Why Shoot in Eastern Europe? Visit Nashville Instead
Budget-savvy producers everywhere are constantly looking for new ways to get the most bang for their buck.
One of the more popular trends in recent years has been to relocate American productions to Eastern Europe. If you're looking for European exteriors, the exchange rate in that region makes it an appealing option.
However, before you get swept away by the idea of going on a European adventure, it's good to be aware of the additional administrative costs involved.
Shooting in Eastern Europe
Crew rates in Eastern Europe are much lower when compared to Western Europe. There are also no trade unions to deal with, which can be appealing for projects with smaller budgets.
Romania, Hungary, and Czechia are three popular destinations for production shooting.
Romania is the cheapest of the three nations listed here, with Bucharest, the capital, serving as a primary location. However, travel times between suitable locations can bump up production costs. In terms of experience, crews from neighboring countries may need to be brought in to fill certain key positions.
Budapest, Hungary, remains a lower-priced option compared to other European cities like Paris or London. But with so many Hollywood shows choosing to shoot here, all American productions tend to be viewed as having the same Hollywood-size budgets. Be aware that local crews will want to take full advantage of your perceived resources by adding as many crew members to the call sheet as possible.
Czechia (Czech Republic) has been open to foreign film production since the ‘90s. Although the crew rates here will be lower than those stateside, rental costs and shooting permits may prove more expensive.
Are There Other Cons to Consider?
Enticing exchange rates will always be a big draw for producers, especially as recession talk continues in the U.S.
Before booking your airline tickets to Eastern Europe, there is another consideration to factor into your decision-making: the war in Ukraine. Romania and Hungary both share a border with that war-torn country.
In addition to the uncertainty regarding the ongoing Ukrainian/Russian conflict, shooting overseas creates additional expenses.
Work permits can be tricky to manage. Anytime you need to set your production up as a legal entity in a different country, there will be more legal expenses tacked onto your budget. Setting up things properly (paying the appropriate taxes) is not an area where you want to cut corners.
Adjusting to Local Rules
Foreign productions must be hyper-vigilant about legal documentation, language differences, work attitudes, and cultural differences on set whenever shooting abroad.
Flying In Crew and Equipment
Arranging travel and work visas will require additional administration for your production office. Dealing with international customs documentation for transporting special gear can also be problematic if not handled correctly.
Eastern Europe Isn't America
If your production requires an "American-looking" neighborhood, it may be challenging to find overseas. Be prepared to increase your production design budget for additional construction and set decoration.
You'll Need Reliable Local Contacts
It's common to employ local contacts (fixers) who can keep your shoot out of trouble while on location. In many cases, these fixers are critical for knowing the places to avoid and who to pay off should any problems occur.
Converting your budget into local currency is more complex than you think. Fluctuating values and volatile markets can add much complexity to your cost-cutting endeavors. Dealing with banks or conversion houses and the required oversight is another expense you'll need to factor in when shooting overseas.
Count on There Being Problems
If you've been involved with film production before, you know that unexpected problems will occur. Any issue holding up production needs to be dealt with swiftly. Dealing with foreign laws and cultural norms can make resolving those on-set issues a lot more complicated.
If these additional considerations sound too overwhelming, there is always the Nashville option to explore.
Why Stay in the USA?
The simple answer is this: Gear Seven is located in Nashville, Tennessee. The state currently offers generous cash rebates for visiting productions.
Gear Seven is self-contained in terms of directors, crews, equipment rentals, and post-production expertise. Nashville is home to the latest virtual production / LED studio technology with Arc Studios that can virtually recreate any background location you need.
The Nashville International Airport (BNA) also makes booking your necessary flights easy, and keeping it domestic will keep your production coordinator very happy.
Nashville has plenty to offer film crews when they're not busy working. While Nashville is a tourist destination and people love being here, the city is welcoming to film production on any scale.
Streamline your production by contacting Gear Seven to learn more about the benefits of keeping things closer to home.