FARGO — The set is done and the cameras are ready. Filming has begun on yet another motion picture.
But well before the director yelled "Action!" and began filming, crew members worked continuously behind the scenes to make sure ducks were in a row and money was right.
The movie industry is huge and lucrative. In 2018, the global box office was estimated to be worth nearly $42 billion — a number that only grows when factoring in revenue from the box office and other viewing platforms (DVD, streaming, etc.). The United States and Canada alone generate over $11 billion annually.
But what does it mean for cities where these films are made? For cities outside of the Hollywood Hills, shooting a movie means one thing: a little jingle in the city's pocketbook — even after the director yells "Cut!"
In an article written for Western City Magazine, a monthly publication provided by the League of California Cities to elected city officials and city department heads, reporter Jude Hudson estimated that a typical on-location movie spends more than $50,000 per day on hotels, restaurants, gas stations, dry cleaners, hardware stores and area labor. With a lower-budget film like "Tankhouse", those numbers — while lower per day — are still significant to the local economy.
It's a mutual benefit to both parties — the cast and crew get to create their art, while residents of the location where the film is being shot see job creation, an increase in tax revenue and money flowing into local businesses.
While filming "Tankhouse" may bring in quite a bit of revenue to the area, the impact the film could have in the future has the potential to boost Fargo's image (and economy) for years to come.
Charley Johnson, president and CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, said having a movie about Fargo and shot in Fargo can't be anything but good on a broader public relations scale.
"There's no way to predict box office or viewership response to a movie like this," Johnson said. "But I think it's safe to say that once it's out there, it will live forever in the streaming universe and will spark more conversations about our wonderful community."
Two Buck Tankhouse
The cast and crew of "Tankhouse" said the response to their presence in Fargo has been overwhelmingly positive.
"Since starting this project we've had just an overwhelming amount of support and we are so grateful for it," said Jessamine Burgum, who not only has a role in the film, but also serves as an executive producer. "We've had so many people reach out and ask how they can help or be part of this project."
The cast and crew of "Tankhouse" have launched a way to involve as many Fargoans as possible. For just a $2 donation — the price of eight gumballs in your quarter-gumball machine — via PayPal or Venmo, members of the community will have the opportunity to get their name included in the end credits of the film. The initiative is called "Two Buck Tankhouse" and is a great opportunity to get involved.
"The idea (behind Two Buck Tankhouse) being that we want to get as many people involved in the film as possible," Burgum said. "The heart of the film is really about community. Fargo has been so generous to open their beautiful arms to (Tankhouse)."
Chelsea Frei, co-writer and executive producer of the film, agreed.
"We were talking about different ways of how we can get people involved because we've had so many people reaching out," Frei said. "We've gotten great messages on our Instagram from people wanting to donate things, and we were talking the other day about a way to get everyone involved that's easy, hopefully not asking for too much, but gives people a sense that they're part of this. Which is what we wanted to do. We wanted to get as many people from the town, from the state, as involved as possible."
For more information on "Two Buck Tankhouse" or to donate online, visit tankhousethemovie.com and click the "For Fargoans" link in the upper right corner.
Look for exclusive daily updates on "Tankhouse" and all that is going into making this movie here in Fargo on WDAY, The Forum and InForum.com, and for more on the project go to the movie's official site.