Filming of TV show ‘Outcast’ boosts Rock Hill businesses

“Outcast" is filmed around East Liberty Street on Tuesday.
“Outcast" is filmed around East Liberty Street on Tuesday.

Filming of the television series “Outcast” in York and Chester counties has been good for area businesses.

More than $2 million has been spent on housing, sites, fuel and building supplies since June, production officials said Friday.

The $2 million is just a fraction of the television series’ total economic impact. The production company, which has been stationed in Rock Hill since June, has a weekly crew between 150 and 175 people. Last week’s payroll swelled to 450, said Barbara D’Alessandro, a unit production manager.

D’Alessandro gave Rock Hill business and elected leaders a look into the production Friday during the annual retreat of the Rock Hill Economic Development Corp at the City Club.

“Outcast” is being produced for Cinemax by Fox International Channels. The show follows a young man, Kyle Barnes, who is plagued with demonic possession all of his life.

“He has no connection to the Barneses of Rock Hill,” D’Alessandro quipped.

Barnes finds help through the Rev. Anderson, a preacher with his own personal demons.

The two embark on a journey to find answers, but end up making startling discoveries. Actors include Patrick Fugit, Philip Glenister and Gabriel Bateman.

The show is based on the comic book of the same name by Robert Kirkman, writer and producer of the hit “The Walking Dead.”

The show is expected to air in the United States on Cinemax and on multiple international channels in the spring.

The show is set in Rome, W.Va. For most of the filming, downtown Chester has doubled as Rome, D’Alessandro said.

Locations in Rock Hill and York County also have been used and the production company has converted a warehouse in Rock Hill into a temporary sound stage for interior shots.

Typically, it takes nine days to shoot one hour of the show.

The location shooting can be lucrative for local property owners and businesses owners.

D’Alessandro said they’ve paid from $100 to rent a driveway for a generator to $6,000 to rent a house for three days. Merchants along Main Street in downtown Chester said the production crew has compensated them for lost business when filming there.

Rock Hill businesses have benefited from the 40 production company workers in the fourth-floor offices above the City Club, who shop and eat downtown.

The production crew has used as much local business and talent as possible. D’Alessandro said they have used 626 South Carolina vendors so far.

Dan Rogers of the South Carolina Film Commission said between 35 to 50 percent of a production crew’s expenses are spent locally.

D’Alessandro said York and Chester counties were selected for filming because they look like West Virginia.

The state’s film incentives also were a deciding factor. South Carolina gives a 25 percent wage rebate to the production company for resident wages subject to state tax, and 20 percent rebate for non-residents.

Productions that qualify get a 30-percent cash rebate on products purchased from South Carolina suppliers. Productions also can be exempt from the state’s sales and accommodations taxes, a savings of 7.5 percent.

Don Worthington: 803-329-4066, @rhherald_donw