Louisiana’s Thriving Entertainment Industry
Since the creation of the pioneering motion picture incentive program in 2002, the state has created a robust suite of incentives specifically targeting the entertainment industry. Louisiana is the only state that offers a package of incentives uniquely designed for motion pictures, digital interactive and software development projects, sound recording and live performance productions.
These incentives complement a mature infrastructure and a specialized, skilled workforce, which have served to establish Louisiana as the premier destination for entertainment. Louisiana also offers industry professionals access to a unique, creative culture, with a rich blend of historical and artistic influences, which serve as an important backdrop for the creative industries.
The state’s competitive advantages are attracting major entertainment industry names as well, like High Voltage Software, inXile Entertainment, Cirque du Soleil, George Strait and The Walking Dead Experience, as well as film and television productions, including the award-winning Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years A Slave, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, HBO’s True Detective, The Fantastic Four, The First, and the latest films in the franchises Jurassic Park and Terminator. Broadway’s biggest hits are also touring Louisiana on stage at the Saenger Theatre and other major venues throughout the entire state.
Cracking the Code: Digital Media & Software Development
Louisiana offers a variety of advantages for the digital media and software industries, including a positive business climate, creative talent and competitive incentives. Industry kingpins such as Electronic Arts, inXile Entertainment, High Voltage Software and TurboSquid have applied these unique benefits, finding success in Louisiana.
Companies Have Access to Skilled Software Development Talent
Technology companies in Louisiana have ready access to a skilled workforce that includes over 22,500 informational technology professionals. The industry also draws support from research hubs, such as the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City. With strong university curricula and programs, the state has graduated nearly 5,000 students in the software development field in the past five years, supplying a pipeline of talent for high-tech and software development companies.
Competitive Business Taxes Lower Production Costs
Louisiana’s low-tax environment offers business operations significant cost savings. According to a recent 50-state analysis by the Tax Foundation and KPMG: Location Matters: The State Tax Costs of Doing Business, Louisiana's tax burden ranks among the top 10 lowest in the nation for new facilities, relocations, and facility expansions for a variety of firm types, including:
research and development facilities
Louisiana’s business climate, coupled with one of the country’s most vibrant, distinct and well-preserved cultures makes the state an exciting place to live, play and work.
Industry-Leading Incentives Are Available
In 2005, the state instituted an aggressive tax incentive program for video game production and gaming. The strongest of its kind in the nation, the Digital Interactive Media and Software Development Incentive offers an 18 percent tax credit for qualified digital media production expenditures and a 25 percent tax credit for Louisiana resident labor expenditures.
In 2009, the incentive expanded to include development of consumer software, business and enterprise software, web-based applications, digital media and games, interactive devices and consoles, and embedded systems.
Lights, Camera, Opportunity: Film & Television in Louisiana
Louisiana has become a top destination for the film and television industry. In the past ten years, Louisiana has produced more than 400 motion pictures. These include Green Lantern, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Television shows such as American Horror Story and Salem have also filmed in the state.
Louisiana Talent Fuels Film and Television
From key department positions to a large selection of diverse extras, Louisiana has the local workforce needed to maximize the benefits of any production that chooses the state. Louisiana’s skilled crew base has grown by over 400 percent since 2002, with over 15 crews throughout the state as well as a talented base of actors, extras and day players.
Unique Production Studios Are Available
Louisiana’s infrastructure has grown as a result of demand from film and television producers. The state now boasts world-class, state-of-the-art facilities, including multi-million dollar stages and production houses.
Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge is the largest design-built studio in the U.S., handling such productions as Fantastic Four, Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Oblivion. Second Line Studios in the heart of New Orleans is the first, independent LEED-certified film studio in the U.S. Additionally, Starlight Studios announced in January 2019 it would bring new purpose-built sound stages on their campus in New Orleans.
