When I attended the Hawaii International Film Festival in October 2006, the TV show Lost was easily one of the biggest sensations the island of Oahu had ever seen. The show set up shop on the island, and it was a big boon to the local film/TV business. It was evident everywhere we went during our week in Honolulu, the show had changed the face of local production. The cast and crew bought homes, millions of dollars were spent thanks to the show (at least $228 million, but some say $400 million), and young filmmakers were given a platform to learn their craft. It’s not unlike – but much bigger than – the boom Austin felt thanks to Friday Night Lights. Meanwhile, fans of Lost were able to create an industry out of the culture of fellow fanatics through things like the Lost Virtual Tour or the Hummer Tour of Lost locations.
Of course, the tourist industry of Hawaii will be fine. They have plenty else to work from, like beautiful beaches and all that. It’s not like Scranton, PA, which has The Office Fan Tours in an otherwise unappealing town. Once NBC stops airing The Office, I can’t imagine the same sort of demand for Scranton-area attractions. Oahu doesn’t have to worry as much about that. The lack of Lost production is still a hit to the local production community. Nevertheless, hope remains that the Fall reboot of series Hawaii Five-O will keep crews employed in the area. Plus, there’s still the Hawaii International Film Festival, working hard every year to keep the culture of cinema alive in an area not known for staying indoors.