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    It's Time To Shine The Production Spotlight On New Mexico

    New Mexico is known for many things. Spicy food, stunning landscapes, and increasingly - film production. Over the last decade, the Land of Enchantment has transformed into a film production powerhouse through a combination of tax incentives, beneficial working conditions, and its extraordinary natural beauty.

    Today, we’re putting the spotlight on New Mexico, highlighting the reasons you should consider bringing your next production to the Southwest. We’ll discuss tax incentives, underline a few production centers, and let you in on New Mexico’s film production secret weapon.

    Let’s start by asking an underlying question:

    Why is New Mexico great for film productions?

    Recently, GreenSlate highlighted a recent survey by MovieMaker Magazine regarding the best small and large cities to live and work in as a moviemaker. New Mexico took three of the top spots, including the number one small city and number two large city.

    In fact, a recent analysis by the LFC of New Mexico came away with the conclusion that New Mexico’s film industry can stand toe-to-toe with the film industries of Georgia, New York, and even California.

    Tim Molloy, EoC of MovieMaker Magazine, noted that “New Mexico's fabulous tax incentives, deep crew base, and vast investments from major studios have made it one of the best-represented states in the country in our latest list.”

    This investment from both the studios and the government has clearly paid off. From groundbreaking shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul to the Oscar-winning Oppenheimer, visionary filmmakers are taking advantage of the state’s legendary landscapes.

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    Meanwhile, line producers and production accountants are taking advantage of local crew and robust tax breaks to keep budgets low. So it’s no surprise that Netflix recently began production on the new series Ransom Canyon in New Mexico, and Ethan Cohen's new film Honey Don't will begin filming there in May. 

    All these elements have combined to build a virtuous circle of investment in New Mexico. As more productions move to New Mexico, it builds up a stronger crew base, which leads to studios wanting to invest more in the state, which leads to increased facilities and deeper crew bases.

    Here’s three ways you can make the most of your production in New Mexico

    1. Take advantage of New Mexico tax credits

    Like many states, New Mexico offers robust tax credit programs to entice productions. The program isn’t just robust - it’s clever and well-targeted. Their tax credits are designed to help you and the state become even more of a powerhouse. 

    For example, the Film Crew Advancement Program and Operation Soundstage are both designed to help build New Mexico’s local crew base. 

    You can also read up on the latest updates, check your eligibility, and register your project at Film New Mexico.

    GreenSlate’s suite of tax incentives tools are another great resource for filmmakers and producers.

    From free tools like our Incentives Map to our full-service Tax Incentives Management program, we can help you get the most of your tax incentives so you don’t let a cent go to waste.

    2. Know the major production centers

    While New Mexico can host productions all over the state, there are a few centers that anchor production. Being familiar with these hubs will help you find the perfect location for your next New Mexico production.


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    New Mexico’s largest city is consistently rated as one of the best filmmaking cities outside of Los Angeles and New York. Aside from the advantages we’ve mentioned before, Albuquerque has a low cost of living and 30,000 acres of wide-open public spaces perfect for filming.

    A two-hour flight from Los Angeles with far less traffic, Albuquerque also features several qualified sound stages, including Hanover Studios and The Studios at Journal Center. The upcoming Mesa Film Studios location will only grow this list. The ambitious project is set to boast six sound stages, office space, and a permanent blue screen facility.

    All these elements made it the perfect place for GreenSlate’s New Mexico Holiday Mixer, the latest in our series of highly popular networking events.

    Santa Fe

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    In the aforementioned MovieMaker Magazine survey, Santa Fe took the top spot as the number one small city for filmmakers for the second year in a row. 

    It's close to Albuquerque, an hour drive in good traffic. This means Santa Fe can draft off the incredible crew and equipment opportunities in the big city, while offering a little more space to breathe. 

    Considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains create a backdrop that’s second to none. There’s a reason so many major Western film productions called Santa Fe home. It’s just that stunning.

    Highlights include Santa Fe Studios’ two 20,000 square-foot sound stages, the Native American-owned Camel Rock Studios, and Bonanza Creek Ranch, which has been making westerns since Jimmy Stewart hunted The Man From Laramie.

    3. Crew up locally

    Thanks to the presence of major productions, as well as investment by government and studios, New Mexico stands to continue building up a base of local crew. Hiring local isn’t just good for the community, it’s good for your bottom line. 

    When available, local crew can drastically save on transportation and housing costs. No flying people in from California and long-term hotel leases. In addition, local crew know the terrain better than you ever will. They can find source equipment for better prices and scout locations you had no idea existed.

    The major union for New Mexico crew is IATSE Local 480, covering most below-the-line crew members in the state. You can review the full list of covered crew positions here. However, if they aren’t SAG, WGA, DGA, or PGA, they’re probably covered by IATSE Local 480

    Manage local payroll with GreenSlate

    Of course, once you’ve found your local crew, you’ll need to run payroll for them. GreenSlate is the most innovative all-in-one production payroll solution around. We even have an office in Albuquerque, where we've been operating since 2018. From start work to timecards, GreenSlate streamlines the process to save you time, money, and hassle.

    ✅ Not already using GreenSlate? Request a demo today to learn more.

    Topics: Production

    April 11, 2024

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