9. San Francisco, California
Attracting unscripted content that capitalizes on the startup culture endemic to the Golden Gate City, San Francisco saw productions like Shark Tank, House Hunters, and Million Dollar Listing San Francisco in 2015. Scripted content peaked with HBO’s Looking and the granddaddy-of-the-tech-boom biopic Steve Jobs.
Yes, the skyrocketing cost of living might make things a little challenging for indie moviemakers. As with Seattle (and, yes, Boston), however, if your independent spirit can cross the corpus callosum into the corporate universe unscathed, there’s a bounty of short-form and creative branded content to keep you busy forever, and seriously help pay the rent. SF-based companies like Pixar, Google, Dolby, George Lucas’s suite of SFX labs, and gaming companies like Sega and Electronic Arts all employ hundreds of artists and technicians apiece. Sure, they aren’t exactly indie rabble-rousers, but they do hire writers, animators and creative developers.
When it comes to good old celluloid, San Francisco still has one of the richest film communities around, with 25 film festivals, five film schools, a bevy of grant-giving film organizations and a dense bed of independent movie theaters—and yes, living legends like Francis Ford Coppola and Chris Columbus, who base themselves out of the city. And let’s be honest, that San Francisco cityscape is magical and totally unmistakable. Good luck trying to shoot Vancouver for that scenery.