So you’re looking for where to settle down and start your production company. Los Angeles can often seem like the only choice. It is Hollywood after all!
Historically, it’s where all the major movie production companies have been located. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only option you have.
Starting your film production company in another city can have its benefits too. You can register your film production company in any city or state. No one is bound to LA!
If you’re a producer looking to fund films at your production company, you can win up to $10,000 for your next project by submitting one sentence to our funding opportunities.
So let’s look at why your independent film production company can be based outside of Los Angeles, California.
Remote Communications Technology
Before the days of the internet, the biggest draw for filmmakers to LA was the connections. The studio executives, casting agencies, and guilds were all located in Hollywood. It seemed like the only way to get into the industry was to be at the epicenter.
Today, with the growth of the internet shrinking how big the world feels, this is no longer the case. You can have your video production company anywhere in the world, and through websites like Linkedin and Meetup you can still have the connections previous filmmakers would’ve needed to live in LA to achieve.
You can connect with studio executives via the internet now, and with the rise of Zoom meetings in the last months, meetings online are becoming more and more common place. While there’s no replacement for face-to-face interaction, the need to travel to LA is becoming obsolete.
Casting agencies also operate outside of Hollywood. They represent talent all over the world, so there’s no need to live in California. Similarly with writing and acting guilds, you no longer need to live in California to be able to join. You can have access to all of the benefits that being a guild affords you without having to start your company in LA.
Of course, living in LA does have its advantages for networking, but it’s not absolutely necessary, especially with these new technologies.
Shooting on Location
Sure, a lot of films and movies are set in LA, but not all! If a Hollywood-based company is making a film about the woods of Oregon, the suburbs of Ohio, or the plains of Kansas they’ll have to travel to the location or fake it on a sound stage.
They’ve been doing this successfully for years, but if your company is stationed somewhere outside of LA, you have the ability to more realistically tell the stories of your area. The added production value of actually filming on location is unmatched.
For example, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has his production company in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and most of his movies are set there. His movies are still critically acclaimed even though they weren’t made in LA, and he’s able to have a very successful company outside of Hollywood.
Another perk of locating your company outside of Hollywood? When those LA media production companies do come to film in your area, your company can be hired to fill out their film crew list. Thus offering your company the chance to work on a big Hollywood project without having to live in Hollywood at all.
LA might be known for its actors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of talented actors all over the country. If you’re looking to establish your film production company outside of LA, fear not about a lack of talent.
Having a new face in your project can also be beneficial. Sometimes big celebrity names can weigh down a project and make it feel like a list of cameos.
If your film is a realist film, sometimes having an incredibly recognizable face of an über famous person hinders the realism you’re trying to create. Utilizing local talent and an unknown actor by Hollywood standards can help your film feel realistic.
Also don’t underestimate the talent of local crew members. There are plenty of talented filmmakers around the country who know cinematography, including lighting techniques in film and how to do a three point lighting setup. Plenty of big production company names use local talent to much success. A production company doesn’t need to be in LA to hire talented people, especially if you’re based in a major city.
Help from Film Commissions
If you’re thinking about how much to start an independent film production company could cost, the big price tag might be a deterrent. This is especially true in LA, where property is expensive, and there are already so many production companies.
Moving your company outside of LA can be extremely beneficial especially because film commissions and city commissions are looking to help film production outside of LA and in their specific cities.
City commissions know that if film production can happen in their city it will mean a boost in the job market and a boost in the local economy while production is happening.
For example, film production has started booming in the state of Georgia because the productions are given tax breaks to keep their companies in the state. Here is a list of independent film production companies in Georgia.
Being subsidied by city commissions can help your production company thrive outside of LA.
There are several film production companies in New York City. NY411 complied a list of production companies. When people think of a second choice after LA for film production they often turn to NYC as an obvious second choice. There are plenty of other major cities with film industry, your company could thrive anywhere.
The idea that film production can only happen in LA or NYC is really a myth. There are plenty of successful production companies in most major cities.
For example, the website Upcity reviewed some of the best Chicago production companies. There are about 20 on the list, and many of them have 5 star reviews from Upcity. Maybe you’ve never thought of Chicago as a hub for production, but clearly there is an industry there.
And, hey, The Film Fund itself is based in Philadelphia!
The advertising industry lives in New York City. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between a production company vs. a media company, but media advertising in New York represents a very specific industry. Being close to the advertising market can help you gain production experience.
Advertising leads to funding, which is often the hardest part of any pre-production. Basing your company in NYC can help.
Local Market Competition
In LA, the market for production companies is saturated. There are so many production companies in LA that your new company could get lost.
If you chose to start your company in other city, say Philadelphia or Boston, somewhere where the film industry is not completely heavy with independent film production companies looking for screenplays, you might have more success.
In a smaller, less film-forward city, your independent film production company business plan can stand out like a big fish in a small pond—instead of getting lost in the ocean of the LA film industry.
Real Estate Costs
If you’re starting a production company LLC, you’re going to want an office and ideally a studio space to film. Depending on your budget, maybe you want to build a sound stage.
If you move your company outside of Hollywood, you’ll find a lot more room for your money. Building those offices and sound stage just became much more possible outside of LA.
Hollywood may be what people always associate with making movies, but your production company doesn’t have to be in LA. There are plenty of benefits for starting up in other cities.
If you’re looking to fund your next project, you can receive up to $10,000 by writing one sentence with The Film Fund.