By Ken Striplin
Whether you know it or not, you live in one of the most filmed cities in California. Santa Clarita offers filmmakers a diverse landscape that can double for almost anywhere in the world, which is why Hollywood frequently comes calling to shoot movies, TV shows, commercials and much more in our City. Whether it’s using a local golf course to land an airplane or filming an action sequence at our skate park, productions choose Santa Clarita for the variety of backdrops and our convenient one-stop Film Office.
All of the movie magic that takes place in Santa Clarita adds up to major economic benefits for our City. I’m happy to report that in fiscal year 2018-19, the Film Office recorded a total of 526 film permits and 1,380 film days, which generated an impressive $33.4 million in economic impact to the local community. Not included in these statistics are the film days that take place on certified sound stages, which do not require a film permit.
Santa Clarita is home to more than 20 soundstages, 10 movie ranches and thousands of film-friendly locations all within the “30-Mile Zone” (also known as the TMZ). The TMZ is used by union film projects to determine per diem rates and driving distances for crew members. Within the boundaries of the TMZ, the on-set crew are expected to transport themselves. When workers are required to show up for work outside the zone, studios become responsible for transportation, meals and additional compensation.
When it comes to permitting a film shoot within Santa Clarita, production companies come to the City’s Film Office. When the Film Office was created in 2002, the goal was to provide a one-stop shop for filmmakers to ensure the success and timeliness of production. A few years later in 2009, the Santa Clarita City Council established the Film Incentive Program. This program’s goal is to increase the number of television productions that film in the City by subsidizing permit fees and reducing the costs of safety personnel. The Film Incentive Program has added to our City’s film-friendly reputation, and has made Santa Clarita the hot-spot for location filming.
Fast forward to today -– the Santa Clarita Film Office does everything from issuing film permits and assisting productions with location inquires and scouting, to acting as a liaison between the production community and the City’s residences and businesses. I encourage you to check out FilmSantaClarita.com, which is home to valuable resources including permit forms, production alerts, information for student filmmakers and an endless library of productions that have filmed in Santa Clarita. It is always interesting to check to see if your favorite show, or that recent blockbuster movie (like “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) filmed scenes right here in Santa Clarita, because chances are they did!
Ken Striplin is the Santa Clarita City Manager and can be reached at [email protected].