United States Of America
The United States offers a world of unique and international location looks of many epochs. Every state has something to offer ranging from Hollywood studios to Mid-Western towns, modern city skylines, coastal or mountain villages, famous landmarks and architecture, unique neighborhoods, mansions, sporting arenas, museums, amusement parks, national parks, salt plains, deserts, surf beaches, snowy mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, waterfalls, farms and ranches, stunning car roads and much more.
Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta are the main production centers but all states have some degree of locally based production service support.
Cost & Rebates
Cost competitiveness depends entirely on the specifics of the project. If you are looking for high quality specialized work then filming in the United States can be a competitive option. On the other hand the United States does not generally attract low budget foreign productions. Urban centers are expensive with cities like New York charging around $400 per night for a standard 5 star hotel room. Professional crews and suppliers charge professional western rates. Remote locations require additional travel costs. Most commercial productions would only travel to the United States if the project required a specific location or celebrity access. There are of course ways to shoot smaller more guerilla styled jobs. As long as the shoot does not assert exclusive use of public property filming in the United States can be cost competitive, even compared to much less developed countries. There is no federal film incentive. There are many different state based tax incentives for foreign commercials and feature films shooting throughout the US.
When To Shoot
Los Angeles is noteworthy for its year-round sunny and dry weather conditions. Other than that, the US climate varies considerably depending on the region and time of year. The western states regularly experience a fifth-season in the late summer months of hazy skies brought on by wildfire smoke.
Hundreds of festivals and events take place throughout the United States every year. National events of interest include Super Bowl Sunday (February), St Patrick’s Day (March), Memorial Day (May), Independence Day (July), Halloween (October), Thanksgiving (November), Christmas and New Year’s Eve (December).
Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs.
Entry is subject to regulations from country of origin. Crew travelling on passports from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program can enter and film in the US for stays of up to 90 days. A valid ESTA is required prior to travel. Canadians can enter visa-free. Working media must enter under a Media Visa. Contact your local US embassy or representative for more information.
Cast, Crew & Equipment
The United States has a deep, world-class pool of directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Likewise, the United States offers some of the best crews in the world and an abundance of them. The US has a very deep, multicultural and multilingual pool of talent, both human and animal. Specialist agencies exist to supply every kind of possible talent. Many of the world’s celebrities also live in the US. The United States has a great depth of suppliers offering all equipment imaginable. Highly specialized equipment is found in Los Angeles and New York.
For those looking to bring in film equipment the US is an ATA carnet country.