As Hollywood lures back ‘runaway productions,’ the Bay Area steps into the spotlight

Aug 20, 2021 | Cinelease Studios, Industry Update

For years, California has worked to bring back TV and film productions that fled the state. But it’s not just LA that wants to win over studios.

When I call Patrick Ranahan on an afternoon in mid-July, he’s driving down San Francisco’s Embarcadero roadway, scouting filming locations for an upcoming (unannounced) project. He pulls over to park between the Hi Dive Bar and Red’s Java House, two waterfront restaurants nestled near the Bay Bridge, so we can talk.

“My world is always out on the street,” he laughs.

Ranahan, who’s worked as a location manager on the West Coast for more than 40 years, knows the San Francisco Bay Area like the back of his hand. He tells me about a call he got that morning for a television commercial that’s supposed to depict a cross-country trip in an RV. The shoot calls for all kinds of scenery — forests, beaches, mountains, corn and wheat fields. Without pause, Ranahan lists off places, all around the Bay Area, that check those boxes: Memorial Park and Pescadero in San Mateo County, and Rodeo BeachMt. Tamalpais and the Russian River across the Golden Gate Bridge.

“You have the whole country,” he says of the Bay Area.


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