Film Crews: Construction vs. Production

Unless this is your first time reading the site you know we writing about film crews around LA a lot, and how they effect (positively and negatively) life in Los Angeles. We generally refer to these folks as “film crews” because that’s about the extent we know, but this note which just showed up in our “submit a story” box suggests there may be some inter-film-crew rivalry going on. Check this:

“When you write about film crews, you need to diferentiate between Construction crews, and Production crews. Construction is there first and Usually set the tone for Production . Production then comes in ,and manages to piss an inordinat number of nieghbors off, then leaves. Construction comes in to clean up their mess and attempt to smooth ruffeled feathers. Location peoples only concern is the production cerw. They don’t give a crap about the fall out after production has left.”

Unfortunately there’s no way for us to differentiate between which crews are which because when we cover this stuff we aren’t working on the sets, we’re bystanders, so we don’t know from which crew the person(s) are taking orders or getting paid, we just know they are either making a crap ton of noise, swiping parking spots, or generally messing with our schedule. It would be awesome though if we weren’t in a situation where one group felt the need to blame pissed off neighbors on another group, because there were no pissed off neighbors to begin with.

8 Replies to “Film Crews: Construction vs. Production”

  1. Horseshit! I’ve had to deal with filming as a location and a neighbor to locations for years, and I’ve seen just as much shenanigans from the construction guys as from the production ones.

    As a location, I’ve had more problems over the years from the “construction” guys failing to clean up the mess of the production guys than any other problem. They’re just as eager to literally sweep their garbage under the rug and make tracks as the production guys are to make a mess.

    note – yes there are great crews in LA, who are awesome to work with, and who don’t deserve the bad rep that shoddy productions are responsible for.

  2. Actually here in outer Monrovia we residents are amused by the whole process and a lot of filming is done around here. More so in the last few weeks than in quite a while.

    It’s annoying when today’s crews couldn’t wrap up filming at 10 and be cleared out when they said they would (at 1PM 2 streets were still closed and decorated like New England in fall). Parking was tough, BUT the merchants I talked with. The studio rentals on their place helped them make the rent this month which has been really slow. And in fairness to the crew doing the shooting, Tuesday is about as slow as Wednesday so no one was put out.

    It would probably be a different story if we had messes left and no one was compensated. Money forgives a multitude of sins.

  3. Wow, in Monrovia they actually tell you when they are planning to film? Wouldn’t that be nice. In Downtown LA they just show up, close streets, keep people up all night, with little or no notice, or with notices that lie about what is about to happen.

    The construction crews are the ones banging tent poles at all hours, revving engines, etc. Then they tell us that nobody lives here, so what’s the problem?

  4. How funny Bert….we don’t get squat unless it happens on our doorstep. Otherwise we just run into it and ask what’s going on and move on. So far they pick odd places like downtown that are pretty empty from say 8Pm until about 8AM so it winds up being no harm, no foul.

  5. Well, the problem is that they are NOT picking places at are empty, I was being sarcastic. This stuff happens directly next to occupied residential buildings with no notice, and we are told that the very buildings that we live in are empty. They also blockade open businesses, virtually killing their income, usually with no notice or compensation.

    It’s a stacked deck. FilmLA is absolutely unaccountable to anyone. They are not required to take community concerns into account, and are able to secure street closures, extreme activities, removal of parking, and other nuisances without any negotiation with the affected areas.

    But, FilmA’s contract with the city is up for renewal soon, and there is a group of people who are taking these issues to the city to get the terms of the contract amended to fix this stuff. Should be fun.

  6. Having worked in production and locations, I would agree that prep crews (including art and construction teams) usually are much less of an impact on an area than the full production company.

    But to differentiate between them from a complaint standpoint is silly. Both are symptoms of the same problem, an industry which is driven by its own ego rather than respect and consideration for the hard work which has created the real world they temporarily rent for their fictional creations.

    I can’t remember how many times I’ve been hired to watch a multi-million dollar property while it was being used as a production location only to find some wayward crew member who thinks the production’s ‘rental’ fee for the day entitles them to treat someone else’s property worse than they would treat their parents’ house.

    Those same crew members who say angry residents are pushing ‘the industry’ away need to take a good look in the mirror. If they self-policed better, including firing people who did not respect a location, there would be much less cause for righteous complaints. What gets me, is it is so much easier to do things the right way than to deal with the aftermath of bad behavior.

    It’s the slash and burn mentality of ‘the industry’ which needs to change if ‘the industry’ plans to sustain itself as inevitably every location will eventually become ‘burned out’ and turn its back to the ‘easy’ money because it no longer wants the resulting hangover.

    There’s a real simple solution, treat every production location like your job depended on it, because it does…

  7. FilmLA is absolutely unaccountable to anyone. They are not required to take community concerns into account, and are able to secure street closures, extreme activities, removal of parking, and other nuisances without any negotiation with the affected areas.

    Bert is dead on the problem here. I don’t know what FilmLA is actually doing, but they certainly aren’t doing anything to improve relations between the film industry and the neighborhoods where filming occurs. I’ve actually seen production companies go to extreme lengths to make sure that the location and affected area has notice of filming long before FilmLA puts up their notices – so that they don’t have to get blamed when FilmLA does a crappy job.

    I’ve given up on trying to contact FilmLA when I have an issue or problem regarding filming (even when it’s an issue with FilmLA, directly). I’ve been through their “let’s shuffle this guy’s call/message around the office until he gets frustrated and gives up” routine one too many times.

  8. I’ve given up on trying to contact FilmLA when I have an issue or problem regarding filming (even when it’s an issue with FilmLA, directly). I’ve been through their “let’s shuffle this guy’s call/message around the office until he gets frustrated and gives up” routine one too many times.

    don’t call filmLA, call your city councilman’s office. call the mayor’s office. if enough people do that, i think they might take another look at the crap job that filmLA is doing and do something so that they don’t have to keep responding to their constituents’ complaints re filming.

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