with me I was able to get on w/ the Walking Dead as a Day P.A. in 2011, through someone and that was it. I sent the the unit prd. mangr my resume again with the updated info she still never responded, but I tried other ways as well.

    I went to school for television and radio here in Atlanta -CSB finished in 07 and still looking for work… don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it’s still hard to find work here at home. Yes I know people but it’s still hard and I’m just thinking of getting into voice over work instead of going back into my other field which is Dental Asst. Or just going to work for a television company, something like Crawford, if something doesn’t come through. What else should I do to try to get in because I’m trying to get in as an extra? And one more question, does it matter when a show ask’s for head, body and mid shots as to what they should look like? For either the V.Dairies or Bill Marinella? I’ve signed up with a couple of different sites that email me almost everyday with what’s being shot here and other states and some say they just want us to take a regular picture so they can see a clear picture of you, with clothes, height, weight etc. And when should one send in there picture… is there a time period from the time they send it to you? Because sometimes the ad doesn’t tell u when they need extras they just say when to send it in by. I don’t know lol, I’m a little confused. So any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your feedback.

  4. Tillnetta Johnson says:

    I’m sorry I forgot that the Unit Production Mangr said that she got her start by working in a production office, but I can’t remember as what. How to go about doing that?

    Thanks.

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