Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Make that three TV pilots shooting in Texas soon

This will run in tomorrow's Dallas Morning News:

Three television pilots set to shoot in Texas: two in Dallas, one in Austin


Two major network television pilots are expected to shoot in North Texas this spring and a third is headed to Austin, offering clear indications that television production is the big prize from recent increases in the state’s filming incentives program.

Midland, a drama for the Fox network will shoot here March 16 to April 1, Janis Burklund, head of the Dallas Film Commission, confirmed in a Facebook posting that called for potential crew members to email resumes to According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show is “a soap set against the backdrop of an oil business that centers on a polygamist living a double life.”
The pilot will be directed by Marc Webb—who will also helm the next Spider-man film—from a script by The Beaver screenwriter Kyle Killen. No cast has been announced.

Also shooting here in March is the NBC pilot Chase from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which the network describes as about “a crucial fugitive apprehension team comprised of U.S. Marshals that tracks down the nation's most notorious criminals.” Reports have Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives) portraying a preppy marshal.

In Austin, Generation Y, the documentary-style story of a group of twentysomethings that flashes back to their high school days 10 year earlier, is set to shoot for ABC in March, said Bob Hudgins, head of the Texas Film Commission.

Hudgins said the sudden onslaught of television production can be credited largely to the influcnce of producers Garry Brown and Nan Burnstein. Brown worked on Walker, Texas Ranger, and was instrumental in bringing Prison Break, The Deep End and currently shooting Code 58 (formerly known as Jack and Dan) to North Texas. He will also produce Chase, but not Midland. Burnstein produces Austin-shot Friday Night Lights, which begins filming a fifth season there in April. Neither could be reached for comment at press time.

“These things don’t happen by accident,” Hudgins said. “It’s really those line producers who are our biggest advocates right now.”

Gen Y was strongly considering a North Carolina shoot before Burnstein’s advice and assistance turned the tide, Hudgins said.

The Texas Legislature in 2009 increased the size of financial rebates given to filmmakers based either on total in-state spending or as a percentage of wages paid to cast and crew who are Texas residents. Texas offers up to 15 percent of in-state spending or up to 25 percent of wages, with both figures increased slightly for filming in areas deemed underutilized. Previously, the state offered 5 percent rebates.

“It’s because we have an incentive that these things are falling into place,” Hudgins said. “They know we have the crews and we have the capacity to get these things done.”

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