By Lynn edmonds
In bustling Times Square, a cop notices a duffle bag in the middle of the sidewalk, with a tag reading “Call the FBI.”
Next thing we know, all of Times Square is evacuated, and one officer, dressed for a bomb blast, edges toward the bag. To his shock, the bag begins to unzip itself. He jumps back and cocks his weapon, only to see emerge a tattooed, woman’s arms.
Out comes a woman who remembers nothing and no one. Her body is covered with fresh tattoos, each of which contains the key to solving an international crime.
So begins the story of “Blindspot,” a crime drama starring Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton that filmed at Queens College this week.
It’s one of many shows where viewers can catch glimpses of the college’s buildings and students, with hit drama “The Blacklist” filming at the college just the day before, and about 15 shoots taking place at the school every year.
Not only do the TV shoots allow students a chance to glimpse some favorite celebrities, but they also bring substantial revenue to Queens College. While about two-thirds of the school’s funds come from the government and tuition, the film shoots cover a substantial portion of the remaining one-third that must be raised through revenue-generating projects.
The TV series shoots, as well as photo shoots and commercials shoots, prove lucrative for the school, Dale Nussbaum, Director of Venue Rentals at Queens College, said.
“City Universities are prime locations for film shoots because of their diversity,” she said.
A typical shoot, which can last several days, bring the school $400 to $750 per hour.
“It’s cash that the college can spend on programming,” Nussbaum said. “We have blessings from the President on down,” she added, stressing that the school will never cancel class because of a film shoot.
Queens College is just one part of the city whose economy benefits from the Film Industry. New York State data reports that that the film industry directly contributed $5.2 billion to the state’s economy in 2013-14, and an additional $4.6 billion indirectly. The state also reported that the industry created about 61,000 jobs.
Incentivizing these spending levels is a production and post-production tax credit provided by the state government. In 2012, Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised the post-production tax credit in New York from 10 percent to 30 percent (and 35 percent upstate). From that year to the next, the film industry generated an additional $2.9 billion for the state.