It was like the plot of a gripping drama or an anxiety-ridden horror flick. When Gov. Mark Sanford got veto happy earlier this summer, it looked like film incentives in South Carolina would be cut significantly, hurting the state’s appeal to filmmakers. Luckily, the state House overrode this particular veto a few weeks ago. And on June 29, the Senate, though initially voting to sustain it, eventually overrode the veto as well.
If the veto had been sustained, the incentive rates would have been decreased to what they were when they were originally enacted (15 percent for residents’ wages and 15 percent for supplies purchased from in-state business), instead of remaining at their current competitive rate (20 percent for wages and 30 percent for supplies). “We’ve got great location. We’ve got a great team of people who can assist,” says Marion Edmonds, communications director at the S.C. Film Commission. He says that Army Wives in particular has been extremely rewarding for the state, giving young people an easier entry into the film industry through a local production; he says both Trident Tech and USC have benefitted from the show.
Edmonds also explains that, “we’re not in a closed system,” and have to compete with states like North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, who each offer their own incentives. But Edmonds adds that incentives are only one part of the package that make S.C. attractive to filmmakers. “The talent pool we have, the training we have, the location perhaps most of all, the variety of sites that we have — all make us competitive,” he says.
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