Other soundstage and post production facilities include:
Big Easy Studios (New Orleans)
Digital FX (Baton Rouge)
The Louisiana Wave Studio (Shreveport)
Nims Center Studios (Harahan)
Pixel Magic (Baton Rouge)
The Ranch Studios (Chalmette)
The St. John Center Soundstage (LaPlace)
StageWorks of Louisiana (Shreveport)
Starlight Studios (New Orleans)
Industry-Specific Incentive Reduces Production Costs
The Motion Picture Production Program provides state-certified motion picture productions with up to a 40 percent tax credit on eligible in-state expenditures. These include resident and non-resident labor. Program is subject to an issuance cap of $150 million per fiscal year and a claims cap of $180 million per fiscal year.
“Active Entertainment has been successful in Louisiana in part due to the wonderful economic climate that the state has created for creative, hard-working entrepreneurial companies. We have hired and trained many terrific Louisiana workers and brought new kinds of jobs, technologies and income opportunities for them. The state’s incentive programs have been a vital part in helping us achieve our goals, and participate in Louisiana’s economic growth. They have the right programs and the right personnel to manage and implement these programs.”
Setting the Stage: Live Performance Production
Louisiana provides the perfect space for any production with readily available theaters and live performance venues, competitive incentives, a business-friendly climate and rich creative culture. Whether launching a national concert tour or staging a new theatrical production, Louisiana’s unique blend of advantages creates the ultimate opportunity for success.
Higher Education Provides Industry Talent
Louisiana offers industry expertise and opportunities with the state’s top education institutions to the owners, developers and producers of live performance infrastructure and production projects. In addition, Louisiana offers a unique one of a kind infrastructure incentive designed specifically for theaters situated on a campus of a higher educational institution and for the benefit of education. Additional payroll incentives are also available when employing students as part of state-certified musical or theatrical productions.
Production-Ready Venues are Available
Louisiana is home to many world-class, state-of-the-art facilities across the state. With the renovated historic Saenger Theatre (now hosting Broadway tours), as well as the Civic, Joy and Carver theaters, New Orleans is poised to become a major destination for Broadway and other live performances. Shreveport/Bossier City welcomed Jimmy Buffet’s own Paradise Theater which offers visitors a very intimate experience. Tipitina’s Co-Ops expanded to Lake Charles and Monroe complementing existing facilities in Shreveport, New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
First-of-its-Kind Incentive Reduces Costs
The Live Performance Production Program offers a unique tax credit for production expenditures, with tax credit value increasing with the total production expenditures:
A 7 percent tax credit for certified Louisiana expenditures between $100,000 and $300,000
A 14 percent tax credit for certified Louisiana expenditures between $300,000 and $1,000,000
A 18 percent tax credit for certified Louisiana expenditures over $1,000,000
In addition, the state offers a 7 percent tax credit on payroll expenditures for Louisiana residents. The program is subject to a cap of $10 million per fiscal year.
Sounds of Success: Louisiana’s Music & Recording Industry
Louisiana is known as the birthplace of jazz and is home to numerous Grammy award winners. State-of-the-art recording studios, a unique production rebate and highly skilled musicians combined with a strong musical history create an unrivaled opportunity for success in sound recording.
Music History Sets Foundation for Success Today
Search far and wide and it’s tough to find a place with a deeper, richer musical tradition than Louisiana. The state’s renowned creative culture has nurtured legendary recordings artists, and even inspired entire genres like jazz, swamp pop and zydeco. Since the launch of the music incentive program, the state’s already-established production industry has grown at a rapid pace. New and expanding recording studios and world-class musicians, engineers and other recording industry professionals now call Louisiana home.
Complementing the film industry in Louisiana, film scoring is quickly becoming an important part of the music production mix in the state, with the opening of Esplanade Studios in New Orleans.
Sound Recording Rebate Reduces Production Costs
The Sound Recording Program provides an 18 percent tax credit for qualified sound recording projects made in Louisiana. The program is subject to a cap of $2.16 million in tax credits per calendar year.
“It was great recording my last album Goin’ Home in my hometown at Blade Studios in Shreveport. North Louisiana now has a world-class recording studio that exists in part as a result of the various incentives Louisiana has for our industry, including the Sound Recording Program. In a world of shrinking recording budgets, Louisiana has led the way in creating incentives for artists to come and work in our state.”