Top Cities in the U.S for Film And TV Production

Share this article:

Image of Louisiana and Camera Op

If you want to work in the entertainment industry but can't picture yourself in Los Angeles or New York City you have other options! ​ 

As we all know, television and film production lives in zip codes outside of LA and NYC and there are plenty of great reasons for productions to venture elsewhere. Whether it is because of tax incentives, gorgeous scenery or a solid crew base here are 7 other US Cities where the industry is booming.


image of filming in atlanta

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 recently filmed in Atlanta: Vampire Diaries, Walking Dead, Love and Hip Hop, Family Feud, and Say Yes to the Dress.
Fun fact: If you notice a peach in the credits of your favorite television show that signifies that in addition to that 20% tax credit the production received an additional 10% just for giving Georgia a nice shout-out.



Filming in New Orleans

Boosting 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, New Orleans benefits productions with a 30% tax credit and a strong directory of local crew. Chris Pratt recently spoke with a New Orleans local blog about his experience working with the crews in NoLa, "You've got really solid crews. (It's a) great testament to how you can build an industry by making it possible to work there. It's the tax incentives that turned the Louisiana film industry into something really great, and there's a lot of people working." 

Shows recently filmed in New Orleans: Scream Queens, NCIS: New Orleans, Into the Badlands, and 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.



Filming in  Seattle

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. 

Filming in Seattle: New shows for MTV, Long Pond Media and NatGeo are all gearing up for production around Seattle. 
Fun fact: The city received a highly esteemed review from Colin Trevorrow, director of "Safety Not Guaranteed" and "Jurassic World", "I would come back to shoot here in a heartbeat."



Filming in Minneapolis

Giving the regions tried and true motto a twist, the Minnesota Film and TV Board calls the state "The Land of 10,000 Locations" and gives productions 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 recently filmed in Minnesota: Fargo, Natural Born Monsters, and Lady Dynamite.
Fun fact: One of the Minnesota Film and TV Board's chairs is Erik Stolhanske of Broken Lizzard fame.



Filming in  Chicago

It's more than the 30% tax credit that brings productions to Chicago. It’s the authentic cityscape, mid-west 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 recently filmed in Chicago: Empire, Real World, and 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, which begins production soon, will be the third installment in the series to feature Chicago).


Camera operator filming while skiiing down snowy hill

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 recently filmed in Colorado: Vice, Myth Hunters, and Doomsday Preppers.
Home of the production companies that bring you: Destination America, Cake Boss, House Hunter, and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.



Filming in Miami

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” and a town can’t be more production friendly than that.

Shows recently filmed in Miami: Graceland, Bizarre Foods, Burn Notice, and Family Takeover.
Miami is home to: Telemundo, Univision, MTV Tres, and Fusion.



Filming in New Mexico

New Mexico will give you a 25% 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 recently filmed in New Mexico: Better Call Saul, The Night Shift, and The Dead Files. 
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. 

Are any of these cities singing your tune? SIGN UP for a Staff Me Up account today and set up your custom work alerts so you can be one of the first to know when a new gig is posted in your city of choice!

What city is your favorite city to work out of?  Or better yet, what production savvy city would you move to in a heartbeat?  Comment below! 



More Great Articles
Jiordan Collins got hired on SMU as a Production Assistant.
"I'm excited to see what other jobs I find on SMU after being hired on a great Feature shortly after joining!"
Charlotte Stein got hired on SMU as a Production Assistant for October FIlms for 5 day gig.
"Staff Me Up has always been a wonderful site for booking jobs. I've made contacts that frequently rehire and have promoted me over the years. They are consistent with their job listings and the site is so easy to use."
Matthew Wefel got hired on SMU as a Production Assistant.
"Without Staff Me Up I would have never seen the opportunity for Production Assistant for an HGTV show! And with the work alerts it allowed me to be the first to apply, which I think played a major part in my ability to land the job! Thank you so much SMU!"