Roads in Taylor are closed for special events regularly, but sometimes the closed roads are specifically closed sets.
The city of Taylor has been and continues to be a welcome place to movie, TV or other media productions. Whether it’s a small independent film or “Transformers 4,” Taylor has been on the big and small screens several times. That trend likely isn’t ending soon.
“We are a film friendly community in Texas,” said Main Street Manager Jan Harris.
Last Tuesday, Jan. 7, a portion of Talbot Street near downtown Taylor was closed for what street signs called a special event. Trucks, trailers and bright lights could be visible from blocks away.
No details were publicly released on what might have taken place last Tuesday. Social media posts have speculated, but the Taylor Press can neither confirm nor deny those reports at this time.
A way film companies find their way to Taylor is through the Film Friendly Certified Communities program, administered by the Texas Film Commission.
On the Film Friendly website, production companies can search through a map or list of locations in the state where filming would be welcome. They would then reach out to city hall, be sent to Harris, and then the city manager will sign off on having the production take place.
Guidelines were approved in July 2012 for filming in Taylor and have been revised as recently as December 2019. The guidelines work to help the process be as smooth as possible for both the production and citizens.
“We always work with the police department and the fire department to let them know things are different right now,” said Harris. “They also have (in the guidelines) a requirement that as much as humanly possible, they’re suppose to reach out to the neighbors of wherever they’re going.”
S&D Plumbing was a business affected by recent filming. The film production stopped by S&D Plumbing in person, went through details to make sure everything was okay with the business, and even paid them for their time.
“It’s financially supporting the businesses here as well for our time,” said Tiffany Pelzel, marketing and recruiting specialist at S&D Plumbing. “We had to move our cars, but it didn’t inconvenience us in any way. We just parked another place. They did their shooting that day, and they cleaned up the next day and we had no complaints.”
Pelzel had a view of most of the filming that took place. She admitted to standing and looking out the window the majority of the day.
“I’m anxious to see if the silhouette of my head is in the image. I tried to get my moment in the spotlight,” Pelzel joked. “It was an interesting experience.”
The offices of Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 were more affected.
“We were concerned about how it would affect operations of the JP Court and particularly our customers who want to take care of traffic tickets and other cases,” said Judge Stacy Hackenberg. “As a result of the road closures, especially Sixth Street which is where our customers park and enter our building, we made the decision to close the office on Monday and Tuesday to the public. We put out word through social media and the county’s website to alert the public in an effort to minimize inconvenience.”
The judge also said deadlines for citations or other filings were extended to their next public business day. A skeleton staff worked in the office, some employees worked from home and others elected to take vacation days.
Despite some cons to productions interrupting city or county business, there are some financial benefits to the communities where movies or TV are filmed.
“It stimulates the local economy because you’ve got people coming in who aren’t here usually,” said Harris. “So, they create jobs for Texas-based crew members, and they may be local residents.”
On their own time, crew members will also shop or eat at area businesses further stimulating the local economy.
“We hope that the filming brought some much-needed dollars to the city coffers,” Hackenberg added.
With Taylor’s look, more dollars could come in the future.
“Taylor is just being beautiful Taylor,” said Harris, “and it may fit where someone wants to come and use our architecture or our landscape or our natural resources.”