News Column

Joe Downtown Radio: How the new TV/film law will help make Las Vegas an even bigger household name

November 6, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 06--"Las Vegas."

Find someone in a cave in Kabul, say "Vegas," and you're bound to see the light of recognition in their eyes, if for no other reason than Mohammad Atta stayed here a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center.

How did a little gambling town in the middle of a desert become so well known?

Marketing, largely, which includes the dozens of movies and TV shows produced or based here over the past 60 years.

One website lists 60 movies based in Las Vegas since 1952. Lots of you remember Dan Tanner in "Vegas." Any TV series worth its salt always manages to end up filming at least one episode here. Even "Kolchak, the Nightstalker," a 1970s TV show, had its pilot based here, with the vampire running downtown Park Paseo at 5th Place.

And of course, if you've been anywhere near a television over the past 10 years, you've heard of "C.S.I.," a fictionalized account of the county coroner's office and its work.

All those movies and TV shows were produced mostly by out-of-state companies, largely from Southern California. Nevada sat back and was more than happy to let them do their work.

All of it was gravy on the area's mega-marketing machine.

But a shift occurred in the past decade. Other states began offering tax incentives. Nevada lost out on some business, notably the movie "Thor," which reports say was shot in New Mexico because of the state's hefty tax incentive.

Now, however, Nevada has its own film incentive program, set to go into effect in January.

Chris Ramirez, founder of Lola Pictures and Silver State Productions, based on east Fremont Street, discusses the existing film and TV biz downtown and how he expects it to change with the new law going into effect.

The Joe Downtown Show, KUNV, 91.5 FM, airs at 7 a.m. Wednesdays and can be heard anytime on the podcast below.

Joe Schoenmann doesn't just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group's embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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