Tampa — Producer David Yates brought 11 films to the Tampa Bay area in 12 months.
These productions hired residents and spent money locally on hotel rooms, meals, locations, equipment, wardrobes, and props.
But just as the Palm Harbor resident and former Clearwater Aquarium CEO enjoyed doing something positive for his hometown, these movies were shot locally. There was one reason.
“Incentive,” said Yeats. “Otherwise they wouldn’t be here.”
Film is both an art and a business.
Five of Yeats’ creations qualified for the Locally Made Incentive during the 2022 fiscal year. The remaining works may be approved for submission in 2023.
Overall, the 17 regional productions spent approximately $12 million locally and received approximately $1.5 million in incentives in exchange for marketing Tampa Bay during fiscal 2022.
According to figures provided by the St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission, Pinellas has 10 projects that have spent about $6.5 million locally and received more than $1.04 million in county funding.
In Hillsboro, seven productions spent about $5.3 million locally and received $439,000 in county funding, according to the county’s film commission, known as Film Tampa Bay.
Yeats’ work was the largest beneficiary of the Pinellas program, distributing approximately $510,000 across five films that spent approximately $2.01 million in the county. Two of his, “Nightmare PTA Moms” and “Hider in the House” aired multiple times on Lifetime, and another of his, “Lies Beneath the Surface” aired on his LMN.
Yates said premiere dates and channels for other shows will be announced soon.
In Hillsboro, the recently shot “Spider & Jessie” tops the list. The film, starring McKenna Grace, Dacre Montgomery, and Jesse Williams, received her $120,000 in county funding and spent $1.2 million.
County programs help make up for the lack of state production incentive programs.
Georgia allows the state to recoup 30% of production costs with no annual cap. This program turned Georgia into the Hollywood of the South.
The Tampa Bay program is much smaller. The Hillsborough program has an annual budget of $500,000. Last year, Pinellas’ budget was $1 million for him, but Film Commissioner Tony Armor said he’s been raised to $1.7 million for fiscal 2023.
Neither program will lure in blockbusters that expect millions of dollars in return, but each has the potential to make the region a hub for independent films, made-for-TV movies, reality shows, and streaming series. It’s helpful.
Still, while the program aims to bring production to the region, neither Pinellas nor Hillsboro’s Film Commissioner calls it a funding incentive.
“This is a marketing grant,” Hillsboro Film Commissioner Tyler Martinorich said.
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Armor repeated it.
Counties and states usually lure productions by reimbursing some of the local spending.
Hillsboro used to operate that way too. However, in 2002 we switched to a marketing-based program.
“We realized there was no way to force us to move away from the old program and offer marketing opportunities,” says Martinolich.
The Pinellas program has been marketing-based since 2007, Armer said. He has tweaked and expanded it since he was hired in 2014.
“Otherwise, there would be no incentive for the project to really promote the area,” Armor said. “Their impact can end with what they spend. If they promote the area, the impact will last.”
Both programs require productions to promote the region to tourists and other filmmakers.
The Pinellas program is based on local spending. The production will receive a list of “tourism promotional deliveries,” Armor said. This includes providing cast and crew testimonial videos that highlight sights of interest, use the real names of locales, are family-friendly movies, and promote the benefits of filming in the county. .
Each of these contributes a percentage of local spending to production, capped at 30%.
At Hillsboro, some goals have a certain “assessed value,” said Martinolich.
Ten positive social media posts about the county are valued up to $20,000 and two five-minute cast and crew testimonials promoting Hillsboro as a tourism and production destination are valued up to $175,000 . Works cannot exceed $250,000.
Martinolich said the value assessed will depend on a project’s star power, social media outreach, and other factors Film Tampa Bay uses to score each production’s marketing value.
A “paper line” about a secret fraternity of black martial artists at a historic black college spent $100,000 on Hillsborough and got back $9,000 because it had an all-black cast and crew, Martino Ricci said. .
The short film had a sold-out premiere at the Tampa Theater on June 1. The event received statewide coverage. “It was a positive message that Hillsboro is an inclusive community. You really can’t put a dollar value on it.”
What works received county money?
“South Beach Love” received $250,000 and spent $2,701,132.
“Life’s Rewards” received $250,000 and spent $1.5 million.
“Lean Into Love” received $120,600 and spent $402,005.
“Love’s Playlist” received $117,000 and spent $389,201
“Deadly Suspicion” received $99,408 and spent $397,637.
“Hider in the House” received $98,200 and spent $392,854.
“Nightmare PTA Moms” received $75,000 and spent $430,000.
“Jevas” received $14,700 and spent $147,000
“Pages of My Heart” received $10,000 and spent $100,000.
“Skunk Ape” received $6,000 and spent $60,000.
“Spider & Jessie” received $120,000 and spent $1.1 million.
“Throwback” received $110,000 and spent $1,204,686
“Secrets of the Zoo” received $95,000 and spent $1,768,155.
“Meet My Abuela” received $85,000 and spent $850,000.
“St. Eustatia” received $10,000 and spent $100,000.
“Beast Comes at Midnight” received $10,000 and spent $142,813.
“Paper Line” received $9,000 and spent $100,000.