Ruth Gallegos in Miami Beach. Photo Credit: Ruth Gallegos
There is no doubt that Miami is one of the most beautiful and exotic cities in the United States. From the art deco aesthetic to the insane Hispanic influence, it's pretty obvious why Miami is chosen as the backdrop to so many movies, TV shows, wedding videos, the whole nine. With a bloody history from the Versace murder to the cocaine trade that literally built the Miami skyline, Miami has come to represent excess in every facet.
The two most well-known examples are Scarface and Miami Vice. Interestingly enough, very little of Scarface was actually shot in Miami. Most of it was shot in places like L.A. It was originally going to be shot entirely in Miami but was canceled at the eleventh hour due to public outcry from the Cuban community. Miami Vice on the other hand was almost entirely shot in Miami. As far as television history is concerned, Miami Vice set a lot of precedents. It was the first show to be broadcast in stereo, it was the first show to use licensed music as predominantly as it did on television, first to have a large minority cast, it also launched the careers of actors like Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson. Aside from being a milestone for television, Miami Vice also changed the way the rest of the country saw Miami.
"If you produce Spanish-language content, or even Latin centered content, your largest audiences may come from places like Miami."
Miami as we know it today, is a relatively young city. Before Miami Vice, Miami was a place you went to retire. It wasn't until Miami Vice hit the air that Miami was seen as the pastel, neon, excess capitol of the world, the Magic City. There were plenty of other films produced in Miami before Miami Vice, Tony Rome and the flipper series for example, but the influence of Miami Vice is still felt to this day.
In the 90's we got movies like The Birdcage, True Lies and bad boys shot in Miami. It was around this time too that still photography in Miami really started to take off. World class photographers like Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz, shot projects in the area during the 1990s. It was around this time that networks like Telemundo and Univision started to get really popular with Spanish speaking audiences.
While the buzz surrounding Miami isn't what it used to be, shows like Burn Notice (of which I've had the pleasure of working with actor and all around dope dude Paul Tei) still use Miami as a scenic back drop. So what does this mean for film makers in Miami? The good news is Miami is very friendly towards film making. Miami is going through a bit of an arts renaissance right now. There are so many great artist who are ready and willing to work on projects. Places like Wynwood are booming, and with venues like the Gables Art Cinema always showing independent films, Miami is a great place to be a film maker. Miami also has a pretty healthy theatre community with many talented actors and technicians looking for varied work.
If you produce Spanish-language content, or even Latin centered content, your largest audiences may come from places like Miami. Internet Latin-x content creator Jenny Lorenzo is very popular down here because so many people in South Florida can relate to her. There's also an abundance of bi-lingual actors in South Florida as well. Miami truly is one of the best places in the world to make Bi-Lingual and Spanish speaking content.
Now is a great time to be a film maker in Miami, and I have a feeling more and more people are going to be coming down here for work, especially with the city offering incentives like tax exemptions, waivers and discounts on different permits for more commercial projects. Miami is a playground waiting to be explored, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see another film boom happening soon.