Friday, April 22, 2011
SHOT IN TEXAS: ‘Dallas’ pilot begins 12-day shoot
My Dallas Morning News column (which actually runs Saturday but is already up on the Web site--oddly minus my byline).--Joe
NOTE: Larry Hagman on Sunday at 8 p.m. will be at the Texas Theatre, where the original Dallas series is being screened two episodes at a time weekly.
SHOT IN TEXAS: ‘Dallas’ pilot begins 12-day shoot here next week
BY JOE O'CONNELL
@joemoconnell on Twitter
The TNT series pilot for Dallas begins a 12-day North Texas shoot next week. The pilot follows the next generation of Ewings led by Jesse Metcalfe, Josh Henderson and Jordana Brewster. Larry Hagman, Charlene Tilton, Steve Kanaly, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy from the original series are also on board.
“Just because a pilot shoots here doesn’t mean it’s going to stay if picked up,” warned Janis Burklund of the Dallas Film Commission. She has seen network shows such as Fox’s Good Guys come and go. Indeed, most of the original Dallas series was shot in Hollywood.
Dallas-set and Dallas-shot ABC pilot GCB, starring Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth and Annie Potts, recently wrapped production. Word of a series pickup is expected by mid-May.
A couple of canceled series shot in North Texas are also staging small-scale comebacks. The five unaired Chase episodes shot in Dallas will be broadcast beginning Saturday on NBC. And Lone Star creator Kyle Killen is staging a free screening of the fourth through sixth episodes of the canceled Fox series this Sunday in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse-Ritz.
In 2009, Hagman, Dallas’ J.R. Ewing, wandered the Texas Capitol giving out fake $10,000 bills with his photo on them, successfully prodding legislators to increase filming incentives funding. But incentives are no longer such an easy sell.
With six weeks to go in the session, the Texas Legislature is hashing out the future of a filming incentives program that in 2009 awarded two-year funding of $60 million — with another $2 million for operating expenses and funding of a state film archive. This time the Senate is looking at two-year funding of $10 million, while the House is considering increasing that two-year figure to $30 million plus that spare $2 million for operations and film archive. The decision will likely be up to a House-Senate conference committee.
The industry, in a study expected to be released next week, contends the film, television and video-game industry has had a $1.1 billion impact since incentives were first funded in 2007, and a direct in-state spend of just less than $600 million. The study commissioned by the Texas Association of Business with the help of the University of Texas considers spending through 2010.
“It shows how effective we are at creating jobs,” said Don Stokes, president of the lobbying group Texas Motion Picture Alliance. “It shows the Texas program is the most efficient program out there.”
Competing states also are looking at either cutting back or eliminating filming incentives in this tight budget year. Still, New Mexico is considering a $45 million per year cap, far more than ever offered in Texas.
“Our program was designed from the beginning to be very conservative,” Stokes said, noting Texas’ strengths in trained film crews and varied filming locales. “As other programs across the country pull back and come back into reality, it makes Texas that much more competitive. We hope we end up with enough to keep Texas in the game.”
Burklund agrees. “We all know we’re going to take a cut,” she said. “I’m not panicking about it. We’re doing the best we can given the circumstances.”
Dallas filmmakers Barak Epstein, Adam Donaghey, Jason Reimer and Eric Steele, working together as Aviation Cinemas, are launching what they term “crowd-funded” indie films and producing them directly from Oak Cliff’s Texas Theatre. The first project is The Verdigris, a music documentary executive-produced by Bradley Beesley (Okie Noodling) and featuring music by Beau Jennings. A donations-only performance by Jennings opened the effort at the Texas Theatre on Friday.