5 Best Cities for Filmmakers (That Aren’t Hollywood)

If you are in the film and television industry the goal has always been to get out to Hollywood. That’s where all the big studios are, where the stars live and the only place that you’ll be able to make a name for yourself. But especially in recent years this has become less and less of the case. Cities across the nations are starting to become major hubs for big productions and the centralization that once was, isn’t always the case anymore.


If there are poster children for how well Georgia and the Atlanta area in particular are flourishing because of the film and television industry it would have to be “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay”and “The Walking Dead.” The generous tax incentives that Georgia has provided to filmmakers has allowed the industry to support 23,000 jobs. The incentives have been so successful in fact that in 2013 The Wall Street Journal reported a shortage of crew members because there were so many simultaneous productions happening.


While Austin might not be one of the first places that comes to mind when thinking about where film productions happen that doesn’t mean it’s completely off the map for filmmakers. In addition to having great culture, affordable housing and a vibrant music scene, Austin is also the home to South By Southwest, one of the biggest film, music, and television festivals in the US. Being exposed to festivals like SXSW is a great way for up and coming filmmakers to get discovered and help launch a larger career.


New Mexico has been another booming city for film and television over the last 13 years since they introduced their film incentive program. Critically and publically acclaimed shows like “Breaking Bad,” it’s spin off “Better Call Saul,” and “Longmire” cemented Albuquerque as an up and coming city for filmmakers. With a the cost of renting a 900 square foot apartment about half that of Los Angels at about $950/month vs $1700/month, it’s possible to get a lot of jobs while still having a better take home pay.

New Orleans

Beyond the amazing nightlife and the great food, New Orleans has become one of the major production hubs of the southern United States. Home to Oscar winning films such as “12 Years a Slave” and the long running TV show “True Blood.” The nightlife and atmosphere of such a unique city is equally at home for filmmakers blowing off steam after a long day of shooting or fostering the creative juices to continue to create new and interesting stories.


One of the advantages Pittsburgh has for big productions over similar cities like Chicago or New York is that it hasn’t been featured in quite so many movies. With a skyline very different from those cities a film can still have a large east cost city look without feeling like every other blockbuster. A generous 25 percent tax credit also helps producers justify the high costs of filmmaking.

Burgeoning and veteran filmmakers don’t need to go to Hollywood to hit the big times. These and many other cities have a flourish filmmaking industry but because they aren’t the central hub they oftentimes are overlooked. If you’re in the southern United States you don’t need to travel to the west coast to have a good career—Atlanta is probably just around the corner.

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