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.

Top cities

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 Small Cities

#3. Shreveport, LA

While features like Fox’s Salem and independent productions like The Last Word find their way to Shreveport, Louisiana, it’s hard to ignore the volume of reality programming generated regularly down south: Ghost Hunters, Duck Dynasty, Toddlers and Tiaras, American Pickers, Forever Jones, and so on. All in all, Shreveport-Bossier hosted over $70 million in film/television budgets in 2013. Of course, much of that is attributed to the state tax incentives—the same 30 percent as New Orleans, and no permit fees.

salem-1024x576-630x354 (1)

“When my company won an Oscar for our animated short (“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”),” said producer Lampton Enochs, “Shreveport threw us a ticker tape parade! How many returning filmmakers get that sort of treatment?”

Shreveport’s facilities include StageWorks of Louisiana, Millennium Studios, and StageWest. The city maintains a low cost of living and low unemployment. Especially noteworthy is its multimodal transportation system, one of the most efficient in the country. Connected by a local airport, water taxi, rail, and series of interstates, one can get anywhere in Shreveport-Bossier in 15 to 20 minutes. Said Enochs, “I’ve never found a town that has easier company moves.”

Susan Breeland - Gourd Artist

For more information about filming in Shreveport visit the Shreveport-Bossier Film Office.

Check back every day for the rest of January to see which small cities and towns are the best places to live and work as a moviemaker in 2014! Previous rankings:


10) San Francisco

9) Memphis

8) Portland

7) Philadelphia 

6) Boston 

5) Seattle

4) Los Angeles

3) Austin

2) New York 

1) Chicago


5) Savannah, GA

4) Providence, RI

To subscribe to MovieMaker Magazine, click here.