It’s hard to believe that NBC’s Grimm has been shooting for more than a month in Portland. It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating the start of production on the show’s second season. With TNT’s Leverage already deep into its production schedule and IFC’s Portlandia gearing up to shoot at the end of July it appears that Portland’s “TV Trinity” is getting into full swing again.
As we looked back at the celebration kicking off Grimm’s second season in Portland, we were surprised to see several news sources reporting that a record $130 million was spent by film and TV productions in Oregon during 2011. That number represents a substantial jump beyond the $110 million expected last year. We contacted Oregon’s Governor’s Office of Film and Television to find out what made the difference between the expected level of spending and this much higher figure.
Sources in the film office tell us they were pleasantly surprised to find Grimm had spent more in the state during 2011 than the production had initially projected. They also saw a surprising rise in Oregon’s overall commercial production. Commercials shot in the state don’t qualify for the Oregon Film Investment Fund (the state’s film incentive program) but can qualify for the Greenlight Labor program which rebates a small percentage of Oregon film and TV workers’ payroll. When these Greenlight Labor rebates were reviewed in January and February the GOFTV was happy to see a steep rise in these payroll figures.
While this is great news, there is a down-side to this higher-than-expected spending. As we’ve previously reported, Oregon’s film incentive programs are capped at $6 million per year. Because the Oregon Production Investment Fund gives producers a 20% rebate on goods and services purchased while shooting in Oregon this higher-than-expected spending leaves even less money in the fund to attract new productions to the state (and thus can’t be used to create more jobs and business for Oregon vendors.) This high rate of spending stands as one more reason film and TV supporters should urge candidates for Oregon’s legislature to make raising the cap on Oregon’s film incentive programs a priority. If $130 million can be brought to the state with a $6 million per year fund, imagine how much could come in with a $10 million per year fund.