Watch out Hollywood
Television and Video Production Vancouver
Welcome to Vancouver BC!
Seemingly overnight, this charming west-coast metropolis h
as become the third largest film and television production centre in North America. I’m tempted to tell you Dark Angel was filmed there, and leave it at that. Game over.
But you’re probably all context junkies, so here goes. Remember Lamb Chop’s Play-Along? Go ahead and thank Vancouver for your childhood. X-Files was filmed here, and so were Stargate Atlantis and SG-1, Smallville, Psych, and apparently a show called “The Littlest Hobo” (you can expect a follow-up post on that). Now they’re filming the new Deadpool movie, the third in the new action-packed Star Trek franchise, and a solid handful of CW shows, among others. So when did television production in Vancouver sneak up on us like that? …Must have been creeping in the bushes.
Let’s start from the ground up. Where are the creators coming from? Well, that’s a combination of predominantly two parts. Part one is from within. Unlike the biggest television production schools in the United States, many of which were established in the 19th century, Vancouver Film School is less than thirty years old. Now it’s in the top two entertainment-centric schools in all of Canada. Thanks to recent additions and innovations like a new Animation Campus, Game Design Program, and official Youtube channel, it’s now globally recognized and churning out hundreds of creative professionals yearly.
Part two involves what we’ll refer to as “cinemagration”. Here are the four main factors causing filmmakers to migrate north:
The tax credit situation is awesome.
Vancouver’s tax credit baseline for qualifying cinematic work is 35%. This is more than any state in America besides Missouri (35%) and Puerto Rico (40%). Even better, the qualifications exclude shitty reality TV. Think of it like skimming the (highly profitable but terrible for you) fat off the top. Video producers are enticed to shoot in Vancouver, but the city is managing to keep a more thoughtful, higher quality feel.
Vancouver is a location scout’s wet dream.
Ideal for faking it (a.k.a. pretending Superman is somewhere he’s not), B.C. comes complete with every topographical and man-made distinction you can think of. Within 50 miles of downtown proper, you’ve got the ocean, lakes, rivers, mountains, bridges, islands, sky-scrapers, wineries, forests, fields, beaches, highways, cliffs, bluffs, and dirt roads right at your fingertips. Are we in 2051 Chicago? Are we at a basecamp in Tibet? Yes to both, almost year round.
Weather is a similar story.
Besides our continent’s great anomaly Los Angeles, there’s hardly a better place in the Northern Hemisphere to set up a long shooting schedule. Unlike Boston, New York, and Toronto, Vancouver’s winters are relatively mild and lacking relentless snowstorms. Unlike Atlanta, Seattle, New Orleans, or anywhere in Florida, Vancouver isn’t particularly known for torrential downpours, floods, thunderstorms, or 360 days of drizzle a year. And unlike Puerto Rico, you can throw your c-stands in the trunk and drive there.
The people are lovely.
The population is very diverse, not to mention notoriously friendly and easy to work with. In fact, television and video production regularly makes various “friendliest cities in the world” lists. This makes collecting and corralling extras (which is often like nailing Jell-o to a tree) much more doable. Additionally, people are enthusiastic. Residents revel in the novelty of having a Deadpool fight scene filmed blocks from their house, while their counterparts in the city of angels would most likely just bitch about gridlock and extra traffic on the 405.
So the next time you watch Juno, I Robot, X-Men, The Flash, Arrow, Once Upon a Time, or the Twilight Saga, think fondly of television production companies in Vancouver. And try to make your way up there during the Pacific National Exhibition. There’s a chance you might see this guy: