When the CW series "Vampire Diaries" began shooting in Jessica Lowery's hometown of Covington (population 13,118) in 2009, she had no idea production would become her family's economic salvation.
Laid off from her job as a special-needs teacher in April 2010, she launched Mystic Falls Tours, named after the show's fictional small-town Virginia setting. Today, both she and her husband work full-time entertaining up to 150 fans a week who come as far away as Germany and Brazil to pay $55 for an up-close look at the show's locations, hear insider anecdotes and participated in scene re-enactments.
"It went from me and my daughter watching filming just to have something to do together to what we pay our bills with," says Lowery, who recently launched a second tour for the CW's upcoming spinoff series, "The Originals," shooting in the nearby town of Conyers.
Lowery can thank Georgia's 30% film and TV tax credit for her good fortune because that's what brought "Vampire Diaries" to town after it shot its pilot in Vancouver. Enacted in 2009, the incentive has driven direct in-state production spend to a record $879.8 million in fiscal year 2012, up from $132.5 million in 2007, and greatly expanded Georgia's crew base.
Read the full article here: