September 20, 2023

Small Town, Massive Impact: The Economic Influence of “Home Town” in Mississippi

Subscribe on

Show notes


Hello and welcome to another episode of On Production, a podcast by Wrapbook where we peel back the curtain on the people, processes and stories behind the scenes of our favorite films and TV shows. I'm your host Cameron Woodward. Today I'm joined by my colleague and co host, Wrapbook’s VP of production incentives Ryan Broussard. In this episode, we're going beyond the unusually usual Hollywood destinations to dive into the vibrant production scene of Mississippi. And we've got two extraordinary guests who have made significant contributions to this landscape. Joining us today is Nina Parikh, the director of the Mississippi Film Office, Nina brings a wealth of experience from her work in the industry, as well as her role in crafting the state's film incentive program. We're also joined by Tony Micelli, partner and CEO at RTR media, an independent televisiOn Production company known for producing the hit HGTV series Home Town. Together, we'll explore the magic of creating successful content, like Home Town, understand the nuances of Mississippi's incentive program, and discover the unique opportunities the state offers for filmmakers. So without further ado, let's dive right in. Welcome to On Production Nina and Tony.


Thank you.


Thank you for having us.


Absolutely. Well, Nina, could you share with us your journey in the filmmaking industry and how it led to you becoming the director of the Mississippi Film Office? Yeah, sure. So


I'll go all the way back to high school. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I don't know if I have answered that question yet. So I might still not know what I want to be when I grow up. And my best friend at the time said you love stories and you love photography. Why don't you marry those together, and study film? So that was the path that I went down. I studied film at the University of Southern Mississippi and at New York University. I started freelancing in the industry when I was still in school. So by the time I got out of school, I'd already established some relationships. So I was working as a PA and then I moved into the camera department. So I was a camera assistant for a long time. thought that I wanted to be DP never thought I wanted to produce but that somehow led me to producing, I ended up moving from being freelance into the film office, the opportunity arose, there was an opening at the time was a three person office, there was an opening and I thought, I got into film to be on set. And to do fun things out in the world. I don't want to sit behind a desk. But again, I thought, well, I might learn something about the industry that I don't know. And it'll build my experience. So I accepted the job. Thought three to five years. Here I am 25 years later. And being here in the film office I did take a leave of absence, and I produced a film called Ballast back in 2000. We're 2006 I guess. And then we were at Sundance in 2009. I believe. We won two awards at Sundance, we were nominated for some capam awards in any spirit. And so it's pretty exciting. And that film was a real test for me. I really wanted to make a film where we used as many Mississippi resources as possible. So there's an almost entirely Mississippi based crew, it was all the cast members who were from Mississippi. The writer director was actually not from Mississippi, but he had an affinity for the place. So that was a good test of like, what have I learned so far, and the work that I had done to that point and utilizing the resources in Mississippi, for the production of a low budget indie. But anyway, yeah, so I've been involved in film for quite a while. It is my life, not just here in this office, but as a filmmaker and producer as well, when I have that opportunity.


Yeah, that is incredible. I mean, what an incredible resource. You are the filmmakers in the state for having all of that actual onset experience as well. That's really awesome. Thank you for sharing. And Tony, tell us about your experience in the production industry. And what inspired you to start RTR media.


Yeah, so I am early in my career, I want to get into news. And then I discovered Martha Stewart, and I fell in love with that style of television. I love the idea of learning something as you watch television, so I went into unscripted and I have done beauty, fashion, food design. And through my career, I've always come up through the production management side. So the money, the contract, the legal Twitch, I always call the fun stuff, because it really is. And throughout my work, I was head of production for RTR media, and the founder of the time was looking to retire. So two of us, myself and my business partner, Jenna, bought the company. Okay, And we turned the focus of our company from Canadian productions to American. And we are now one of the largest suppliers for HGTV. And we specialize specifically in home renovation, but we have a long history of food, fashion, and other genres. And our big show is Home Town, which is out of Laurel, Mississippi.


And you know, you know, you mentioned that, you know, you, you've thought to yourself, I don't want to be stuck behind a desk, and I know you do so much more than being behind that desk. So I'd love to kind of hear what you feel like your role is where you take pride in helping productions like Home Town, and working with amazing people like Tony, and then Tony, the book and that kind of the same thing. I'd love to hear it for our audience to hear how much Nina and her office what they do, because a lot of times people just don't simply know what a film offices, they think that's where I turn in my application, that's, you know, I just check a box, and they give me, you know, permits and what happened, but as we all know, here, they do so much more. So I'd love to hear both sides.


