Big Easy film industryThe Los Angeles Times has been examining the booming film industry in Louisiana, where tax incentives and cheap production costs have attracted more film productions than ever. In 2003, five films were shot in the Bayou State; in 2004, that number rocketed to 27, including recent big-name releases The Dukes of Hazzard and The Skeleton Key. Looks like Big Momma's House 2 was filmed in spitting distance of my little brother's house.

Meanwhile, construction is about to begin on a $20 million movie studio complex in the greater New Orleans area. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the complex will include soundstages, digital postproduction facilities, and an outdoor replica of the French Quarter.

The one problem filmmakers are encountering is a lack of qualified people to work as extras or as crew. The LA Times article included an example from Big Momma's House 2: the casting director couldn't find enough attractive actresses for a hot-tub scene, so they had to import talent from other states. (As a native of the area, I find this difficult to believe.) Competition is also fierce to hire experienced production crew members in the area. New Orleans is starting a municipal training program for grips and electricians and hopes to expand to other film-related jobs. I wish the city would start a training program for out-of-state actors to sound authentically New Orleanian.

Hollywood? Forget about it. If you want production or acting experience, perhaps you should migrate to the Big Easy.

categories Movies, Cinematical