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On Location: Making a film about being film friendly

March 29, 2011 |  9:08 am


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