Yeah, so certainly, yeah, we're, um, don't just sit behind the desk, of course, there are a lot more things that go into it. I mean, just this morning, I was on a location scout with a producer for an indie feature. So you know, I was out in the field, looking at locations connecting with our community members just on the right locations. But we do, we do a lot of different things that in back early on, when I started the Film Office, really our work was location heavy, was location based, you know, we read a script, we find the locations, we take people out on scouts, we it was a lot of scouting, and then it was also like connecting the dots between when a production is actually here. And helping them find the crew base that's here in the state in that wherever the region is in the state that they're at, connecting them to equipment resources, you know, making, we want to try to be a one stop shop for production and want to be an extension of a producing team. So they could call us and ask whatever question I mean, when we, when I started, we were lucky to have maybe two features a year. So we truly were talking to these productions all the time. Now we have like last year, we had 20 Some features. So it's a little different now where we can't, we don't have the time to be as involved like we had 20 Some years ago. I'd like to get back to that point. So shout out to all the people in the state government, give us more people. So you know, every production is going to be a little bit different. And you know, in the case of Home Town, we didn't lure Home Town here, they found Laurel and Ben and Erin Napier. And so throughout, you know, we're trying to figure out where we can be useful and helpful. They have a lot of a lot of things worked out on their own, but certainly, you know, we're working with them on the rebate, trying to connect the dots when we can when we need Mela, Tony more about that.


Say like, when we came to Laurel, we rolled into this small town that was not used to having production. It's certainly not a production hub. It's a small town, two hours north of New Orleans. And this was our first US production. So we were also learning how to do business in that state because we are a Canadian company. And I did a sell off is the number one role they played for us. Were resources, they were summoned to call when we didn't know where to look. They answered every question we had. I mean, I'm on a first name basis with many of them, which I enjoy. And I like and I can call Nina or Betty or any of them to ask questions. So they really did provide us with a base of resources. And what was great about them is if they didn't know, they would point us somewhere else. So it was never just a dead end for us. They always helped us get to the next question or the next location. And, you know, being in a small town, you learn how to do business, which is different than in a big city. And we're very proud of the production community we've built in this small town and we continue to grow. And you know, we have looked to New Orleans, Louisiana, neighboring states to help us because it is a community at the end of the day, and you really just want to make TV and find CDs with the people you like working with. And so the Film Office has definitely been involved from day one with us.


That's awesome. You know, Tony, I'm curious you know, much of our audience is really interested in the nuts and bolts of the operation side of production. Can you tell us about the concept for Home Town, how it came about and what many seasons you think makes it such a hit with viewers?


Well, I think on this particular show, I As an executive at the network, I stumbled across Erin law. She had a blog that she would write, I believe it's called something good today. And every day she would write a paragraph about something good that happened in her life. And an executive saw it and sent it to my business partner, and said, you should look into that. So Jenna, my partner spent three hours on the phone with them talking about what they were passionate about, what they see for their lives, and what they want for their careers. And what came out of that call is they are truly passionate about Small Town Living, they wanted their town to succeed and grow, because it was a small town that was dying. And so we took that idea that you should love a small town and want to be in a small town and built the show around it. So even we encourage people to move back to Laurel or any small town, and to make that town better. So basically, those first years were about moving to small towns, and the renovation story was the main event. But it was almost a side story to the idea that small towns are wonderful places to be. And you should want to live in a small town as Laurel became a third character in the show. And it continues today to be a character. And I can honestly say that the town is thriving and has done a 180 since we arrived, I proudly say we did save a town. And it is now almost like Disneyland, and people come from all over to visit Laurel. So I often arrive in New Orleans and then drive up and there's a Mississippi Welcome Center that you pass on your way. And I love to look at their welcome book and see all the people who have come through because many of them are headed to Laurel, which is lovely and endearing. And I think the show continues to be authentic. It really still is about people loving small towns. And that's what I think resonates with people because taller people live in small towns and love their small town. And so it's that authentic nature that makes the show interesting and fun and almost comforting to watch.


