Pilot Point is ready to accommodate crews shooting anything from commercials to TV shows after being designated a film-friendly community by the Texas Film Commission.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced Pilot Point’s certification in April. It joins nearby cities Denton, Sanger and Frisco as film-friendly communities — of which there are over 150 across Texas — marking itself as a destination for film and production crews.
Pilot Point is no stranger to the film industry. In 1967, it played a part in the filming of “Bonnie and Clyde” — a role it celebrates through its annual Bonnie & Clyde Days festival. Denise Morris, Pilot Point’s executive director of economic development, shed some light on what it takes to become film-friendly.
“The film commission has a certification checklist for what you need to go through,” Morris said. “That includes attending their training, where they go over the ins and outs of becoming a certified city. … The next step is passing guidelines — that is what makes it easier when film crews come in.”
The city itself helps accommodate film crews with their needs, which can include situations where police presence is needed. It also helps communicate the shoots to nearby residents or neighborhoods. In Pilot Point, crews can shoot from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
“The guidelines are quite in-depth of the different situations that can come up,” Morris said. “We’ll have to try to explore them as they come along and make sure our guidelines are efficient enough.”
Being film-friendly means the city now has to advertise itself to prospective crews. Morris said that process involves setting up a database with photos of areas that might be of interest. For Pilot Point, she said that includes the downtown square and Lake Ray Roberts, among other places of interest. Crews can be very specific, so the more options, the better.
“It’s a pretty amazing downtown area that we have, so we try to show the different aspects,” Morris said. “We know our places better than anybody else.”
The end result of all of the necessary steps, Morris said, can be substantial economic benefit, as crews make ample use of local businesses.
“Going off the numbers provided by the Texas Film Commission, 41% of the budget of an average commercial in Texas goes to small businesses,” Morris said. “We hope to make it as friendly as possible to crews coming in, so it’s easy and economically advantageous for our community to be a part of this.”
Morris said the city doesn’t have a firm idea of how much filming activity could be on the horizon, but that it’s already received interest in recent weeks.
“We really don’t have a projected number,” Morris said. “We’ve already gotten several inquiries from having our certification on our site.”