Texas economy

Moving Production of ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Deal a Blow to Central Texas Economy

“Lost”‘s Maggie Grace stars in season 4 of “Fear the Walking Dead” as new character Althea, who makes a hell of an entrance in a vehicle with a connection to San Antonio – a Bexar Country SWAT truck with plenty of power of fire.Richard Foreman Jr./AMC

One of Central Texas’ biggest television productions is DOA. Fear the living dead is reportedly moving production from Texas to Savannah, Georgia, according to the Austin Chronicle. Love at first sight The Walking Dead spin-off has been touring the Austin area since 2017, bringing with it hundreds of jobs.

As the Chronicle points out, Fear the living dead is not just a blow to Austin’s creative economy, but to the small towns in central Texas where he has filmed, including New Braunfels, La Grange and Manor. Potential filming locations for its current season have also included Corpus Christi and Galveston.

With a production budget that can sometimes reach $50,000 an hour, Austin Film Commission executive director Brian Gannon analyzed the potential economic impact, telling the alternative weekly, “This money goes to many local businesses in Austin – lumber yards, grocers, camera rental vendors, facilities, hotels, vehicle rental companies, the list goes on.

The reason for leaving is unclear. Texas Motion Picture Association executive director Paul Jensen thinks it could be due to a cut in the state program that offers discounts to productions filming in the Lone Star State. This year, Texas lawmakers cut funding for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP) to $45 million for 2022 and 2023, from $50 million in 2020 and 2021.

It’s also impossible to overlook the state’s reputation after a brutal legislative session, which created the toughest abortion measures in the United States, reduced voting accessibility for eligible voters, and passed a law authorizing any Texan over 21 carrying a gun without a license.

That reason doesn’t entirely resonate, however, given that Georgia (where the production is moving) faced its own backlash earlier this year after its lawmakers passed a law that some say drastically reduced the access to vote. As a result, many movies and even the MLB All-Star Game pulled out of the state in protest.