‘This place is just a gem’: Locals discuss making Florida more competitive for TV, movie productions

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The Vilano Beach community has something to be excited about: Netflix is producing a new series at the Magic Beach Motel. Action News Jax heard it could be related to a show called “Straight Shooter.”

Chad Brooksher was one of many checking out the set of the still-unknown series. Major productions are not new to him. He just moved to Florida from Georgia.


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“Georgia has become like... Hollywood,” he said. “We get a lot of this type of stuff, productions going on.”

Brooksher said he is excited finally to see a production south of the border.

“I think it’s good for the local economy,” he added.

This week, Netflix booked over 800 nights in area hotels for crew members. About half of the crew are Floridians.

“If you’re a business owner, you love it, because you’ve got to feed the staff. There’s a lot of people working on these productions, so it’s really great for them,” Brooksher said.

Story: Vilano Beach vintage motel picked as backdrop for upcoming Netflix series

Right now, Georgia takes the cake when it comes to strong filming incentives. Georgia Film reports the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act grants an income tax credit of 20% to productions.

Florida had a similar tax break but that went away.

This past legislative session, Florida lawmakers tried to establish the Film, Television and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program. It would have offered up to 23% or $2 million for expenses to produce shows in Florida. The measure, and similar proposals, did not pass.

Brooksher said he hopes lawmakers ultimately prioritize making Florida more competitive in luring TV and movie productions.

“This place is just a gem; it’s absolutely beautiful,” he said. “Netflix ... should get more of St. Augustine in some of their series.”

St. John’s County said locals and visitors can expect filming activity in the area until Thursday.

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