Filming and the Entertainment Industry in general are both huge sources of revenue for both Angelenos and the City of Los Angeles. I thoroughly enjoy watching movies and I think it is cool that they are commonly filmed in my neighborhood. In no way do I want to see the industry move out of Los Angeles, or even Downtown, not that it would even if it could. Those points aside, there are some serious problems with they way shoots are planned and executed, especially in Downtown.
A bit over a month ago I wrote an emotionally charged piece about my run-in with an especially rude film crew member. The response that I received from fellow downtown dwellers was amazing. Last week, one of the people who first contacted me about the post, Bert Green, started a thread on a Downtown mailing list and posted the responses.
Over the weekend the DLANC powers that be added an addendum to the meeting that was to take place the following Monday, and were able to get a representative from FilmLA to come down and talk to the community and the council. I missed most of the meeting, but I came in time to hear the FilmLA guy talk about how there would be “too much information” if they were to post all the notifications on their website. He also said that trying to send “those union people” to courtesy training would be impossible.
One thing I found especially funny was that he said there were good Location Managers and bad ones, and the bad ones spoil it for everyone, he then went on to name the Location Manager for the recent Tranformers shoot as one of the good ones. The Transformers shoot where they blew up a truck at 7am on a Saturday after only giving notification to residents on the same block. The explosion could be heard for miles.
As I see it there are some issues with FilmLA, which I am sure we will be addressed in the near future, mostly because their contract is up in June:
- FilmLA’s funding comes from the permit fees the collect, that right there is a huge conflict of interest.
- FilmLA has failed and continues to fail to properly notify residents of pending shoots.
- FilmLA has little or no government or citizen oversight of the approval process
- Production companies that continually break the rules are still issued permits and there are no consequences for their actions
The meeting was attended by nearly ever Downtown LA blogger, including: Ed (who wrote about the meeting), Jim, Celia, Don, Ben, and Ginny. If you are interested in being a part of the solution, DLANC has created a task force to deal with the problems and the first meeting is this coming Monday in the P.E. Lofts. More details along with Ginny-Marie‘s notes from the meeting after the jump.
The collective “we” need to get a handle on the rights/responsibilities/expectations of all of the parties involved.
It was great to hear that FilmLA will be working with us in a more proactive manner to ensure that filming impacts are minimized during our ArtWalk night.
(Ideally, I would love to see that no filming take place during ArtWalk…it could always be the lone respite from the craziness of filming)
The Arts District recently deployed an email notification, with thousands of letters/postcards going out to buildings. However, as of yet less than 100 people have signed up for the notification.
A couple of pain points stood out for me:
- Filming notices are getting held up at the front door of buildings. Residential units that have secured front doors will grow as an issue. We need to find alternatives to communicating with residents. Fax and email notifications are options that need to be explored.
Crew Courtesy: we heard that there’s the good/bad/ugly. If you are on a film crew, be aware of your surroundings. You don’t own the road, building, sidewalk, please treat this like your own neighborhood. Ask yourself “How would I feel if I had the transformers filming outside my building at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning”
Publicly contract construction firms do have codes of conducts that must be followed. The code covers everything from no catcalling, to the time large hauling trucks can stage, where they can stage. And, these firms employ union workers. One of the things I heard last night was – “You try telling union guys this/that/the other”. Well…many of us live with Union folks, actually, we proudly live with union folks…and well…come on! I would like us to examine codes of conduct, and how to get this information out to those teams filming in Downtown.
- Every neighborhood has a pet peeve. For some it is the color of the homes on the block. Others, it is the car that’s parked haphazardly on the curb. For us, it will/is filming. I’m happy to have this as a pet peeve, because this is something we can discuss, make some changes, and all be happy with the outcome.
What can we do right now:
Be vigilant. You have the right to ask (hopefully politely…remember catch more bees with honey) for the filming permit. We want to support permitted filming, and we can do that by asking to view a film permit. There’s a purpose for film permits – to ensure the coordination of emergency services, the safety of film crews as well as those in the area. Again, you have the right to view the film permit.
If the crew is unable to produce the permit, you can call the non-emergency line of the police department. Do so immediately.
Do not be intimidated by film crews, be respectful. And, in turn we should expect the same level of respect.
A task force has been formed to address short and long –term issues as they relate to filming in Downtown. You are invited to attend! Items that we can discuss include:
- What is the process to secure a film permit
- Who is the best contact if we see a problem
- How can residents be kept in the loop
- Should a code of contact be required among film crews
- What do we do with repeat offenders
I felt it was a positive meeting, and we walked away with an opportunity for an open dialogue and good next steps. Speaking of which… If you would like to be a part of this continuing conversation, please plan to join us!
- Monday, March 19, 2007
- 6 to 9 p.m.
- Pacific Electric Lofts
- 610 S Main St, Conference Room
- onsite phone: 213.248.0698
You don’t have to RSVP, but if you want to let me know if you plan to attend, it will help me to know how many copies and supplies to have on hand.
If you can’t make it, or you would like to get on the listserve to work on this issue, please consider the yahoogroup.