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Old 10-28-2007, 09:50 PM
 
Location: DeLand, Florida
42 posts, read 175,581 times
Reputation: 25

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I was wondering if it is possible to earn a decent living in the film industry in Austin. I keep hearing that it's the third largest production hub in the US, and having found LA a little overbearing, and NY a little too intense, I thought it would be great to try out a city where there is a good amount of work available, but laidback enough that people in the industry there didn't have to make it the whole center of their existence, as is the case in the larger cities -- which makes every kind of interaction kind of opportunistic and schmoozy...

I'm a 43-year-old (SAG) actor, but my question would be about acting as well as production work, just trying to get an overall feel of the situation there -- is there union work/decent wages and conditions....consistent volume...is it really tightly clicky or open to new blood...in short, can you make a decent and happy living at it? There is certainly a lot of good indie stuff coming out of there, so whatever it lacks in volume, it seems to make up for in substance. I really love Richard Linklater's work.

My hometown of New Orleans was quite the hub before Katrina, but now much of the work has scattered to Baton Rouge and Shreveport, and there were so few people calling the shots that the same old people seemed to be going up for the 4-5 casting directors who got all the projects. I hope it's not like that in Austin!
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
2,357 posts, read 7,906,288 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by nawlinsdude View Post
I was wondering if it is possible to earn a decent living in the film industry in Austin. I keep hearing that it's the third largest production hub in the US, and having found LA a little overbearing, and NY a little too intense, I thought it would be great to try out a city where there is a good amount of work available, but laidback enough that people in the industry there didn't have to make it the whole center of their existence, as is the case in the larger cities -- which makes every kind of interaction kind of opportunistic and schmoozy...

I'm a 43-year-old (SAG) actor, but my question would be about acting as well as production work, just trying to get an overall feel of the situation there -- is there union work/decent wages and conditions....consistent volume...is it really tightly clicky or open to new blood...in short, can you make a decent and happy living at it? There is certainly a lot of good indie stuff coming out of there, so whatever it lacks in volume, it seems to make up for in substance. I really love Richard Linklater's work.

My hometown of New Orleans was quite the hub before Katrina, but now much of the work has scattered to Baton Rouge and Shreveport, and there were so few people calling the shots that the same old people seemed to be going up for the 4-5 casting directors who got all the projects. I hope it's not like that in Austin!
Can't give you explicit info as I'm new here, but check out this resource:

Texas Association of Film & Tape Professionals
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
15,273 posts, read 35,693,423 times
Reputation: 8617
There is no union (Tx is a 'right to work' state), which is probably one reason that there is so much filming here. It doesn't really affect the actors much, I suppose, but the rest of the workers probably earn a much lower income.
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Old 10-29-2007, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
9,249 posts, read 26,722,425 times
Reputation: 2851
I'm not too sure about that for the movie industry here. In the mid 90's in Houston, I was dating a guy who did some set work and he was required to join the union. I also looked into it for makeup, but as well, you have to join the union. My husband is a contract driver and he had to deliver wind machines and some other things to a movie set, and they paid so well, he asked about getting a job hauling things, and he was told that drivers hired to work for them have to be union. So I'm guessing that since people that are involved in other aspects of the industry are required to be in a union, that that would also apply to the actors/directors, etc....
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
15,273 posts, read 35,693,423 times
Reputation: 8617
Techincally, you cannot require someone to join a union in Texas; however, since the filming companies work in many states, I suppose they will get in hot water if they do not use union in non-union states. I do have a friend who was an extra for many years in quite a few films, and apparently you get treated as if you are union even if you are not. He sure didn't make much money, but he got to hang around a bunch of sets. He and his (now) ex-wife are visible for quite a while in a scene from 'Courage Under Fire'. Good thing, considering how they cut his hair .
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:57 AM
 
Location: DeLand, Florida
42 posts, read 175,581 times
Reputation: 25
Thanks for the feedback! I'll check out the link.

I've spent many days as an extra myself. It's true that it never paid very well, but I do have a lot of happy memories from it.
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Old 10-29-2007, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
1,207 posts, read 6,285,152 times
Reputation: 420
You should read up about Villa Muse, which is a new large film/recording studio development project planned for Austin. It is planned to have something like 10 soundstages, backlot, etc.

splash1 is the project website, but if you just google Villa Muse you'll get tons of articles about it as well.
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:45 PM
 
675 posts, read 1,907,183 times
Reputation: 372
You're completely off base about people who work in Austin making less money than they would if they were in a union. The rates here are comparable to L.A., but in Austin they don't have to hire as many people to stand around and 'supervise'.
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