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On Location: Tutoring location managers on local schools and other film sites

December 1, 2009 | 10:15 am
Novemberchart When it comes to local filming, out of site often means out of mind.

And that's the last thing Los Angeles needs as it struggles to keep productions close to home.

So FilmL.A. Inc., the nonprofit group that handles film permits for much of the region, is launching a website today that features a catalog of schools and other government properties available for filming.

The site, called LocoScout, bills itself as a "new kind of location library," replacing an existing film library that had limited search capabilities and data.

Among other things, the new site allows location managers to search for photographs of specific schools and their facilities, such as gyms and cafeterias, and available parking.

Eventually, the library will be expanded to include photos of all government properties, including city and county parks, that are available for filming.

The service, which is free, debuts at a time when the city is facing mounting pressure to take steps to keep production from fleeing to lower-cost cities and states. Notwithstanding the introduction of California's film tax credit program in the summer, activity for on-location filming in L.A. in the first eleven months of this year declined more than 31% compared with the same period a year ago, while shoots for television and commercials fell 15% and 16%, respectively (see accompanying chart for latest figures).

"It's one of the ways we're trying to make the L.A. region more film friendly," said Todd Lindgren, spokesman for FilmL.A. Inc. "A lot of times people may go to the same location over and over again and not be aware that there are equally attractive alternatives."

-- Richard Verrier