Film incentives law could bring Hollywood to South Carolina

Fewer movies are filmed in South Carolina than in some other Southern states, but aspiring actors and extras can take heart.

Governor Nikki Haley has signed a film incentives bill that could bring a little more Hollywood to the Palmetto State.

The new law will allow film companies to be reimbursed up to 25 percent for payroll taxes spent in the state and up to 30 percent for what they spend at local businesses.

The owners of Myrtle Beach's Encore Video Productions, which films a number of promotional videos and DVD extras for movies filmed in this area, say the law will make South Carolina more competitive.

"It is going to be an incentive for the big productions to come in and when the big productions come in, everybody benefits," said Encore vice president Frank Payne.

Payne says the film incentives aren't just a handout to big business.

He says they'll provide real economic development for South Carolina, because when film or TV producers come to town, they spend big money.

"And that money generally is spent locally. Supplies are purchased locally, crews are hired locally. It's a big shot in the arm."

Film distributor Jerry Dalton, who founded the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, says the law is good, but could be better.

Movie producers must spend at least $1-million in the state to qualify for the incentives.

Dalton would have preferred a sliding scale to attract smaller productions.

"Because even when someone comes into town and drops $6-to-700,000, that's still $600-to-$700,000 that you didn't have that you now have in that community," Dalton said.

Despite that, Dalton says the law is a good idea and it's having an impact. He's already talked to Hollywood producers about coming to South Carolina.

So... does he have anything to announce?

"Not yet, nope, not yet, but we're working on it," Dalton said with a laugh.