For sure. Yeah, I think it's amazing. I, as you know, I live in the south. And whenever I visit, hotel or visit Mississippi, and I've been to Laurel, and anywhere, you know, driving distance for them coming from, I mean, I literally would just be in a hotel where they had a cardboard cutout of Ben and Erin in there and Mississippi. So it's really true, I feel like the town in the state has become just so proud of the show. And they really wear it as a badge of honor. And that's such a big thing. With that said, Tony, how much did the incentives play a role with the show? Because obviously, the small town was a big aspect of what you were looking for, as you mentioned, of course, when you found the talent, you were like, wow, we really struck gold. But were the incentives more of an afterthought? Or was it something that was planned ahead of time? Or was it like a bonus that they're


gonna, I would say in the case of Home Town, it was an amazing bonus that we discovered after we chose them. But now, you know, eight seasons in, I better understand tax credits, and what they can do for production. So in our development, we do look at tax credits when we're looking at new shots. So if I had a choice of where to place a show, I definitely will look at tax credits, and see what is the benefit financially to be in that location. And sometimes that will influence us. Now, to be fair, tax credits are some work. It's not just free money, you have to support the town and you have to spend your dollars, whatever state you're in, which it should be that way. But it definitely has more of an influence now that I understand the power of it, because it has been very successful for Home Town to receive tax credit and to spend them, you know, in a way that helps everyone involved.


Yeah, I mean, Mississippi is, is a state I've been screaming for years is really I call it a hidden gem. I feel like a lot of people are unfortunately pigeonholed between, you know, Louisiana, which is a very popular program and Georgia and a lot of people don't get onward and see that Mississippi is there and that it's quite an amazing program. Nina, did you want to kind of mention just for the audience, maybe if they're not aware of what the Mississippi program currently is and what Tony and Home Town have been able to utilize and other productions, as you mentioned, have been able to utilize just kind of the basics of what it is it is a rebate and that's really sought after, which is different. We don't have to go until I The difference between tax credits and rebates. I think it's good for the audience to know rebates are great, because kind of like a pot of money, and you don't have to file tax returns or sell it or that type of stuff. But really the ins and outs of like, how much somebody can get back percentage wise, and what you're looking to incentivize when you look at a show like Home Town, you're like, wow, we want to work with them. We want to incentivize them to be here. And to keep from it,


right? Yeah. So our incentive program, which started as a cash rebate, and continues to be so started in 2004. And we've had many changes over the years to better programs. So currently there is a 25 to 35% cash rebate on projects that have national or international distribution, or the intention of that distribution is they must spend a minimum of $50,000 in the state, which is one of the lower minimums of any program. We did that because we wanted to make sure that local Mississippi projects could take advantage, commercials, documentaries. We still do many documentaries that come through. So we wanted to make sure to be able to include those. So the 25% is on your spend with vendors here in Mississippi 25% also is on your non resident payroll. 30% is on your resident payroll, and you get an extra 5%, bumping it to 35% on it for any individuals that are veterans of the US armed forces. And I think we might be the only ones that do that as well. We also and this is the first time mentioning this publicly, and well, that program has $20 million in it for the year. So it doesn't roll over, we have to spend it within a particular fiscal year. But it doesn't roll over. So that's 20 million. And we got an additional 10 million this year, which started a month ago for episodic and series work. So we hope to have more of what Tony has brought to the state around the state. And it's almost the same, except that the payroll is a little different. So you get 20% for non residents, but 35% for residents with the extra 5% Bump. So it's pretty awesome. In you know, with Home Town, we've seen their crew base grow, to include more restaurants over the years. So that will benefit them, certainly, and hopefully, you know, with television shows and episodic work. We want to see them here for a longer period. We expect to see them here for longer periods of time. And we expect that they would want to hire more locals to save on housing, obviously. So I think that that's going to get to work for that portion. These differences in percentages, work for that. Yeah, I


think it's really smart. I think it's really smart to do that on television, and productions like Home Town, I always tell people, that's really the bread and butter of what people want what states want, you know, employing those crews for long periods of time they're getting paid. Well, you're hoping it comes, you know, hand over hand season over season, and people are getting paid for it. You mentioned how Home Town has continuously grown with residents, as the crew and the seasons have gone on, which is the whole aspect of the incentive. Right. Like that's the point. And it's an amazing thing to hear. Tony was that when people are seeking incentives, is that something that was a challenge for you when you first started? You know, obviously, you're going into a small town. You mentioned you know, it kind of needed help you guys help bring the help it needed. But was that part of the challenges with filming in Mississippi at first so many years ago? And how much have you seen it change? Like the vendors, the crew base? How much have you seen it evolve? And Nina, you can speak to this as well after Tony, just in terms of how far the states come? Because a lot of times people do think, Mississippi Oh, it looks like a great incentive on paper, but are the resources there? And I want people to know that. How much is brah?


