Horry County considering rules for TV, film productions

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - From Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, our area is a backdrop for several TV shows. Horry County officials say they're getting more interest, for TV shows, movies, and even production companies considering relocating. The county wants to be ready before more step in and start filming.

Shows like NBC's Revolution and reality shows like Myrtle Manor are making Horry County the new Hollywood. The filming frenzy in the area has had its perks.

"We will probably watch it just out of curiosity," said Al Hitchcock, a local business owner. "But we are just putting out the hospitality mat for these people coming to town."

But some neighbors are giving the productions bad reviews.

"Yes, I'm very upset," Warren Steadman said. "I have children that play in the yard; we don't know exactly what's going on in the reality show."

All the action has county officials figuring out the film business.

"It spawned, 'What does Horry County have in place for these kind of film industries?'" questioned Horry County Spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier. The answer right now is: nothing.

Rik Dickinson has one of the longest-running production companies in the Carolinas, and it's based in Myrtle Beach.

"If you're in the county, you can pretty much do anything you want," Dickinson said.

He said producers like what they see here when they're looking through the lens.

"You get different textures and backgrounds in Horry County," explained Dickinson. "You can dress anything in this county to be anything in the world really."

As the area moves further into the spotlight, the county wants to set some ground rules.

"Look at locations, hours of filming, their insurance, parking plans," said Bourcier.

Dickinson said some of the rules make sense.

"It keeps the professionals professional, if you will," he said. "It keeps the not-so-professionals maybe out."

But other rules, like keeping filming hours before 10 p.m., might make things difficult.

Dickinson said that rule is unrealistic. "When we're working, a lot of times we'll shoot overnight because of the business was closed, there's less people, for other reasons," he said.

County officials said they don't want to stop production, just in a way, direct it.

"We see it as continuing," said Bourcier. "So we just want to make sure we have some procedures in place."

For those who aren't a fan of all the filming, there is a rule in the ordinance that gives residents a warning. If a person lives within 300 feet of where production will be, then the company will have to notify the people living in the home before anything happens.

The Horry County Planning Department did research on the ordinance, which requires filmmakers to obtain a special events permit 45 days before filming. The ordinance will be up for review to Horry County Council.

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