Monday, January 23, 2012

Is the film industry moving beyond Hollywood?

You have studios being built in places like New Mexico, Texas, Michigan, Utah, and in San Francisco, California, filming taking place elsewhere other than Hollywood, actors and actresses leaving Hollywood for New York City and Idaho, directors being based in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. What's happening? What are the problems with Hollywood? Is the film industry moving its central point to other places? Why are actors and actresses leaving Hollywood?Is the film industry moving beyond Hollywood?It's simple. It's a change in hardware.

In the glory days of the studio system, camera were huge, heavy machines that were difficult to move about. As a result, they tended to shoot inside sound stages or studio back lots when possible, and when they absolutely had to film outside the studio, they usually restricted their filming to local areas like Griffith Park or one of the studio ranches in the local mountains.

Today, cameras are small, light, and very portable. They can literally go anywhere in the world to film without much trouble. So they do. If a script is set in Washington D.C., they now film in Washington D.C. Most of the time.

Also, other states have become competitive in offering studios incentives to film there, making it sometimes cheaper or more convenientm at times. Shows on a budget, in particular, might film in Canada to save money.

There are still reasons, of course, for preferring to film in Hollywood. The town has just about every film-related business you could want, such as giant prop rental houses, costume rentals, nursery rentals, insect wranglers, etc, that are almost impossible to find in other cities. Plus, the local citizens are so used to filming going on in L.A. that they don't swarm around and pester the crews. Also, under union contracts, they have to pay workers a lot more if they travel beyond 40-miles outside of L.A., and they have to pay for putting them up in hotels, etc. And then there are the personal issues: in most cases, their families and friends live in L.A., as do all of their business contacts, so they naturally prefer working close to home, when possible.

That's why, when it's a TV show instead of a movie, they will usually film the pilot episode of the series on location to get the local flavor, but then will shift filming to L.A. for most of the rest of the year. Both "CSI: Miami" and "Dexter", for instance, are set in Miami. But both series film the bulk of the shows in L.A. %26amp; Long Beach, CA. "Bones" is supposed to be in Washington D.C., but it too is filmed mostly in L.A.

Hollywood will remain the center of the entertainment world. But it now just has to share a little more of that business with other cities. No doubt, if the competition becomes serious, L.A. will begin offering the same incentives as some other cities, and eliminate the competition.

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