The Entertainment Industry Of Texas

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Texas is a state in the south-central region of the United States and covers an area of 268,596 square miles with a population of 29.1 million residents in 2020. After Alaska, it is the second-largest state in the United States by land area and stands second-largest in population after California. Before and after the Civil War, Texas dominated the cattle industry which created a traditional image of the Texas cowboy. During the 20th century, Texas developed a high-tech and diversified industry.

Along with its growing industrial base, Texas has been a leader in many sectors such as IT, energy, petrochemicals, agriculture, tourism, arts and music, entertainment, etc. Texas has a long history of television and film production. It has continued to maintain its reputation as a top destination for entertainment projects. There are more than 250 Texas-based production companies with a world-class community of workers and resources. They not only attract the national production houses but also international media production.

Entertainment Industry of Texas

Entertainment Industry of Texas

Various entertainment industries in Texas have featured Academy Award-nominated and Academy Award-winning movies. In addition to television and film projects, commercial production continues to thrive in Texas. There are approximately 50 advertising agencies in Texas out of which mostly are global industry leaders in terms of size, revenue, and clients. Also, Texas is home to the most recognized brands that prefer filming commercials in Texas.

Digital Media Production: Animation and Visual Effects

Digital Media Production: Animation and Visual Effects

Texas production follows the latest techniques and technologies, and visual effects and animation are not exceptions. The Lone Star State is home to more than 130 animation, visual effects, and post-production companies that provide talent and support to the local and international creative industries.

Recent animated productions in Texas include:

  • Castlevania, a Netflix’s original series by Powerhouse Animation. 
  • Kings of Atlantis, a YouTube Red’s original series by Mighty Coconut. 
  • The Book of Life, a Golden Globe nominee by Reel FX.

Digital Media Production: Computer, Video Games, And XR

Digital Media Production: Computer, Video Games, And XR

Since the 1980s, Texas has played a major role in the computer and video game industry. Texas has been continuing to be a growing center of production for computers, video games, and XR. Also, it is one of the nation’s leading states for video game development and continues to be at the top for the extended reality (XR) movement with start-ups and the Lone Star State.

The recently developed or released videos games in Texas are:

  • Star Wars: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne (PC) by EA. 
  • Recore (Windows, Xbox One) by Armature.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U) by Retro Studios.
  • The Banner Saga (PC) by Stoic Studios.

The recent productions of Extended Reality (XR) include virtual reality (VR) simulation video games such as:

  • Vacation Simulator (PlayStation VR, Oculus, HTC Vive) by Owlchemy Labs. 
  • Sports Scramble (RIFT S, RIFT, Oculus Quest) by Armature.

In Texas, XR production goes beyond entertainment. Companies are partnering with leading universities to develop virtual reality experiences for a positive impact on the lives of seniors. Austin-based US Army Futures Command, on the other hand, is partnering with small businesses and universities on evolving virtual reality technologies to modernize the military.

Digital Media Production: Commercial Production

Digital Media Production: Commercial Production

In addition to gaming, virtual reality, animated, film, and television projects, commercial production thrives in Texas. Texas is not only home to film and television production but also advertising agencies. These advertising agencies create award-winning projects.

Texas has recent commercial productions including advertisements for:

  • Coca-Cola Company 
  • USAA
  • Bank of America 
  • Lincoln Motor Company
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods 
  • Hasbro 
  • AT&T
  • Verizon Communications 
  • Kellogg’s

Why Texas for Film, TV, and Commercial Production?

Financial Incentives

Financial Incentives

The Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program provides incentives to production houses for eligible commercial, television, and film projects. Filmmakers are also entitled to sales tax exemptions on many goods and services used during production. Hotel stays, on the other hand, of more than 30 consecutive days are also exempted from the part of tourism tax.

Skilled Personnel

Skilled Personnel

Texas has a long history of production activity with several production centers in the major cities. It has bases of skilled and experienced personnel throughout the state. You can have skilled and experienced personnel from different departments such as:

  • Accounting
  • Animals
  • Animation/Visual Effects
  • Art
  • Associations
  • Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality/ Virtual Reality
  • Aviation
  • Camera
  • Casting/Talent
  • Catering
  • Costumes/Wardrobe
  • Craft Services
  • Directors
  • Editorial/Post Production 
  • Film commissions
  • Game Design & Development
  • Greens
  • Hair/Makeup
  • Housing
  • Locations 
  • Marine
  • Photographers
  • Production
  • Sound
  • Special Effects
  • Stunts 
  • Studios
  • Transportation

Great Locations

Great Locations

With over 268,000 square miles, the perfect location for a film, television, and commercial project in Texas. There are beaches in Texas along the Gulf of Mexico and deserts and mountains in western Texas. In east Texas, you will find pine forests that make a perfect location for a production house. Texas has a variety of terrain that can help a production house to select the best location for their film, television, and commercial projects such as:

  • Hamilton Pool (Dripping Springs)
  • Wortham Center (Houston)
  • Texas Chainsaw House (Kingsland)
  • William P Hobby Airport (Houston)
  • USS Texas (La Porte)
  • USS Lexington (Corpus Christi)
  • Bass Concert Hall (Austin)
  • Tranquility Park (Houston)
  • Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds (Poteet)
  • Farmers and Merchants Bank (Pilot Point)
  • McCollum-Chapman-Trousdale House (Smithville)
  • Top-Notch Hamburgers (Austin)

Support Services

teamwork

Texas is a one-stop-shop for your filmmaking. From prop rentals to housing, it has great vendors and infrastructures to accommodate productions of all sizes. For this purpose, you can avail yourself of the production support vendors and companies in Texas as mentioned earlier.

Climate

Climate

With warm summer temperatures, long stretches of clear skies and mild winters, the climate of Texas is perfect for film, television, and commercial projects. The spring and early fall rainy seasons are brief. As a result, there is a minimal impact on the production schedules.

Texas Entertainment Industry by Numbers

Industry revenue of arts, entertainment and recreation in Texas from 2012 to 2024

Figure: Data by Statista

The above-mentioned graph shows the revenue of the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry in Texas from 2012 to 2017. From 2018 to 2024, the figures are forecasted revenue. By 2024, the revenue of the entertainment industry in Texas is expected to be more or less 18 billion U.S. dollars.

Award Winning Movies Filmed in Texas

Movie Name  Academy Award Nominations Academy Award Winnings
No Country For Old Men 

8

4

The Last Picture Show 

8

2

Boyhood

6

1

Lone Star (1996)

1

0

Giant (1956)

10

1

Dallas Buyers Club

6

3

Tender Mercies

5

2

Places in the Heart

7

2

Hud (1963)

7

3

Texas – Entertainment Industry

Texas is known for its scenic landscape, cowboy culture, booming cities, and legendary stories, the reason why Texans are so proud of Texas. All of these factors make a great state for the production of the film, television, and commercial projects. Since 1971, the Texas Film Commission has helped tell Texas stories to the world. Over the past five decades, TFC has had a huge impact on the entertainment industry of the state that represented the Lone Star State to the world.

Establishing the Texas Film Commission was to foster the development of the film communication industry. Texas not only provides the best services for film, television, and commercial production but also for animation, visual effects, computers, video games, and XR. Over the past few years, the revenue from arts, entertainment, and recreation has grown and it is expected to reach 18 billion U.S. dollars in 2024. 

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