Paul Guzzo’s article yesterday in the Tampa Bay Times sheds light on a couple of factors that remain favorable to Florida filmmaking in this era of rampant film incentives and runaway production. “Who books 42,000 room nights in Hillsborough?” focuses on hard numbers, specifically the results produced by interim film commission Tyler Martinolich who has notably upped revenue from commercials shot in Hillsborough County. Because of similar efforts across the state, Florida is still a go-to location for big-budget commercials, which – if wisely promoted – can go a long way toward curbing the collapse of our endangered production infrastructure.
Counties like Hillsborough that are willing to put skin in the game – Miami Dade, Pinellas, and Palm Beach counties also come to mind – ensure that there will be crew and support businesses ready to meet rising demand when we can find a way to make that happen. Couple these with forward-thinking film commissioners like Martinolich who look for local production sectors that can be nurtured and enhanced, and we can hold some hope that our production infrastructure will be kept from evaporating entirely.
This article emphasizes, however, that commercials can’t do it all. Real growth requires the economic shot-in-the-arm that only sustained feature film and episodic television production can generate. Thankfully for all of us in the Florida film community, a growing number of counties appear to grasp the importance of keeping the Sunshine State in the filmmaking game. Because of this, Florida is still on the global radar for motion picture production.