How California's Billion-Dollar Incentive Program Is Winning Back Productions

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Courtesy of HBO

California set out to curb runaway production in 2015 with a revamped $1.55 billion incentives program. It’s been so impactful that the state has not only kept many new productions local, it also has lured back a handful of TV shows from afar. The program is sure to be one hot topic when the state’s regional film liaisons gather May 20 at the Film in California Conference. “The projects accepted into Program 2.0 thus far are spending $3.9 billion,” says California Film Commission executive director Amy Lemisch.

Every 12 months, the state divides its $330 million annual payout: 40 percent is earmarked for TV pilots and series, with an additional 20 percent allocated for relocating shows — while films get 40 percent. But the cash shifts slightly as projects develop. THR followed the money for the program’s second year.

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