Third in a series. The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is proposing a 25% increase in film fees to handle the expected flood of new filming requests once the state’s $330 million incentives program kicks in next year. The current fee for filming on park property is $450 per day; the proposed hike would boost it to $562.50. If approved by the City Council, it would be the parks’ first fee increase in more than seven years.
The city’s preparations for the coming film boom will be discussed today at the fourth meeting of the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs, convened this year by Mayor Eric Garcetti and chaired by Councilman Paul Krekorian to make L.A. more film friendly.
L.A.’s city parks are popular film locales. Every year, about 2,000 film permits are issued for film shoots in the 437 parks and 184 recreation centers the department manages, and every production must be overseen by a park monitor.
“Filming at Recreation and Parks facilities and properties has increased by at least 15% over the last two years, and in 2014 is showing no signs of slowing down, as Recreation and Parks sites remain more popular than ever,” the department’s General Manager Michael Shull wrote in a recent letter to Krekorian.
The Park Film Office already is understaffed and burdened with a computer system that is so outdated that it cannot interface with FilmLA, the city’s permit office. “The desire is that Recreation and Parks’ system be connected directly to FilmLA with full access for both organizations Shull told Krekorian. “It is hoped that this will improve response time and provide constant updating of critical information to meet industry demands.”
The Parks Department also hopes to add more staff – particularly more part-time park monitors – to deal with the coming wave of production. The monitors, who are paid $38 an hour by the production companies, help to facilitate filming while protecting park resources.
“Filming cannot take place in city parks without Park Activity Monitors on location,” Shull wrote. “Due to the hiring challenges, Recreation and Parks was not able to adequately staff enough monitors for the number of requests coming in. Lack of sufficient numbers of trained monitors on staff is the number one reason that filming in the city’s parks could be possibly delayed.”
The proposed fee hike would enable the Park Film Office to better serve the film industry, Shull said. Naturally, the industry welcomes anything that will make L.A. more film friendly, but it no doubt would prefer that the city pick up the tab.