Yeah, I mean, I think whenever you go to a small town outside a major city center, your resources are small, and we would initially bring people in so we would fly people in from anywhere into Mississippi. But the longer we've been there, the more our crew have fallen in love with Mississippi. I can think of three or four people that have opted to live there and become residents and work full time on the show.


It's great to hear about how much you mentioned Nina. The crew has grown as Home Town On has had season over season, that more and more residents are being employed by that show. Was that a challenge, Tony, when you first went to Mississippi, and not so much Mississippi, but Laurel, I think it'd be important for people to know where Mississippi was. Because I mean, you're eight seasons and right. So it's like where they were and where they are. Now in terms of resources, vendor crews, it's good to hear you're making a successful show there, I'm sure that budgets are getting bigger, so you're making it work. So obviously, there's growth there. And I'd love for the audience to hear it.


Good. So I would say whenever you go into a small town, whether it's Laurel, Mississippi in the middle of Texas, or even outside of LA, the resources aren't always there. So when we first started, we would bring everybody in from everywhere. Because we just didn't have the resources, I think we pulled our original camera guys out of New Orleans. And one of those Tim Harland is still our cameraman today. And he is actually now a resident, he has moved his family there and he's bought a house, our producer has bought a house there, our director has bought a house in Laurel, we have definitely increased the residents of Laurel, a because they loved living and working, they loved working in oil, and now they live there. And we've built a community there. So you know, having our residents helps us from a production point of view, because people are more available, they're close to work, and also helps us from a tax perspective, because now we have more residents, and you get a slightly higher amount or residence. So our goal is to always hire locals. And we've created our own industry in Laurel now,


I'll add to that, what I've noticed is that they've hired a lot of young folks from the area who may have only worked one show before or not. And they have nurtured them and given them experience building the resumes. And now you know, now they can go anywhere and work I mean, anywhere on a different production because they now have this very impressive resume with the work they've done at Home Town. I mean, I've seen people go from being a PA to being, you know, a coordinator, you know, in a very short period of time. And so that's amazing. There's a school nearby the University of Southern Mississippi, which I am a graduate of. So there are students that are coming through and working on your sets, whether it's one season or multiple seasons, it's so great to see those call sheets come out. It's like, oh, I recognize that name or see them highlighted as Oh, these are the Mississippians. So even if somebody just worked one season, still, they're building that resume, and they can go on to the next project and continue to build that resume, it's really you know, it's always about that first project, you know, and that leads to everything else. I tell emerging crew members and filmmakers, if you can get on the first one, you work hard, and you're a good listener, and you're pleasant to be around, you will continue to work. And that happens over and over again. Of course, Home Town is such a wonderful place to work, the environment that they create for the crew is maybe one of the best street markets. If I got on as crew member, I'd want to stay Yeah,


we do work very hard to make it not feel like a grind, like good, our family environment is friendly, no drama, we always say we only want the drama on screen, not behind the camera. So we try, we try to make it a good experience for both staff. And for the viewer. We want the viewer to see what Mississippi looks like. So we try to bring the real Mississippi out as much as possible. Because it is a wonderful state. So beautiful people. And we've had nothing but good experiences there.


Right now, when all said I mean just to continue on to like what the resources look like here. And we still don't have a huge crew base. We're still growing because our rebate program changed in 2017. We had lost a portion of it. So all of the crew that we had built up at that point, a lot of them moved because they needed to go to Atlanta, they needed to go to Louisiana wherever to get work. Then in 2019, the rivet firm was strengthened back to where it had been. So since that time, which is a pretty short period of time considering COVID was in the middle of it. We've been working to build the experience of our crew members in training new people. So that's steadily happening where we have more crew being trained by having opportunities to be on set. And then in terms of other infrastructure resources. We're still in our infancy there too. So hear me everybody out in the world that has s resources, equipment, resources, trucks, etc. We welcome that to come to Mississippi. So that's, you know, that's kind of the next phase. Beyond building our crew base.


