Midnight Aerial Filming in Downtown Los Angeles

There is currently a large helicopter flying almost directly above my loft. It has been circling for nearly 2 hours. The helicopter is part of a film crew that is filming a block north of my loft. The crew is parked both in the parking lot next to my loft, and the lot across the street where I park.

We were not notified. My wife has to wake up at 4:30 AM tomorrow for nursing school. It is almost midnight. I do not know where to turn in this situation.

I started out by calling 311, they forwarded me to the non-emergency LAPD dispatch who forwarded me to the LAPD’s Air Support Watch Commander. The Sergeant on watch was a nice fellow, and I could tell he felt bad that he couldn’t do anything about the disturbance. The deal is that if there is a permit, they have every right to be in the air, no matter who they are. He said that if I had a complaint I would need to jot down the tail letters and call the company in charge of the bird.

My issue isn’t with the helicopter pilot or the film crew. They are both doing their jobs. My problem is with FilmLA. FilmLA granted them the permits to film aerial shots late on a Sunday night. FilmLA continues to treat Downtown Los Angeles like their own private sound stage.

I actually have a friend at FilmLA who told me a few nights ago that everyone films in Downtown LA because it is cheaper than filming elsewhere in the city. Why is it so cheap to film in Downtown as opposed to other places where people live? I can tell you first hand that it isn’t cheap to live down here.

FilmLA and the production companies that film in Downtown have been getting a free ride for too long and that is all going to change soon. Nobody wants to see the motion picture industry disappear from Los Angeles. People live in Downtown and those people need to be treated fairly and with respect. In a few months, FilmLA’s contract with the City of Los Angeles expires. If things don’t change, and soon, renewing that contract renewal process will be an uphill battle.

UPDATE The timestamp for this post says 10:49, but due to some DST madness, it is incorrect. I posted this at 11:49pm. I currently don’t see or hear the helicopter, so hopefully the crew has wrapped for the night. Either way my wife is wearing ear protection and seems to be fast asleep.

UPDATE Part 2 Oh joy the helicopter is back. So far I’ve been contacted by 4 other Downtown residents. Eric Richardson blogged about it. The adhoc DLACN Film Issues meeting tomorrow today should be quite interesting. I won’t be able to make it, but my wife will be there to voice our opinions.

UPDATE Part 3It is now 5am, my wife is getting up for nursing school, normally I would be asleep, but the crew is banging poles on the ground as they disassemble the circus tents in the parking lot across the street from my loft. Time for me to don the ear protection. Nice.

19 thoughts on “Midnight Aerial Filming in Downtown Los Angeles”

  1. Stop being a NIMBY! You knew what you were getting yourself into when you moved to Downtown. Did you think things would magically disappear in order to convenience you when you moved in? If you don’t like it, move out. Perhaps an underground bunker could suit you.

  2. If you could read past your paycheck you would have clearly seen that I don’t mind filming in my hood. Filming from a helicopter at midnight is a different story.

  3. I’d agree with NimbyWatcher if the film companies were following notice requirements that are used in every other part of L.A.

    Even if they’re following the rules, the film companies and FilmLA are shooting themselves in the footsies by not proactively going out and warning residents.

    Now I’d expect the permitting process will get a lot harder and more expensive, because of upset residents who are tired of being stepped on.

  4. Exactly, that’s the whole point.

    At the last DLANC meeting where FilmLA’s rep was present, I told them that they could do one simple thing that would mean all the difference in the world to the residents: Put ever single approved permit on a website, even in CSV or Excel format.

  5. Welcome to LA. Its part of its charm. We are all powerless against them and the permitting process. LA does everything it can to keeps its tax base alive. The dollar rules like all else. In the great cogs of city hall we are nothing more than bits of dust to be flushed away to keep it moving smoothly. My solution is to take an extra tranq and sleep through it all when they film late in my ‘hood.

  6. you [email protected] crybaby.I’ve lived here for 10 years.
    I have been in fist fights with the homeless, cops never did shit, Have had my car stereo stolen, cops never did shit, Have had my girlfriend sexually assaulted ( homeless guy was masterbating and chasing her at the same time), cops never did shit.Every one knows that 7th and main is hot as fuck but the cops never did shit until you fucken cunts moved in.You guys are the ones who should get the fuck out of here. Oh yeah
    Downtowns “cool” now and somehoew you have more rights than me because you live in a loft.
    fuck all of you. I hope I see you walking so I can beat the shit out of you.

