While California fights to prevent runaway production, the city of Santa Clarita, 25 miles north of Hollywood, has quietly become a shooting hot spot.
“We attribute this to our film-friendly approach and low permit fees,” says Santa Clarita Film Office economic development associate Russell Sypowicz. The area includes more than 20 soundstages and 10 movie ranches. In 2009 the city established a local incentive program to provides a permit fee refund to all qualified productions.
Santa Clarita just had its best August ever, with 100 film days, up 19% year on year. That generated an economic impact of $2.5 million, up 43% from 2013. “ ‘NCIS’ is based here,” says Sypowicz, noting that locally based shows qualify for the incentive program, as well as productions that pass muster for the state credit fund.
“The Bridge,” “Franklin & Bash” and “Justified” are among the series that shoot in the city. Features “American Sniper” and “Fast & Furious 7” also filmed there. Many film crew members live in the area. “We really like TV because it’s long term,” Sypowicz says. “We have (local) people who have worked on ‘JAG’ and (then) ‘NCIS’ for over 20 years.”