NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — If you’ve noticed many movie production crews in the New Orleans area, there’s a good reason. The film industry is at an all time high and is expected to break a record this year.
Driving down Judge Perez in Chalmette, you may have seen a replica of the French Quarter in what was once a parking lot. Every square foot of space available at the Ranch Film Studio is now occupied.
“Right now, 100% of my 25 acres and 300,000 square feet of production space is fully booked,” ranch owner Jason Waggenspack said.
The film industry may finally have the stability it has been seeking for five years after the state of Louisiana reinstated a 25% tax credit for films shot here.
“There are more productions in the city than ever before and there doesn’t seem to be a slowdown,” said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Last year, the movie industry spent more than $1 billion in New Orleans alone, and the city is on track to break that record in 2022.
“It’s a game-changing industry for us and it’s increasingly local,” said Carol Morton of the New Orleans Film Office.
The Ranch is about to begin a major expansion.
“I’m currently in the process of extending these windows here and hoping to have a bigger install by the end of the year,” Waggenspack said.
In Uptown, “Second Line Studios” is also doubling its space to accommodate some of the 21 productions currently underway.
“Since January 1, productions have spent $435 million in the city. We have five projects for which we are awaiting budgets,” Morton said. “This is a major studio expansion here at Second Line, providing dozens of construction jobs, but for people looking to get into the film industry, there are plenty of opportunities.”
“Per production, there are between 250 and 600 people a day,” Waggenspack said.
An estimated 90% of people working on film crews are local and perform jobs that pay an average of $67,000 per year. And the “help wanted” sign is off.
There are regular workouts at the New Orleans Video Access Center for those interested in getting involved in the film industry.
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