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The Hill Country film studios and its potential impact on Texas State Theatre and Film departments

SAN MARCOS – A new film production company is being built in San Marcos and is set to conclude its first phase of construction by the end of Summer. The Hill Country Studios will be the biggest production company in the state, potentially impacting Texas State’s Theatre and Film students’ employment opportunities. 

With the start of construction this semester on the 820,000-square-foot Hill Country Studios, Texas State film and theater students are hopeful it will bring jobs for them.

The project broke ground in February of this year, kickstarting its first phase of construction. The studio will have a budget of $267 million, spread out between 3 total construction phases, and expected to be concluded in August of 2025. Given the large-scale planning for the studio, students are curious about potential opportunities post and during their college careers.

San Marcos is a continuously evolving town between two major Texas metropolises, San Antonio and Austin. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing towns in the country largely due to the powerful presence of the university. Having the biggest film studio in the state located in a town such as this one is enough cause for college folks to start thinking about their future in the entertainment industry.

Faculty Viewpoint

Long-time locals and experts in the entertainment field have provided extensive insight into what the Hill Country film studios could mean for San Marcos. “Certainly, a lot of projects, since it will be such a large studio, a lot of projects will be cast out of LA and other places, but in general, studios like that go to the local area for day players and extras, all things that would offer learning opportunities for students and locals.”, said Texas State Acting professor Neil Patrick Stewart. 

The film and theatre professors at the university are expected to maintain their connection to the entertainment industry and therefore be able to teach students the most updated industry methods. “My hopes are that it fulfills its promise of being a thriving high-quality film studio that brings feature projects, that produces local and indie filmmakers but also brings A-list projects here because that provides opportunities for jobs and master teachers, visiting artists, and connections which could be really great for the students here.”, said Neil Patrick Stewart.

Students Viewpoint

From a student perspective, there is more of a focus on their career preparations. “Well, my classes have prepared me as an actor, to have an instrument that can adapt to film and theatre.”, said junior student Ricardo Lopez. 

Not everyone has the same excitement toward the studio, but there is curiosity about how the town will change. “ I think there’ll be more students flocking or migrating to San Marcos to get the chance to work at the studios, whether it’s like PA work, helping with productions, or auditions.”, said senior film student Leia Mendoza. 

Concerns

Although there seems to be positive feedback on professional opportunities provided by the upcoming film studio, there are also unanswered questions. “I mean if I really would want to stay in Texas to do film or any like set work or thing like that, it will definitely have an impact but it just may take longer. I definitely would consider working at the studio, but it also depends on what kinds of productions are available throughout these next few years.”, said Leia Mendoza. 

Not only there are professional concerns, but also environmental ones. “The river is something we have to protect because even places that promise to be low impact or no impact, when they’re that big, they really can in unexpected ways affect the river.”, said Neil Patrick Stewart. “If it’s as big as they say it will be and doing the kind of business that it will be, I certainly would hope and advocate that they not only try to minimize their impact but that they make contributions to the natural well-being of this area. That would just be them being good neighbors and citizens of this area.”

Conclusion

Overall, there are mainly hopes for connections, and most of the performing arts and filmmaking community at Texas State are looking forward to outside opportunities. There are speculations for internships and partnerships with the university and the studio, but it is all speculation and only time will tell what the Hill Country film studios will bring to the San Marcos community.


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