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Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker 2016: Top 10 Big Cities

Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker 2016: Top 10 Big Cities

Winter 2016

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.

Grand enough for ya? Steve Jobs director Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco

Grand enough for ya? Steve Jobs director Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, March 2015

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.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Did Ant Man really employ that many “Georgians” or were many of them Californians who have moved here to work in the movies. I would be curious to know how many were actually Georgians.

    • Alice says:

      Most of the crew was LA-based. And many also moved on to Captain America and likely to Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Ditto Furious 7, which spent $15 million just on hotels for the nonresident workers.

      On another note, X-Men Apocolypse filmed in Quebec, Canada…not Georgia. And Quantico only shot the pilot in Atlanta. The series moved to Montreal.

      • Rob says:

        I don’t know where you’re getting your information from but it would be nice if you’d stop trying to sabotage our industry. As an atlanta local I can tell you that there are hundreds of locals working on these films and our union has grown by the hundreds each year that these films shoot here. Every single department has local workers in it, and we depend on these jobs to feed our families. Please stop the negative propaganda, it does nothing to help the locals that you pretend to care about.

        • Alice says:

          I am sorry if you think facts are sabotaging “your” industry. My facts about the Marvel films come from the set. The Furious 7 spending info comes from the MPAA in a press release.

          Sure, some projects have tons of locals. Some have almost 100% locals. And others have very few. It’s not good or bad, it’s just a fact.

      • Michelle says:

        So that is just my point. I object to articles like this that make it look like the movie industry employed 3500 Georgia residents. I am not impressed that millions were spent on major hotel corporations. That does not put meals on Georgia resident’s tables or pay their bills. The industry needs to be employing residents. We have a lot of talented Georgia residents who belong to the local union who are being passed over for LA crews that the production brings in. They need to hire Georgian’s first then bring out of state workers in to cover the gap.

  2. Tom Lenard says:

    I filmed this about 50 miles south of Albuquerque back in June of 1980. Crew based itself in Albuquerque. Hired a makeup person locally…His first name was Chip.. Casted Uncle Same in Georgia..rented film gear and Uncle Sam wardrobe in Atlanta and flew from there to Albuquerque. (Got caught in a major sand storm out in the desert..got no warning about such from NM Film Commission) Guess I was ahead of the curve eh…

    (Remember, at one time, it was truly thought that we were running out of oil..Oil Topping Point they called it)

    (Note: This was a reedit of the original film with a new temp track used to convey the public service message..project was not funded…Temp Track appplied was the incredible music of the incredible composer John Barry’s “Dances With Wolves” Wolf Theme..

    https://vimeo.com/14162036

  3. Chris says:

    Man… Shreveport snubbed again. Louisiana snubbed again. Chicago? Really? Dallas? Hardly. I’d love to see some real love for one of the nation’s biggest states for production where resources, talent, and infrastructure flourish: Louisiana. All that without mentioning the huge indigenous filmmaker incentives from the state, the world’s largest cash prize short film contest. Hundreds of short films shot here a year from all over the country. Low cost of living, downtown currently being revitalized, home of louisiana’s #1 ranked beers, right at the intersection of I-20 (connecting Dallas and Atlanta) with I-49, which will eventually be a straight shot to New Orleans. Take a look. Shreveport deserves to be on this list more than about half the places.

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