It was a busy summer and fall in the Scottsbluff/Gering area for television production filming. The Los Angeles based production company Pilgrim Media group filmed several episodes of the Discovery Channel’s reality TV show “Street Outlaws” south of Gering on Highway 71 and west of Scottsbluff on Highway 26.
Prior to filming in western Nebraska, the production company filmed on location in Casper, Wyoming. As the crew was finishing up in Casper, they took a look at drone footage, road criteria and a road scout checklist submitted to them in late May by the City of Scottsbluff Economic Development.
After a Sunday afternoon visit to the area, the decision was made that the Scottsbluff/Gering area would be their next stop. The crew began arriving in mid-August and completed filming on October 12th , with economic impact to the area estimated at over $2 million.
In May, the State Film Office division of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development responded to inquiries of filming a “wheel-to-wheel” reality television show requiring smooth, straight, two lane concrete highways from across the state.
The Film Office reached out to Starr Lehl, Director of Scottsbluff
Economic Development. “I knew we had to respond quickly and with accurate information meeting their criteria. We wanted to be a part of this opportunity so we sent them images of roads across the state of Nebraska,” said Laurie Richards, Nebraska Film Officer.
The twin cities area was host to the Coen Brothers movie “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” in 2018. “Filmmaking means opportunities for local businesses and jobs for our region. Once we are able get location scouts and production companies here, showcasing our beautiful landscapes and production resources is part of the
endeavor and the fun. “Buster Scruggs made a nearly one million dollar impact to the area plus additional filming of a movie starring and co-produced by Francis McDormand, the wife of Joel Coen called “Nomadland ” said Lehl.
The City of Scottsbluff worked with Andrew Smith of Adventure Photography and the Nebraska Department of Transportation District 5 Office to secure drone footage and photography of roads meeting the criteria. A small team of local business and community leaders met with production management and location scouts.
Once the decision was made by Pilgrim Media Group to film in western Nebraska, the wheels were set in motion to secure permitting through the Scotts Bluff County Commissioners and NDOT for use of the chosen Nebraska Highways.
“There were definitely some residents inconvenienced by the filming because of noise and traffic disruptions, but for the most part the community embraced the opportunity. Pilgrim Media and City of Gering employees went door to door in the filming area to inform citizens of what was going on and I believe that helped tremendously,” said Karla Niedan-Streeks, Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.
The majority of the community understood the economic impact to
businesses continuing to struggle during the COVID pandemic including area hotels, restaurants, gas stations and retail stores. Several local people working limited hours or laid off from their jobs were given an opportunity to work for the production company.
A team of medical professionals traveled with the cast and
crew monitoring activity on set with temperature checks and regular rapid COVID tests.
Filmmaking is a business that can be beneficial to all communities in Nebraska – it not only brings the cast and crew here to enjoy the area to patronize businesses, it can always have the spinoff effect of tourism and people wanting to know where television shows and movies are filmed. “We are fortunate in western Nebraska to have the facilities and resources available to accommodate the
filmmaking industry and we’re looking for the next opportunity,” said Lehl.