When you think of large Hollywood films, like Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe films or Avatar, you probably wonder how they get such beautiful locations, right? Where do these film studios go in order to get shots of the Shire, or Wakanda or Pandora? Obviously, none of these locations actually exist, so how did they get the shots?
Well, first off, several scenes were more than likely shot on a soundstage. But what about those “on location” shots? While Wakanda, the Shire and Pandora don’t actually exist, there are several real-world locations that can pass for these otherworldly venues. And that’s precisely why Hollywood film studios scout locations throughout the country to find the perfect place. But, let’s be honest, Hollywood isn’t solely about finding the perfect location to accompany the artist’s vision; it’s also about money. And one of the largest factors that contributes to a film’s shooting location is tax incentives.
States across the country offer a variety of tax incentives to film studios in order to use their beautiful landscapes in their films. Los Angeles and New York are two of the most popular filming locations in the country, mainly due to most stories simply taking place in the world-renowned cities; but some other films can get away with shooting in any state that offers the best incentives. Georgia, Louisiana and Illinois are some of the most oft-used states for filming. But what about Montana? Anyone who knows me knows that Montana is an incredibly important aspect of my life. And since I’m so heavily invested in Montana, I’d love to see the states offer some better tax incentives for film production.
As it stands now, Montana doesn’t offer any tax incentives; rather, they offer grants for production, which is nice, but not as enticing. Luckily, the state is considering offering a rather sizeable tax incentive. According to MTPR.org, the proposed bill, which was advanced by the Montana House of Representatives, would offer a 20% income tax credit to film production companies spending at least $350,000 within the state. Montana lawmakers looked at Georgia as a model for the bill, seeing as how the Peach State has become one of the most popular locations for film production in the last decade (it reportedly make over $2 billion in 2017). With so much potential for added economic value, it would be foolish if Montana didn’t take advantage. And Montanan lawmakers are looking to stimulate the economy and create more jobs within the state, and a bill like this can certainly create jobs.
Even before these new tax incentives were announced, I was hard at work helping create the Yellowstone Film Ranch. In short, Yellowstone is dedicated to the western films of yesteryear that captivated audiences. The film set is being built from the ground up and designed to be a permanent fixture of Hollywood to film any and all western-themed scenes. From tv shows to Hollywood blockbusters to indie darlings and everything in between, Yellowstone will be the perfect set to capture an authentic old western vibe. The set is meant to stay as a permanent fixture year-round for any and all types of shooting conditions.
As a founding member of Yellowstone Film Ranch, I couldn’t be more proud or excited to see how Hollywood can utilize the set to its fullest potential. This film set has the potential to become a major staple in Hollywood production. And with these brand new tax incentives, the future is only looking brighter. I have much more information to share about Yellowstone in the coming months.
If this Montana tax incentive is approved, it will be one of the largest in the country and could see a fair amount of production move to the Treasure State, and that’s very exciting.