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If Oklahoma wants to see more \"lights, camera, action\" in the state, it needs to offer more infrastructure, financial incentives and down-home friendliness.
If Oklahoma wants to see more "lights, camera, action" in the state, it needs to offer more infrastructure, financial incentives and down-home friendliness.
That's the advice of Bob Ducsay, a producer and editor of several Hollywood blockbusters, including "The Mummy Returns," "Van Helsing" and this summer's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra." Ducsay visited Oklahoma City University in late October to speak to its film students, at the request of Fritz Kiersch, the university's moving arts department chair. The two worked together on the 1990 movie "Fatal Charm."
Although "The Killer Inside Me" recently shot in Guthrie, the Sooner State hasn't hosted a production with a budget on the level Ducsay is used to since 1996's "Twister."
"People in the business are always looking for tax incentives or some types of breaks, and those things are essential," Ducsay says. "The reality is, there is definitely a push to reduce the size of budgets. Filmmakers want the films to be as big as they can possibly make them, and they're always looking for ways to make them cheaper."
Currently, Oklahoma offers up to a 37% rebate on production expenditures through its film incentive program, capped at $5 million a year. According to the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, the minimum budget must be $50,000, half of which must be spent in-state.
Ducsay said infrastructure is also important, meaning that the state has crew members to help mount the production, even in tangential roles, so that not everyone has to fly in from the coasts.
"There can only be so many places that can support movies," he says. "The more experience any place has with making movies, the easier it is to attract movies."
Finally, the thing Oklahoma already has going for it: an overall good attitude.
"If people are nice to us, we want to go there," Ducsay says. "You feel welcome and people are excited the movie's there, you think, 'Oh, this is a great place to be.' You have good places to put people up, good places to eat. Obviously, in the short time I've spent here, that's not a problem here. Everyone is so lovely and friendly."