If you’re a filmmaker looking to set up shop anywhere outside of Los Angeles, could Oklahoma be a viable option?
Most people are familiar with the main areas in which the film thrives – Los Angeles, of course, and New York are the hubs for production. But in the past few years we’ve seen big productions in other states as well.
Tyler Perry made Atlanta his studio. Vince Gilligan brought breaking Bad and Better call Saul to New Mexico. You will often see other television and film producers travel to New Orleans, and Austin is where Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater enjoy working (and the city has raised other indie favorites like Yen Tan, Kat Candler, and others).
Oklahoma has long struggled to be another central film and TV hub and has slowly built a solid infrastructure to support large productions like Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film. Murderer of the Flower Moon. Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi Reservation dogs is currently also in production in the state. Oscar nominee Minari shot there too.
No film school spoke with me Tava Sofsky, director of the Oklahoma Film + Music Bureau, for some insight into the resources available in the state.
Beyond the tools that filmmakers can connect to outside of the state local crewsthe state has put together a few Educational resources for those who want to join the film industry. The Oklahoma Film & TV Academy was introduced in 2020 to promote the bottom line local workforce.
“What I love, and what we are seeing in Oklahoma right now, is how the private and public sectors come together.” Said Sofsky. “How do they work together, join arms, and work together to be visionaries and really find out what kind of industry we want to build for if we go fast forward and a few years the next generation? And the present and future generations.”
“And so it was really great to see how easy it is to get everyone together to work. There are so many new interest groups across the state between the two urban cities right now [Oklahoma City and Tulsa]. Outside [Oklahoma City]There are now a total of four new studios, including Soundstages, which went online last year. ”
Oklahoma offers a 35-37% production discount on eligible Oklahoma editions of film and television productions filmed in the state.
The discount currently has a rolling cap of $ 8 million per fiscal year. There is no limit per project, but each production must have a minimum budget of $ 50,000 and spend $ 25,000 on eligible spending in Oklahoma. Discount funds are pre-qualified for eligible applicants based on availability.
Further information can be found in the website.
For low budget filmmakers
Obviously, extremely low or low budget indies will struggle to hit that minimum budget of $ 50,000 to qualify for the state rebate. But Sofsky sees this benchmark as a goal that filmmakers can and do achieve.
“I’ve been there for seven years, in August,” said Sofsky. “And when you look at the independent filmmakers, some of these very talented directors, producers, and writers who weren’t even eligible to take advantage of the discount six years ago, and now they’re using it. And they are amplifying, which is only going to be the case, in the end is. ” create more jobs. And these are the people who decided to stay here to do their job. And of course the incentive is a tie. It’s an anchor to hold them there. Otherwise they would go to Georgia, or they would go to New Mexico or Louisiana. ”
For those producing low budget productions, Sofsky encourages the filmmakers to use the office’s other resources.
“There’s the production directory and a site directory,” Sofsky said. “And so we have thousands. Thousands of locations to choose from. And then hundreds and hundreds of companies and crews that can be drawn from the local pool of resources and talent. So it doesn’t matter what size of production. Everyone starts somewhere.” We always recommend when we get a lot of inquiries for these beginners, “How do I take my first step?” We always encourage people to connect to our office via social media, sign up for our newsletter and our e-blast and ours Keeping press releases up to date. So get in touch with our office and there are tons of networking opportunities from there. ”
Sofsky also recommended beginning filmmakers sign up background and gain experience as extras on the set.
If you’re looking to bring a production to Oklahoma, check this out Oklahoma Film + Music Bureau for more informations.