Schenectady

‘Pretty Little Liars’ reboot to shoot at Armory Studios in Schenectady

A segment of Showtime's "Three Women" is shot outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Schenectady on Nov. 16, 2021. Another series will begin filming in the city shortly.
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A segment of Showtime's "Three Women" is shot outside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Schenectady on Nov. 16, 2021. Another series will begin filming in the city shortly.

SCHENECTADY — Segments of the latest installment in the “Pretty Little Liars” franchise will be shot in Schenectady.

Film Schenectady said Thursday that the production crew will be in the city in February and early March, using the former Schenectady Armory as a soundstage and shooting exterior scenes. 

Some 200 to 300 background actors will be needed; when details are finalized, Film Schenectady will post information on its Facebook page.

Film Commissioner Donna Pennell said it’s an exciting development for the city, and builds on previous filming here: Sean Fogel, a producer of the new HBO Max series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” spent more than four months at Armory Studios working on the second season of Amazon Prime’s “Modern Love” in autumn 2020. 

“I think they really enjoy the experience here,” Pennell said.

She pitches the city as convenient to a wide variety of scenery and possessing a cavernous sound stage on Washington Avenue — Armory Studios.

Showtime recently filmed scenes for “Three Women” in Schenectady, and Discovery shot an episode for its long-running “A Haunting” in the city. (It will debut at 10 p.m. Feb. 11 on Travel, Pennell said.)

Saugerties in Ulster County has been the site of more extensive production work for “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin,” but the weeks in Schenectady will provide economic benefit to the city, as well as a thrill to those interested in being a brief background presence in a scene.

Schenectady County Legislator Cathy Gatta, president of Discover Schenectady’s board of directors, said, “when a production comes to town it provides a boost to hotels, restaurants and many other local businesses, so anything we can do to support our film industry is a win for the county and our economy.”

The county is not providing direct financial support for the filming, but the county Legislature on Monday will consider a measure to allow the production crew free use of two county-owned parking lots behind the armory.

Armory Studios co-owner Ray Legere bought the building for $3 a square foot when the state was auctioning off its old armories. He initially sought to build it up as an event venue and all-weather sports facility but is now concentrating on motion picture production.

“We’re dedicated to film,” he said Thursday.

Legere relies on the help of regional promotion entities to book the armory for that purpose, and focuses his efforts on the follow-through.

Marketing is getting the attention of those who make decisions, he said, but trust and confidence in the delivery are what influence the decisions.

“That’s what we’ve been focusing on, building those relationships and trust,” he said.

Investing in better climate control systems was costly but it was necessary and it’s now a selling point, along with the 50-foot ceiling, which is internally supported, with no trusses to clutter the space.

Legere is hoping to pick up some business in hosting short-notice events — those scheduled a few weeks in advance — because he can’t commit to events scheduled many months in advance if he’s trying to get production companies to set up residence for months at a time.

The Schenectady Film Commission was formed in 2016 and in July 2021 became Film Schenectady, part of the county’s tourism promotion bureau, Discover Schenectady. The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority provided a $60,000 grant to launch Film Schenectady.

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