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On Location: Making a film about being film friendly


It looked like any other film shoot in Los Angeles. About 70 cast and crew members converged on a neighborhood in Studio City last week.Cinemacon

Only this wasn't just any ordinary film production. The actors, crew members and vendors were there as volunteers, donating their services to produce a short public service announcement touting the economic benefits of filming in L.A.

The segment will be one of several spots that will be shown at Mann Theatres this summer as part of a campaign, dubbed Film Works, recently launched by FilmL.A. Inc. to promote L.A.'s signature industry, which has been increasingly leaving California.

"The goal is to highlight the economic importance of the industry that plays a vital role in our region and to remind people that when a film shoots in your neighborhood or on your street there are long-term benefits to L.A.,'' said Todd Lindgren, spokesman for the FilmL.A., the nonprofit organization than handles film permits in the region.

FilmL.A. co-produced the spot with the help of Shoot Movies in California, another nonprofit group that has been fighting so-called runaway production. "It's important to send a message to the community of L.A. that there is a problem and the problem is that work is not only leaving the city, but the state,'' said Ed Gutentag, the group's founder.

The 90-second segment features a monologue from actress and singer Tia Carrere ("Wayne's World," "Rising Sun" and "True Lies"). As she steps out of her trailer and walks toward the set, Carrere talks about the role of craft services workers, hairdressers, prop makers and others, pointing out how their work filters down to prop houses, catering companies, equipment suppliers and scores of other vendors.

"When a movie company like this shoots here in California, it puts close to $15 million back in the economy,'' she says. "We need more movies to be shot in California to help California."

That message will be coming soon to a theater near you.

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: Jennifer Eagle, in red dress, and other actors volunteered to shoot a public service announcement in Studio City highlighting the importance of the local film industry. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (12)

Hip, hip hooray for this group. What exactly happened to "The film capital of the world?" I hope Gov. Brown can help us. Obviously Arnold Schwartzenegger was happy to bite the hand that fed him and did nothing to encourage filming in California. I am a set medic part time, because just as I was hoping to join the union -- Hollywood left! We have everything to offer, ocean, mountains, lakes, palm trees, snow, desert. It's a big state, lots of room for everyone to film here. Come on, let's get back to work!!! Please.

Let the good times roll....on camera. Come on everyone, it's great revenue. Why can't we compete with Michigan, Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina -- Canada too! Simi Valley used to play host to scores of Westerns, it's still gorgeous and very 18th-Century in parts for location shooting. We need to take our crafts back to California. Make up, Wardrobe, Craft Service, Grips, Electricians, First Aid, Transportation. Get the Teamsters on this. Bring back the film industry to California. Come on, We can do it!!

The reason that movie companies don't want to film in California anymore is because California doesn't look like America anymore. It's a good location for movies about Latin American barrios and drug wars, but that's about it. Not much call for other films, as most other films are not set in trash and grafitti scared Third World toilets.

Film in Vancouver and make people think it's the California that USED to exist. That's what they do.

Nice try at blaming Latinos, Maria. But the real issue is that it's cheaper to shoot in Vancouver and Toronto because the Canadian government subsidizes production there. And some southern states have the advantage of being right-to-work, so companies can get around the unions. The initiative to bring production back to LA and California has to come from Sacramento.

Richard Verrier,
Thanks for the article!
its helps us to spread the word and keep awareness about this issue.
We will lose a heritage industry and many taxpayers in the State of California if the legislators don't do something quick to stem the tide of ranaway production (ranaway was not a typo). And to the person that made the comment about Arnold,
Arnold was the first Gov. to sign a tax incentive into law for the State of California, remember that.
Ed Gutentag
Founder and Chief Plater Spinner of www.shootmoviesIncalifornia.com

Who the heck wants to shoot in overpriced California?

Come back to California. Come shoot in LA.

Hey "MARIA" are you one of those self-hating Latinos? For your information California, especially the Los Angeles area has many areas (pockets if you will) ideal for filming depending on the subject matter and era. I applaud this film to remind the World that "Yes" Los Angeles is open for movie business.

Wow, way to sound ignorant and hateful, Maria...
As far as the article goes, i would love for LA to truly be "film friendly", but it is not. I mean, if your a big studio and can pay huge amounts for insurance, permits, locations, police, etc..., i guess yes. But for smaller shoots film crews here are looked as nuissances, and you can't do anything without ridiculous insurance and permit requirements, that for 80% of shoots, aren't necessary. People outside LA get excited about film crews, they let you use their locations, local government gets excited and helps out, local businesses are happy to even give you food and lodging for free or a small credit, or just if you bring an actor to their restaurant for pictures, the whole crew gets lunch for free. It's an embarrasment how difficult it is for a small to medium shoot to film here in L.A.

It's sad that it's so expense for studios to shoot here. There are so many great nooks, nice neighborhoods, unique shops, and holes in the walls that need to be exposed in film. I love when I am watching a movie or even a TV series and see a place that I recognize. I hope this helps with the movement and the fight to keep filming in LA!

Instead of showing it to the public, why don't you show it @ the talent agencies which represent the movers and shakers?

Maybe the people in Sacramento could care about the industry more. A movie requires more than over-paid stars who jet in to shoot it. It also needs the grips, costumers, caterers, prop people, electricians, carpenters, transportation crew, and many, many others whose names never show on screen. They all live in and around LA. They pay payroll and property taxes and shop in the local businesses. Their kids attend the local schools. They have every reason to want to work here in LA. They are professionals in their fields and shouldn't have to choose between commuter lives or unemployment.


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