First Round Of New California Film TV Tax Credits Gets 37 Small Screen Applicants

We don’t know who applied, and those who did don’t know if they got the incentive yet, but the first round of the Golden State’s now expanded Film and TV Tax Credits program has started off strong. With the lottery system now dead, this opening application period saw 37 TV projects apply digitally between May 11 and 17 for $82.8 million in credits.

There were 16 TV series applicants, three miniseries projects, four MOWs and eight pilots, according to the California Film Commission. Six projects also put in their paperwork as relocating TV series. If all goes to plan, those applicants will know in the next week or so whether they made the initial cut depending on job creation and other recently approved regulations and criteria — and we should know sometime in early July exactly who got what.

With much more money at hand than the $100 million a year previously allotted for TV, film and everything else, the incentives now work in a more manageable buckets format for different production categories. This first round sees $55.2 million for new series, pilots, miniseries and MOWs. In an effort to pull existing shows to Cali, there is $27.6 million for relocating production from other states and Canada.

“The process was intensive but straightforward,” said one producer applicant. “They want you to account for everything and they want more if you make it past the first post but anything is better than the lottery.

Unlike past years, TV pilots were able to apply for credits along with new network and premium cable series and online projects — a move designed to garner great employment results in the industry. The process was open to productions that are set to start on or after July 1 this year. The first round of applications for features and indies will run from July 13-25. There will be $48.3 million for feature films and $6.9 million for independent projects on the table at that time. A big chance in that area is that tentpoles and other films with budgets of over $75 million are now eligible under the program.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new five-year, $330 million-a-year tax credit program into law in September in an effort to halt runaway production and bring Hollywood back to Hollywood. California first introduced a $100 million incentives program back in 2009, with successful applications determined by fate via the much-maligned lottery.

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