Hollywood is coming to America. The majority of film and television production still unfolds in Southern California, yet more movies and TV shows are leaving the Golden State for exotic - and often cheaper - locations.
To lure filmmakers to these far-flung areas, more than 120 cities, every state in the Union, and a score of Canadian towns and provinces have established film commissions, most in the last decade.
The North American commissions both recruit Hollywood producers and remove bureaucratic hurdles. It's usually a good investment: Of the $21.4 billion spent for on-location production in 1992, some $5.1 billion was spent outside California. Texas officials say visiting production companies have pumped nearly $95 million into the state's economy so far this year, and Utah's total for last fiscal year was $40.2 million.
Film commissioners increasingly mimic Hollywood agents. Both scrutinize the Hollywood trade newspaper, noting which productions have been given the green light. The agents want to find work for their actors; the film commissioners want to find work for their estuaries and farmlands.