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Filming in Austin, Texas

Written on May 19, 2014

Austin, Texas

Keeping it weird, Austin, Texas, is a favorite destination for filmmakers and photographers looking for a city with a laid back, creative spirit. The city has hosted films as diverse as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Bernie, True Grit, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Suburbia and Slackers.

Film locations of particular interest include Austin’s quirky neighborhoods, the city skyline, Colorado River, Texas State Capitol building, Oasis on Travis Lake, Mount Bonnell, Zilker Park, Barton Springs natural spring fed pool, Lady Bird Lake, and the University of Texas campus.

Austin is surrounded by agricultural land with corn, wheat, pecans and a variety of other crops available for filming.

For down time, Austin is home to many great Texas BBQ and Tex-Mex restaurants as well as the haute cuisine of world renowned chefs.

When to shoot?

Austin has great year-round weather for filming. From March through to October, Congress Avenue bridge in downtown Austin is home to up to 1.5 million bats that every evening around sunset emerge in a black swarm from the crevices of the bridge. Every March, Austin hosts the SXSW Festival and Austin Rodeo. The American F1 race takes place in October / November.

Austin Location Permits

Film Permits for public locations in Austin are free. Permits are required when obstructing city streets, sidewalks or parking. Permits are also required for filming in city, county and state parks or buildings. Obtaining a city film permit takes usually takes around 3 days. State Capitol permit takes about a week. State parks take about 6 weeks. Proof of insurance is also required.


Austin has a couple of impressive studio facilities that have hosted a long list of Hollywood productions. Studios include sound stages, on-set equipment, production offices, and a variety of standing film sets.

Tax Incentives

Commercials may qualify for a cash grant of up to 12.5 percent of Texas spend. A base rate of 5 percent is available for Texas spend of $100,000 to $1,000,000, and is increased to 7.5 percent if 25 percent of production is in economically distressed areas and/or underutilized areas. A base rate of 10% is available for Texas spend over $1,000,000, and is increased to 12.5 percent if 25 percent of production is in economically distressed areas and/or underutilized areas.

Crew & Equipment

Austin has an extensive and experienced crew base and all the standard camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. Austin is one of Texas’s main production centers. Additional support can be easily brought in from Dallas, Houston or Los Angeles if required.

If you are looking for a Austin fixer or production service company please contact us for recommendations. Likewise, we can also recommend locally based videographers and stills photographers.

Images courtesy of Angela Lee.