Reality Television Projects
The following is a summary of the rules and requirements for the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program. Read the complete rules and requirements in the Texas Administrative Code. If you have any questions concerning the rules, please contact us.
Table of Contents
- Incentive / Program Qualifications
- Ineligible Projects
- Application Process
- Start Date Confirmation
- Residency Verification
- During Production
- Eligible Expenditures
- Ineligible Expenditures
- Verification Process
- Review and Payment Process
- Qualifying projects are eligible to receive a cash grant up to 12.5% of eligible Texas spending.
- Minimum eligible Texas spending of $250,000.
- At least 60% of production days must be completed in Texas.
- At least 70% of the combined total number of paid crew and paid cast must be Texas residents.
If your project does not meet these qualifications, it is not eligible to receive funds from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program.
The Texas Film Commission will examine incentive applications to ensure the minimum requirements for spend, residency and content will be met. Additionally, applications will be evaluated for the potential magnitude of the economic impact of the project for the State of Texas with respect to: (i) The financial viability of the Applicant; (ii) Proposed spending on existing state production infrastructure; (iii) The number of Texas jobs estimated to be created by the project; (iv) The ability to promote Texas as a tourist destination through the conduct of the project; (v) Whether the project will be directed or produced by individuals who are Texas Residents.
The following types of projects are not eligible to receive funds from this program:
- Obscene material, as defined by Section 43.21, Texas Penal Code;
- News, current event or public access programming; or programs that include weather or market reports;
- Sporting events or activities;
- Awards shows (unless broadcast on national network television to a national audience), galas or telethons; or
- Projects intended for undergraduate or graduate course credit.
The State of Texas is also not required to make payments to projects that include inappropriate content or content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.
Return to Top
Projects interested in applying to the incentive program must submit an Incentive Inquiry Form. You may also contact the incentive team with questions regarding the program and fund availability at 512-463-9200.
An application package must be received by the Texas Film Commission no earlier than 120 days and no later than 5 PM Central Time 5 business days prior to the first day of principal photography:
- A Qualifying Application, to be completed and submitted online;
- An itemized budget detailing only estimated Texas expenditures; and
- A content document.
- Reality television, contest show, talk show, game show projects should submit a detailed story outline or treatment.
All application materials should be submitted electronically. Budget and content documents should be submitted as Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel documents and uploaded with the online application.
Upon proper submission of the complete online application, the applicant will receive a confirmation page that acknowledges submission of the online application.
NOTE: The application package is not complete until all required documents have been received.
Late applications will not be accepted. If you have already started principal photography, you cannot apply to the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program.
Return to Top
Start Date Confirmation
Within 5 business days after the first day of principal photography or production as indicated on the application, the applicant must submit an email to filmincentive[at]gov.texas.gov confirming the start of production. If production is delayed, you must email the incentive to provide a new start date along with the reason for the change. If the start of principal photography is delayed for more than 30 days, the application may be discarded and the project will be asked to reapply.
Return to Top
As proof of residency, each Texas resident crew member, cast member (including extras and stand-ins) or permanent employee must complete a Declaration of Texas Residency Form.
To be considered a Texas resident for the purposes of the incentive, a person must be permanently domiciled in Texas for at least 120 days prior to the first day of principal photography and be able to complete sections I, II and III of the Declaration of Texas Residency Form. Section III must be completed with one of the following documents:
- A current Texas driver license or ID card.
- A current Texas voter registration.
- A current student ID card from a Texas Institution of Higher Education (full-time college students only).
Section III also requires the employee to initial where indicated in Section III, and provide a signature in the signature box.
All crew members, cast members or permanent employees who receive any payment for working in Texas must be included in the total crew and cast counts and listed on the crew and cast lists of a project. Proof of residency for all Texas residents must be properly documented in order to meet the 70% residency requirement for crew and cast, and to apply wages paid to Texas residents toward the incentive.
A minor who does not have the necessary documentation to complete Section III of the form should have a Texas resident parent or legal guardian complete section III and note their relationship to the minor in the signature box.
Section IV of the Declaration of Texas Residency Form must be completed by an authorized representative of the production company or incentive applicant who has reviewed and verified the document presented by the employee to complete section III of the form.
