I had made a posting about this just before shut-down. It was obviously a last priority at that point. Recently I sent out the email below to Mayor Garcetti and to all of the Los Angeles councilmen. So far, I have had only one response. However, if you will join me, it might have more weight.
The email I sent:
I do believe that the current regulations of FilmLA are actually losing the city money. The rules were made for much larger productions, with bigger budgets, than are often taking place at this time in history. I have a location. I follow the rules. However, several times a month I have to turn down bookings either because the fee is too high or the waiting time too long. The client simply books with another venue which does not require permits. So in the end, the rules are broken and FilmLA/ the City gets nothing.
Filming always used to mean a substantial production with a lot of people, trucks, equipment, generators, etc. Shooting digitally with LED lighting now allows a smaller footprint, less impact on neighbors, smaller crews. We’ve had documentary interviews with a crew of two and one subject.
There is more “filming” than ever, with smaller budgets. It would help the entire community if the process, requirements, and fees were reviewed and adjusted to reflect today’s production environment.
In 2017 you launched a pilot program, the Digital Makers Initiative, to address this issue. To quote Mayor Garcetti, “Los Angeles has always been home to pioneers of the entertainment industry, and we should take down barriers to the kind of creative, future-minded innovation that small digital filmmakers represent.” I am sorry to see these barriers rebuilt.
Indeed, the films I have been turning down generally have a crew of no more than 25 people, usually under 15. There are no explosions, no stunts, no car chases, or anything which would be dangerous or impact the neighbors as long as the parking rules are maintained.
Here, the fees for the permit alone are fair. However, since the shoots are usually set up last minute (as are most of the film shoots) the waiting time is prohibitive. Most of these shoots are either fashion shoots or celebrity shoots with 3 to 12 people. They generally last only 4 to 6 hours, sometimes less. The impact on the neighborhood is less than that of a dinner party. I would like to suggest that on these tiny shoots you lessen the waiting time and eliminate the need for notification. In the digital age, checking for the insurance & parking should be able to be done instantly online in the same way as we can get approval for credit cards instantly.
To sum up my suggestions for modification:
• • Reduce the fees for smaller films with generally the same rules as the defunct Digital Makers Initiative
• • Reduce the waiting time for small films either by putting someone on to oversee it during the weekends and on holidays
• • Give instant approval for small still shoots according to an algorithm.
• • Eliminate the need for neighbor notification on small still shoots. This will also enable low-budget shoots to pay the fees and to generally follow the rules.
Thank for taking the time to read and consider this,