Need contact or fee info about filming in the 30-Mile Zone around Los Angeles? You could try the California Film Commission — or you could take a wild guess. Either way, your chances of success are about equal.
The CFC bills itself as “your one-stop resource for film and TV production across the Golden State,” but its website’s listing of contacts and fees for filming in the LA area is so out of date that it’s virtually useless. Large parts of the site haven’t been updated since February 2013.
Nearly all of the hundreds of fees listed on the site are outdated. In Pasadena, for instance, the location fee for shooting on public property is listed as $850.77 a day; but no, it’s actually $913.20. And the daily fee for shooting on private property there is $716.96, not the posted $667.95. Likewise, every one of the site’s 100-plus listed fees associated with hiring Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s Department personnel for film shoots is wrong.
The site also contains names of many city officials no longer in their jobs. Don’t bother trying to reach Vee Gomez, who’s listed on the site as the contact person for the city of Santa Monica. “She hasn’t been here for about a year and a half,” said her replacement. Dinah Sampson, who’s listed as the city of Hawthorne’s contact, hasn’t worked there for six months.
As if there weren’t enough uncertainty about filming in the Golden State.
“We do this as a service to help filmmakers, and we do our very best to keep it updated,” said Deputy Film Commissioner Eve Honthanerand, “but due to the fact that we’re short-staffed, occasionally the information is not as updated as we would like it to be. But we do our best to provide services and vital information to filmmakers throughout the state.”
The website, in fact, isn’t “one-stop” at all. Filmmakers who try to use it as a resource usually are directed to contact each city’s website to get the real lowdown on fees and regulations. And there are more than 90 cities and parts of three counties that fall within the 30-mile radius – centered at the corner of Beverly and La Cienega boulevards – used by union film projects to determine per-diem rates and driving distances for crew members.
The commission says it’s working day and night to update the chart. Hopefully they’ll get the job done before Sacramento gets around to approving a new package of film incentives, which is pending in the state Senate, but budget cuts have reduced the CFC staff from 22 to 10.