  7. Yeah! How dare you take an interest in helping to improve my living situation… Oh, wait, that’s a good thing…

    E, If you film in the neighborhood of Venice, you get an extra set of rules attached to the film permit rules that are particular to that part of town. There is no reason why downtown couldn’t have an extra set of filming rules added to a film permit, and I think that’s your best solution. After that, then it’s a matter of stricter enforcement. But you have to make rules before you can brake them. That’s my 2 cents.

  8. Wah wah. You’re just another person who moves someplace where there is a known issue, and then complains about it endlessly. If you don’t like planes, don’t live next to the airport, and if you don’t like filming, don’t live in downtown.

  9. frazgo: I have to disagree about being powerless. There are plenty of neighborhoods in LA where it is much harder if not impossible to film. The opposite is true in fact, we are powerful and technically FilmLA is powerless. They are just a conduit for film permit approval.

    Anek: Wow. I don’t really understand your point.

    Bob: I most certainly don’t complain about filming endlessly. In fact in the 2 years I’ve been living in Downtown I have only recently begun to complain about it. You’re right, it is a known problem, and that’s why we’re doing something about it. If nobody complains, nothing gets done.

  10. Everyone taking potshots at Eecue: he has a perfect right to point out what he does not like and try to effect changes about it. Just because you had a rough time of it doesn’t mean the rest of the world should shut up and put up. Let’s all wish him the best of luck accomplishing what could be a beneficial thing for everyone who lives downtown–from homeless junkie to loft-dweller.

  11. That’s right Lucinda, and when everything gets so unfriendly towards filming in LA, we won’t have to have those darned actors serving us food any more! They’ll all have moved to whatever new town Hollywood decides is easier to deal with.

  12. I’ll never understand the vitriol that trying to solve problems in your own neighborhood seems to generate. “If you don’t like it, don’t live there,” is about the most stupid fucking logic ever.

    And Anek, it’s not anybody’s fault but yours that you’re stupid enough to let all kinds of irritating shit happen to you without doing anything about it. The “cops never did shit” because dumbasses like you never bothered to hold them accountable. Change begins at home, bro.

    P.S.: Last time I checked, it was “fucking” or “fuckin’.” I know “fucken” is the preferred spelling among the 6th graders that my girlfriend teaches, but I would hope that you hold yourself to a higher standard.

  13. Bob: Your logic is totally flawed. I have never said “Get the film industry out of LA.” Not only would that be silly, it would be impossible. I am only asking to be treated fairly in my neighborhood.
    There is no reason that film crews and FilmLA can’t play nice with residents.

  14. This is not the first time EECUE complaints, if you have notice most of his post are complaints about filming and how dirty downtown is. people come here and move in and all they do is complaint and complaint. They ignore the community that was here before them, all they think about is them. oh yeah, and how cool they are too that is very important. There has always been a neighborhood and community in downtown EECUE, just because you came here does not mean there was not one before.

  15. Ron, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but basically you’re full of it. Take a look at my posting history:


    out of my 234 posts on b.la 4 of them have been about filming and all of those within the last 2 months. I don’t think I’ve ever posted about how dirty downtown LA is. I love living in Downtown.

    Where do you live? You’ve posted before on one of my filming posts repeating the same thing another poster said about the parking security being employees of the parking lot when really they were part of the film crew.

  16. Tonight a helicopter is shaking my house. I live near dodger stadium, north of chinatown. We get our fair share of daytime flyovers with the police academy and fire training center near by, but this is different. This chopper is louder and shaking the house more than usual and it’s been flying over at least every 15 minutes from about 7:30pm, it’s now 9pm. This isn’t normal for my neighborhood and we didn’t get any notice.

  17. you full of it, you always complaint just like your friend richard…you have posted on his website! yeah ignore the other part of the my comment “There has always been a neighborhood and community in downtown EECUE, just because you came here does not mean there was not one before.”

  18. I don’t have a friend named Richard, but I’m guessing that you’re referring to Eric Richardson. He also doesn’t always complain, and in fact has only mentioned the filming issues very recently.

    I can see that this subject is upsetting you, but I honestly don’t understand how you statement applies to what I wrote. I never said there wasn’t a community or neighborhood in Downtown before I got here. That would be a silly thing to say.

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