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Nevada businesses welcome film productions for benefits

Updated June 23, 2018 - 1:31 pm

A heist took place in the Silverton casino in the summer of 2017. It had all of the basic ingredients of a Hollywood movie: spy gadgets, angry pit bosses and henchmen carrying firearms.

About a month later, YouTube users could view the action themselves in German rapper Capo’s music video “Alles Auf Rot.” The song, filmed in the Silverton casino’s main pit area, now has over 7 million views and features the performer playing roulette in the casino while surrounded by stacks of chips, whiskey and women.

Capo is pulling in money from YouTube, but the casino also came out ahead, taking in a location fee from the producers.

Offering the casino as a filming location has “helped us quite a bit,” said Kimiko Peterson, director of the Silverton’s advertising, public relations and social media.

The Silverton is one of about 600 locations listed in the Nevada Film Office’s online location database, a portal that connects producers to potential businesses, properties and more for filming purposes.

Whether a scene is in need of a coffee shop, a dry lake bed or the Strip, the office acts as a conduit between the production side and local locations and talent.

To help make these connections, the office launched a digitized locations database in 2005. Eric Preiss, the director of the office, said the office doesn’t have data on the total number of productions that have been filmed locally because of the database, but he has seen a rise in film permits.

In 2017, there were 755 film permits issued in Las Vegas and Clark County, up from 624 in 2012. The resulting productions help promote job growth and tourism in the state, Preiss said.

“When people see (the productions), they want to visit Nevada and visit Las Vegas because they’ve seen it in their favorite film or TV show,” he said. “That’s when we put our tourism hat on and promote the state as a tourist destination.”

Growing visibility

The database has been around since the office’s launch in 1982, but marketing efforts to raise awareness are still in full swing. The database’s 600 users represent a small chunk in comparison to the 246,569 small businesses in the state as of 2017, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Cara Clarke, associate vice president of communications at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, said she was not aware of the database offered by the film office.

“This could really get a small business some visibility,” she said. “Where a large business has an advertising and marketing budget, smaller businesses need to be more resourceful and creative and take advantage of free and low-cost opportunities.”

Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, opened a new storefront in Town Square Las Vegas last October. She said it has been hard to budget for marketing with so many overhead expenses in the store’s premier year. So far, most of their advertisements have been on social media.

She said she would “certainly” be open to using her space for a commercial, especially if she were to receive a fee to do so.

“We’re trying to get the word out,” she said. “It’s hard to do.”

A new revenue stream

The Silverton has been featured in a variety of productions, including TV shows, Bollywood movies and a Chinese television series.

“It brought in a unique, new revenue stream to us that we didn’t have before,” Peterson said.

She declined to say how much the casino makes in location fees and said it depends on the areas a company is using for filming, how long it takes to film and the size of the cast and crew.

Preiss said it’s hard to pinpoint a location fee price range with so many factors in play.

“A location fee for a coffee shop on the west side of town that’s in an independent film could be $500,” he said. “A location fee for a nightclub on Friday night for a blockbuster film could be $2,500. … It’s very fluid.”

Troy Stallings, owner of the Vegas Views mansion on the eastern side of the city, has worked with the film office for about seven years. He said well over a dozen films have used the property, which features a sweeping view of the Las Vegas skyline and ultra-contemporary design. He didn’t disclose his price range for clients — which include French reality TV shows and indie horror movies — but said it’s based on each production’s overall budget.

Stallings said the database could help diversify the local economy.

“That’s the bottom line. We want to bring business to Nevada, to Las Vegas, and not just the gambling business,” Stallings said.

Redesigning the database

The office launched a redesign of its online locations database on June 13. Preiss said he expects the number of database users to grow after the update.

“What’s so great about this new database is we’re decentralizing it,” he said. “It’s almost like having your own Facebook page. You choose what you want to put on there and who can see it. It’s going to drive business to your location.”

Similar location databases are used by other film offices and businesses, said Marjorie Galas, vice president of industry relations at the Association of Film Commissioners International, a global network of more than 360 quasi-governmental, nonprofit, public organizations that attract motion media production crews.

Galas said in an email the databases allow producers to hire local, qualified crew members and save money by renting equipment locally.

“A database is extremely beneficial for local production,” she said.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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