The Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker 2018: Small Cities and Towns

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5. Ashland, Oregon

Although we might refer to a city with a population of only 21,000 as a hamlet, that would be taunting the pun police in Ashland’s case; the city is known for hosting the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which stretches from February through October each year. Production is flourishing in the city, thanks to Oregon’s state tax incentives, a cash rebate of 20 percent on goods and services and 16.2 percent on labor for spends over $1 million. An increase in the state’s incentive budget that passed in 2017 also directed funds outside of Portland metro, another boon for Ashland-bound productions on top of an identical measure in 2016.

Quality of life is high for those who can spend to settle (some local restaurants even hold film noir nights), but Sid & Nancy director Alex Cox, who put down roots in Ashland, offers a word of caution: “Houses are overpriced due to California retirees and second-home owners, and rentals are in very short supply. If you’re making a living as a filmmaker, more likely you’ll live in an adjacent town like Talent or Phoenix, or in our big city, Medford—an increasingly cool place.” Cox concedes that Ashland is “a great-looking town, particularly in the fall and winter, and you could shoot a good film noir here. The city and residents welcome film production, but they don’t seem to be lowering the rents for filmmakers.”

Director Alessandro Circiello shoots Magic Carpet, the Search for Now in Ashland. Photograph by Mary Wilkins Kelly.

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  1. John lazear, soc

    January 18, 2019 at 3:58 am

    Really….. hollywood and New York are not on this list?
    1 hollywood
    2 New York
    3 London
    Let’s be real about where movies are mostly shot

    • Max Weinstein

      January 18, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Hi John,

      Los Angeles and New York are featured in part one of this article, focusing on Big Cities:

      MM Staff

  2. Adrian G

    January 17, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    So, as much as I appreciate this list, the name of your zine is Moviemaker, not North American Moviemaker. In a field that is peripatetic by its nature, it might be nice to have a list of some of the best cities in the world, not just those in North America, where one can thrive as a filmmaker. Please think about it.

  3. smoga

    February 27, 2018 at 7:59 am


  4. Eve

    January 17, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    I choose to live & work in Hawai’i, which does present some challenges…😎🌺However, when I relocated here from L.A. a few years ago, the general eyebrow raised response was that it was a bit nuts…so i find it really reassuring that so many cities/geographic lications outside of ‘Hollywood’ are now being touted as good lifestyle alternatives for creatives such as myself – b/c it really IS a way of life, and an all-encompassing choice, when you choose this kind of career…

  5. Frank Casanova

    January 17, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Ridiculous! Sacramento is better than half of those on the list.

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