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When folks consider Dallas for creative projects, they often find that North Texas has more than just friendly faces to help make their project a success. The landscape and local amenities continue to fuel the creative culture that makes Dallas one of a kind.
DFW International Airport is a key global transportation hub, home to American Airlines, and offers a large choice of direct flights from Los Angeles, New York and many other cities (191 domestic destinations) and countries (67 international destinations). Every major city in the continental U.S. can be accessed within four hours. Love Field Airport offers additional options for air travel and home base for Southwest Airlines. Additionally, there are six full service Fixed Based Operators located there and are well equipped to handle corporate/private aircraft.
On average there are 234 sunny days per year in Dallas and it is highly unusual to lose any production time due to weather. During the winter the days tend to be generally mild, though it can freeze at night and the foliage takes on a winter look. Summer can be hot, but the local crews are used to working through it. Films have sometimes doubled several seasons shooting in a single month.
Dallas is the 9th largest city in the U.S. and the Dallas metro is the sixth-largest population with 4.9 million people. It’s also part of the 4th largest greater metropolitan region in the U.S. Dallas today is a cosmopolitan city known for its high concentration of restaurants, shopping centers and spectacular modern and futuristic office buildings with a striking night skyline.Additionally, numerous suburbs and small towns surround the city and can work for either contemporary or period settings and serve as “Anywhere, USA.”
Dallas is ranked the 5th most diverse city in America per a study by WalletHub. Five key dimensions were considered: socioeconomic diversity, cultural diversity, economic diversity, household diversity and religious diversity. Additionally, they considered industry diversity, income, age, religious affiliation, education, language, worker class, and marital status. Dallas has one of the largest gay populations in the U.S. and the biggest in Texas.
Texas is a right-to-work state and has highly skilled resident film and media professionals, both union and non-union, ready to work in every area of production. It is not unusual for our area to have two to three television series and multiple independent films shooting simultaneously using a majority local crew. The film commission has an online creative directory available 24/7 at www.dallascreates.org.
Dallas has a SAG-AFTRA office with approximately 1,000 members and approximately seven local SAG-AFTRA franchised talent agencies. Film and television producers cast many of their speaking roles – both large and small – locally, saving thousands of dollars in travel related fees without sacrificing quality. Commercials and corporate videos especially make use of the local talent for the same reasons.
Dallas has a variety of equipment and service providers. Complete camera, grip and electric equipment is available through numerous companies located here. Though most will ship equipment to other parts of Texas and the Southwest, shooting here allows immediate service or replacement in emergencies. In addition to the usual, these companies offer a range of production vans, generators, cranes, camera cars, and video assist systems. The extensive inventory of available equipment makes our area a competitive rental market for commercial and corporate bids. Dallas also offers numerous service companies including design, editorial and turnkey post services for projects ranging from commercials, documentaries, film, music videos, radio, social media and television. And we cannot leave out animation, augmented & virtual reality.
Permits are typically easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive when required. In some cases, simple notification is all that is needed. However, because the Dallas area includes so many different municipalities, it is best to contact the film commission for specific permitting information.
Texas gives up-front, hassle-free exemptions on much of what you buy or rent for your production with a one-page standard form. Simply show your exemption form to the vendor. Check with the Texas Film Commission for a list of qualifying items and services and to receive an exemption certificate. If you stay in a Texas hotel or motel for 30 or more consecutive days, you are exempt from the 6% state occupancy tax. You must claim the exemption upon check-in. You may also claim a sales tax rebate for fuel used off-road (in generators, boats or tractors).
There are more than 30,000 hotel rooms in Dallas and over 78,000 available throughout the area (and more being built!) Numerous film-friendly hotels and corporate housing companies actively solicit film and television business. The film commission can provide you with a list of hotels and companies in all price ranges and all areas of Dallas to help narrow and simplify your search for housing.
If your TV, film, music video, commercial, still photography or interactive project (such as video games, augmented reality & virtual reality) will be filming in Dallas and you are using at least 15 Dallas hotel room nights, you could qualify for up to 10% back on rooms. The project must apply prior to shooting and use a participating hotel.