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Tuesday, 27 April 2010 15:49

Place Your Bet on Nevada

Written by  Iain Blair
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On the set of an Erica Jones music video in Nevada What happens in Vegas happily doesn’t stay in Vegas, thanks to such hit films as Up in the Air, the Ocean’s Eleven.

On the set of an Erica Jones music video in Nevada What happens in Vegas happily doesn’t stay in Vegas, thanks to such hit films as Up in the Air, the Ocean’s Eleven franchise and, of course, What Happens in Vegas, which all helped export the city’s “wild-west, anything-goes” party image around the world. But the truth is that Nevada offers far more than just neon fun in the desert. The state has myriad landscapes, ranging from deserts with dry lake beds and sand dunes that can double for Middle East locations, to snow-capped mountains, lakes and lush farmlands. And then there are iconic sites, such as the Hoover Dam, which simply cannot be duplicated and has shown up in blockbuster hits like Transformers.

Even Las Vegas’s McCarran Airport offered a unique setting for Up in the Air. “I wanted to make a drama and comedy that was a mirror to the global economy and the millions of people who’ve lost their jobs, and it had to be honest and true and accurate,” explains Jason Reitman, director of the acclaimed film. Much of the movie’s jet-setting storyline is set at airports around the country. “The idea was floated that we could just shoot all those scenes at one airport and save money, as we had a pretty bargain-basement budget of just $25 million,” notes Reitman. “But I insisted that we shoot in Vegas and the other places, as you can’t ever fake it properly. The look of Vegas is unmistakable.”
Nevada doesn’t currently offer a financial incentive program, but the state boasts an outstanding tax climate with no corporate, personal, franchise, inventory or unitary taxes. And, as Nevada Film Office Director Charlie Geocaris notes, the state offers free permitting in Las Vegas and Reno, saving thousands of dollars in production costs with very minimal red tape. Productions from around the world take advantage of Nevada’s one-of–a kind, film-friendly locations, affordable accommodations, over 320 days of sunshine, professional crews and state-of-the-art pre- and postproduction facilities.

Recent productions that have shot in Nevada include the Golden Globe-winning film for Best Comedy, The Hangover, as well as The Other Guys, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Kerosene Cowboy and Get Him to The Greek. Nevada has also been featured on hit TV shows, such as “CSI,” “American Idol,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Extreme Home Makeover,” “Pawn Stars” and “Top Chef.” These productions promote and spotlight Nevada, creating a positive impact on its economy and tourism.

The Nevada Film Office averages over 300 productions a year and has generated more than $100 million in revenue for 10 consecutive years. Each year the Office publishes its Nevada Production Directory, which showcases the state’s talented and award-winning professional crews and production facilities to filmmakers and producers around the world. This key tool for all Nevada production and filming is available online at and is distributed at film-related events worldwide. The website also allows filmmakers and producers 24/7 access to thousands of diverse locations and averages 200,000 hits per month.

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