I think it's so great to hear that the young people you've seen, you're seeing more and more young people, people coming in being filtering from the schools. That's a big thing. I'm seeing more and more with state programs where they're trying to align with schools and doing more training, they'll even incentivize like, Hey, if you do some sort of interim program or something of that nature, they really try to incentivize that. I think that what stands out to me with Home Town, is that it's so positive. And I think you talked about the message that's behind it, how it represents the state in a positive light, there's so much positivity around it. And to be frank, a lot of states because I do work with a lot of states, they see unscripted reality. They think, the worst of it, I hate to say I want


and Home Town’s Mississippi


or Exactly. And that's what I'm getting at is like, I really want filmmakers and producers and states to kind of hear that unscripted reality is not like it, doesn't it, it has like this bruise around it for whatever reason? Well, I might. But you know, we've all seen certain shows, that drag shows that are put in the reality bubble. And I've seen more positive ones than that used to work bad. And I'm so happy to see Mississippi's embrace that and to your point in that you want you could you would embrace 10. Home Town, if you could. And I think that that's really smart, because the job security that the crew has behind it working with people like Tony, you know, having people like Tony go out and promote Mississippi. I mean, that's, that's huge. I mean, just from an economic standpoint, I think one of the things Tony, you told me about was that you guys did this little fun adventure where you went through Laurel and you were like, our show impacted this particular shop, because we showcase it or just wasn't there before the show. I'd love to hear more about that. I love those successful stories, and maybe Nina can speak to that as well. Laurel had three shops and now it has 20. Right? So it's like, it's kind of cool to hear the evolution of that. I love to hear about the director and people moving there. That's That in itself. Nina, you could send that clip to like legislation when it's up, right? Like that's what they want to hear. Because they constantly feel like, Oh, these incentives go to a particular actor. And you know, it's not really helping carpenters, and grips and painters. And that's what we want to hear about is like, I mean, Tony, on your show, tons of woodwork. I mean, Ben himself as a woodworker, right. So it's like, so much of, I guess, salt of the earth, people like normal people are profiting from this incentive and from this industry, and I just I really want to try to showcase.


Yeah, and that's one of the wonderful things about this type of unscripted television. It really is about the community around us. So for us, we do renovation television, so we use a lot of artists, local artists who produce beautiful work, and we showcase them on the show. And you know, it's for us, we try to use as many locals as possible. always possible, but we really do try. When we first arrived in Laurel, it was a small town. It was like a main downtown and might say 50% of the stores were empty.


It was not. I don't know if it was even 50%. Like I might be generous. Yeah,


I think you're kind of nothing downtown. So no one would go there and Ben and arrow will tell you this. Nobody went there because there was nothing to do there. Nowhere to eat, or where to shop. Nothing no Am I so there was kind enough tumbleweeds going down the road. And 10 years, eight years later, it is now a thriving downtown. Every storefront is open. They say they have more ice cream stores downtown than ever before. So that's a big seller in a hot place like Laurel. And there's dress shops and home stores and more restaurants which they didn't have before. So it is a thriving downtown now and people from all over come. They come and they line up at the veterinarian store to be a part of it and catch a glimpse of Ben and Erin who still live close by. So I don't have the actual numbers though. would be an interesting number to see how much the economy has grown. But it definitely is a very different place. And that town is thriving more than ever before. And we did another show called Home Town Takeover, which was a spin off of Home Town. And we shot that in Tonka Alabama, a small town with not a lot of interest. And we basically made over the town and created a very successful town that visitors come to repeatedly, they actually do driving tours between Wetumpka and Laurel now. So the television show changes the game for these small towns, it puts a spotlight on them that they would not have any other way. And most of these towns, at least in our case, are already started, they already have the desire they want, they want to be successful. The show gives them a nudge and a little bit of a spotlight to really take them that step over. And, you know, I'm hoping that we could do it in more small towns and sort of keep the small town momentum going. And the tax incentives absolutely help. Whatever state we look at, we look for those incentives. I will say Mississippi is one of the best. It is a rebate program, and it has high percentages. So it's definitely valuable when you're looking at where to shoot and how to make your dollars go further.


