It’s MovieMaker’s 2014 edition of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker! We’re counting down through our Top 10 Big Cities, Top 5 Small Cities, and Top 5 Towns—releasing one location a day for the entire month of January. The full list, published in MovieMaker‘s Winter 2014 issue, will be available on newsstands January 28.


Unlike previous years where locations were pitted against each other in a single pool, this year we separated the list into three distinct categories: Big Cities (pop. 500,000 and up), Small Cities (pop. 100,000 to 500,000), and Towns (pop. 100,000 and under). After months of research, interviews, and mathematical formulas, we boiled the rankings down to the essential elements. All locations were rated according to six criteria: Film Production in 2013 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that included lifestyle, weather, and transportation. Did your place of choice make the list? If not, maybe you should choose again if you’re serious about rooting yourself in a location that’s conducive to your career and life goals – or drop us a comment proposing a place we overlooked this year!


Top 10 Big Cities

#7. Philadelphia

“Yo, Adrian, we did it!” Ringing in at number seven is the City of Brotherly Love, home of Rocky Balboa, cheesesteaks, and the Liberty Bell. With over $271 million in production spending in 2013, Philadelphia played a crucial role in the making of recent films PrisonersFrannyParanoia.


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers a 25% tax credit to films that spend at least 60% of their total production in the state with a $60 million cap. If you want more brotherly love, look no further than Philly’s permit rules. The Film Office doesn’t issue them, nor are there any general permits for filming—you just have to have insurance when filming on the streets, as well as a license agreement if you’re filming for extended periods or on city-owned property.


Philadelphia holds the second largest concentration of students on the East Coast with over 80 colleges in the greater region. As a result, the talent pool for moviemaking is vast, and that number goes through the roof when you consider that New York City is only an hour and 10 minutes away by Amtrak. Far less expensive, Philadelphia often doubles for the Big Apple, leading many to believe that it films New York better than New York. Now, that’s a knockout punch! MM

For more information about filming in Philadelphia, visit the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

Check back every day for the rest of January to see what other places made the list! Previous rankings:


10) San Francisco

9) Memphis

8) Portland

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