Romancing the Producers: Film Boards Promote Sites

Hollywood is coming to America. The majority of film and television production still unfolds in Southern California, yet more movies and TV shows are leaving the Golden State for exotic - and often cheaper - locations.

To lure filmmakers to these far-flung areas, more than 120 cities, every state in the Union, and a score of Canadian towns and provinces have established film commissions, most in the last decade.

The North American commissions both recruit Hollywood producers and remove bureaucratic hurdles. It's usually a good investment: Of the $21.4 billion spent for on-location production in 1992, some $5.1 billion was spent outside California. Texas officials say visiting production companies have pumped nearly $95 million into the state's economy so far this year, and Utah's total for last fiscal year was $40.2 million.

Film commissioners increasingly mimic Hollywood agents. Both scrutinize the Hollywood trade newspaper, noting which productions have been given the green light. The agents want to find work for their actors; the film commissioners want to find work for their estuaries and farmlands.

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