Why Movies About Texas Aren’t Made Here

Other states offer more incentives to major film producers. Texas’ $50 million is small potatoes, by comparison.

By Michael MarksOctober 15, 2019 12:35 pm, ,

Though films set in Texas continue to be popular, these films aren’t usually made in the Lone Star State.

Other states, including Georgia, provide strong incentive programs for filmmakers, and that brings millions of dollars into those states’ economies. Now, Georgia is as competitive as Hollywood and the United Kingdom in the film industry. Here in Texas, the $50 millions in incentives available over the next two years don’t seem as attractive to major Hollywood producers.   

Ray Perryman is president and CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research firm in Waco. He says that without stronger support from the state, Texas can’t compete in the market.

“There have been a number of fairly significant movies made about Texas, set in Texas in the last several years,” Perryman says “many of which were filmed in either New Mexico or Louisiana because they have better programs than we have here.”

States that promote strong incentive programs attract the largest productions, which adds money and jobs into the economy. 

“[Georgia] gets about $3 billion in spending every year, thousands and thousands of jobs which translates to about $7 or $8 billion in their economy,” Perryman says. “That’s the sort of thing that can happen when a state really promotes an industry and tries to grow and develop it.”

Perryman says that if Texas wants to capitalize on this opportunistic market, the state needs to remodel its film incentive program, while using its “Texas flare” to edge out the competition.

“There’s a lot of stories to tell in Texas,” Perryman says. “So we have some natural advantages here. But when it comes to the hardcore dollars and cents of trying to make a production work we are simply not, simply not competitive.”

The current $50 million allocation of state funds attracts smaller productions and provides the base for a stronger program in the future, Perryman says He say the entertainment center of Austin, or traditional West Texas could become film hubs if the state chooses to support a Texas film industry. 

“I would say Austin is probably the most likely,” Perryman says. “But there’s a lot of movies shot in West Texas. Things that have to do with western culture, the old culture.”


Written by Libby Cohen.