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Written by Nikki Stier Justice

When people first hear that we uprooted our boutique studio, GOOD DEED ENTERTAINMENT from Los Angeles, CA, to the small town of Ashland, OH, their first question is always the same: “Why?”

To be honest, that was my initial reaction as well — until, that is, I visited Ashland and saw firsthand the potential for independent filmmaking, especially for our low-budget genre division CRANKED UP FILMS.

1. Ohio has a great look for horror films.

The locations and shooting opportunities are truly unlimited. Driving through the winding country roads, you stumble upon rolling cornfields, spooky forests, overgrown barns or weathered homes that require little to no set design. I found myself saying all too frequently “this would be a perfect location for a horror film.” Ashland and its surrounding areas are rich with history and since many horror films take place in quintessential small-town America, we have found that this region is more than ideal.

2. You can shoot for a fraction of the price.

Ashland, OH, is about one hour outside of the city (Columbus and Cleveland), which means everything from location rentals to catering is significantly cheaper. If you need to build a set, even the materials are a steal. Additionally, since we will shoot the majority of our films in Ashland and surrounding areas, we can reuse our props, film equipment and physical assets on multiple productions.

3. The local community embraces filmmakers.

I was overwhelmed by the wonderful welcome we received from the local community and their willingness to help in any way possible. In Los Angeles, you can feel like a nuisance shooting a film, especially when working with jaded and hostile building owners. Here, shop owners are offering to help in any way that they can, excited to potentially drive more business to their small town.

4. Access to great tax incentives.

Ohio has one of the best film production tax incentives in the US: a 30% credit on all in-state expenditures with a minimum spend of $300,000. Our goal is to continue working towards increasing the $40 million cap and establishing priority for independent productions that encourage infrastructure growth.

5. There’s no shortage of talent.

Cleveland has one of the largest theatre districts outside of New York City, which means the city has plenty of talent waiting to be found. Horror in particular is more concept-driven than star-dependent, which means you can hire the best fit for the role rather than the biggest names. Additionally, there’s no shortage of behind-the-scenes talent with 10 collegiate film programs within a one-hour drive of Ashland — including CSU which just built an $8 million facility for their program.

Growing up in a small town breeds creativity and allows for imaginative freedom in filmmaking. Rather than having local talent leave Ohio to pursue a career in Los Angeles, we want to help create an infrastructure that allows independent filmmakers to thrive in the Midwest.

Horror DNA would like to thank Nikki for this insight to the benefits of moving a studio. Make sure you follow Cranked up Films using the links below!

Cranked Up Films Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Nikki Stier Justice oversees financing, production, distribution, corporate branding and operations as COO of Good Deed Entertainment.

She started her career at 20th Century Fox in feature film development/production, working on films like THE MAZE RUNNER and INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE before moving on to GDE as Director of Development. In terms of production, Justice has developed projects like the Jane Green adaptation THE BEACH HOUSE and produced features including COYOTE LAKE. She also helped launch the distribution arm in 2017 with the Academy Award nominated film LOVING VINCENT.

A Massachusetts native, Justice has been living and working in Los Angeles since 2010. She received her BS in Entrepreneurship from Babson College before continuing her education with an MFA in Film & Television Producing from UCLA. In addition to her duties at GDE, Justice remains active with UCLA Extension’s Arts and Entertainment program where she teaches Low Budget Filmmaking and Story Development.

Cranked Up Films is the genre-focused brand of the American production and distribution company, Good Deed Entertainment (GDE). Cranked Up will focus on producing and acquiring films with genres including high concept horror, grounded sci-fi and speculative fiction.

In August of 2017, Cranked Up Films completed it fist production, NIGHTMARE CINEMA, a horror anthology from give acclaimed directors (Joe Dante, David Spade, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamura and Alejandro Brugues) of the most macabre horror films from around the world.


Nightmare Cinema stills. Click images to enlarge.


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