You don’t have to look at the statistics to know that film and television production in New York City is booming. All you have to do is turn on the TV or go to the movies — or simply walk down the street in New York City.
“Everywhere you look there’s a production company in the streets,” says Eugene Kelly, co-executive producer of “Boardwalk Empire,” which is now filming in and around Gotham.
During the 2012-2013 television season, 22 primetime episodic series are based in the city, including rookie shows such as “666 Park Avenue,” “Elementary,” and “Made in Jersey,” not to mention proven hits like “30 Rock,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Girls” and “The Good Wife.” Contrast this with the 2001-2002 season, when only nine primetime series filmed there.
Gone are the days when New York-set shows such as “NYPD Blue,” “Mad About You,” “Friends” and “CSI:NY” were filmed primarily in Los Angeles.
“Audiences are simply getting more sophisticated,” says Kevin Falls, executive producer of Sony Pictures’ “Made in Jersey,” which shoots in and around New York City and recently premiered on CBS. “They know when you’re faking it.”
Films currently shooting or just wrapping production in New York include “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Winter’s Tale” and “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.”
“We were very determined to shoot here,” says “Angriest Man” producer Tyler Mitchell about Brooklyn. “We felt it would take away from the movie to do it elsewhere.”
Mitchell acknowledges that tax incentives were a lure. “They played a very big role,” he says.
The decision to film “Boardwalk Empire” in New York City was “driven creatively,” says Kelly, but the tax incentives (including the New York City one, which has since expired) were “a high second priority.”
Although New York City’s “Made in NY” tax credit expired at the end of 2011, the city continues to attract productions with other incentives, such as a “Made in NY” marketing credit, which provides free co-branded advertising to qualified film and television productions. New York State continues to offer tax incentives, including a 30% fully-refundable tax credit on qualified expenses.
“The state tax credit for production and post-production is very competitive,” says Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film and Television. “On a city level, we provide an innovative and unique marketing credit in the form of free outdoor media.”
The Mayor’s Office makes filming in the city attractive in other ways, such as providing free police assistance to crews, and at least a 10% “Made in NY” discount to filmmakers who use local vendors.
“Just about every city governmental department is mandated to work with film and television,” says Kieran Patten, a longtime location scout and location manager. “The range of services they provide — including the simple permitting process to the police coverage — definitely eases the way.”
Brooklyn, in particular, seems to be the hot place to shoot these days. Steiner Studios, where “Boardwalk Empire” and “Girls” are based, recently expanded, and in November, Cine Magic East River Studios will open in Williamsburg to meet the growing need for production space in the borough.
“It’s driven very much by the demand,” says Peter Kapsalis, co-owner of Cine Magic Riverfront Studios, Cine Magic SoHo Studios and the soon-to-open Cine Magic East River Studios. “This is a positive business model.”