SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Film Commission created a perk that is being offered up to film production companies to entice them to do business in the county.
The film incentive program is a way companies can get cash for doing business in Santa Barbara County.
Santa Barbara County can be a beautiful backdrop for film, and the Film Commission wants to make it known.
Movies like "Seabiscuit" and "It's Complicated" were filmed in the county, and there's one film that put the area on the map.
"Of course "Sideways" is the movie that just keeps on giving to Santa Barbara County," said Geoff Alexander, the Santa Barbara County film commissioner.
The commission is offering up the program to everything from big=budget movies to clothing catalog shoots to commercials.
"The entire idea around this is to return money to the community. We wanted to qualify productions by requiring they book a certain number of hotel room nights here because that way we know they are actually spending money here locally. So in order to qualify, you have to book a minimum number of nights, then prove that to us, then we can cut you a check," said Alexander.
The program takes place during the slow season -- September through May -- when hotels have empty rooms they want to fill.
"We all need business during that time. And of course, Santa Barbara, it's always beautiful here, but it's a slower time of year, so it really helps to drive business to our beautiful city, to our hotels, to our restaurants. It's fantastic," said Kathleen Cochran, the Bacara Resort and Spa general manager.
The Film Commission will pay up to $2,500 per project. That might not seem like a lot, but it could tip the scales in Santa Barbara County's favor.
"Actually getting out there and trying of offer something is incredibly meaningful for people. They know that we're here for them, and we really want their business," said Alexander.
Production companies have until May to get their hands on some of the $50,000 put aside just for them.