Filmmakers are seeing a lot to like about Los Angeles these days. Not since the City and County of Los Angeles collaborated to create FilmL.A. and streamline the film permit process in 1995 has the City shown such a concerted effort to support the filmed entertainment industry.
However, recognizing the importance of the film industry does not negate the responsibility of film crews to show courtesy and operate within the rules that govern on-location filming. As President John F. Kennedy once said (while quoting the bible), “Of those to whom much is given, much is required.” The City has improved the mechanisms of filming but has not lessened its resolve to mitigate negative impacts of filming on residents and merchants.
In 2009, the L.A. City Council passed a series of nineteen recommendations to become more film friendly — such as offering free parking for film crews after hours at City lots, allowing parking/base camp use under DWP power lines, evaluating business tax credits for the industry and strategically enlisting the State’s help in keeping production in L.A.
Additionally, the Los Angeles Police Department has been given expanded authority to crack down on extortion by merchants or residents who seek to disrupt duly permitted film shoots, and representatives from the offices of Mayor Villaraigosa, the Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) and the City Administrative Officer (CAO) have held meetings with location managers of episodic TV shows to uncover bottlenecks in City processes that can be cleared before shows come back from hiatus.
But there is now a risk (and some anecdotal evidence) that some film crew members view the City’s support as carte blanche to forego neighborly courtesies and skirt permit conditions while working on-location.
“Now, more than ever, crews need to show that they are good neighbors and that they respect the areas in which they film,” said FilmL.A. Director of Community Relations Geoffrey Smith. “It’s unfortunate, but it only takes one disrespectful crew member to undermine all the good work of previous crews and instill negative attitudes towards filming in general.”