Plans to make Los Angeles more film friendly were reviewed today at a hearing of the City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Film and TV Production Jobs. L.A. is gearing up for a boom in film and TV production once the new California tax incentives kick in next year, and Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council have asked every city department to do its part.
The City Attorney’s office has streamlined the film permit process, the LAPD is cracking down on neighbors and businesses that try to shakedown properly permitted film productions, Recreation and Parks is adding staff to deal with the expected influx of film permit requests, the Department of Water and Power has opened up several previously off-limits sites for filming, and the Department of Transportation is adding crews to post more signs and to deal with street closures for film shoots. Even the Central Library is pitching in, making it easier for filmmakers to shoot their projects there.
“We’re making great strides in keeping film and TV production local,” said City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee, “but there is clearly more work to be done. With the new film and TV production incentive set to take effect next year, we’ve got to do everything we can to encourage more local filming in our city.”
FilmLA President Paul Audley told Deadline that the city’s film permit office will poll the major studios and production companies in January to determine just how much more filming they plan to do in the city once the new incentives take effect.
The City’s Economic and Workforce Development Department also will be sending a survey to every company that has received an L.A. film permit over the past two years to ask them to evaluate their experiences working with the city, FilmLA and all city departments. All new film permits will include the survey as well.
The City Council also has instructed various city departments to gather comprehensive lists of city-owned properties, buildings, facilities, parking lots and other structures that can be used for location filming, production facility uses, production shoots or base camps. It also asked the City Administrative Officer, Information Technology Agency and other departments to work with FilmLA to notify production companies of all city-owned locations available for filming.
Ellen Schwartz, VP Marketing for the Los Angeles Convention Center, told the Committee that the Convention Center has made major strides to encouraged film production and reported that 27 projects have been filmed there this year already – a significant increase over previous years. Krekorian welcomed the news because in the past, he noted, the Convention Center had been “at or near the top of the list of places in Los Angeles that were difficult to do business in.”
The LAPD reported that since 2110, its Film Unit has had 603 calls for service from film companies shooting in Los Angeles, including 43 complaints of neighbors or businesses trying to shakedown or interfere with properly permitted shoots.