Texas Film Industry
In 1971 the Governor Preston Smith created the Texas Film Commission. Governor Smith believed that it was ” in the social, economic and educational interest of Texas to encourage the development of the film-communication industry,” and that “Texas has a uniquely vast array of resources, natural, human and economic, which lend themselves to the firm and orderly development of a healthy film production industry.” Since that time Texas has continued to grow and expand the film industry in the state to include films, commercials, video games and even animations.
Today the Texas Film Commission is under the administration of the Governor’s office and is currently headed up by Evan Fitzmaurice who serves as the Director of the Film Commission. The Commission outlines that “whether you are an industry professional or new to the business, we are here to help with your film, television, commercial, animation, and video game projects.” In fact you can go to the Film Commission’s website at www.governor.state.tx.us/film and search through their “Job Hotline” which offers information on film, television or commercial projects that need both cast and crew.
Texas offers numerous unique and extraordinary opportunities that make the State of Texas ideal for the film industry. With over 268,000 square miles, Texas is the ideal shooting location. The terrain in Texas is more diverse than anywhere else in the country. Along the Texas coast, you have amazing beach sceneries to take advantage of and in northwest Texas you have the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. In addition to the incredible scenery that Texas offers, mild winters and warm summers add to the advantages of making films in Texas.
It is because of all the unique features that Texas has to offer that today Texas is home to approximately 130 local production companies. These companies have strived to develop a creative and vibrant film industry and in doing so have managed to attract filmmakers from all over the world. In fact, in 2007, Director Paul Thomas Anderson chose Texas as the primary filming location for the Academy Award winning film “There Will Be Blood”. The film received an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Over the years, Texas has established an impressive list of critically acclaimed films and television series.
Here is a brief list of those films and television series which have been filmed or animated in Texas:
- True Grit
- No Country for Old Men
- Seven Days in Utopia
- Friday Night Lights (Movie)
- Friday Night Lights (TV Series)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
- TLC’s The Little Couple series
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Seasons 1-3
- Pearl Harbor
With so many films being shot in Texas, thirteen permanent film sites have been set up throughout the state. The list of permanent sites includes the Coastal Bend’s very own USS Lexington. The USS Lexington was used in the Oscar award winning movie “Pearl Harbor” and used in an episode of the popular SyFy series “Ghost Hunters”. Other permanent sites include Indian Cliffs Ranch near El Paso and the Texas Battleship near Houston which is the last remaining U.S. Navy ship to have served in both World Wars and the world’s only remaining battleship modeled after the HMS Dreadnought.
According to the Motion Picture Association of America, the motion picture and television industry in Texas is responsible for 41,269 direct jobs and approximately $1.5 billion in wages. These jobs are including both production and distribution related type jobs. In addition, Texas has averaged over 100 film and television productions each year over the past several years. Between 2009 and 2010, 103 film and 45 TV projects where shot in the Great State of Texas.