We often talk about the great work that the incentive brings to the state, but it is important to remember that Washington Filmworks also manages the state film office. Bringing in over an estimated $11 million of direct spend to the state last year, the film office receives over 350 calls a year and has a conversion rate of 38 percent. Whether or not a production is part of the incentive program, Washington Filmworks is dedicated to helping projects find the resources and locations they need to film in Washington.
Tonight, a show will premiere on FOX that utilized these resources and found a home in the town of Eatonville in Washington State. According to FOX’s website, American Grit is “a new, 10-episode competition series starting WWE superstar John Cena. Sixteen of the country’s toughest men and women will be split up into four teams as they work together to face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges.” Washington Filmworks worked with the production to identify key locations that fit the unique requirements of the show.
Golden Swenson, Location Manager for American Grit, said, “for American Grit‘s first season, which was filmed in November and December of last year, I took on the task of finding an extremely expansive and scenic plot land that gave the production the leeway to build very large sets and obstacle courses while maintaining exclusive use of the area. For these reasons, state and national parks were not an option.The checklist of needs for the location was very specific and detailed and I only had a couple of weeks to come up with the perfect locale. Due to this compressed timeframe, I immediately started reaching out to state film offices including Washington Filmworks.”
“Unlike many other film offices I spoke with, Washington Filmworks, and specifically Krys Karns, had a good understanding of what I was on the hunt for. Several of their suggested locations fit the bill and, due to this, Washington was the only state that was scouted for American Grit. Washington Filmworks’ proactiveness and continued follow-through during the production made my job a lot easier. This was my first experience in Washington and based on how well it went, I hope it’s not my last.”
Projects like these can have a real economic impact. Local business owners were also excited about the needs their businesses filled for production – and the resulting spike in activity they experienced.
Jim Cross, Owner of Bruno’s Family Restaurant & Bar in Eatonville, WA, said, “the crew of American Grit and its cast were an amazing group of individuals that embraced our small town in the foothills of Mt. Rainier as much as we embraced them. My fantastic team, and most of the town folk really enjoyed having the opportunity to not only serve these hard-working people but spend their off-time with them, and many found jobs working with them,” Cross said.
“I am also on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and many of businesses benefited from having them here for the two-three months of production. The grocery store, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and bars and the local lumber company saw record numbers for the time they were here, as they depended on our town to furnish them with materials and places to stay and dine. The cast that we met were truly down to earth people and it was our pleasure to be here for them. Not only was having them in town a lot of fun, it also was an amazing boost to our local economy.”
Catch the premiere of American Grit tonight on FOX at 9 PM.