State of Incentives: Dallas, Texas

Bob Hudgins, the well liked and effective former IFO deputy film commissioner who heads the Austin, Texas office, was publicly approving of the forthcoming transfer of the Dallas Film Commission from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) to the city’s Office of Economic Development.

Hudgins said move is wise and should have happened a long time ago.

“In my personal experience, I did all of my production history in Chicago, where the Chicago Film Office is part of the mayor’s office, and they’re just more effective at getting things done,” he told Unfair Park blog of the Dallas Observer.

“When you’re part of city government, it gives you more capacity. When you’re with convention and visitors bureaus, it’s not the same thing. CVBs are about heads and beds. They’re trying to get people to come in from other places to work here.

“I feel very strongly that an important component is to work with indigenous filmmakers and support them and help them grow,” Hudgins said.

In Austin, where Hudgins has headed its film office since Jan. 1, 2006, “You have someone like Robert Rodriguez. If Austin hadn’t supported him, and he had gone off somewhere else, that’s tens of millions in production dollars they would have lost,” he added.

Dallas Film Commissioner Janis Burkland acknowledged that Texas is “not nearly equal” when it comes to competitive incentives, which is what features are after. So when it comes to jobs, “television is much more likely to hire local people. That’s the gift that keeps on giving,” she said, referring to the present series, “The Deep End” for ABC and past series that have filmed in the western city.

The DCVB will give the city $100,000 annually for the film commission, which has three employees, and another $80,000 for marketing. Another $100,000 will come from the Dallas Convention and Event Services Department.