Filming in California

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California has increased its tax credit incentives with an annual fund of USD330 million. Dedicated funds are available for non-independent and independent films, TV pilots, MOWs, Miniseries, new, recurring and relocating TV series.

Multiple TV Series have flocked to The Golden State, including HBO's Ballers, previously shot in Florida, American Horror Story from Louisiana, and Legion and Lucifer, both of which travelled from British Columbia.

Feature films of all sizes are eligible for a 20% tax credit, while relocating TV series and independent projects can garner a 25% rate. Many other regions offer additional incentives, including San Francisco, with its “Scene in San Francisco” rebate programme of up to USD600,000. Santa Clarita, north of Los Angeles, also offers fee waivers, easily-accessible movie ranches and stage facilities. Santa Barbara also offers local incentives.

The incentive now accommodates feature films with budgets over USD75 million, with Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time being the first project to make use of the change.

Los Angeles is a thriving hub of production activity, having hosted Netflix's revival of Gilmore Girls and Oscar winners including The Artist, Argo and most recently La La Land. Large budgeted features are taking advantage of the diversity of locations, deep crew base and unmatched infrastructure as evidenced by Disney’s Wrinkle in Time and Netflix’s Bright.

The Los Angeles production zone is home to all of the world’s major film studios and more than 500 professional production facilities, along with hundreds of post-production and VFX facilities. World-class infrastructure is also expanding to other parts of the state, such as the recently-launched Film Mare Island production campus in the San Francisco Bay Area.

California locations have doubled for just about every part of the world (and even the galaxy). Its coastlines, deserts, mountains, forests, urban centers and farmland provide an unlimited range of settings. The Sacramento Delta doubles for Asia or the American South, Mammoth Mountain stands in for the Himalayas, Antelope Valley Fairgrounds for West Texas, Mendocino County for the East Coast and Ridgecrest for the terrain of other planets.

The locations choices for the tsunami scenes were mainly to capture the best and most iconic San Francisco views we could find. Many of them were from along the shoreline of San Francisco or from higher vantage points that looked back.

Jonathan Shedd, Location Manager on San Andreas


Much of California is warm and dry all year round, with low humidity. Offshore breezes tend to keep coastal cities like Los Angeles and San Diego cooler than inland areas.

Inland parts of the state have a warmer, Mediterranean climate, while the Mojave Desert is hot and arid and can reach temperatures of 49C. Northern parts of the state tend to get more rainfall
– as much as 50 inches some years – as the higher land and mountains have a more temperate climate.

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