13. PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
Films shot in and around Pittsburgh include classics like The Silence of the Lambs and The Dark Knight, as well as recent productions like The Man Called Otto and The Pale Blue Eye,and TV shows like American Rust and The Mayor of Kingstown. Film and TV spending is steady, regularly coming to about $150 million per year.
The Steel City has a modern sheen it’s hard to replicate elsewhere, but with its historic buildings, three rivers, sweeping bridges, and nearby mountains, it can stand in for a wide range of other cities and time periods. Don’t visit Pittsburgh without filming — or at least riding — the cars of the Duquesne or Monongahela inclines, the two funiculars up Mount Washington that will make you feel like you’re living in the Swiss Alps while giving you a spectacular view of the city’s skyline.
They’re among the many charms of this city, more affordable than the U.S. average, that offers easy permitting, many free locations, including several bridges and parks, and four full crews. The number of crew members is growing thanks to a new workforce development program that has graduated about 75 people with paths to union membership.
The tax incentives are also impressive: Pennsylvania offers 25% for eligible projects, with an extra 5% if you use qualified production studios or post-production facilities. It also offers many equipment rental houses and post facilities, and is home to excellent universities including Carnegie Mellon, known for one of the best drama schools in the world.