Burn Notice Gives Florida Its Comeback

Currently in its fourth season, the television action drama Burn Notice made its debut on June 28, 2007 on USA Network and has been cruising on its strong ratings since.

If you’re a Burn Notice fan, you probably appreciate the authentic feel of its setting. It is the only Miami set TV show that is actually filmed on location in and around Miami. The show also has a permanent set built in the former Coconut Grove Convention Center in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood.

Why choose Florida as the show’s filming location? Matt NixBurn Notice’s creator, believes that - in addition to the year-round blue skies and sunny weather - filming in Florida can be cost-saving:

“If you go to a city that has a lot of water, where they’ve never tried to do a boat chase, well, everybody’s learning on your dime. In Florida, there aren’t 13 meetings where they say, ‘How are we going to do this?’ They know how much it’s going to cost and they just do it. It doesn’t (officially) go on any balance sheet, but when you’re actually looking at the advantages and disadvantages of a location, that particular thing turns into real dollars and cents.”

Florida’s comeback with Hollywood is a big step forward for the state, especially since its annual budget for the 15% film tax rebate dropped significantly two years ago from $25 million (in 2007) to $5 million (in 2008).

Production still of Burn Notice via Google.

Production still of Burn Notice via Google.

Fortunately, in 2009 Florida bumped up its funding for the film industry to $10.8 million, with $5.2 million of that money firmly committed to Burn Notice.

In March 2010, Florida took the initiative a step further when it planned to allocate $242 million to its film tax rebate program over the next five years. This announcement made the producers ofBurn Notice quite happy. The show has been renewed for its fifth and sixth seasons, and a Burn Notice prequel movie is also in the works. If you have never watched Burn Notice before, perhaps now is a good time to start. We’ve already added it to our Netflix queue!

Jennifer Parramore, director of the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Commission and Tampa Film Commissioner Lindsey Norris Guthrie both say they have been receiving numerous queries from filmmakers looking to take advantage of Florida’s tax credit program.

Other productions in the pipeline for Florida are: A Dolphin’s Tale, produced by Alcon Entertainment (The Blind Side) and distributed by Warner Bros.; Transformers 3, directed by Michael Bay; sci-fi comedy Mad Science U; and a small independent film, Fifty Miles of Faith.

For more information, visit the Florida Film Commission’s website. 

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