Laurel is night and day from what it used to be. I mean, when I go scout down there before it's like, can we put a production here? I don't know. I mean, those beautiful homes in beautiful historic neighborhoods. We have an amazing museum of art there. But beyond that, you know, 10 years ago, that was it. Now, you know you always see licensed plates from other states when you're there, you might even have a hard time finding parking on certain times of the day, which is unbelievable, because it was a ghost town before. You can tell that people feel good. You know, like they feel good talking about where they live. There are billboards pointing you toward Laurel now. It is pretty incredible. We did do a little small study early on, like, I think it was after Season Two like room and restaurant taxes went up significantly. There were more tourists going to Laurel than ever before. So there's definitely you know, the trickle down effect from the production is massive. I mean, also you will think about the artisans, the craftsmen, the carpenters, those types of people that are not necessarily part of that actual production. You know, those people are being employed. They're doing the behind the scenes work. That's not not you know, with the cameras and all that with the crew, those folks are being employed too so it's, it's amazing, and all those people have to eat. They're buying food, or buying groceries or they're at the gas stations. All of that is significant in that community.


When we started there was one Airbnb, and now there's probably 50 Oh, wow, that's insane. Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes I can't get a room that's helped me is


to stay had been in Aaron's house. When I was there. I ate the blue crab or something like that. It was right there in Laurel or something crab or something. But it was like the best shrimp tacos I think I've ever had. And I live with the New Orleans Saints. It was absolutely amazing. And I was like, This is amazing. And all those shops. It was like a charcuterie shop right there downtown. Really beautiful. And you could tell they were fairly new. So it's just amazing that the infrastructure follows the production. And you know, like you said, I've always said the trickle down effect is real. Even when I speak to legislative people. And I'm like, my sister was a waitress and she would know about production was close to her. She knew it automatically. And to your point about you know, waiters, waitresses, cooks, hotel staff, gas stations, all these things that are impacted. It's like dropping an economic ball in the area when you have a successful


production. Well, everyday that we shoot, we cater for 30 people. So every day that we shoot, we're ordering lunch for 30 people. That's just lunch that doesn't include the coffee run then so there is economic impact. And for everyday that we should and and I'd hold that and I know the town feels it because businesses are thriving and Yahoo they want our business and they've been good to us and you know that hotel gave us at a discount on those early days when there were no Airbnb ease of your route all these people in the small town definitely embraced us. And I think when people think small town, they think small thinking and that's not how I would describe this town. It is modern in its resources and its culture. And you know, all the Airbnbs are beautiful and well decorated. So small town doesn't necessarily mean small. It just means more


summit than anything else.


This is great, by the way, like I really think, showcasing what it does for the crew, how much the show has grown and talking about the ins and outs of the act. Nobody really does that in layman's terms like, hey, this waiter or waitress got paid more, or we're hiring more residents. It's just, it's great. Okay. All right. So I guess in closing, Tony, what would you say the most you've learned? I mean, obviously RTR is now I mean, you guys probably have a number one show on HGTV. I don't know, it's got to be pretty up there. And obviously, you're doing more and more shows, you're doing more in Louisiana, Mississippi, you're doing more in other states as well. What have you learned by filming in Mississippi as not only a filmmaker, but maybe as a person? So like, Is there stuff you've carried with you where it's like, this means a lot to you, and like your art and your mind and how you think and then also as a producer, when you're working on other projects?


Yeah, for sure. Well, I would say, ultimately, I'm a big city girl. I live in a big city. It's noisy, it's busy. I like that. But I think working in Mississippi specifically has given me a really rare insight into a different way of life into Small Town Living. And so I have much more appreciation for that. lifestyle. And, and, and, and envious often of it. It's very community based, it's very supportive, you know, your neighbor, you count on them. And I think we'd run our television show like that. It's community, we lean on each other, we know each other's issues, good or bad. And that, to me, it's been part of our success. And so even though I don't know that I'm ready for a small town, I can appreciate how many people love living in a small town.