To be considered valid, Declaration of Texas Residency Forms must be filled out completely, correctly and legibly. Any residency form with missing, expired, or illegible information will be considered invalid.
Employees with properly completed Declaration of Texas Residency Forms are the only people considered Texas residents for the purposes of calculating the 70% residency requirement.
Individuals without properly completed Declaration of Texas Residency Forms cannot be considered Texas residents, this will affect the required residency calculation. Any payments made to these individuals cannot be applied toward the incentive.
Individuals who are not Texas residents do not need to complete the Declaration of Texas Residency Form. Any payments made to these individuals cannot be applied toward the incentive.
The Texas Film Commission may periodically review production activity including, but not limited to, in-state spending, shooting locations and the number of Texas residents hired; and may request documentation for all of the above.
Return to Top
- Wages and per diems paid to Texas residents for work performed in Texas, including employer paid Social Security and Medicare (OASDI, SS, MEDI, FICA); federal unemployment (FUTA, FUI); state unemployment (SUTA, SUI); pension, health, and welfare (PH&W); vacation; and holiday payments. Total compensation (including wages, per diems and eligible fringes) is capped at $1 million per worker, per project.
- Workers compensation insurance payments may be included only if the premiums are paid to a Texas-based company or broker.
- Payroll company service fees may be included only if paid to a Texas-based payroll company that processes payroll within Texas.
- Payments made to Texas companies for goods and services domiciled and used in Texas that are directly attributable to the physical production of the television program.
- Payments for shipping on shipments originating in Texas.
- Air travel to and from Texas on a Texas-based airline including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines or on a Texas-based air charter service.
- Rentals and leases of vehicles registered and licensed in the State of Texas.
- Music that is specifically created for the project and fees paid to Texas residents hired to create, orchestrate and perform the music.
- Legal fees that are directly attributable to the production and are paid to a Texas-based lawyer or law firm.
- Wages and fringes paid to non-Texas residents.
- Per diems paid to non-Texas residents.
- Payments to non-Texas vendors, or for goods and services not directly attributable to the physical production of the feature film or television program including, but not limited to, entertainment, gifts and client expenses.
- Fees for story rights, music rights or clearance rights.
- Expenses related to distribution, publicity, marketing or promotion of the project.
- Rental, lease or mortgage payments, to include utilities and insurance, on facilities that are part of a permanent/continuous business operation.
- Payments made to pass-through companies.
- Payments for shipping on shipments that originate outside of Texas.
- Alcohol and tobacco purchases.
- Tips and gratuities.
Within 60 days of completing Texas expenditures, final verifying documentation should be submitted to the Texas Film Commission in either hard copy or digital format. Specific guidelines have been established for submitting the final verifying documentation, and this information is available in the Forms and Guidelines.
The following is a general summary of documentation requirements. Documentation includes, but may not be limited to, the following:
- An accounts payable spreadsheet, sorted alphabetically by vendor, that reflects only eligible in-state transactions and includes copies of all cleared checks, invoices and receipts for each vendor;
- A petty cash spreadsheet, sorted alphabetically by name, that reflects only eligible in-state transactions and includes copies of the petty cash envelope fronts and all receipts;
- A payroll spreadsheet, sorted alphabetically by name, that reflects only payments made to Texas residents and includes copies of the payroll company invoices and registers that detail wages and fringes paid to Texas residents;
- A copy of each Texas resident’s Declaration of Texas Residency form;
- Copies of call sheets and production reports;
- A cast and crew list that includes both Texas resident and non-resident crew, cast, and talent; and
- A copy of the final content of the project containing approved use of the Texas Film Commission logo included on the end credits.
- Reality television, contest show, talk show, game show projects must submit a DVD of all episodes produced.
- Links to watch content online are allowable. Links must not have an expiration date.
- The CPA Audit Opinion, if required by Program Rules. Projects that have applied on or after March 27, 2017 are not required to submit a CPA audit opinion.
Review and Payment Process
Following a review by the Texas Film Commission, the final documentation will be submitted for a compliance review by the Governor’s Office Division of Compliance and Monitoring. Disbursement of funds will not occur until the production has paid all financial obligations incurred to the State of Texas, and the final compliance review has been completed and approved.