Louisiana Is the Movie-Making Capital of the World
When you think of big budget films, movie stars, production companies, and film studios, what’s the first word that comes to mind?
Hollywood, of course.
That’s where they make all of the movie magic happen, right?
No, actually, it’s not.
In 2013, 18 big budget feature films were produced in Louisiana. Only 15 were produced in California; and that makes Louisiana the official “movie-making capital of the world”!
Inside the Numbers
According to Business Insider, as recently as 1997, California was the production home to 68% of the top 25 films made worldwide. As of last year, that number had dwindled to a mere 8%, and where on Earth are all of those movie productions going?
Thanks to lower costs for filming, tax credits, and diverse settings, production companies have moved their filming projects all over the United States and the rest of the world. Unless California does something to combat this trend, Hollywood’s only claim to fame will be that big white sign up in the hills.
What is Fueling Growth in Louisiana?
Most industry experts agree that financial incentives in the form of tax credits should get much of the credit for the growing Louisiana film industry. Staring in 2002, Louisiana has passed bills that will provide filmmakers with tax credits for using the state for primary filming.
It’s true that luring these films to Louisiana does cost the state a good bit of money. In 2012, according to the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, film credits cost Louisiana a total of $168 million.
Why would the state see this as a good thing and continue to invest in it?
Simply put, producing films in Louisiana brings in millions – and potentially billions – of dollars in revenue, plus it has the potential to create thousands of jobs, in a lot of different industries. These are the tangible things, which don’t take into account the intangible amount of exposure Louisiana gets on a global scale as well as the development of a second major industry for the state in addition to tourism.
Let’s take a moment to look at the big picture. When a large production company chooses Louisiana as the primary shooting location for a major film, they’re going to be spending money on a lot of different things. They’ll be renting property, purchasing costume and set pieces, hiring local workers for crew and under-the-line work.
All of the cast and crew who they bring with them will need places to live, food to eat, clothing, entertainment, etc. That means increases in business for local realtors, restaurants, and retailers, as well as for the local entertainment industry. Plus, the production company won’t be bringing all of their cast and crew with them. Shooting in Louisiana creates jobs for local people who work as actors, extras, grips, carpenters, makeup artists, and any other profession that might be useful for creating movie magic.
Is Hollywood On Its Last Leg?
Just seven years ago, California was lucky enough to have the vast majority of all of that money. Now, though, it’s getting distributed around the country and the world. Last year, California made fewer big budget films than both Louisiana and Canada.
While the production companies that back these films are still headquartered in Hollywood, they may not be for much longer. Whether they’re actors, directors, crewmembers, makeup artists, or producers, the people who work on films prefer to live and work near their families. That’s kept a lot of them in California for many years.
Now, though, with the film industry’s recent diaspora, you’ll most likely see a lot of them moving to places like Louisiana, Canada, and Georgia. Large-scale film studios are being completed in these locations, and nothing is really keeping production companies grounded in California anymore. Hollywood’s days are numbered. Soon, young actors won’t be talking about California or New York. They’ll be saying, “I’m going to Louisiana. That’s where I’ll get discovered. I’m going to be a star.”