March 12, 2018 11:28 am

With shows like Friday Night Lights, The Lying Game, Fear the Walking Dead and movies like The Quiet, Machete, and About A Boy, it’s looking like Texas is becoming a good place for television and film production. Of course, this is a good thing. Another good thing is potential investors and executive producers within Austin, Houston, and Dallas are seeing potential in this still young yet growing industry. While Texas seems to be a state becoming known for tech start-ups, and other Silicon Valley similarities, others are interested in keeping the art and entertainment industry alive and well.  

Between the three metropolis cities mentioned above along with San Antonio, there are meetings about once a month to every other month that involve local people and talent within the industry. Some of these meets up can range from mere amateurs to actual people who work full time in the entertainment field. People who make their living between Texas and California or Texas and New York. Nonetheless, it was at one of these meetings that I went to where executive producers and investors talked about the potential to start up a finance firm for independent yet main stream movies!

One of the executive producers who worked on shows like Dawn of the Dead and who collaborated with other Trouble Maker Studios, a company owned by Robert Rodriguz, projects, said he was seeing more local talent finding their own way into the entertainment field. An investor placed in his two cents stating he heard about an animated project he discovered by reading a local blog (a blog I had to find). The movie was A Child Within the Night.

The table sat people from a few known venture funding firms and studios around Texas such as Austin Ventures; there was an ex-employee of Antoine Fuqua’s funding company, and even a not local executive from Gravitis Ventures.

By this time, I was leaning my chair close to their table…more like leaning my ear in. This investor went on to say he was impressed that the project was an animation. (That’s because a typical animated project usually takes about two-four years to produce, sometimes even longer when considering the in-development state.) Other qualities that set this movie apart was the subject matter. While most animated movies that are released to theatres are targeted toward families and kids, this one seems to be for a mature crowd because it’s a psychological thriller about the dark imaginations of an abused child.

“Wow,” he said, “I want to see more stories like that.”

I politely interrupted to ask if he’d considered investing in the movie. He said he wish he could if he wasn’t glued to out of state projects. It was after my question that the table began to talk about starting a local company that will help finance Texas productions all the way down to pre-production and even marketing. It was big talk for sure but these people had years of experience. And I’m sure they knew what they were talking about.

As much as I hope something like this takes off, it’s hard to say if these individuals who I won’t name will keep this plan. And though I love super hero movies, and animated movies, it’ll be great if we saw other projects from non-monopolized corporations. And since it looks like Fox maybe sold fully to Disney, the hope for more exposure to independent movies loses its flame. And the independent movies that do see the light of day and hit the main stream market are either produced, directed, written or stars a known figure already established in the entertainment industry. As much as I’d like to say, ‘it’s what you know’, it’s starting to look more and more like who you know.