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‘No life here:’ the effects of motion picture incentive on below the line labor in Hollywood South


In 2002, Louisiana was one of the first states to begin a motion picture incentive (MPI) program to lure film and television production away from Los Angeles. Today, Louisiana, and especially its media capital, New Orleans, has been described as “Hollywood South,” a prominent North American film and television production center. This satellite production center is the outcome of a trend in local and national governments to use MPI programs to encourage the outsourcing of labor from Los Angeles since the mid-1990s. Using in-depth interviews with location managers in Louisiana, a review of policy documents, and an analysis of public discourse around the phenomenon in Louisiana, we examine the geography of Hollywood South, focusing on local labor and the consequences, efficacy, and ethics of its MPI program.

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  1. The film zone is defined by the New Orleans Metropolitan Statistical Area (LED, 2017). The reference to a ‘film zone’ is a film labor policy which began in Los Angeles in 1934 and has moved to new location production sites. In Los Angeles, the current thirty-mile zone (TMZ) was established in 1970 at Beverly and La Cienega Boulevard. The film zone marks the territory outside which members of the International Theater and Stage Employees, and the Screen Actors Guild must be paid per diem benefits. In Louisiana, this labor policy is based on the location of the film’s production office.


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Correspondence to Chris Lukinbeal.

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Lukinbeal, C., Sharp, L. ‘No life here:’ the effects of motion picture incentive on below the line labor in Hollywood South. GeoJournal 87 (Suppl 1), 43–51 (2022).

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  • Runaway production
  • Louisiana
  • Location scouting
  • Hollywood South
  • Motion picture incentive