I love it. And Nina, what advice would you say you would give to filmmakers that are thinking of going to Mississippi? And then also, I guess, advice to other states that are, you know, obviously, you don't want to give too much away of your secrets or other states or kind of your competition, but maybe that underestimate the power I should say of a show like,


oh, yeah, well, so first filmmakers, what I would tell filmmakers, I think, they often forget that we exist to help them I think sometimes you're like hell, they're gonna, you know, we don't want to give them all the information because they might ask for X, Y, and Z, and then they're gonna get in our business. They're going no, we're, we're a free resource for you. We can help you if you ask us the questions, and involve us. We can help streamline your work, we hope that's our goal. That's our goal. It's not just that you come to us just to apply for the rebate program. We all have other resources, we can help you find locations. We can help you find crew, other resources, your infrastructure resources. Wow, I mean, I can do research for you as needed. Yeah, you need an acupuncturist, we'll find you an acupuncturist. You need somebody to wrangle rankled snakes, let's see if we can, you know, find somebody at our museum of natural science to do that for you. I mean, these are, these are the types of things that we are prepared to do, you know, casting calls, we'll put it out through social media, social media is such a wonderful tool. I mean, it can be used for bad things, but it's a really great tool, and we're looking for very specific things in Mississippi. So we have a lot of people that follow us on social media both within the state and outside of the state. So we're happy to use that as a resource for our productions. So you know, that's the best advice I can give to any filmmaker, when you come to Mississippi or anywhere in the world, call the Film Office, we are a free resource. And it's not just for your incentive program. So yeah, call us. And then in terms of, for all my fellow Commissioners and offices around the world, I'm really fortunate to serve on the board for the Association of Film Commissioners International. So we do. It's very fun and strange. Universe ASC. Hi, because we are all in competition. But we're also the only people in the world that have this unique view of the film industry. We're kind of caught between government and the industry, government moving super slow, industry moving super fast. You have to serve both sides of that. So you know, it's almost like going to, I don't know, like an AAA meeting when you're with all your film Commissioner buddies, because you can kind of then not share and nurture and support. So, you know, I would say to other film offices and commissioners who use us and you know, call me and call any other of the board members for the FCI to come to our events because we do try to learn from each other. You know, we have an incentive program here in Mississippi because we saw that another place had an incentive for And we thought, Well, how would that work in Mississippi? And you know, and we use other states and your jurisdictions as that knowledge and resource. So we are a work community. We're a competitive community, but we're a community.


And I would add to that, as a producer, I feel like I'm a part of a community. And so I would say, if anyone's interested in Mississippi, I'm also open to helping and setting someone else up. Because to me, it's if I'm strong, you're strong. And if you're strong, I'm strong. So I would say, you know, other producers should, if you're looking to the south, be more than happy to open some doors and help you get here. There's lots of room for more people this F.


I love it. I love it. Well, I guess what that said, we can hope for more and more seasons of Home Town and everything coming out of RTR, and that great positivity that you guys are bringing to shows in states like Mississippi. And then as far as Mississippi goes, Nina, looking forward to the growth of the infrastructure there. It's just continuing to grow, I will continue to scream, Mississippi from the rooftops. When people say hey, where's the place I'm thinking to go or that I should be thinking to go that I'm not thinking of. And I really look forward to seeing how this new episodic side of the coin works for Mississippi's, I think it's really smart and good. So that's it. So thank you guys for joining us. I'm Cam. Thanks for the introduction. Thanks for setting this up. And we'll see you guys later. Thanks again.


Thank you for always being such a cheerleader for Mississippi.


Of course no, I mean, it's really I went to the 100th episode party like I mean, I got chills, like most of the time, I was there just because like I just love to see that. And that's what I tried to promote to other states that don't have programs. They are trying to get programs like this not going to this, you know, actor and they're walking away with $10 million. It's going to people that paint walls and are cutting wood and like it's amazing stuff. So I think what you guys are doing is great. And thank you guys for doing this. Really appreciate it. All right.

Related Article

Destination Mississippi with Nina Parikh and Toni Miceli

We take a look at the incentives and advantages of the Magnolia State with Head of the Mississippi Film Office, Nina Parikh, and CEO of RTR Media, Toni Miceli.

Read More
Related Blog Post

More episodes

How Mid-Form Content is Redefining Storytelling with Georgia Rippin
Link to
How Mid-Form Content is Redefining Storytelling with Georgia Rippin
On Location: Exploring North Carolina’s Cinematic Charm with Guy Gaster
Link to
On Location: Exploring North Carolina’s Cinematic Charm with Guy Gaster
Inside Unscripted TV: Nicole Walberg’s Reflections on Making Reality TV
Link to
Inside Unscripted TV: Nicole Walberg’s Reflections on Making Reality TV
Mastering the Art of Production Management with Tony Low
Link to
Mastering the Art of Production Management with Tony Low

Payroll built for production

Get pricing, see a product demo, and find out how much easier payroll can be.