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Santa Clarita smashes filming records for the fourth year

Posted: July 2, 2014 6:24 p.m.
Updated: July 2, 2014 6:24 p.m.

Second camera assistant James Troost prepares the camera slate as the crew of "NCIS" shoots a scene in front of The Signal last March after the building on Creekside Road was transformed into a bus station for an episode of the show. Signal file photo by Dan Watson

Film permits issued by Santa Clarita were up 44 percent during fiscal year 2013-14, marking the fourth consecutive year of increased filming in the city, officials said Wednesday.

Film days were up 28 percent for the year ending June 30, said Russell Sypowicz of the city’s film office.

Excluding all of the film activity that occurred on local sound stages and movie ranches, the city issued 531 permits for location filming in the past fiscal year, up from 368 permits in 2012-2013.

The number of film days grew to 1,370, averaging nearly four location shoots per day within Santa Clarita limits.
That number is up from the 1,069 film days tracked in the previous fiscal year.

More importantly, that increased filming activity means more money and higher-paying jobs pouring into the community, Sypowicz said.

The economic impact locally was up 31 percent, generating an estimated $33.5 million compared to $25.7 million in the previous fiscal year.

“That’s why the city is so supportive of filming,” Sypowicz said. “It means more money spent at local businesses for local services, and we have 6,000 residents working in the film and entertainment industries.”

A number of factors account for the increased filming, he said, but primarily the high number of TV series that are filmed locally helps boost the numbers.

“TV is the bread and butter,” he said. “While the amount of production in California has decreased, Santa Clarita’s slice of pie is increasing because of the city’s film incentive program.”

Of the TV shows and movies granted film tax credits for the coming year by California on Tuesday, five of the 13 TV series have filmed in Santa Clarita — three of those have based their productions in the city, Sypowicz said.

That means nearly 39 percent of all TV series that qualified for the credits in the state are filmed locally. Nearly one-quarter of the 13 TV shows are based in Santa Clarita.

Among the productions approved for the upcoming year, Warner Brothers’ “Major Crimes,” Horizon Scripted Television’s “Pretty Little Liars,” Prodco’s “Switched at Birth,” and Sony Pictures’ “Franklin and Bash” and “Justified” have filmed locally — the latter three have their productions based in Santa Clarita.

State tax credits or not, the number of TV shows filmed locally is higher than during any other year to date, Sypowicz said.

“’NCIS’ is in their 11th season out here, and before that ‘Jag’ filmed locally for 10 years,” he said. “That’s a 20-year job for some people. While not all shows last that long, the TV series do create more employment for longer term.”

To keep film rolling, staff from the city’s film office also attends a number of events each year to create and maintain relationships with the people who are influential in deciding where a film is shot.

The city just attended the California Locations Tradeshow last weekend, and it participated in the California Film Commission breakfast in April, as well as going to the Association of Film Commissioners trade show in March, giving the city access to the movers and shakers on an international scale.

“We use the events as an outreach opportunity to promote Santa Clarita as a film location,” Sypowicz said.

“Sometimes we’re answering questions about a specific location for the location scouts, producers or directors, and at other times we’re answering questions for upcoming productions.”

As for the city’s film incentive program, projects that qualify under the state’s tax incentive program automatically qualify for the city’s program, he said.

Local film incentives include film permit refunds, reduced law enforcement costs, and partial refund on hotel taxes for those productions booking at least five rooms a month in hotels located within the city.




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