Officials at the Santa Clarita Film Office said they have been “busy” in the last few months, a change from the March-June period from last year in which no productions were allowed to roll their cameras.
Evan Thomason, an economic development associate who leads the city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office, said that while he would not use the word “normal” when describing how things are going as the pandemic restrictions decrease, he would say they’re quite busy.
“Filming is definitely pretty much back,” said Thomason, who went on to say that for the 2020 fiscal year, which began in the 2019 calendar year, the city started out strong with a number of permits and filming days. However, the pandemic restrictions brought all productions to a halt come March.
For the fiscal year 2020, the city of Santa Clarita had just over $30 million of economic impact — the city issued 468 permits for 1,249 film days — which includes the money received both by the city and by the amount of money directly spent by production crews, from the hotel rooms the cast and crew stayed in, to spending at home improvement stores, to filling their production vehicles with gas, and more.
In fiscal year 2021, the city of Santa Clarita issued 562 permits for 13,169 filming days with an economic impact of more than $34 million.
“Filming reopened in mid-June, but they had issues coming to agreements with studios and production unions that they still had to figure out,” said Thomason. “But we were actually, with ‘SWAT,’ one of the first major shows to come back and they started in August.”
Thomason said health and safety protocols within the city abide by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health standards, which include requiring frequent negative tests in some instances.
The city of Santa Clarita, Thomason said, was glad to have the production crews back in town because their spending means millions of dollars flowing back into the local economy.
“I know that one of the studios, they buy local when they can, so they went over to our local Home Depot and they’re literally buying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of lumber,” said Thomason. “The manager comes out and says ‘Thank you,’ and those are real impacts.”
Thomason added that the crews often hire local catering from local restaurants, or use local filming locations and school campuses, and they pay for hotels, and the fees and taxes add millions to the general fund budget for the city.
“It directly translates into tax money that the city gets to use to build parks, and hire sheriff’s and things like that,” said Thomason.