An article in last week’s Hollywood Reporter told Los Angeles what we in Oregon have known for quite a while – television loves Portland!
…Portland really is an alternate universe, and now, it’s where legions of television creatives have set up shop. Along with Portlandia, which debuts its second season Jan. 6, there’s NBC’s horror/fairy-tale crime procedural Grimm, which premieres Oct. 28, and TNT’s heist-action series Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton, also shooting full time in Portland. The biggest Emmy nomination magnet in 2011, the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, was created by Portlanders: Director Todd Haynes and co-writer Jon Raymond call the city home.
“A lot of people might not know that Portland has a big industry, with TV, commercials and independent film — Gus Van Sant and all,” says Portlandia director Jonathan Krisel of the Oscar-nominated helmer (Good Will Hunting) and longtime Portlander who put the Rose City on the production map with his 1989 breakout film Drugstore Cowboy. “There’s a pool of highly trained locals. You don’t have to ship in all the L.A. people.” (Read the entire article…)
Our “snarky” introduction aside, Tim Appelo’s article points out that while Oregon has a rich history of movie-making, not many television projects have been shot in the Beaver State until recently. Appelo credits Leverage producer Dean Devlin with kicking off Portland’s TV boom when he decided to move the show to the Rose City in 2009.
“We’ve saved about $8 million to $10 million a year by being there,” [Devlin] says. “Before we went to Oregon, only $6 million to $10 million was spent annually on film production; in 2010, it was $100 million. We now have 471 full-time employees, and another 417 businesses get weekly checks from us. We’ve spent a half-million dollars on extras. In total, we’ve spent over $90 million in the state.”
One dark note in this otherwise sunny feature is the effect the legislature’s cut to Oregon’s film incentives has had on bringing new productions to the state. Devlin mentions in the article that another TNT show, Falling Skies, was considering relocating production to Oregon - but the new limit on incentive funding meant there was no money available bring in an additional show.
We’re hoping that the Oregon Legislature will consider raising the Oregon Production Investment Fund‘s cap back to its 2010 level (or raise it to the $12.5 million level that governor John Kitzhaber had recommended) so this television boom can continue in Portland – and elsewhere in the state!