BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — In Bastrop County’s small community, Utley, Robert Barton has a lot of memories growing up at the town’s general store and post office.
Showing us around where the post office used to be, Barton said, “It had been in the building until 1967. That’s when my mother retired from the post office.”
The building hasn’t changed much. If you’ve seen movies “Michael” or “Perfect World,” the general store may look familiar.
Barton said seven movies or productions have been filmed at his property.
“A representative of Clint Eastwood called me and wanted to know if he could come out and look at the place,” he recalled, “so I told them yeah, come on. So he came out, spent about a day and a half. And decided they would use it for ‘Perfect World.'”
“It’s wild and wonderful,” said Eva Barton. “And people are fascinating.”
New Republic Studios is trying to get more properties like the Bartons’ general store featured in movies or TV shows.
Starting Monday night, the studio is hosting four workshops, teaching homeowners about turning their homes or businesses into a movie set, or properties into a prop.
“More times than not, they’ll get some sort of compensation,” said Mindy Raymond, director of marketing and development at New Republic Studios.
The studio said AMC’s been shooting “The Son” in that area. “‘Fear the Walking Dead’ has been here, which is very exciting,” said Raymond.
But getting those productions to come here, Raymond said, “It’s fierce competition right now.”
In 2013, the state approved $95 million for the film incentive program. Last year, lawmakers cut that amount to $22 million.
Brian Gannon with the Austin Film Commission told KXAN, “It’s certainly below the competitive level of funding we would have liked.”
According a report from the Texas Film Commission, the number of jobs film, TV shows and video game projects that came to Central Texas went up from 11,496 in 2012-2013 to 25,513 in 2014-2015. However, it dropped significantly to 17,814 in 2016-2017.
Raymond told KXAN $22 million is “pretty small for the size of Texas, where you look at our neighbor, Louisiana, they have a $180 million incentive program.”
However, many commercials are still filmed here, Raymond said.
According to Gannon, Nike, Budweiser and Coke have used the Austin area to film their commercials.
New Republic Studios is hosting four workshops this week about getting your properties features in films, shows or commercials.